Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ford Escape Hybrid - Electric Motor Cooling Pump, Do It Yourself Repair

[Editor's Note: This blog post is one of our most popular and it has prompted many excellent questions from interested readers. Please take the time to read through the comments at the end of this posting as the additional information may be very useful in your own efforts.]

My 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid has served me fairly well. With slightly more than 120,000 miles, it has only had one major issue (please see My Ford Escape Hybrid Brake Repair Experience - The Brakes Broke the Bank! and Ford Escape Hybrid Brake Failure - Revisited).

When this hybrid electric vehicle ("HEV") was still rather new with about 17,000 miles, it suffered a failure of the electric motor cooling pump. I was traveling through the Appalachians in the middle of Pennsylvania when the "High Motor Temperature" warning came on. Some of you may be familiar with this issue. The display warns you to "Stop Vehicle Safely" and if you fail to do so within a few minutes the vehicle literally shuts down. Although it may be inconvenient, the shut-down is by design; to keep the electric motor and related components from being damaged from the high temperature caused by some failure of the cooling system.

After allowing the motor to cool off, I limped slowly to the nearest Ford dealer. They diagnosed the problem with the Motor Electronics Cooling System ("MECS") and replaced the Motor Electronics Cooling Pump (Part Number: 5M6Z-8C419-A) under warranty.

It so happens that Ford eventually issued a Technical Service Bulletin for this overheating problem. TSB 08-24-5 states that some 2005-2008 Escape Hybrid and 2006-2008 Mariner Hybrid vehicles may exhibit a red triangle light and codes indicating a transaxle overtemp. This condition may result in reduced power as the system activates fail safe operation. Codes P1A0E, P1A0F, P0A3C, P0A3E, P0A7A, P0A7C and P1A0D may also be set.

The first page of the TSB is shown below (the second page contains dealer billing information irrelevant to this shade tree mechanic repair, therefore it is not included).


I never gave the matter further thought since the replacement pump continued to work fine. Then a few weeks ago, I began to notice that the pump was operating rather noisily. I should have used that as a sign to proactively replace the part. However, I was complacent and before I took care of the pending failure I had a repeat of the "High Motor Temperature" and "Stop Vehicle Safely" warning.

Since I had driven another 100,000 miles since the first failure, I cannot really complain. From what I have read of other's experiences, it is not unusual for these components to fail after 50,000 miles.

With the vehicle out of warranty, I decided to see if this was a repair that I could complete myself. First I followed the procedure from the TSB.

[FORD] 1. After verifying the Motor Electronics Cooling System ("MECS") is at the proper level and condition, raise the vehicle on a hoist and with the ignition key in the run position, use a stethoscope to verify operation of the MECS pump.

[Me] The MECS pump cannot be seen from the top of the engine compartment, and is only visible from under the vehicle. It is located behind and below the radiator, just in front of the oil filter as shown in the photo below. Do not confuse this pump with the slightly smaller pump on the driver's side of the radiator. This other pump is part of the cabin heating system.


Well, I don't have a hoist or a stethoscope, but I used some jack stands to raise the front end a few inches and laid under the vehicle. Then I placed a short length of plastic hose between the pump and my ear to determine if it was operating. Nope. No sound from the pump.

[FORD] 2. If the pump is running, verify coolant flow into the MECS degas bottle. If there is no flow, verify hoses are not pinched or twisted and if no issues are found replace the pump with the listed kit part.

[FORD] 3. If the pump runs and there is coolant flow into the degas bottle this Technical Service Bulletin may not apply so follow normal diagnosis and repair.

[Me] Since the pump was not running, these two steps did not apply. And what the heck is a degas bottle? It's just a fancy name for what most of us call the coolant overflow tank.

[FORD] 4. If the pump is not running, tap the housing and listen for the pump to turn on.

[Me] Using a small hammer, I tapped the pump housing a few times and what do you know? After a few grunts and groans, and with a bit of noise, the pump began to operate again. It stopped after a few minutes, but it led me to the next step.

[FORD] 5. If the pump turns on after tapping, replace the pump with new service kit. The kit provides the necessary instructions and hardware.

[Me] There you go; it was time for a new motor electronics cooling pump. After seeing where the pump was located, I decided that the procedure was something that I could do myself. Two compression-type hose clamps, two 10 mm bolts and one electrical connection... just about anyone can perform this repair in the driveway. It would also be much less expensive than the $300 estimated dealer labor cost.

I checked with the local Ford dealer's parts department and they had part number 5M6Z-8C419-A in stock with a list price of $281.98. I also checked online and found it available for much less, as low as $177.37 (from Ford Parts Giant). Mentioning this to the dealer prompted them to drop their price to $225.58 without hesitation. Since I needed the repair completed quickly the discounted dealer price was a good deal for me, so I headed home with the parts to complete the work.

Ford's service procedure for the pump replacement couldn't be much more simple:

1. Remove old pump.

2. Install new pump.

Although Ford's instructions are correct, I would suggest that the steps listed below may be helpful if you are going to do the work yourself.

1. Optional: Securely raise the front of the vehicle using jack stands or blocks. Even a couple of inches makes the work so much easier.

2. Optional: Remove the protective plastic shroud under the engine compartment from the passenger side. There are five 10 mm bolts and one plastic pin. You CAN perform the repair work with this shroud in-place, but taking a couple of minutes to remove it makes the process so much easier.

3. Drain the coolant from the transaxle cooling system. Ford has an official procedure for this, but it seems overly complicated. I placed a clean, small bucket under the pump and carefully removed one of the hose connections allowing the coolant to drain into the container. Only about a gallon and a half or so drained from the system. If you are careful, you should be able to recover virtually all of the old coolant. I moved the bucket aside to reuse the coolant (more on that later) instead of dealing with an environmental hazard disposal issue.

4. After the coolant has drained from the system, remove the second hose connection.

5. Remove the two 10 mm bolts that hold the pump in place.

6. Remove the electrical connector.

The old pump on my vehicle was manufactured by Bosch, while the new replacement was made by Cooper Superior. The new model is obviously a highly modified design as you can see in the side-by-side photo below. The good news is that the new pump is a bolt-in substitute and no changes to the hoses or wiring are needed.


7. Bolt the new pump in-place with the two 10 mm bolts.

8. Connect the two hoses to the pump, and secure with the compression clamps.

9. Attach the electrical connector.

10. Replace the coolant. You may decide to use a new coolant mixture, or reuse the old coolant like I did. To make certain that no contaminants were introduced into the system, I strained the old coolant through a clean cotton cloth placed over a funnel. Ford has an official procedure for the refilling process as well. It includes venting the system at the transaxle; a task not easily done. I found that almost the entire volume of old coolant filled the degas bottle to the original level without a need to vent the system. Save the remaining pint or so that is leftover for the next step.

11. Turn the key to the run position and confirm that the new pump operates. With the pump running, verify coolant is flowing into the degas bottle. The level in the degas bottle should drop enough to allow the addition of the remaining coolant. In my case, the coolant level returned to virtually the same exact level it was before I started the repair.

Your installed replacement should look similar to the following photo.


12. Confirm that there are no leaks and that all connections are secure. Reattach the protective plastic shroud and carefully remove the vehicle from the jack stands or blocks.

Wasn't that easy? I'm not certain if I will still own this vehicle for another 50,000 or 100,000 miles. But if I do, I will be prepared to confidently complete this repair once again. Hopefully, these instructions will help you to do the same.

90 comments:

  1. Great explanation and picture. Thank you.

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  2. Thank you. I was able to located the pump by reading your post. Great work. I had similar problem with my 05 escape hybrid. I was able to get the electric water pump working again by tapping on the rear part near the electrical connection with a rubber mallet. This a temporary fix, before the new pump arrives.

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  3. Fantastic explanation and pictures. Could not have been any more complete. Thank you very much.

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  4. Did you have to take it to the dealership to reset the computer?

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  5. Brandon: The warning lamps "go away" on their own after the electric motor cools off. Once the new pump was installed, the motor kept its cool and everything operated as designed. There was no obvious need to reset the computer.

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  6. I am having this problem right now on my 2007 FEH, the second time this "high motor temperature" issue has come up in the last few months. I have 69K miles on the FEH. Thanks so much for the information and pictures. I am going to print this off and take it to the dealer tomorrow. Best wishes to you Ken.

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  7. Thank you- happened at 75 MPH (2008 FEH- 80K) on busy Interstate 3 times in 5 miles- limped to dealer (closed on Sunday) got Hotel Room and paid $576 next day for repair as I no longer travel with my tools as I did 20 years ago- may change that now. Ford could have engineered the gas motor to take over 100% of the time in the event of this pump failure instead of shutting your engine off at 75 MPH. Stop Safely Now? Try that in New York or LA in rush hour- someone will be killed by poor electrical engineering failsafe design. Should be a recall as it is safety related.

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  8. Wow, great post! Ended up having the same problem with my 2007 Ford Escape. What the heck is wrong with Ford? The Ford service rep held giving me a round-a-round till I handed him a copy of your post.

    Thank you for posting this info.

    Anthony

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  9. Hey guys,

    Great info on the blog here. I have a 2007 Escape, took it to the dealer, and the readout had every single one of the codes you have here, to the letter. So they wanted to do it for $705 parts and labor. I said, no thanks, paid them for the diagnostics and bought a new pump myself. I replaced the old coolant,and it was right to the line 2 days ago when I did it. This after noon, the fluid was a hair below the line. On the way home, the car cut out again. Even though I had all the codes for the MECS pump, what else do you think it can be? The dealer said I would have to change a "coolant filter". I haven't read about that in my internet travels. Any ideas? Thanks!!!

    Alex

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  10. Alex: Sorry to hear that the new MECS pump did not fix your problem. There is really nothing you can botch in the repair process as the two hoses line-up to their correct, respective connections. Did you reconnect the electrical connector for power to the pump?

    The dealer's comment makes me wary. I am not aware of the Ford Escape Hybrid using a coolant filter, and have never seen that component on the parts diagrams for the hybrid. I have only seen a coolant filter used on some of Ford's large block diesel engines.

    I'd stop by an auto parts chain store (e.g. Autozone) and ask them to please check the diagnostic codes. They will do that for free. See if the new codes still point to the MECS pump. It's possible that the replacement pump was defective. Outside of that, it could be some other issue with the electric motor. Let me know what you find out, as you have piqued my curiosity.

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  11. I am thinking about getting a hybrid escap 2011 should i anticpate the same problems?wud you suggest a normal escape instead?

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  12. Ken,

    Thanks for the reply. I did go to an Autozone, and at least I checked for the "coolant filter". Watched the guy check the computer database and saw what he saw. No "filter".

    But I think I did solve the problem. I did tell you earlier the coolant was a bit low. I guess with a 3.7 liter capacity, a little bit low could affect it? I topped it off on the high end of the "zone" on the reservoir bottle. That day I took it up I-270, and drove very aggressively, AC on and everything. Then I did stop and go traffic through Rockville, using the battery as much as I could, seeing if that approach would make it fail. Nothing! Super hot day today, idling for half an hour in city traffic with the AC (and gas engine) running. Still good. The test will be this weekend for the long trip to the beach. But my sense is it should be OK.

    Thanks!

    Alex

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  13. Ava: I would not let the MECS pump failure keep you from purchasing a Ford Escape Hybrid. This device is essentially just like the water pump used in other vehicles. These components will not last forever on any vehicle and not an unusual part to replace.

    That being said, I WOULD be concerned with the hydraulic control unit (HCU) failures that affect the regenerative braking system on these Ford vehicles. Please see my older blog post about that experience here... http://blog.yagelski.com/2010/01/my-ford-escape-hybrid-brake-repair.html

    Based on my experience with the brake failure, I know that my next hybrid will NOT be a Ford.

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  14. Ken. Just last Saturday night I lost engine power with the "Stop Safely Now" message, for approx the 20th times in the 2 years I've had my FEH. I'm just now seeing your blog. Since you replaced the MECs pump, have you experienced this same problem again?

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  15. Victor: I have had this occur twice, and both times were complete failures of the pump which resulted in the replacement of the MECS. Once the pump was replaced, the cooling system operated normally.

    If your pump is just starting to fail (i.e. not completely failed), it may be the cause of your problem. Especially if it occurs when the ambient temperature is hot or the vehicle is being driven hard.

    If this is an early model FEH (i.e. 2005) and it is the original MECS, it is the subject of the Technical Service Bulletin that I discuss above. It should probably be replaced before it fails completely and leaves you stranded.

    Good luck.

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  16. Great post! Is this applicable to 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid 2.5 Ltr 4 Valve?

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  17. thanksjc: I do not know if the TSB applies or if the part numbers are the same. However, the electric motor is cooled using the same concept. You can look under your vehicle in the same place and determine if all looks the same as described in this blog.

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  18. I just had the MECS pump replaced on my 08 Mariner Hybrid after the engine quit at 65 mph, a warning light came on, and the display read stop vehicle and pull over. The car has traveled 77,000 miles. I'm curious as to whether this could have any connection to a repair I had just 2 weeks ago when the a/c condenser assembly was replaced following the failure of the a/c. Should I just get rid of this car now before it's too late (I've spent over $1200 in 2 weeks)? (BTW the part # for the 08 MECP is the same as the one you mentioned for an earlier model year).

    Marty

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  19. Marty: I don't see how the two issues would be related. The MECS is independent of the air conditioning system. However, at 77,000 miles, it was probably ready to fail, much like the water pump for the gasoline engine. I've had my FEH for 130,000 miles. Other than the MECS, my only other issue was the regenerative brakes / HCU (http://blog.yagelski.com/2010/01/my-ford-escape-hybrid-brake-repair.html). That was a $7,000 experience. Hope that you don't have the same problem with your 2008 Mariner.

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  20. I'm at 63,000 miles and my 2008 Mariner is in the shop for its second Motor Electronics Cooling Pump. Last one failed right around 50,000 miles, both not under warranty!! Paid $617 on the first one and now I'm fighting Ford to pay for them both. Folks, this sounds like faulty parts or a faulty design. Contact Ford to see about a refund on repair/parts $.

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  21. Anonymous: I am very curious to know if the first replacement (at 50,000 miles) was the new-style MECS pump, or the old-style that the dealer may have had on-hand. The old style was identified by a Technical Services Bulletin as faulty.

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  22. I'll have to ask them about the first replacement (at 50k mi.) when Ford Motor Co/Ford Dealerships contacts me. They were supposed to get back to me after "4 business days" which was yesterday. I still have the receipt from the first replacement, but I do not know if it lists the part # of the pump that was installed.

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  23. The part number on the first replacement (at 50k) was FMC 5M6Z 8C419 A. Do you have the number of the TSB number that identifies the old style pump as faulty? Is it 08-24-5 or the one it supersedes 08-15-1?

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  24. Anonymous: That is the part number that is identified in TSB 08-24-5. Check the photos above, if the "replacement" part used resembled the large pump, the dealer was incorrect to have used it. The new, smaller, pump is the correct replacement part.

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  25. Very nice and timely post. Just had my engine quit 30 miles from alexandria, three days ago. Deal er said MECS. Ordered a new one from Nevada. One question. Did you open the transaxle as the manual states to vent? Just curious if this is really required. Thanks.

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  26. Anonymous: I did NOT open the transaxle to vent, as the fluid drained from the cooling system filled the overflow tank to the same exact level it was before the MECS was replaced.

    Good luck with the repair!

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  27. My MECS pump has apparently just failed at 38k miles on an '07 FEH. The motor electronics temperature rose to 150F just before the engine shutdown, about 50F higher than normal. Going to attempt the repair myself.

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  28. My 2008 Just did the same thing at 60,000 miles. Mine is still covered under a extended warranty. But I did sleep better after reading your post, we were afraid it was a electrical malfunction that would haunt us forever. Ford had it towed, repaired and back in two days. I just had to pay $100.00 deductable. Thanks for taking the time to post the photos and the step by step. well done!
    Steve

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  29. Hello,

    If i were to pay someone to do this, does anyone think it could be any mechanic or does it have to be a hybrid mechanic, apparently my town only has like one. Also, before purchasing the part is there anyway i can be sure that this is the problem? THank you!

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  30. Anonymous: Any competent mechanic came complete this repair in less than one hour and for minimal cost (except for the cost of the replacement cooling pump). It's a REALLY easy job.

    Please carefully re-read the blog entry as it provides the steps from Ford on how to determine if this is the problem. However, if you are seeing the motor temperature alarm, it is almost certainly the cause.

    Good luck!

    Ken

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  31. Ken,

    Thank you! By the motor temperature alarm do you mean the exclamation point inside the red triangle? and also the display screen says "stop safely now" and the vehicle shuts down. I believe I also read that somebodys vehicle has little to no power, our vehicle literally shut down about every 2 miles for about a 30 mile stretch on a 55 mph highway. sometimes we could still accelerate and other times we could not accelerate. does that sound familiar? would you suggest any specific places to buy this part for a decent fair price?
    Thank you!

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  32. Anonymous: Yes! That alarm, and those symptoms would indicate a failed MECS pump.

    I assume you need the part very quickly to put the vehicle back in service. That leaves the parts department at a Ford dealer your only real option for obtaining the part as it's not a component stocked by the chain parts stores (i.e. AutoZone, Pep Boys, etc.).

    I would call around to the area's Ford dealers and see who has Part No. 5M6Z-8C419-A (Water Pump Repair Kit) in stock. If they have it, ask their price (probably around $280). Tell them that you have found it online for $177 [http://www.fordpartsgiant.com/parts/ford-kit-water-pump-repair_5m6z-8c419-a.html] and see if they will match that price, or at least come down to something more reasonable.

    If you can wait, buy the part online and then take it to your mechanic for replacement on the vehicle.

    That's about the best you can hope for.

    Ken

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  33. Ken,

    Ok yeah i was looking around online and fords price was like 280 or so and of course thats not including labor and all that. Thank god my husband and I have one other car, but I work and he is in the military so that one car is stretched real thin! I may buy the part from ford and attempt to install it following those directions. I am not in a real hurry to get it fixed but of course the sooner the better. Hopefully my husband and I can do it. HOpefully this will be a success!!! I know there was only one dealership that could work on our car hear because it was a hybrid, but if this problem isnt a "hybrid" problem it should not matter whether the mechanic is specifically for hybrids. But the hybrid battery fan needed to be replaced. does that sound familiar to you?

    Nicole

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  34. Nicole: Make certain that you don't pay Ford's retail price. If they know that you have less expensive options, the parts department will almost always "deal" with you.

    If you and your husband are handy with basic tools (i.e. you can assemble furniture from a place like ikea), then you can do this repair. If you are hesitant at all, you may have a friend who is more mechanically inclined. Worse case, you take the car and the part to a local mechanic. This repair does NOT need to be performed by someone familiar with hybrid vehicles.

    Yes. The hybrid's high voltage battery has its own cooling system. The fan has been known to fail over time, much like this coolant pump.

    Good luck!

    Ken

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  35. Ken,

    We are definitely not that bad with putting things together lol. So we will try the repair before having to take it in. I will also take that price to ford and see what they can offer me. but thank you so much for all the advice! you probably just saved us hundreds of dollars! I will keep you posted on how it does! Thanks again!!!!

    Nicole

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  36. Thanks Ken,
    Our '06 FEH, 90K shutdown suddenly at 60 mph (stop safely now...duh!).. It was warm, been driving 2 hrs. but what's different is we had just hit a medium concrete seam ( good jolt ) I got it to the apron in N. Key-off, restarted got off the freeway died within 1/4 mile twice .. Gassed up, made it another 1/2 mile... this time disconnected the battery/ reset.. drove home another hr low speeds no incident.. I will check the MECS, but how do I monitor the "motor electronics temperature " and is 100*F normal? I originally thought my PCM had lost power on that bump... I also think Ford should have programmed the car to run only on gas a in the event of this MECS pump failure..
    Thanks
    Mike

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  37. Mike: You cannot monitor the motor electronics temperature with a scantool (i.e. special diagnostics device) connected to the vehicle. Some consumers own these devices to monitor real-time data instead of relying on "idiot lights" and the LCD information display. However, they are expensive and not your average everyday toy.

    If this is the first time that you have experienced this problem, I can almost guarantee that at 90k miles, it's a failed MECS pump. It's really no different than a failed water pump on a conventional engine... they don't last forever. Use the information in my write-up to diagnose the problem. Most everyone reports that the pump is not running, and that they get it to operate, albeit sporadically, with a light tap from a hammer.

    Although it would seem to make sense to allow the vehicle to run on the gasoline engine only, the electric motor is coupled to the gasoline engine and transmission and running the vehicle at high speeds would still cause the motor to heat-up. Without the MECS pump operating correctly, you would risk total motor failure, which would cost a lot more to repair than the MECS pump.

    If your MECS pump were to fail again, I recommend pulling over to a safe location where you can allow the vehicle to cool down for a considerable time (i.e. 30 minutes to an hour?). Then proceed to your destination using a safe route where you can maintain a low speed (i.e. less than 30 mph). At that speed, you should be able to get there without having another motor heating issue.

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  38. Mike: My first sentence should have read... "You cannot monitor the motor electronics temperature WITHOUT a scantool." Sorry for any confusion.

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  39. Does anyone know if any module(s) need to be reprogrammed after the updated pump is installed? Anyone on here have a dealer do it, and the repair order had a line item on it for reprogramming?
    Called a couple dealers, one said yes, the other said no. It seems that the instruction that came with the pump kit would have told you that you need to reprogram X module, if that were the case. But then again, not sure what the service manual says? Any insight on this is appreaciated. Also, very nice blog Ken!

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  40. Anonymous: Thank you for the kind words!

    As you have noted, the repair instructions from Ford include nothing about needing to reprogram or reset any modules; and the invoice from my first replacement that was performed by a dealer did not mention anything about reprogramming.

    Should you desire to perform a reset, simply disconnect the 12 volt battery for a few minutes. I disconnected mine at the start of my pump replacement (just to make certain that it did not turn on for some reason!) and reconnected it once I was finished. This will reset the computer and clear any codes.

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  41. thanks Ken, based on what you said about your 1st replacement, dont think I need to worry about reprogramming any modules. I had actually replaced old style pump while it was giving me some warning by making excessive and inconsistent groaning noise. Did not want to wait until I had to be late to work because i had to limp in. Your post really helped get this done correctly myself

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  42. I bought my last truck from one of the ford dealerships in Oklahoma City and thankfully haven't had to do any repairs in the 30,000 miles I've driven it. I'm a little bit apprehensive to buy a Hybrid if this sort of pump failure is likely to happen - I think I'll stick to the Escape series for now.

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  43. My 2007 FHE had problems with overheating this past summer, on and off.
    I checked the pump and sure enough it was making all kinds of grinding noises, it was definitively on its last leg.
    Got the part on-line and changed it out in 20 minutes. The new pump is very quiet, unlike the original, which even when new, I could here it running.
    The install of the new pump very easy and thanks to this forum I did it on the cheep.

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  44. Curious to know if this is just for the Hybrids?

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  45. Anonymous - Yes. The "electric" motor cooling pump is only applicable to hybrids, which use a combination of a gasoline engine and an electric motor as part of the drivetrain.

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  46. I have a 2007 Escape Hybrid with 68,000 miles. The Warranty Guide states there is an 8 year 100,000 Mile Warranty on "Hybrid Unique Components". The "electric" motor cooling pump was just diagnosed at a dealer and needs replacement but the dealer says it is not covered under warranty. That makes no sense to me. Any thoughts?

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  47. Anonymous (12/26/11) - My apologies for the delayed reply... the Holidays got in the way.

    My comments will not change the specific dealer's policy. However, I can tell you that the information you've received sounds a bit sketchy.

    One could argue that the failed pump is simply part of the engine cooling system. While you could also argue that the pump only exists because of the hybrid system's electric motor. We know where your dealer stands on this matter.

    If there is still time, I would suggest that you try taking the vehicle to another Ford Dealer Service Department. It's my understanding that warranty work is somewhat at the discretion of the dealership. Another dealer may be more sympathetic to your problem.

    Good luck!

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  48. I had the infamous stop safely message tonight a bunch of times in my 2008 FEH, 91k miles. I was driving through some pretty heavy wet snow that was heading right at me the whole time. Limped home and notcied the lower radiator packed full of wet snow. My car was loaded with some stuff in the back and another passenger. Got home, cleared the snow from the front facia and radiator cooling fins anywhere I saw it packed in. (it had stopped snowing by now). Unloaded cargo area of extra weight. Turned ignition on an the cooling fans were on super high, higher than ever heard before. LEt it all cool down, took it out for a local 20 minute drive and no problems. I will check the operation of the MEC pump tomorrow. Hopefully just the snow blocking the airflow was the cause? All was fine until I had driven about 30 minutes in that wet snow, building up restricting airflow I guess. Thanks for the info here. I will put it to good use.
    thanks, Gary R.

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  49. Ken,
    Great information in all of these posts and advice on fixing. I am currently looking to buy a 2008 FEH from a dealer. It has 54k miles on it - do you have any advice on questions to ask the dealer - or advise against buying this car due to the problems with the cooling pump?

    I am a younger female that knows little about cars or issues - but do not want to be duped into buying a car that is likely (based on what I'm reading here and on other forums) going to have this sudden issue of stopping on the highway!

    I appreciate your advice! Thank you!
    Sabre D.

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  50. Sabre (03/12/2012) - I would not let the MECS pump failure keep you from purchasing a Ford Escape Hybrid. This device is essentially just like the water pump used in other vehicles. These components will not last forever on any vehicle and therefore, not an unusual part to replace.

    It would be wise to ask if the MECS has been replaced. You can tell by comparing the pump in-place to those pictured on my blog post. A "new" pump will be the smaller, more compact design. If it is the old design, you may want to make proactive replacement part of the purchase deal.

    That being said, I WOULD be very concerned with the brake master cylinder and hydraulic control unit (HCU) failures that affect the regenerative braking system on these Ford vehicles. Please see my older blog post about that experience here... http://blog.yagelski.com/2010/01/my-ford-escape-hybrid-brake-repair.html

    I would not purchase this vehicle unless the dealer can prove that the master cylinder and HCU have been replaced, as the cost to repair these poorly designed, and faulty components can cost the vehicle owner several thousand dollars.

    Good luck!

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  51. I had this happen to me today. Just turned off the highway, the red triangle light and "stop safely now" appeared. Barely had time to get it to the side of the road. I turned the vehicle off and sat for a few minutes. Turned it back on and it started. I got to my destination which was 2 minutes away. An hour later I left and was nervous about driving home. All was fine. I'm nervous about driving to work tomorrow as it is 30 minutes away - all highway. Can't do speed limit in fear of getting run over. Needless, to say I'm a little upset that this car is giving me more problems. I sunk $6500 into it last year for master brake cylinder, rear brakes (normal) and the HCU. After putting that kind of money into it, I was hoping to get another 40,000 miles out of it. It has 96,000 now. I guess I should start saving now for a new vehicle in a year or 2. It won't be a Ford. I realize things go bad, but after putting that kind of money into a vehicle I purchased for a lot of money. I'm done.

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  52. The electrical system overheated again yesterday. This time, I was on the highway. Fun. Good thing I'm not panicky. Took my vehicle in this morning. It is the MECS. I need a tie rod, too which I knew about, but was delaying since I was one of the many unemployed when I had to replace the master brake cylinder and the HCU. So that's another $1000. It makes me sick. I did mention the markup on the price of the pump and the service guy gave me 10% off my total bill which equates to the markup on the pump. Of course, he told me "we need to get you out of that car. We're giving you a nice Ford Focus as a loaner." Okay, First, I'm done with Ford. Second, if you're trying to sell me on a Focus, you should probably make sure it has power windows and mirrors. Who knew they even made cars in this country in 2012 that didn't have power windows and mirros? Ken, thank you for your blog. It is very informative and just saved me some money.

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  53. Thanks Ken I will look for answers from you on replacing the canister vent solenoid. Saving me some money except the diag. check but I never knew about this, but now I can pass it along to others.

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  54. Thanks for this great post - my wife's 08 has now given her the red triangle twice now, and I've used Torque to pull both the P0A3E and P1A0D codes. When I put the vehicle in the run position (without starting the vehicle) the pump does not come on. When the engine is started, the pump functions. Is this the correct behavior?

    If not - I would need some help. I've managed to find a Dorman part - 902-001 at partsgeek.com (Amazon as well), and need to know if this is a replacement for the 5m6z-8c419-a.

    Your help is appreciated - we both really like this vehicle and want it to stay around for a long time.

    - Adam

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  55. Anonymous (06/24/2012) - The Dorman part you found appears to be the correct replacement. There is no "control" for the pump operation; it should be on at all times while the vehicle is operating (i.e. when the engine is started). If your pump is operating intermittently, it may be near failure.

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  56. HI Ken,
    GREAT POST! My 2005 FEH has the original pump ~127K, should i go ahead and replace it? A few days ago my wife got the red alert and display temp warning, but the engine did not shut down.

    She pulled over and waited 10min and completed her trip without another problem. since then i have driven it, and using Torque, monitored the temp; it has stayed at 70-85C the whole time.

    at this point i am planing to buy the dorman part and have it ready, or should i just replace it? THANK YOU.

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  57. Oceanrocks (07/05/2012) - Well, the decision is yours. For me, it would depend upon how often, how far, and in what kind of conditions I drove the vehicle. If having your trip or daily routine interrupted is a concern, I would not hesitate to replace the pump with the new model. There is very little risk of harming something else in the process, the cost is relatively low, and the process very easy.

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  58. My 2007 FEH just came down with this problem a couple of weeks ago. It would be OK for about 40 mins. in Summer heat and then it would show the error and shut down. It also complained about the motor temp. When I tapped on the pump it would change speeds. A trip to the Ford dealer resulted in a +$700 estimate. I declined the repair, paid the $80 "diagnostic" bill and ordered a new pump for $179. I am slow and methodical but it took only 1hr 5min from start to finish. The dealer had quoted 3 hours for repair and 1.3 hours to flush-refill the motor cooling system. My home repair came in at under $200.

    Anyway Ken, thanks for the good article. BTW my FEH had 128k on the clock when the part failed for the first time and it was the older Bosch pump. Otherwise it has been a very reliable car. A couple of broken ABS "tone rings" were the only other non-maintenance failures.

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  59. Ken,
    Your article is fantastic. I have a 2005 FEH and have never received any recalls or had any problems. I have 191,000 miles on it. I had the "Safely Stop Now" problem for the first time Saturday night. Stopped me 3 times in 75 miles. I will be taking your page with me to the dealer tomorrow to get this fixed.

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  60. Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the great information in this post. I will be replacing my pump in the next couple of days on my 05 FEH which has about 46K miles.

    I was wondering do you or anyone else knows what is the best way of removing the two hose clamps?

    Thanks,

    Peter

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    Replies
    1. Peter - The clamps should be simple compression clamps with off-setting tabs. A good pair of pliers (i.e. lineman's pliers) with wide jaws should fit the tabs securely. Depress the tabs and slide the clamp a couple of inches further onto the hose, then use a twisting motion to remove the hose from the nipple. Easy stuff!

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    2. Hi Ken,

      Yes, that does sound fairly straight forward.

      Just confirming is the new pump more durable than the original OEM one?

      Also does it run continuously as well? If it does, I sure hope it is much quieter than the original one because it is rather noisy.

      Thanks again for the great info you have posted up.

      Thanks,

      Peter

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    3. Peter - I've had the new pump installed for over 18 months (and more than 20,000 miles) and it shows no signs of having any problems. Like the old pump, the new one is designed to run continuously. However, I can attest that it is much more quiet. You can only hear it if the vehicle is not running and you are very close to the pump itself. Win!

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  61. Just joined the club.....heading to the airport to catch a flight and on the freeway doing about 65mph....lights on, pull over safely...(easier said than done)..at any rate, after letting out some choice words...restarted and all seemed fine...until it happened five more time till I made the parking lot...Thanks for this thread as now I have a few things to check when I return to pick up the Escape later this week. (08 FEH with ~50K miles) no other issues ever with this vehicle.

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  62. well after replacing the pump 2 weeks ago, all is back as normal.... Thanks OP for the thread....helped me save $$$

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  63. Ken,

    I have a 2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid, with 60,000 miles. I have been experiencing the Stop Safely Now for some time. It has recently become worse. I hate to take my cars to dealers and pay the exorbitant prices. Luckily with this blog and other forums, I am ready to replace the MECS pump myself.

    I have really enjoyed my Tribute, with minimal problems. I hope that the Mazda models don't have the same brake issues... so far so good.

    Once I get the MCES repaired and on the road, I will report back, as I know there are probably many Mazda Tribute Hybrid owners out there with the same problem.

    Arlie

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  64. Hi Ken,
    Thank you for a good article.
    My FEH 2005 has 184000km and original MECS pump running well,
    only during hot summer I had stop safely alarm one time then it was cleared after 5 min stop and during running uphill strange gear grinding sound appeared if on High RPM. My though that pump capacity is not fast enough to move coolant through the system. Do you have info data for old and new pumps to compare, just wandering what have been changed. I have seen in one of the car racing journal electric driven coolant pump high capacity for engine cooling system.

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    Replies
    1. Hybrid lover - I do not have specifications for the two pumps. However, the new design is what is designated by Ford, so I expect that it is adequate. Keep in mind it's not that the old pump capacity that is at issue. Apparently there is a design flaw that results in eventual failure. The new pump design seems to be more robust and in my case, has lasted for tens of thousands of miles without incident.

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  65. Hi Ken,
    I have had some research about Bosh pumps, apparantly similar pumps used in all German build cars including Mersedes in Climate control systems and they have a same problems. So I have ordered Dorman pump from AMAZON FOR $129 to be proactive.By the way similar China made pumps price starting from $20. My recent observation of fluid temperature flowing via pump almost as ambiet 20-30C degrees during Hi-Way driving and a little higher in town when more EV involved. Flow in expansion tank barelly visible. What temperature of fluid in your car? http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=bosch+Electric+Water+Pump

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    Replies
    1. Hybrid lover - Great question! I do not have easy access to a monitor to see what the electric motor's coolant temperature is under normal operating conditions. Hopefully, someone else reading this blog may be able to answer that question. It would be very interesting to know.

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  66. Thanks so much Ken for sharing the detailed description. While I still had to purchase the pump from the Ford dealer, who refused to budge on the price, you saved me $300 in labor charges for about 1.5 (slow and deliberate) hours.

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  67. Well, same conditions for me and my 87,000 Merc Mariner Hybrid. Dealer performed $103 test and it'll take $1300+ to fix. !
    It appears to me that that pump is Hybrid related and should be subject to being covered by the 8 yr. 100,000 hybrid Warranty. Going to take 10 days estimated to get parts to fix....
    I think I'll contact Ford and try to cop a plea.....Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Tom - Either you are being taken advantage of, or there is a much more serious issue affecting your vehicle.

      If it is the coolant pump, it can be repaired by you for less than $200. I'd get a second opinion on the diagnosis, or follow the self-diagnosis steps that I provided in the blog.

      Good luck.

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  68. THANKYOU. Our 2007 Mariner Hybrid issued messages. I thought it was related to overheat because Owners Manual hinted to that as being cause for 'Stop Safely Now" message.
    Dealer diagnosed for $103. I purchased pump from Ford dealer for $80 less than Retail and saved paying 2.3 hours of installation cost. So, net savings about ~$200 bucks~.

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  69. Hey folks. I joined the "club" on Sunday afternoon. We have a 2007 FEH with 86,000 miles. I found this post after having the repair done on Monday. We have the extended warranty so we paid the $100 deductible. My only regret is that I didn't realize I could have limped home. We were 39 miles from home and had it towed home and then had it towed 2 miles to our local dealer Monday morning. We have Triple A, but not extended towing so we had to pay $100 for the tow. I took the warning message seriously to not drive it. I was approaching an exit and was able to make the exit and arrive in a shopping center parking lot. I stopped before the car shut down. When I read in the owner's manual that this was a problem with the hybrid system and that the warning could not be re-set, it didn't occur to me to start up again after I spent 45 minutes dithering around, considering my options. I'm just thankful it didn't happen while driving my kids to college a thousand miles away or while my 18 year old was driving alone. I'm hoping not to have this happen again anytime soon.

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  70. Thanks for the page, Ken. I am having this issue with the new Cooper Superior pump after about four years, 25,000 miles. Will go through your steps if dealer finds it's the pump and not a connection issue. Anyone else?

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  71. I am grateful as the rest of you for this post but I must say that the sudden shutdown of 'Stop Safely Now', without a preceding warning is a recipe to get someone killed. It wasn't until I read this post that I realized it was an overheat problem because it never occurs in city driving. I never got the 'High Motor Temperature' warning either. It gets you at 60+ MPH after about an hour of driving. Then it repeatedly occurs every 5-10 minutes for the rest of the drive unless you slow down to approx 50 MPH. We love this car but this failure mode really frightens us especially when it happens under highway construction conditions where there might be temporary concrete barriors blocking the shoulder of the road. I just ordered a replacement on Amazon.
    -MikeWaco

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  72. The same problem happened to my wife's '05 escape hybrid. Died while driving 70mph on the highway in the middle of Iowa, two hour tow to the closest dealer. Vehicle had 89k miles and was obviously out of warranty. The MECP kit was replaced with the updated number to the tune of $700 and some change. 14 months and 16,000 miles later it happened on the identical trip. I spent the better half of a day speaking between the same dealer and directly to Ford corporate hotline. They were no help, dealer would not cover it, all they would do was repair it at there reduced fleet rate and they wanted $313.00 for the part for a grand total of $515 and some change. I told them no way, payed the hour diagnostic fee, limped it home and found that NAPA now carries this part for around $71.00! I think what was most disappointing was the fact that I had already payed for the updated kit and it only lasted just over a year. Ford does not stand behind there vehicles, I worked in service and warranty claims for another automotive company before moving to the heavy equipment industry, and we would do the best we could to do what we called a good faith warranty repair to customers that had service performed at dealers. Last thing to say, don't ever buy the first year launch of anything, especially something on the leading edge of technology at the time. Millions of dollars are spent on research and development but they never catch all the vehicle specific issues before initial launch. Wait a year for them to iron out the bugs. Happy motoring!

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    Replies
    1. Update: As many of you probably know trusting the aftermarket to look up the right part can be a gamble, despite clearly explaining which part three times and giving him the Ford part number the teenager at the counter looked up the incorrect part. Actual cost for the MECP kit from NAPA $211 bucks. The part now costs $191.00 plus $22.00 after a 3-5 business day wait until it even ships from Ford Parts Giant, so it's a wash.

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  73. Fuse? I purchased a low-miles (47k kM, 30,000 miles) 2005 FEH 2 weeks ago, had the power-loss and Stop Safely Now drill twice Saturday, my first extended trip. Ford found all the usual codes, wants $523 to repair it. But they found the 10A fuse blown. They replaced it and the pump works again, but they want to replace it anyway. I am suspicious that the fuse blew for some good reason and I should replace the MECS as I read here what a weak point it is, but has anyone had the fuse go and not need to replace the pump? Thanks in Advance.

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  74. I've just gone through this routine -- thanks, Ken! -- with a couple of wrinkles. 2005 FEH, just purchased used with just 47k kM (30k Miles) on it in 2013. Had the Stop Safely Now loss of power twice on the busiest freeway in Canada one week ago. Dealer found the codes above, also the 10 amp fuse blown (red fuse nearest the firewall, plastic box under the hood driver's side, wrinkle #1). Re placed the fuse, bought the Dorman pump at Parts Source store for $277 with tax (can't get Amazon fast enough here). I replaced it myself, no big deal though the shrouding had been messed with sometime earlier, and the fuse was blown again. The second wrinkle: the coolant level in the reservoir is now 1/2 inch higher than originally so I am wondering if I did get an air bubble in the transaxle and if I should fret about finding how to vent it. Any advise? I haven't run it very far since the repair but need to take a road trip this week for work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blown fuse was quite likely indicative of a defective pump. I wouldn't be concerned unless it happens again with the replacement pump.

      The pump should provide sufficient pressure to eliminate any air bubble in the transaxle, though it may take a few miles to happen. I'd take a few short trips and see if the coolant level changes.

      If you remain concerned and want to vent the transaxle, you can find the plug on the firewall side of the transaxle underneath several cable plugs. It requires a 12 mm wrench / socket. Don't over tighten or you risk damaging the rubber o-ring seal.

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  75. Thanks Ken. I just took anther short highway trip, Stop safely Now was the result again, three tims, though I was drafting trucks and getting better than 7 l/100kM. Fuse blown again. I am trying a 15 a fuse on the thought that maybe the new pump draws a bit more? Thoughts? (Den)

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    Replies
    1. I'd try to find the specifications for the pump and see what the current draw is. If it was intended to be a replacement for the original, it should not require more current. I'd be afraid of melting a wire or connector (ultimately causing a fire) by using a larger fuse.

      If the pump is working correctly, you should not be overheating. When you turn the key to the "run" position, do you hear the pump running? It is designed to run full-time and is not operated by a thermostat. If the pump is not running, there is a problem.

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  76. Hi Again, I found the owner's manual and was surprised to see the fuse I have been changing does not run the pump! It is marked climate conrol or something. I have now driven about 300 kM since yesterday morning with no problems so I think all is pretty well, for now at least. Thanks for the help. (Den)

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  77. Great info. Wish I'd read this before paying almost $800.00 at the Ford Dealership. I'd just purchased an OBD2 scan tool thinking it would find the problem, but the tool indicated that there was no problem. I have just over 65K and this began happening about a month ago. The first one happened when my wife was driving from Baltimore and she had to pull over until I arrived. I drove it home with no problem. It happened again two weeks later and based on what the sales person told me at Advanced Auto I pulled over and sat for about 10 minutes with the engine off. It happened twice yesterday and I used the scan tool which did not find any problem. I found the item on line for $155.00 after paying the $800.00 to Ford. I could have done that myself, but I didn't know what caused the problem.

    In my opinion this should be a Ford recall since it seems to happen after the warrant expires (average 70K miles). I will definitely know what to do when it happens again.

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  78. My wife took hers to the dealer and paid the $700. Now that I see what was done, that 2.5 hour labor charge pisses me off!

    I don't see how it could be anywhere close to that, especially on a hoist. Two bolts and two hose clamps? Drain and fill?

    I wonder If I could take them to small claims court?

    On the TSB it says 1.5 hrs, but they charged us 2.5 hrs.

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    Replies
    1. It may be worth your time to return to the dealer with a copy of the TSB and your receipt to see if they will give you a partial refund / credit. The dealers certainly seem to look for opportunities to take advantage of customers. In the end, you can vote with your feet and take your future business elsewhere (something you may want to tell them if they don't want to negotiate).

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  79. Hi there Ken - I have the extended warranty on a 2007 FEH. I have experienced the stop safely now light on four road trips - consistently after traveling an hour on the highway at 65mph + speed. I limped to my destination on three trips and on the fourth just traveled less than 55mph to reduce my overheating to one occasion instead of many. Anyway, my dealer said there are no codes saved (it has been too long) and the pump passes all of their tests as well as other diagnostics (I gave them the TSB number). I plan to generate a code in the next few days and take it back, but they said even if the codes are available they may not be able to know for sure if it is the pump (if it still passes their tests). If I get it replaced anyway - and they will do it under warranty - if the overheating happens again because the MESC wasn't the issue then I am stuck for whatever the repair is later (won't repair the same symptom under warranty twice). So right now I have a car that I can't drive on any road trips without fear of the power cutting out. And I have one chance to get it repaired right. I am handy, but don't have the time to repair it myself. I said to order the part and I will bring it back in (with a code) but what would you do? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. If you have owned this vehicle since new... you have 50,000+ miles... and you have never had the electric motor coolant pump replaced, I would have the repair done. There is a history of these pumps failing after 50,000 miles. You and I are not alone, there are many, many more who have experienced the same thing.

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