2007 Ford Escape-Hybrid 2.3 liter gas engine shuts of-- repeatedly!! after ~70 highway miles at >60MPH???

For years my 2007 Ford Escape-Hybrid 2.3 liter (with 82,000 miles) has run well in usually short trips of <70 miles, but over the last year, only after ~70 miles at >60MPH Highway travel, the gas engine shuts down repeatedly and 2 indicators appear;
1) a red triangle, idiot lamp, with exclamation point in center (General Warning red lamp) appears at upper right of console and 2) STOP SAFELY NOW appeared in text readout window
Other Details from recent 150 mile I95 Highway trip in Maine; --For the first 70 miles at ~65 MPH there were no problems. --After 70 miles the gas engine shut down continued to occur over 20 times!!! till I nursed it to my destination at 150 miles total. --External air temp. was 27 deg.F and overheat lamp did not come on (lamp was checked at start check and was working and there was no sign of overheating at either the engine or electronics cooling--clear plastic reservoirs) --Battery-Electric Motor continued to work as normal at low speed without gas engine, so problem is apparently part of gas engine or drivetrain process. --Each time gas engine stopped, I had to pull to shoulder (>20 times many under dangerous traffic conditions) key was turned off, removed, then re-inserted and engine started within seconds, like normal --- with NO message or indicator lamps appearing! --On return 150 mile trip (at 40 deg. F external air), same thing after ~70 miles, the gas engine continually turned off ~10 times. --- For the last 50 miles I tried an experiment using speed control at 50MPH and that worked!! --- no more gas engine shut downs for remainder of trip. Note, just before, I tried using speed control at 60 MPH but that again triggered the repeated, gas engine shutdown. Ice/drygas fuel blockage issue was suspected but this higher temp. return trip rules that out. --The drivers side radiator electric cooling fan remained on even though gas engine had earlier shut off, and even after switch positioned off and turned back on without start.
Any help in diagnosing exactly what causes this very aggravating condition, which prevents any highway travel over 50 MPH is much appreciated.
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SQUIRE wrote:

First thing I would do is change the fuel filter. Sometimes stuff will slosh around in there and create a blockage, and other times under the same conditions (speed, weather, etc.) there will be no problem.
If you know anyone with a code reader (or if one of the parts places around there will hook up for free) check for any codes that were set or are pending.
Check your wiring to the fuel pump- the connections may be corroded. Not unusual for a northern vehicle :-) 20 years in Michigan and Maryland taught me that nothing is really unusal when it comes to salt and snow. Or the pump itself may be on the way out.
I assume it's out of warranty? If not, take it to a dealer and let them run diagnostics on it. The odds of them duplicating it in the shop are probably pretty slim, though.
A good resource for Escape help and knowledge is http://www.escape-central.com/1forum/ There are a number of hybrid owners that post there, and a search may find you an answer (although their search function isn't the best).
--
SC Tom


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On 3/28/11 3:25 PM, SQUIRE wrote:

1) Don't post with HTML or other fancy text. Use plain text.
2) I would definitely contact Ford and the NHTSA (www.nhtsa.gov). This sounds like a computer problem. And it sounds dangerous.
Jeff
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My advice would be to go directly to a Ford dealer and have them diagnosis the problem. Becasue hybrid vehicles are relatively rare, it is unlikely that an independent garage will have the equipment or training to diagnose your concern. The section in the owners guide is not much help:
"Master vehicle electrical hazard warning lamp: Indicates Hybrid component fault/failure that will cause the vehicle to shutdown or fail to start.
"Note: If the vehicle is still running, the vehicle may soon shutdown without further warning and should be stopped safely.
"If this lamp is lit, stop the vehicle, shift to P (Park), turn the key to the Off position, and attempt to restart the vehicle. If the fault remains, the vehicle may require refueling, jump starting, resetting of the shut-off switches, or service. For information regarding Low voltage [underhood] battery only) and Fuel pump/High voltage shut-off switches please refer to the Roadside Emergencies chapter."
You might want to read the following:
http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f26/master-vehicle-electrical-hazard-warning-lamp-stop-safely-now-message-20503 / http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f26/advice-stop-safely-now-issue-23105 /
From what I have read it seem likely your problem is related to the systems that cool the battery and associated electronics (an electric coolant pump and a fan are involved).
Ed
****************
For years my 2007 Ford Escape-Hybrid 2.3 liter (with 82,000 miles) has run well in usually short trips of <70 miles, but over the last year, only after ~70 miles at >60MPH Highway travel, the gas engine shuts down repeatedly and 2 indicators appear; 1) a red triangle, idiot lamp, with exclamation point in center (General Warning red lamp) appears at upper right of console and 2) STOP SAFELY NOW appeared in text readout window
Other Details from recent 150 mile I95 Highway trip in Maine; --For the first 70 miles at ~65 MPH there were no problems. --After 70 miles the gas engine shut down continued to occur over 20 times!!! till I nursed it to my destination at 150 miles total. --External air temp. was 27 deg.F and overheat lamp did not come on (lamp was checked at start check and was working and there was no sign of overheating at either the engine or electronics cooling--clear plastic reservoirs) --Battery-Electric Motor continued to work as normal at low speed without gas engine, so problem is apparently part of gas engine or drivetrain process. --Each time gas engine stopped, I had to pull to shoulder (>20 times many under dangerous traffic conditions) key was turned off, removed, then re-inserted and engine started within seconds, like normal --- with NO message or indicator lamps appearing! --On return 150 mile trip (at 40 deg. F external air), same thing after ~70 miles, the gas engine continually turned off ~10 times. --- For the last 50 miles I tried an experiment using speed control at 50MPH and that worked!! --- no more gas engine shut downs for remainder of trip. Note, just before, I tried using speed control at 60 MPH but that again triggered the repeated, gas engine shutdown. Ice/drygas fuel blockage issue was suspected but this higher temp. return trip rules that out. --The drivers side radiator electric cooling fan remained on even though gas engine had earlier shut off, and even after switch positioned off and turned back on without start.
Any help in diagnosing exactly what causes this very aggravating condition, which prevents any highway travel over 50 MPH is much appreciated.
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Thanks a bunch SC Tom, Jeff and Ed,
---I checked for diagnostic codes via local Auto Zone, there were none. ---The greater than 60 miles at >60 MPH period (before red triangle panel lamp and engine shutoff) nearly ruled out fuel filter or fuel pump wiring. Following good lead from Ed (below), I further researched and found this link; http://blog.yagelski.com/2011/02/ford-escape-hybrid-electric-motor.html As this article (and Ford procedure mentioned), I noticed intermittent behavior when I tapped the Motor Electronics Cooling System (MECS) pump, which are known to fail after 50K miles. [ Shame on Ford for including such a poor quality Bosch pump that leads to such a dangerous, repeated, nightmare shutdown at high highway speeds, with no precise indication that the MECS system was at high temperature!!! ] Note: this is not a Hybrid Battery Assembly related part so apparently not covered in warranty. My local Ford dealer matched exactly the Web discount Ford parts supplier price mentioned in the link above.
I successfully replaced this small MECS pump which is easy to get to (behind at bottom center of radiator) and used new quality Antifreeze/distilled water mix for coolant refill. Yesterday, I did a greater than 60 miles at >60 MPH highway speed test and no engine shutdown resulted. This apparently was the correct fix, but I will report back if there are any more related issues.
Thanks again for your great assistance. Squire
Ford Escape-Hybrid 2.3 liter (with 82,000 miles) has run <BR>&gt; well in usually short trips of &lt;70 miles, but over the last year,&nbsp; only <BR>&gt; after ~70 miles at &gt;60MPH&nbsp; Highway travel, the gas engine shuts down <BR>&gt; repeatedly and 2 indicators appear;<BR>&gt; 1) a red triangle, idiot lamp, with exclamation point in center (General <BR>&gt; Warning red lamp) appears at upper right of console and<BR>&gt; 2) STOP SAFELY NOW&nbsp; appeared in text readout window<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; Other Details from recent 150 mile I95 Highway trip in Maine;<BR>&gt; --For the first 70 miles at ~65 MPH there were no problems.<BR>&gt; --After 70 miles the gas engine shut down continued to occur over 20 <BR>&gt; times!!! till I nursed it to my destination at 150 miles total.<BR>&gt; --External air temp. was 27 deg.F and overheat lamp did not come on (lamp <BR>&gt; was checked at start check and was working and there was no sign of <BR>&gt; overheating at either the engine or electronics cooling--clear plastic <BR>&gt; reservoirs)<BR>&gt; --Battery-Electric Motor continued to work as normal at low speed without <BR>&gt; gas engine, so problem is apparently part of gas engine or drivetrain <BR>&gt; process.<BR>&gt; --Each time gas engine stopped, I had to pull to shoulder (&gt;20 times many <BR>&gt; under dangerous traffic conditions) key was turned off, removed, then <BR>&gt; re-inserted and engine started within seconds, like normal --- with NO <BR>&gt; message or indicator lamps appearing!<BR>&gt; --On return 150 mile trip (at 40 deg. F external air), same thing after ~70 <BR>&gt; miles, the gas engine continually turned off ~10 times.&nbsp; --- For the last 50 <BR>&gt; miles I tried an experiment using speed control at 50MPH and that <BR>&gt; worked!! --- no more gas engine shut downs for remainder of trip.&nbsp;&nbsp; Note, <BR>&gt; just before, I tried using speed control at 60 MPH but that again triggered <BR>&gt; the repeated, gas engine shutdown.&nbsp; Ice/drygas fuel blockage issue was <BR>&gt; suspected but this higher temp. return trip rules that out.<BR>&gt; --The drivers side radiator electric cooling fan remained on even though gas <BR>&gt; engine had earlier shut off, and even after switch positioned off and turned <BR>&gt; back on without start.<BR>&gt; <BR>&gt; Any help in diagnosing exactly what causes this very aggravating condition, <BR>&gt; which prevents any highway travel over 50 MPH is much appreciated. <BR>&gt; <BR>&gt;</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>
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