Last post on Dec 11, 2013 at 11:12 PM
You are in the Ford Escape
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Ford Escape, Car Buying, Car Comparisons, SUV
#194 of 741 About Water leaks and 2013 Escape
Sep 21, 2012 (7:16 am)
I used to work at Ford motor as an engineer at a manufacturing plant and responsible for the full body which included sealing although on a different car. I want to chime in here with my thoughts on the water leak issue that many of you have been experiencing
Unibody structure vehicles of which I suspect the Escape is one, are assembled from sheet metal that is stamped and welded mostly by robots on the transferline. The process is continually improved from a quality and spec standpoint. Once the steel structure is welded, door assemblies are bolted onto the body structure that includes all the steel that makes up the car, it goes through the body sealing process which is mostly done by humans assisted by robots on the transferline. This is a crucial step because the sheetmetal has lots of daylight holes all over after being assembled that need to be sealed up. Workers use sealant guns to squirt the semi solid whitish substance (looks like caulk) into different parts and along the various nooks and crannies of this steel structure. Any process that can be automated, could be handed off to robots. Other washers, rubber grommets are inserted to seal up other areas of the vehicle. The car then goes through series of cleansing and coating baths where it is dipped in various chemicals (phosphate bath etc) that bond onto the sheet metal and assist in downstream paint process. Subsequently, the structures go through the paint process and then enter the oven where the body sealant and the paint bake and solidify filling in all those nooks and crannies to give you a nice sealed structure. This atleast is the intent.
What really happens -
Sometimes the workers miss squirting the sealant in the areas, sometimes they might squirt too little or in the wrong place because there was a substitute worker in place of another who was familiar with the process. Sometimes there is a design defect in that the sealant is not prescribed where it should be. Anyway, there are many reasons for leaks and a lot of chance for error to creep in but over time they (the manufacturing plant teams) tend to figure it out and fix these issues.
The plant gets continuous feedback from the field including dealers and customers. In the case of Escape, I bet there is an engineer who is racking his brains out to find the root cause for the waterleak that is common on the escape.
I know because I racked my brains on a water leak in the dash on the vehicle that I worked on at Ford. It was like a total mystery as I spent hours sending my cars through car washes trying to figure out the source. We tried everything to fix the damn leak including adjusting the joint near where the A-pillar meets the structure that holds the instrument panel , couple that with squirting the sealant in different areas. When we finally fixed it, I could still not really be comfortable that it was fixed for sure.
I think the Escape is too new, they might very likely still be in the process of figuring out the root cause for the leak and if they did, the knowledge and the skill to transfer it to the various dealerships across the country could take time. I wouldn’t be too surprised if a dealer tried to fix the leak and you see the leak again because fixing a leak can be extremely complex as I have explained above.
So what can I do as a potential buyer? I think the Escape is an awesome vehicle, I have never been so attracted to an SUV as I am to the Ford Escape. I will however wait for a few months until they stabilize some of these issues such as leaks and I am sure there are many other issues on all these new vehicles just starting to roll off the plant. So if you buy a new vehicle in its 1st year of production you take the risk of inheriting many issues. year after year they get better as they continue to resolve the issues and lean and improve the vehicle.
#195 of 741 Re: About Water leaks and 2013 Escape [rman66]
Sep 20, 2012 (6:03 pm)
Own Titanium 2.0 fwd.
Thanks that is an eye opener and better than seeing a few videos on TV of cars being made. It explains in detail what happens on a phase of the production line and makes sense. Your analogy of daylight holes was great and I could envision somewhat how that would look. I did not wait a year more like 6 months after start of production and gratefully have had no leaks. It is amazing to see how people with the same problem get various responses from their dealers. I have read about one that had vehicle replaced and one that was told point blank do not expect vehicle to be replaced. Of all the cars owned I think Acura was the only company that I felt would have done some things to solve problems that no other manufacturer would have. More of a perception than an actual narrative as I had zero problems with that vehicle and gratefully that has been the same with the 2013 Escape.
I remember seeing one video that showed one phase of the process and people were hitting/beating the cars with wooden or rubber mallets to make sheet metal fit and align properly. Not sure if that still goes on today but the process appeared to be pretty brutal instead of a clean room experience.
#196 of 741 Re: About Water leaks and 2013 Escape [al63017]
Sep 20, 2012 (6:41 pm)
Thank you, I am glad it helped.
Question on your 2.0 Titanium, you said you waited 6months after production. Has the 2013 Escape been out that long already? I thought the 13 models come up just now, maybe they made an exception and launched earlier then
I am salivating at the prospect of owning the Escape literally. It is the best looking SUV I think in the market today and gives the Audi Q5 a run for its money. If it handles as well as the 2012 did, then we have a clear winner here.
Since I used to be a Ford employee, I am thinking I might be able to get one under the X plan. I am not sure if the best dealers can beat the X plan prices by negotiation or competitive shopping. Have any of you negotiated hard on this? where are the best prices? Certainly not the Seattle area as I had poor experience with dealerships and prices . I tend to buy my cars at the best possible prices even if it means travelling to a nearby state and picking it up there. There is usually a thread on discussion on prices but I dont see that on the 2013 Escape yet.
#197 of 741 Re: About Water leaks and 2013 Escape [rman66]
Sep 20, 2012 (7:01 pm)
I think they were on dealer lots in April or early May and suspect some inventory was produced some time before that. I could have this time frame wrong but somebody will know and correct it possibly on this forum.
I found one dealer in Missouri that was selling them at invoice minus their holdback. Ford had 1000.00 dealer cash to help with that pricing but they were very aggressive on any trim level. Look on ebay as that is how I found them and you will see some Titanium's at around 30,000 last I looked that have a sticker of more like 34,000. Just follow the link to their dealership and you can view the window sticker and see thier price. 2000.00 off was also available from another Missouri dealer I found on ebay and they gave me a little more for my trade so I bought locally rather than the other side of the state.
#199 of 741 Re: About Water leaks and 2013 Escape [rman66]
Sep 21, 2012 (5:28 am)
Job 1 began on 4/9/12 and the retail order build began on 5/10/12, mine was built on 7/9/12. I don't have any leaks, all my panels are aligned perfectly and it's been a perfect car. I wonder if the recently trained new hires started working shifts and as you stated, there's a learning curve. You would know better than me, but my guess is they began building vehicles earlier in the year to fine tune robots and equipment, build cars for executives, reviewers, car shows and testing. Vehicles began showing up on lots in the Minneapolis/St Paul area around the second week of May.
#200 of 741 Re: About Water leaks and 2013 Escape [steve_]
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Sep 22, 2012 (4:35 am)
I think we'll drop the Tribute part... Last time I checked (about 4-5 months ago), they still had them on the Mazda website... all gone now..
#202 of 741 Ford Escape 2013 excessive exhaust fumes
Sep 20, 2012 (8:29 pm)
I just bought mine less than 30 days ago and complained within first two days that I was getting carbon monoxide in the cab of the car. They said something needed to burn off as it was new (although I never had a new car that had to have this done) but now 900 miles later I am still having problems. Am I the only one? I know everything is redesigned but this can't be an anomoly. I can't keep driving with the air conditioner on and recycling the air.
Are there any other people with this complaint?
#203 of 741 Re: Ford Escape 2013 excessive exhaust fumes [linniesd]
Sep 22, 2012 (6:10 am)
I have not experienced that issue, but that's a serious situation and I'd go back to the dealership and have them check it out. Catalytic converters used to make a nasty rotten egg smell for a period when the were new, but I don't think that's the case anymore. If they give you a line about needing to "burn" something off, ask them to be more specific because an exhaust leak puts you and your family at risk. Don't become one of those annoying dicks that make demands and stomps their feet at the service department, but I'd insist they check for misaligned pipes or loose fittings. If they won't do it, go to another dealership.