Ford Escape Transmission Problems & Overview

The Ford Escape is a small crossover SUV that was first offered for sale in 2001. Through 3 generations, 2001-present, Ford has used 4 different transmissions, including a manual option that was available from 2001-2004.

The leading option for the first generation (2001-2008) was the 4 speed CD4E. Developed in conjunction with Mazda, it was used in the Mazda Tribute and Mercury Mariner as well. The two manufacturers also produced another 4 speed transmission, GF4A-EL, that Ford put in the Escape from 2007-2012.

In 2009 Ford added a 6 speed option, the 6F35, and a proven powertrain option that was also used in the larger Ford Edge. Ford did recall some 2001-2008 transmissions but it was only on vehicle that had a factory rebuilt unit installed.


2001-2008 Ford Escape – Shift Lever Disengages from Transmission (Recall # 15V606000)

2001-2008 Ford Escape


Certain 2001-2008 Ford Escapes have been recalled for a transmission shift lever problem. The vehicles are equipped with either the 2.3L or 3.0L engine and must have had the CD4E transmission replaced with a rebuilt one.

The rebuilt units may have a shift lever bolt that was not tightened properly. The lever is responsible for changing gears from “P” to “D” etc. The bolt may fall out rendering the lever inoperable and the driver may not be aware. Although the dash may indicate “P” or “D”, the transmission may not be in that gear.


If the lever were to come unhooked while the vehicle is being driven, the driver would have no indication. When the vehicle is parked and the driver shifts to “P”, the dash would tell the driver that the vehicle was in park, however, the transmission was never actually shifted and is still in “D” (or whichever gear it was in at time of disengagement). In this case the vehicle may roll away without warning or may be stuck in “P”.


Ford will contact owners, assuming they have the correct contact information. Just because your local dealer has your contact information does not mean that Ford will. You can contact Ford directly at 1-866-4367332 or your local dealer referencing the recall 15S28. Ford expects to begin checking/servicing vehicles in October, 2015.

Ford Escape Service Bulletins

2016 Ford Escape TSB 388560

From 2013-2016 models, Ford had a problem with loss of proper hydraulic pressure in the transmission if the vehicle went long periods of time without being started or driven. The 2016 Escape could experience a shift hesitation from 2nd to 3rd gear due to hydraulic circuit drain

2009 Ford Escape TSB 378464

Some 2009-2014 Escapes built before Oct. 14/2013 and are equipped with the 6F35 transmission may leak transmission fluid from the left side axle seal. This is caused by excessive wear on the axle (half shaft) seal and case bushing.

2013 Ford Escape TSB 373466

If you find a fluid at the bottom of the transmission housing and it is sticky and honey colored, it likely came about from the assembly process. It may be grease that was applied to the torque converter hub or a rust inhibitor used on the flex plate during manufacturing.

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1 thought on “Ford Escape Transmission Problems & Overview

  1. It has 77,000 miles on it. But been having the problem for paver a year and it getting worse. I will be driving down a straight stretch of road and it will down shit bad and will really whine out bad before shifting back into gear.

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