Want to buy a used 2nd gen FEH, buying tips?

Discussion in 'Ford Hybrids' started by RoadWarrior222, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    Hi folks,

    While trying to figure out what newer vehicle to get, that gets decent MPG for a 25 mile commute, the Escape Hybrid made our shortlist and my wife got very enthusiastic about it.

    So I was wondering what there is to look out for when looking at used FEHs (And Mariners, Tributes)

    Although I say 2nd gen, I am reading that the '08 still had the old drivetrain, then the '09 got the better 2.5 and aero improvements. Seeing a figure of 0.29 for the cD of the '10, so is that true and does it apply to '09 thru '12 ?

    How does mileage affect them, meaning what wears quickest? I'm seeing some '12s with 50,000+ on, and '10s with 100,000+ Generally, I'm less scared of mileage than lack of maintenance on modern vehicles, just don't know enough about whether age or mileage is more important to the life of the battery pack for instance, and whether motor brushes or commutators can be expected to be worn out. Though high mileage is I guess going to be a lot of highway, so don't know how many miles of that actually got on the electrics. So guess I'm asking whether a high mileage newer one, or a low mileage older one is better for the same money.

    Also I'm hearing that the AWD system changed at some point to an electrically engaged "on demand" one, which I am guessing is better for mpg. I would like to know more about the expected "hit" to mpg of that, presuming that we'll drive a bit more sensibly than average. MPG conscious rather than full on hypermiling is our normal style. Though looking forward to trying the non-extreme tricks to squeeze out more. I am more hoping for a 2WD, but choice may be limited, and don't know whether to completely discount the AWD ones or not, given a decent deal.

    Can't seem to find any mention of "plug and play" range extender/plugin mods, I'm moderately skilled at electronics/electricals/mechanicals, though so am likely to try something. Just would be very nice to give it a bit more city crawling ability on electric.

    Anyway, hope you can school me up about things particular to the FEH to look at/for when buying one used...


  2. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    Oh, guess this might confuse the issue, but been seeing cheap 05s, as in could find cash for them have no payment cheap. What's the worst I could expect from an 05 as regards failures, bad mpg etc?
  3. CarlD

    CarlD Well-Known Member

    The '05s and I think early 06's have had issues with the hydraulic control unit. While rare, it is a very expensive repair if it does happen. Other than that, the MECS pump, HV battery fans, blend door and fuel pump are the only things that seem to pop up more than once in a blue moon. For mileage the 05-08 will have a big hit when using ethanol blended fuels while the newer ones are better due to wide band O2 sensors. Later 2006 and up have tire pressure monitoring systems.

    I don't think the AWD system has changed much over the years. 2009 and later have stability control and a rear sway bar. 2010 and up have electric A/C compressors. Supposedly the 2010 and up have an improved steering control that lessens steering effort in strong crosswinds.

    If you look at the torque curve for the 2009 and up it is much flatter than the earlier 2.3L, I assume due to the variable valve timing that the 2.5L has that the 2.3L doesn't.

    I would say to go for the 2009 and up if you can find a good deal otherwise 2008s are very common and their EPA MPG numbers are higher than the adjusted numbers for the earlier models.

  4. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    CarlD hit most of the points, so I'll just focus on longevity. Ford had bought back a couple of FEH taxicabs that had over 300,000 miles. They found that the motor/generator units had no detectable wear, and the battery packs still tested well with over 80% of the original capacity. A few weeks ago there was an FEH featured in the news that hit 500,000 miles, and is still in daily service.

    Most of the known issues CarlD mentioned can be repaired quite easily and cheaply if you have moderate mechanical skills, and a little patience. If I had to buy another I would probably only consider an 09 & up because of SYNC and the computer system enhancements.
  5. GaryG

    GaryG Well-Known Member

    The '09 FEH is by far the best FEH ever made for MPG and repairs. I sold my '05 and '09 FEH for a C-Max Energi to cut the balls off big oil completely. Look at my '09 FEH lifetime MPG below and you will see it's not bad for a non plug-in hybrid. I'm at over 253mpg lifetime in my Energi and am still slowly cutting big oil's balls off.

    I sold both my FEH's for a premium used price, but the new owner of my '09 got a great deal for $1,750 with 31,000 miles. The '10 and newer FEH does not have the battery cooling system or an efficient cabin A/C system the older models have. After the '09 FEH with a internal battery cooling system, the next better choice is a new plug-in C-Max Energi that can cool the battery with a plug-in charge with no lost in MPG or EV range.

  6. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    My friend ownes a 05 FEH - the most expensive repair has been the ABS brake system which has its own computer control and diagnostic system. While she never had problems with the brakes - the onboard trouble light display indicated a general ABS braking system malfunction- because it suggested a possible serious future brake problem she wanted it fixed. The local Ford dealership service centers tried to fix the problem twice (based on two Ford technical service bulletins on the ABS) but both attempts failed -- so she came to me for help. Because the ABS brake system uses its own special computer my OBDII scanner didn't get any codes so I got her an ABS scanner over Amazon.com. The ABS scanner retrieved the 05 FEH ABS computer error code but it was pretty general description and only indicated that there was a problem of sort in the left rear brake assembly. She had an independent garage to dissemble, inspect, and reassembly the rear brake assembly. The problem was fixed just by reassembly (no replacement parts needed). Very strange. IIRC she getting about 28 mpg on the 05 FEH - but she does not drive it that often.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  7. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    Thanks for everything so far.

    I'm liking the sound of flatter torque curve, it should mean you can keep the motor in peak efficiency range easier (~80% load at ~80% torque or so)

    Not sure how much weight to place on the A/C thing, we get about 2 months where it's desirable, and about 2 weeks worth of "need" it. Generally the 2 months, we'd use it on the 50/50 rule, under 50 windows open over 50, A/C on, the 2 weeks of heat index warnings it would probably be on most of the time unless morning or evening. Sounds to me it could be more efficient on those heat warning days when you're sitting in a jam on the highway, doesn't need to run the IC so much. Only get that a couple of times a year really though... but without reliable A/C like on my Escort, which has got weak over the years and likes to cut out when ambient gets over 33C or so, I have tended to avoid those situations where at all possible.

    So is there some question about battery survival without the dedicated cooling system, or is there extra air cooling or something instead?

    That ABS thing sounds a bit like my BIL's Windstar, we stripped the hub down, found the tone ring had a few bits of crap in it, cleaned it out, reseated the sensor plug, and it behaved perfectly thereafter.

    I'm hoping to wheel and deal and find something around the $15K mark, a tad optimistic maybe, but the '13 selloff and new '14 sales momentum is building, so hoping some might get traded in soon.

    I'd love to seriously consider the C-Max energi, but it comes in at about twice my budget, even after tax incentive (Which I'm not altogether sure I'll get full benefit of. (Canadian one)) Also what discounts that and the Prius V a lot is that I want a "do everything" vehicle, which might include some occasional light trailer and boat towing, and I really don't trust the smaller hybrids for that. Basically expect to see how the FEH gets on with leisure duties, and forgo later purchase of a truck.

    Here goes with a bit of a diversion, but might be necessary to understand my sitch and POV...

    An unusual problem we have in some of Ontario here is more forced compromise on vehicle type due to horrendous insurance cost per vehicle, even with 10+ years claim and ticket free. Meaning annual insurance per vehicle can easily exceed $2000. If it were more reasonable one would be more inclined to buy a dedicated commuter, such as a 1st gen Insight, or a full Electric and have a large vehicle parked 90% of the time. We don't get any appreciable discount on multi vehicles, compared to insurance areas where they are more driver based. Anyway, I don't know whether it's secret policy to "force more vehicles off the road" but it's a net fail, since families then put more than double the road time on one vehicle, and effective pollution is higher and mpg less, i.e. if John drives 15 miles drops Jane at work then drives 15 miles back, drives 5 miles to his work and reverse in the evening, that's 70 miles, vs a 2 car 40 miles. Then it's a feedback loop on insurance because the more road time and miles per vehicle the greater the chance per vehicle of a claim... so premium goes even more stupid. Anyway, that's to explain why I am trying to get most number of functions in one vehicle. We will run 2 vehicles though, but this insurance thing tends to stop us from having highly purpose dedicated vehicles, i.e. a tow-pig, a people mover, and two high mpg dedicated commuters. Trying to decide actually whether the 2nd is going to be the Voyager or the Escort. The Voyager I can drive at a 24 average, the Escort at a 30 (both auto). When we need to move more than 5 adults, is it better to get 24mpg, or hmmm 17.5 (That calc is easier in fuel per mile, basically 30+40 /2 to get average then halve because your driving 2 instead of one) which might be the Escort plus Escape... but then there would be 5000@24 vs 2000@17.5 + 3000@30... near thing it's about 5-6 gallon advantage to the minivan.
  8. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    If a vehicle is used for towing - a geared transmission is better than a CVT.
    If you are moving more than 4 people - a wagon is more fuel efficient than a SUV or mini van.
    If you have a geared transmissions - Manual transmission with 5 or more gears is more fuel efficient.

    no car is a perfect fit but you might want to look at a
    2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring
    2007 Hyundai Tucson SUV
    2007 Kia Sportage SuV
    2005 Toyota Prius
  9. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    No way on the Tucson or Sportage, towing capability is less than the FEH (Given that it's the same @1000, but the V6 Escape is rated 3500) Also know people who've had them and they struggle to stay over 20mpg, and for a FWD they suck badly in snow. Ergo, completely pointless vehicle, useless for anything.

    Elantra touring is a consideration for if we don't find nice FEHs. Prius, I just don't like, not as nimble as I like in a small car, if you don't get the "road respect" of a larger vehicle, you need to jink and weave to be safe.

    7 passenger wagons have ceased to meaningfully exist. I guess you could class Mazda5 or Rondo as one, but they get minivan mileage (Of a carefully picked and driven minivan) so may as well get (keep) the minivan.

    Manuals, not as comparatively efficient and robust as they used to be, and the wife don't do stick.
  10. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    If you worried about being run off the road and you want a big suv to be the boss of the road then u might want to look at...

    chevy equinox suv
    Chevy tahoe hybrid
    Toyota highlander hybrid

    Jeep Cherokee SUVs dont get very good fuel efficiency but they depreciate like crazy so I bet you could get a used one dirt cheap....I bet the insurance premiums would be cheap too.
  11. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I just did a quick check on Autotrader.com and although I didn't see any Cherokees, you can easily get a Liberty, Patriot, or Compass 2008 & newer for under $10K (some as low as $6K). The cheapest 2nd gen FEH's run at least $15,000. $5,000 will buy an awful lot of gas.
  12. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    I don't mind so much smaller vehicles per se, just know you have to drive them different, much more defensive and occasional use of fighter pilot reflexes to keep from being run over.

    I tend to keep my vehicles until they fall apart, and tend to do 20,000 miles a year 40 mpg vs 25 mpg is $1500 a year at Ontarian gas prices, 5 years at current price $7500

    This guy is doing as good as my Escort though...

    Don't know how much effort that requires in a Patriot. Compass "just doesn't look right" to my eye somehow. Holding 30mpg in either of those is ~$4000 in gas more than 40mpg over 5 years.

    Maybe more of a temptation if they're clearing out 2013s for a decent discount with 0% financing.

    EDIT: Oh I guess the '11 up Compasses aren't such goofballs, the front end didn't go with the back end before. Didn't really twig it until just now, maybe they blend in a lot more.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  13. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    Its really difficult to design a vehicle to get better than 40 mpg while going +65 mph without first reducing the frontal surface of a vehicle to something smaller than of a Honda CRV (a small vehicle by RoadWarrior222's standards) no matter how low the aerodynamic coefficient Cd. IF you want to get ++ 50 mpg at speeds +70 mph THEN you will find yourself limited to a motorcycle-like-vehicle with an aerodynamic cowling-shell ( e.g. Elio or Aptera)

    If you get a Jeep Compass THEN get one with a Manual Transmission if you want the potentially best fuel efficiency that you can muster
    AND if you are determined to learn how to hypermile - then add a ScangaugeII.

    IF you are doing a significant amount of low speed city-urban driving THEN add Low rolling resistant (LLR) tires like Michelin Energy Savers or Bridgestone Ecopia which will help keep the MPGs up
    However, NOTE LLR tires are of little use at speeds over +55 mph when aerodynamic drag starts to takes up +50% of an SUV energy load.

    In the winter time - consider adding an electric engine block heater and blocking your air intake grills when the driving temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  14. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    I wouldn't say LRR isn't a good thing on highway, saving 10% is good still at highway speed. The obstacle to you gaining more advantage of them in city driving is your coast distance on them is likely to be encumbered by intersections and traffic. On a FEH, I'll probably stick Ecopias on it first chance I get.

    Also, I've not really been impressed by the block heater on any car I've had, could hardly tell any drop in warmup time, and never saw mpg improvement. Only time I've found them useful is more like 0F, as long as there's not much wind, then you might actually get it to start first crank, rather than taking several because the oil is goop.

    It's really difficult to design a vehicle to get better than 40mpg when everyone insists on having a motor that's 3 or 4 times too big :D and that's the 4 cylinder ones. Typically, an otto cycle IC motor is in a highly inefficient operation range bumbling along at 60. Even with BAD aero they're only about 20-30% loaded right there. Anyway that's a good reason not to freak out when you get charging happening on the highway (OMG it's using fuel) because it's possible that by loading the motor up further it's getting the charge for almost free, or very little incremental cost, just because of shoving it into a more efficient range. Sometimes you get " I did XYZ aero mods and my mpg didn't improve" because the motor went the wrong way on the efficiency curve. Then also, it's popular to pretend (and I even do it) that the cD is a fixed number when really it will be somewhat different at different speeds. It's also somewhat different between different size cars, not the cDA, it's because the Reynolds number is a bit different for a 3m long car than a 4m long car. All this combines in strange ways in various vehicles such that the engines efficiency notch may miss the aero efficiency notch, or they line up at 70mph or something. Some speeds are just "wrong" for a particular combo, for instance, my Escort Wagon hates between about 57 and 63 mph, might be where flow transitions from turbulent to laminar, might just be a rough spot in the torque curve. Gets about 40 at a steady 50mph, and about 36 at a steady 65 so 57-58 should get about 38? Nope, gets about 29... and staying out of that pit is a PITA if traffic is heavy.
  15. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    The LRR tires is not likely to improve MPG by +10% at speeds greater than 60 mph because the percentage of energy used to overcome rolling resistance drops geometrically as speed goes over 60 mph. At low speeds in an urban environment, stopping and starting more will actually make a LRR tire's advantage stand out more over a regular tire.

    Electric block heaters (EHB) reduce the amount of gas needed to warm up a vehicle - the more fuel efficient a vehicle the more visible this effect is but the less fuel efficient a vehicle is the less visible tis effect is. So an EHB will have a profound effect on an 2012 Toyota Prius which gets 50 mpg but the FE impact is much smaller on a 2008 Toyota Highlander that gets 14 mpg.

    An Otto cycle engine has a narrow fuel efficient operating range ( adjusting your throttle pressure so that the ScangaugeII xgauge LOD is from 65 to 86 should help).

    San the Plug-in, all the electricity generated in a hybrid's HV battery was created by burning gas - there' no free energy and all energy conversions are lossy. For example, the conversion from kinetic to electric energy in a Prius is between 10% to 50% efficient.

    I agree with RoadWarrior222's observation as a vehicle speeds decreases its fuel efficiency increases. Priuschat member Bob Wilson has mapped out the MPG vs MPH for the 3rd gen Prius ... to prove a point he drove in a close loop at 25 mph for several hundred mile just to prove that he increase the FE to +90 mpg.

    With respect to Fuel efficiency exterior body modifications the ones that come to mind are

    1. add under carriage/body panels
    2. replace a radio whip antenna with a shark fin radio antenna
    3. adding rear wheel well skirts
    4. add Low rolling resistant tires
    5. adding temperature control air intake vents
    6. for Pickup trucks Tonneau /cover or rear cabin topper
    7. for motorcycles: front cowling
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  16. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    Well play with this, put in a decently heavy vehicle, like 3500lb http://ecomodder.com/forum/tool-aero-rolling-resistance.php

    Then set cRR to 0.010 assuming a billybob super swamper don't give a feck tire, then put in 0.005 for something like an Ecopia and @ 60mph that's a drop from 35% of resistance to 21% of resistance.. I agree it declines with speed, but it's not insignificant at moderate highway speeds. Maybe it looks that way on the original figures on that site when he set it up for his highly stripped out Metro and also because the difference between "good" and "bad" tires 7 or 8 years ago when he first had that up, that were actually gettable for that car (13" I think) was only maybe 0.001, that the impression may have sunk in that LRR isn't worth extra expense.... but only on that vehicle. Put anything at stock weight in there and it looks different, then remember there may be another 500lb of passengers and luggage often.

    Also your #6 there may need to be proved by testing on particular model of pickup.
  17. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    Well that depends where you jump from-to on the BSFC map, if you go from really really lossy to most efficient, the gain is "free" in reducing loss.

    For instance if you jump from a 30hp load at 0.6lb/hp/hr to a 60hp at 0.4lbhp hour you increase consumption from 18 to 24lb/hr BUT if your 30hp genny-bat-motor cycle is 60% efficient then you get 12*0.6=7.2 of that back again later. Meaning a net average of 16.8lb/hour.
  18. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    There is no free lunch. :( Regenerative braking reduces your losses but it is a poor substitute for not losing the kinetic energy from a vehicle's momentum in the first place. If you can avoid the use/need for regenerative braking by going at a slower average speed and braking less your fuel efficiency will increase way beyond any combination of a genny-inverter-battery-inverter- motor cycle can provide. There is a loss not just at the mechanical kinetic to electrical current conversion via the genny/motor loss but there is a electric-chemical conversion loss at the inverter-battery too. And you get this loss coming into the battery and then going out of the battery (ouch). It is actually more energy efficient never to need to do the energy conversion in the first place - which is why driving without brakes is probably the most important hypermiling skill you can master.

    Hybrid tech act as training wheels for a hypermiling novice - an expert hypermiler doesn't need hybrid tech to get better fuel efficiency. The only reason hybrids have the advantage over a conventional gas vehicle is because in the real world we drive our vehicles hard and have to constantly accelerate and decelerate - so the partial energy savings from driving fast is better than no savings at all - however- hybrid tech is only half of the answer - the other half is the driver - Add hypermiling together hybrid tech and you have got total solution. :)
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  19. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    You seem to be favoring a larger SUV something that is likely to weigh closer to 4000 pounds. A FEH weighs about 3800 pounds A Jeep Grand Cherokee is going to weigh about 4300 pounds.

    Yes. #6 depending on the model you are driving and the type of tonneau or rear cab cover you use - the fuel efficiency gain will vary. Ecomodder.com is peppered with people who have tried different design variations.

    LRR tires are very expensive - and sometimes I think the MPG gains in some of the advertisement I've read are too optimistic. I don't want to oversell their performance. Using LRR tires is better than leaving your Snow tires on but the difference between a regular all season tire and a LRR tire can sometimes be hard to tell for the average driver especially if you over inflate the regular all season tires to the max sidewall pressure .
  20. RoadWarrior222

    RoadWarrior222 rockit serjun

    The reality is that a bunch of "small" cars weigh over 3000lb these days, I think we're finally seeing it swing back the other way again with newer models.... though maybe not, I see the new Prius is listed at 3042, when older models were ~2800.

    Yes definitely better to not brake. Interestingly I have had some super high mileage tanks on all my former vehicle when I have been loaded to the gills for camping trips. Low traffic 50mph country roads helped, but also I was "planning a mile ahead" wrt to speed and coasted to intersections, rather than heating up the brakes with the heavy load unnecessarily. (High mileage meaning ~40mpg in the Escort auto, ~30mpg in the Voyager auto) I like to call that, "momentum hybrid" mode.

    IDK about expensive, Ecopias in the FEH size seemed reasonable for that size of SUV tire on tirerack.

    Also I don't know if you've noticed that some snow tires are LRR, there's guys run them for competitions, the one I remember was nokian snows on a civic. http://www.treehugger.com/cars/modified-honda-crx-hf-wins-fuel-economy-competition-with-118-mpg.html

    Yes it can be hard to tell the difference, because some "LRR" aren't all that LRR and because of the new silicone compounds that have been coming in this past decade the RR of regular tires has gone down a lot. For instance if you pick a "normal" all season like a Kumho Solus KR21, which is low for an AS, @ something like 0.007 cRR and then compare to a "me too" bandwagon eco tire, then there might be next to no difference.

    No free lunch, but most of the time you're paying for 15 sandwiches and only getting to eat one or two. 10 sandwiches are "thermodynamic tax" as a consequence of using gasoline, air and otto cycle*. Now where most people go wrong is assuming you get all of that 33-35% efficiency all of the time, all of the five sandwiches left. They also assume that you're trying to get all 15 sandwiches and invoke quasi religious reliance on misunderstood thermodynamic laws**. Anyway your typical EPA average figure is gonna be about a sandwich and a half.

    (* Please note it's not the otto cycle motor that's about 35% efficient it's very specifically the otto cycle motor with the inputs of gasoline and air at stoich ratio, change inputs, that number changes.)
    (** which you might notice will also be wrong, thermodynamics won't stop you having 14.5 out of 15 sandwiches if you don't use gasoline and air in a normal 4 stroke. They'll be yellling "SINNER, you can't have free lunches!" falsely assuming all the time you're paying for only one lunch.)
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013

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