Ford Escape Manuals

Ford Escape: Engine System - General Information / General Procedures - Oil Consumption Test

  1. Nearly all engines consume oil, which is essential for normal lubrication of the cylinder bore walls and pistons and rings. Determining the level of oil consumption may require testing by recording how much oil is being added over a given set of miles.
  1. Customer driving habits greatly influence oil consumption. Mileage accumulated during towing or heavy loading generates extra heat. Frequent short trips, stop-and-go type traffic or extensive idling, prevent the engine from reaching normal operating temperature. This prevents component clearances from reaching specified operating ranges.
  1. The following diagnostic procedure may be utilized to determine internal oil consumption. Make sure that the concern is related to internal oil consumption, and not external leakage, which also consumes oil. Verify there are no leaks before carrying out the test. Once verified, the rate of internal oil consumption can be tested.
  1. A new engine may require extra oil in the early stages of operation. Internal piston-to-bore clearances and sealing characteristics improve as the engine breaks in. Engines are designed for close tolerances and do not require break-in oils or additives. Use the oil specified in the Owner's Literature. Ambient temperatures may determine the oil viscosity specification. Verify that the correct oil is being used for the vehicle in the geographic region in which it is driven.

Basic Pre-check

  1. For persistent complaints of oil consumption, interview the customer to determine the oil consumption characteristics. If possible, determine the brand and grade of oil currently in the oil pan. Look at the oil filter or oil-change station tags to determine if Ford-recommended maintenance schedules have been followed. Make sure that the oil has been changed at the specified mileage intervals. If vehicle mileage is past the first recommended drain interval, the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) production filter should have been changed.
  1. Ask how the most current mileage was accumulated. That is, determine whether the vehicle was driven under the following conditions:

      Visual Inspection Chart

    • Extended idling or curbside engine operation
    • Stop-and-go traffic or taxi operation
    • Towing a trailer or vehicle loaded heavily
    • Frequent short trips (engine not up to normal operating temperature)
    • Excessive throttling or high engine-rpm driving
  1. Verify that there are no external leaks. If necessary, review the diagnostic procedure in this section.
    For additional information, refer to: Oil Leak Inspection (303-00 Engine System - General Information, General Procedures).
  1. Inspect the crankcase ventilation system for:

      Visual Inspection Chart

    • disconnected hoses at the valve cover or TB.
    • loose or missing valve cover fill cap.
    • missing or incorrectly seated engine oil level indicator.
    • incorrect or dirty PCV valve.
    • a PCV valve grommet unseated in the valve cover (if so equipped).
  1. Inspect for signs of sludge. Sludge affects PCV performance and can plug or restrict cylinder head drainback wells. It can also increase oil pressure by restricting passages and reducing the drainback capability of piston oil control rings. Sludge can result from either excessive water ingestion in the crankcase or operation at extremely high crankcase temperatures.
  1. Inspect the air filter for dirt, sludge or damage. A hole in the filter element will allow unfiltered air to bypass into the air induction system. This can cause premature internal wear (engine dusting), allowing oil to escape past rings, pistons, valves and guides.
  1. If the engine is hot or was recently shut down, wait at least 15-minutes to allow the oil to drain back. Ask the customer if this requirement has been followed. Adding oil without this wait period can cause an overfill condition, leading to excessive oil consumption and foaming which may cause engine damage.
  1. Make sure the oil level indicator (dipstick) is correctly and fully seated in the indicator tube. Remove the oil level indicator and record the oil level.

Detailed Pre-checks

  1. Check the thermostat opening temperature to make sure that the cooling system is operating at the specified temperature. If it is low, internal engine parts are not running at specified internal operating clearances.
  1. Verify the spark plugs are not oil saturated. Oil leaking into one or more cylinders will appear as an oil soaked condition on the plug. If a plug is saturated, a compression check may be necessary at the conclusion of the oil consumption test.

Oil Consumption Test

  1. NOTE: Once all of the previous conditions are met, carry out an oil consumption test.

    Drain the engine oil and remove the oil filter. Install a new manufacturer-specified oil filter. Make sure the vehicle is positioned on a level surface. Refill the oil pan to a level one liter (quart) less than the specified fill level, using manufacturer-specified oil.
  1. Run the engine for 3 minutes (if hot) or 10 minutes (if cold). Allow for a minimum 15 minute drainback period and then record the oil level shown on the oil level indicator. Place a mark on the backside of the oil level indicator noting the oil level location.
  1. Add the final one liter (quart) to complete the normal oil fill. Restart the engine and allow it to idle for 2 minutes. Shut the engine down.
  1. After a 15 minute drainback period, record the location of the oil level again. Mark the oil level indicator with the new oil level location. (Note: Both marks should be very close to the MIN-MAX upper and lower limits or the upper and lower holes on the oil level indicator. These marks will exactly measure the engine's use of oil, with a one quart differential between the new marks.) Demonstrate to the customer that the factory-calibrated marks on the oil level indicator are where the oil should fall after an oil change with the specified fill amount. Explain however, that this may vary slightly between MIN-MAX or the upper and lower holes on the oil level indicator.
  1. Record the vehicle mileage.
  1. Advise the customer that oil level indicator readings must be taken every 320 km (200 mi) or weekly, using the revised marks as drawn. Remind the customer that the engine needs a minimum 15 minute drainback for an accurate reading and that the oil level indicator must be firmly seated in the tube prior to taking the reading.
  1. NOTE: High performance vehicles can be driven in such a way that may lead to higher engine oil consumption (this includes extended time at higher engine speeds, high loads, engine braking, hard cornering maneuvers, and track use). Under these conditions, oil consumption of approximately 1 liter per 800 km (1 quart per 500 miles) is possible.

    When the subsequent indicator readings demonstrate a full liter (quart) has been used, record the vehicle mileage. The mileage driven should not be less than 4,800 km (3,000 mi) for regular vehicles and 800 km (500 mi) for Ford Performance vehicles. The drive cycle the vehicle has been operated under must be considered when making this calculation. It may be necessary to have the customer bring the vehicle in for a periodic oil level indicator reading to closely monitor oil usage.

Post Checks, Evaluation and Corrective Action

  1. If test results indicate excessive oil consumption, carry out a cylinder compression test. The cylinder compression test should be carried out with a fully charged battery and all spark plugs removed. See the Compression Test Chart in this section for pressure range limits.
  1. Compression should be consistent across all cylinders. If compression is within the specifications found in this section, the excessive oil consumption may be due to wear on the valve guides, valves or valve seals.
    For additional information, refer to: Compression and Cylinder Leakage Test (303-00 Engine System - General Information, General Procedures).
  1. A cylinder leak detection test can be carried out using a cylinder leakage detector. This can help identify valves, piston rings, or worn valve guides/valve stems, inoperative valve stem seals or other related areas as the source of oil consumption.
    For additional information, refer to: Compression and Cylinder Leakage Test (303-00 Engine System - General Information, General Procedures).
  1. NOTE: An oil-soaked appearance on the porcelain tips of the spark plugs also indicates excessive oil use. A typical engine with normal oil consumption will exhibit a light tan to brown appearance. A single or adjoining, multiple cylinder leak can be traced by viewing the tips.

    If an internal engine part is isolated as the root cause, determine if the repair will exceed cost limits and proceed with a repair strategy as required.
  1. Once corrective action to engine is complete and verifying that all pre-check items were eliminated in the original diagnosis, repeat the Oil Consumption Test as described above and verify consumption results.

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