Abnormal Noise From Driveline on Ford Escape Hybrid

An abnormal noise may develop from the transfer case. At this time parts are not available to repair internal damage to this type of transfer case, replacement is the only option. It is not uncommon for irregular tire wear to cause a similar noise. Diagnoses should be performed to confirm the actual cause of the driveline noise. Tire noise can be reduced by rotating the tires at least every 5000 miles.

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Average mileage: 94,582 (33,000–178,000)
Drive Trains affected: 2WD, 4WD
6 model years affected: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, more2009, 2012
53 people reported this problem
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problem details
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 112,000 mi,
What an expensive repair! I've been given the option of a new transfer case around 2k or a used one around $800. What a bummer. Like others, I've heard a clunk when in reverse and thought nothing of it. Today on the highway, I wondered if I was going to make it to the repair shop. While the vehicle was on the lift, I heard it for myself. Why isn't Ford stepping up on problems like these?
After front tire wore off to the core, I changed 2 front tires at the dealer. Right after collecting car the problem happened: Rubbing(like too metal plates rubbing to each other) noise from front side ONLY WHEN CAR DECELERATES or REVERSE. The does not go away for all gear positions (N/D/L), and does not matter the road is smooth or rough, hard left/right turns etc. However the noise disappears when car accelerates. Did a check on the hoist, found noise comes from Transfer Case (or PTU as Ford calls it), and was advised to change transfer case. Changed Transfer Case and so far no issue. So be careful to rotate and change tires frequently to avoid damaging Transfer Case.
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 99,000 mi,
I successfully sued FORD. Went to the local magistrate and got a judgement against FORD for over $1,500 for the repair of the POWER TRANSFER UNIT. Claimed it was a design defect. Even though FORD had a TSB out on the problem (throwing our lubricant when traveling down the road) FORD failed to notified its customers affected. With the JUDGEMENT, FORD sent me the check for over $1,500. If you think you are right, take the matter to the local Magistrate!
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 103,000 mi,
Same noise and problem as others described with the transfer case. I do not drive vehicles hard and take very good care of my vehicles. Never off road. Ford dealer quoted $4,400 to replace with a new transfer case. Almost the value of the car.
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 72,000 mi,
Transfer case failed. Car has been well maintained. Sounds to me like a design flaw. Called to order the part and found its on its tenth redesign. You would think Ford would stand by their product and repair these since it is a design flaw
2007 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 75,400 mi,
Heard basically the "tin cans tied under the car" and completely lost power to back up all at once. Have new tires and replaced (supposedly) the Transmission Fluid just months ago. Dealer says Power Take Off unit has to be replaced. I asked what could've caused this - said he has no idea.. Says parts and labor are $1312.44 which sounds better than what others are reporting but also sounds like the dealer or Ford should be taking some responsibility..
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 80,000 mi,
Suddenly developed loud noise like dragging tin cans. Took it to AAMCO. They opened the transfer case and reported catastrophic failure of a bearing. New transfer case and labor will run to $1750 plus tax.
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 130,000 mi,
Had the PTO fail for an "unknown reason". Cost was estimated around 2k for new one.
2007 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 77,000 mi,
Took the car in for a brake check and the dealer told me that the transfer case needs to be replaced because it is leaking. I have experienced a clunk like noise when in reverse but thought that had to do with the regenerative brake system.
They say PTU/Transfer Case. $4300 with tax.
On a trip from northern Michigan to NC, 2007 Escape Hybrid 4wd with 76787 miles had a bit of a noise in the drive train when pulling into the motel. Lurched when I put into drive the next morning, went about a mile, and heard loud metal clashing sounds under the car. Towed to the local Ford dealership and they quoted me $4800 to repair the Power Transfer Unit (PTU), which is about the current value of the car . The dealer said it was very unusual, and the 100,000 mile warranty had "timed out". Reading the reviews, ALOT of people had had problems with this and there were even judgements against Ford for the same problem. CAVEAT EMPTOR.
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 132,000 mi,
Bought the vehicle used. We drove it with no issues for about 7 months. Then one day after a short road trip, we were nearing our house and felt/heard a loud thump-bang metallic sound as we were slowing towards a stop sign. We thought we ran over a large piece of metal or that part of our engine had fallen out. We stopped and looked under the vehicle but didn't see anything. When we backed up, the vehicle stopped with a sudden jerk and clanking sound. As we drove the vehicle home (less than a mile), it sounded like we were dragging a bunch of metal or wire hangers. We took the vehicle to the dealership and they told us the transfer case had metal inside of it and needed to be fully replaced... at cost of nearly $5000 (which is about the street value of the vehicle itself). We decided to call around and found a local mechanic that charged about $3,200 for parts and labor and included a pretty nice warranty. Still a lot, but much less than the dealership. There goes my tax return... real bummer.
2007 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 89,000 mi,
I could hear noise coming from the drive line. Took my vehicle to a Ford dealership and was told that the transfer case was no good. Said it was going to cost me $1100 before labor to fix the problem....I'm not happy. Just replaced engine last year.....
2007 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 42,000 mi,
My 2007 Ford Escape XLT experienced PTU failure at 42,000 miles. Repair is costing me about $1500. I have researched this problem from my home in South America and ordered a new transfer case from the States. Now I am wondering if I should also replace the Transfer Case Shift Control Module during this repair. Can anyone advise me...has this been part of the failure problem?
2008 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 95,000 mi,
Showed up out of literally nowhere. I had just had a bunch of fluids replaced (transmission, differential, power steering) Shortly after I started to hear a strange noise. The issue was it kept changing, one day it would be high pitched and squeal, the next it sounded like a murmur of tire tread, then it wouldn't sound like anything at all. It would be louder when I accelerated and then quieter when it accelerated. I took it to 4 different places and kept getting different answers. At first they said my front brake pads were thin so I got those replaced. Then they told me my tread levels were very different front to rear and that could be creating some noise issues so I had them rotated. Every time they worked on my car it's as if the sound changed and got louder. After about a month of driving and 3 long road trips, a horrible grinding noise arose. It was terrible and concerning, eventually my car started grabbing and pulling while I was trying to drive. Started smelling fluids (probably differential) in the car. I took it in again and it took them (Lithia (STAY AWAY)) 28 hours to diagnose. Bad transfer case and they wanted 4700$ for the fix. I said F that and took my rattle trap home. We have since called LOCAL mechanics around town and found one that says it will be 800$ for the part and 3-400$ for labor. Guaranteed us it won't got over 2,000$ in repairs. That brings us to now, I haven't gathered enough money just yet but will be taking it in in a month or so to have it accurately quoted and then HOPEFULLY fixed. (I just am hoping it isn't going to fall apart on the way to the repair shop.) This has been an ever loving NIGHTMARE and I am FURIOUS that FORD doesn't own up and fix it/reimburse everyone with this issue. In the course of 2 months I have gone from perfectly well maintained and running car to scrap metal and bus riding. I will never buy a Ford again.
2005 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 178,000 mi,
We had a whining noise coming from under the car and basically occurred all of the time. I thought it was perhaps a bad CV joint but turned out to be the transfer case. It actually locked up at a stop sign and we had to haul the car home. The car has given us fairly good service over the years but is starting to get expensive to keep going. We haven't decided what to do with the car yet.
Had the same issues as others on this thread. The car would make a little thud when switching into reverse. One time there was a large thud and the car would only roll three feet and make a really loud grinding noise and it felt like a sudden speed bump. Repair was about $2,500. Was not 100% satisfied with the repair, the car still makes a very slight thud occasionally but the dealer wasn't interested in getting it right. They must know there is a design flaw.
2007 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 94,147 mi,
dealer is telling me $4500 for a new transfer case! Might need to replace the brakes and tires too!
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid 110,000 mi,
Mine turned out to be abnormal noise from irregular tire wear, as I was only having them rotated about every 3rd oil change.
2006 Ford Escape Hybrid - 4WD 69,000 mi,
Noise - precursor to failure of transfer case. Quoted $2600 or $1700 used. Never off-roaded. Really unimpressed that it is having this problem with such low mileage. Not repairing, just getting rid of it.