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Ford recalls 244,000+ Escape SUVs for master cylinder fire risk

Ford Motor Company and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have announced a recall of over 244,000 2001 and 2002 model year Ford Escape compact sport utility vehicles over a concern that the master cylinder cap could leak – increasing the risk of an underhood fire if the problem is not addressed.


The 244,530 Ford Escape models affected by this master cylinder recall were built between October 22nd, 1999 and July 19th, 2002. It seems that these Ford Escape models are equipped with a master cylinder reservoir cap that, over time, could begin to leak brake fluid. When brake fluid leaks from the master cylinder, it could run into the antilock braking system electrical wiring harness. For those who are unsure, brake fluid is both corrosive and fairly flammable so the fluid could eat melt the wiring harness and if let go, the exposed wires could arc – vastly increasing the likelihood of a fire in the engine bay. Not only would you have an electric fire but with the master cylinder just above the area where the fire is likely to start, there is an ample source of fuel for the fire.

The NHTSA bulletin pertaining to this new Ford Escape master cylinder recall states that the recall is expected to formally begin on the week of January 23rd 2012. At that point, owners will be instructed to return to their friendly neighborhood Ford dealership where a technician will replace the master cylinder reservoir cap with one that is not prone to leak along with “modifying the ABS electric system” – although the statement doesn’t explain exactly what modifications will be made to the ABS system shy of the new reservoir cap. Ford may be installing some sort of shield to prevent brake fluid from coming in contact with the ABS wiring harness but with this being such a common location for the ABS gadgetry on most equipped vehicles; this problem seems to focus more on the leaky cap than the ABS harness itself.

As an interesting point, the NHTSA statement on the new Ford Escape recall also mentions that if parts are not available at the time of the recall start, owners will be instructed to park their vehicles outside until the parts become available but considering how mundane of a part the master cylinder reservoir cap is…hopefully Ford will be able to come up with 244,530 of them to fix the affected Escape compact SUVs.

For more information, owners of 2001 and 2002 Ford Escape models can call the Ford Customer Relationship Center at 1-866-436-7332 and the recall number is 11S24.

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Doreen Imlay (not verified)    June 12, 2012 - 3:04PM

10 Jun 2012 my 2002 Ford Escape burst into flames in my driveway while I am still waiting for this part from Ford. Please if you own one of these vehicles park it way away from everything and everyone. I almost lost everything except that my neighbors saw the fire and helped put it out before it reached my home and family.