Fuel Emissions leak error code with both check engine light (solid) and check fuel cap light on rough idling 2002 Ford Escape.

Asked by May 02, 2013 at 12:26 PM about the 2002 Ford Escape XLT

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2002 Ford Escape showing both solid check engine light, and check fuel cap light. The check fuel cap light came on first, just a few days after having all the spark plugs replaced as well as a coil pack on cylinder four at Midas due to a misfire code read-out. (I should point out that the car still seemed to idle a bit rough after this, even though there were no more warning lamps on). A day or so after that, the check engine light came on during a longer trip of about 60 miles or so. At this point I brought it to O'Reilly's to check for new error codes. It simply said there's a leak in the fuel emissions system, and that the gas cap may be loose or need replacement. So I bought a new locking gas-cap (I've been using lockers for a while now, due to an incident I had with a previous vehicle), but the problem still continues. There's still a rough idle (also, the engine seems to idle at higher rpm's than it should, though I can't be more specific than that, given that I'm not a mechanic), and the engine and fuel cap lights are still on after about two days of driving as per usual.

So what could be the problem? Can a loose or defective fuel cap actually cause performance problems like this? Also, I find it rather odd that this seemingly new problem would crop up so soon after the work that was done at Midas. Is it possible they did something wrong in the process of replacing the plugs and the #4 coil pack. (They listed the ignition coil as having been replaced, but I assume this is just another way of saying "coil pack").

10 Answers

the locking cap isn't behaving like what the emissions wants to see. funny there is always a different approach to evaporative emissions. Some makers like Toyota will force the system to emit NO fumes, the fuel cap when removed has a sucking sound from the air not replaced with ambient air. The mini has a locking flap and a 'partially vented' cap- will yield to the ambient down to a suction of about 15 psi....the fords I believe also have a "partially vented" configuration...not a NO VENT, like the toyota's do------your new locking cap isn't workin' out- put your old one back....and just kiss it off any lost gasoline...maybe you could catch the guy stealin' the gas with photos and reporting to the police~ your evaporative system is screwed up, probably from the condition of chokin' off the carbon canister so air cannot flow thru and clean 'the fumes' through suction of the combustion process- these damned guys know you just cannot replace one coil pack, result would be uneven performance...have to do both of them~ ...as far as your current check engine light (did not know they had a "check fuel cap" light...new one to me...run it for a couple of tanks full (tankfulls) to make sure the charcoal has been purged...you know (and am quite guilty of this myself) is when at the gas pump...stop at the first click...don't click it a second time...put it back once it says "FULL STOP"...just put that nozzle back...so perhaps you did not get the 12oz more....big woooof~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

how many miles are on this engine? you must get the diagnostic codes checked could be done at any major parts supplier for FREE, or you could get a tool for doing this yourself for under twenty including shipping~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Thanks for the quick response, judge. It wasn't because of fuel thieves, though. I had an old sunfire that died from symptoms that strongly resembled having had the fuel spiked with something else. (And I had had friends who suffered the same fate). What bugged me the most about it was that I have no enemies. No ex-wife or slighted former friends. Who knows why people do things sometimes, I guess. At any rate, I am definitely going to revert back to a standard cap and see if that solves the problem. The OBD codes that I had read-out just this morning at the Autoparts store simply showed an emissions leak/fuel cap loose code (I forget the exact code number). I'm hoping it's not a deeper problem. I hear that the whole smoke test that they use to spot line-leaks is expensive business.

no smoke...no. an unlit propane torch waved over the suspecting leakers will tell you...no smoke and mirrors~ you'll do as I suggest and run it for a few tanksfull then report back...I always seem to be on duty, when all is working normally you could save the http info of THIS link, then we can come back, though it's easy, CarGurus are doing all they can to make this more pleasant as they ain't payin' us nothin'~...good guys all, just wish they'd share a few crumbs of donut money with their contributing gurus~

Is it time to change your timing belt 60-80 thousand miles...see my mini only has 34,000, but one of our fellow guru guys says I have to change it because it's an interference motor~ YOU, have to have done this, have done many ford escort timing belts...you will need a 5/16 socket~ tell me you are not on your first belt...the lord works in mysterious ways~

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

STOP ON THE FIRST CLICK.....beatin' a dead cop already~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

There's not a lot that I know about what the previous owners had done. I'm not even sure whether the plug change I had done on it a few days ago wasn't the first time they had ever been changed (shudder at the thought...no pun intended). It may very well be on it's first belt. I'll see about changing it. It's over 150,000 miles at this point. The thing is, I had the guy at Midas drive it around a bit because it was still idling rough, even though there were no more warning lamps on after having the #4 cylinder coil pack and all plugs replaced. He said it felt fine. Who knows though, he could have been full of crap. Then a couple days later...bam, check fuel cap light. Then two more days later...engine light.

you have numerous and plentiful vacuum leaks...replace all the butyl rubber hoses with silicone. you might notice the black lines cracking easily and not returning to the soil on us...old and have seen a good life of service...invest in silicone vacuum lines...gates rubber makes them~ summitracing and others~

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

there should be a maintenance log in the glovebox and possibly stickers on the hood/cowl for the existence of proper maintenance, if our boy was any kind of a soldier would have kept his records in order~


Did any of these things make your engine light go off? I was just wondering because I just got a 2002 Ford Escape and 3 or 4 days after buying it the check engine light came on.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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