Check for vacuum leak. Also if it has over 80,000 miles on the odometer replace the spark plugs and plug wires.
I just had my 04 Escape checked out at a mechanic and the computer said it was the egr valve. This started happening after I ran out of gas. The mechanic thinks that may have been part of the problem cause some junk may have made it past the fuel filter and gunked up the egr valve.
- I would first check for vacuum leaks, then I would test or replace the IAC (idle air control), then if all checks out, do a compression test. All cylinders will have to be within 10 per cent of each other to have a steady idle. Note that the upper plastic intake will have to be removed to test the back bank.
This guy is RIGHT it is a VACCUME LEAK! CHECK this out!
Im not a mechanic but I have had the same problems with my 2001 Ford Escape. I changed the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF sensor), Idle Air Control valve (IAC Valve), Positive Crankcase Ventalation Tube (PCV Tube) and nothing worked. You do need to check your PCV tube to see if it has collapsed if so change it $26 at Ford house. What finally fixed my car was when I changed out the upper and lower intake gaskets $9 at Auto Zone. 4 of my upper gaskets and 2 of my lower gaskets were leaking. If you do decide to change the gaskets out, replace your PCV valve $6 easy to get to once you remove the intake to get to the lower gaskets. Change your spark plugs out with factory Motorcraft plugs $4 a piece. I did all this and my Ford Escape runs like a charm. Hope this helps you out. If you do this yourself make sure ALL VACCUME HOSES are put back on.
Vacuum leaks can be hard to find, I use WD40 instead of a smoker, whenever idle changes when spraying around hoses/motor, I have found my leak. Works everytime!
Hey, before you tear everything apart, if you don't have any warning lights on, disconnect the battery and leave it disconnected for about 5 minutes. Then reconnect it. This resets the computer. Mine ran smooth as silk after that. (2001 V6 Escape).