Ford is recalling more than 500,000 Escapes after receiving reports from 50 owners of engine fires from 50 owners. Ford says the fires were caused by improperly installed ABS units on 2001-2004 models, and did not result in any accidents or injuries. Missing or improperly installed seals could allow water or other liquids could get into the units' wiring harnesses, causing a short, and possibly, underhood fires.

Ford dealers will inspect each of the recalled SUVs and repair or replace faulty ABS modules. The recall potentially affects 488,480 Escapes sold in the U.S. and about 75,000 sold in Canada, Mexico and Europe. Hybrid Escapes are not included in the recall.

Read the NHTSA investigation summary on the jump.

[Source: AP via Yahoo]
NHTSA Action Number: PE06048 NHTSA Recall Campaign Number: N/A

Make: FORD Model: ESCAPE
Manufacturer : FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Year : 2002
Component :
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:ANTILOCK
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:ANTILOCK:CONTROL UNIT/MODULE

Date Investigation Opened : October 30, 2006
Date Investigation Closed : Open
Summary:
THE OFFICE OF DEFECTS INVESTIGATION (ODI) HAS RECEIVED EIGHT COMPLAINTS ON FORD ESCAPE SUBJECT VEHICLES THAT ALLEGE A NON-CRASH RELATED FIRE ORIGINATING IN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT AT OR NEAR THE ANTI-LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM (ABS) ELECTRONIC CONTROL MODULE. IN ADDITION, ODI HAS RECEIVED TWO REPORTS ON FORD ESCAPE SUBJECT VEHICLES THAT ALLEGE THERMAL EVENTS OR OTHER FIRE-RELATED PHENOMENA ORIGINATING IN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT AT OR NEAR THE ABS CONTROL MODULE, AS EVIDENCED BY SMOKE, ARCING AND/OR MELTED ELECTRICAL CONNECTORS AND ASSOCIATED WIRING. TO DATE, ODI HAS NOT RECEIVED ANY COMPLAINTS RELATED TO THE ALLEGED DEFECT ON MAZDA TRIBUTE SUBJECT VEHICLES DESPITE BEING SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THE FORD ESCAPE SUBJECT VEHICLES. THE ABS CONTROL MODULE IS AN ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTIC AND CONTROL COMPUTER CONSISTING OF TWO MICROPROCESSORS AND THE NECESSARY CIRCUITRY FOR THEIR OPERATION THAT MONITORS SYSTEM OPERATION DURING NORMAL DRIVING AS WELL AS DURING ANTI-LOCK BRAKING EVENTS. IT IS LOCATED DIRECTLY BENEATH THE BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER AND BRAKE FLUID RESERVOIR AND IS AFFIXED TO THE ABS HYDRAULIC CONTROL UNIT (HCU) WHICH CONTAINS THE BRAKE PRESSURE CONTROL VALVE BLOCK AND PUMP MOTOR. THE ABS CONTROL MODULE IS LOCATED IN A CIRCUIT THAT IS POWERED AT ALL TIMES REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE KEY IS IN THE IGNITION SWITCH OR NOT. FIVE COMPLAINANTS HAVE ALLEGED “KEY OFF” ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRES THAT OCCURRED SOME TIME AFTER THE VEHICLE WAS PARKED, THREE OF WHICH HAVE OCCURRED SINCE JULY 2006. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE SUBJECT VEHICLES ARE NOT EQUIPPED WITH THE SPEED CONTROL DEACTIVATION SWITCH THAT WAS THE SUBJECT OF PREVIOUS ODI INVESTIGATIONS EA02-025 AND EA05-005. A PRELIMINARY EVALUATION HAS BEEN OPENED TO ASSESS THE FREQUENCY, SCOPE AND SAFETY CONSEQUENCES OF THE ALLEGED DEFECT.