Ford Escape Tuning

"Thank you for reading our Ford Escape tuning article."

One engine that keeps cropping up in emails and questions we get sent, is the Escape, and what upgrades work best on it. so we've created this article which goes over what we feel are the primary areas you should tune and outline which modifications we feel are the best.

The Escape is a brilliant project car to try. We see lots of DIY modders wasting money on their Escape doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our tips to avoid wasting your money

Tuning tips and articles
See our video which provides a complete introduction to Ford Tuning, it contains some tips on performance and handling modifications.

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Tuning modifications.

This list of the stages and kits are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you get started.

Getting the correct grade of sports mods for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 (competition) mods just don't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your Escape

  1. Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.
  2. Remaps - Escape remapping offers the biggest gains for your outlay, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  3. Fast road cams are significant power adders, but TorqueCars recommend they be setup by someone qualified to set them up properly and it can sometimes be hard to find one but there might be a local firm to regrind a stock cam .
  4. Flywheel lightening - a reduced weight flywheel will enhance the engines free revving nature. But not always not a great upgrade for all Escape engines.
  5. Brake Upgrades - Stopping your Escape should be listed in your priority list.
  6. Escape Suspension Upgrades - Replacing worn bushings and shocks greatly enhances your Escape road holding and cornering. Poly Bushes and Coilovers are typically fitted to achieve this
  7. Intake Upgrades and Exhaust - Please be warned on their own these mods will NOT ADD PERFORMANCE in most applications, but they will enable you to release power after other mods by minimizing the restriction.
  8. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - Adding a turbocharger is the most dramatic method to increase your intakes air supply, this means you are able to combust more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most challenging mods but provides the best gains.

Escape Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Lighter flywheel, Remap, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 21mm - 38 mm.), Alloy wheels, Panel air filter.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: high flow fuel injector, Ported and polished head, fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, Power/Sport clutch.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Engine balancing, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Sports gearbox, Competition cam.

Your aim when tuning the engine should be a wide torque output. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a competition car.

The point of our guides is to give a little insight into the world of customizing mods and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your car tuning project, the best uprated parts and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road cam typically is one of the best NASP power mods you can do mechanically to your engine.

The exhaust and intake valve durations play a huge role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car hard to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip for the best performance gains.

Don't forget to look at the fuelling when you are increasing the power - it makes the car more thirsty.

If you find you get flat spots and power surges after your sports kits you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. Higher capacity injectors will enable you to supply sufficient fuel to the engine.

A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust.  Air induction kits only help to increase power if your cars air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most standard engines will see ZERO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

For most Escape engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of supplying cold air.

Sports exhausts can usually air flow from the engine but do not go too large or you could will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional flowed (porting and polishing). These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. When you heavily modify your Escape you will usally see that the standard clutch starts to fail so get an uprated clutch. The best mods we recommend for your Escape are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Turbo engines are just pleading to be Remapped. You will see big power gains on most modern turbocharged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and big modifications for your money.Adding forced induction will see phenomenal power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it difficult to map fuelling with.

Superchargers, however will give a boost which is correlating to engine speed so is simpler. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many Escape owners uprate the handling of their cars with performance suspension upgrades as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

We found that most Escape factory suspension setups need tweaking, a few degrees of toe (set some toe out to improve cornering or use toe in for better stability) and you only need around 0.9 to 1.5 degrees, and slight negative camber will greatly improve your cornering and handling.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 21mm - 38 mm. and fit modified stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

What considerations must you make when setting up and selecting your suspension if your Escape serves as a daily car as well?

Improvements to the bushings

What factors should you consider when setting up and selecting your bushes if your Escape is also used as a daily driver?

Bushings, which are rubber mounts, allow the Escape's suspension components to be connected with the car's chassis. The rubber ones will degrade as they wear out.

By replacing new OEM rubber bushings, you may greatly improve your vehicle's performance.

Because polyurethane bushings are stiffer, the ride may be firmer, but the bushings will last longer and maintain the car's handling over a longer time.

Worn bushings may also hasten the degradation of other suspension components due to the increased vibration and play.

With a new set of polyeyurothane bushes, the excessive play associated with rubber bushings may be lessened.

You may struggle to find a full set of poly bushings, but most stores have the primary mounts available. Often, custom Escape polyeyurothane bushes may be manufactured to your requirements.

A frequent misconception is that the best setup would be a non-adjustable suspension system that lowers the vehicle by 50mm purchased from a franchised component shop.

Claims are often made that all Escape models and years may be able to utilise the same suspension kits sold by vendors.

To adequately support a diverse variety of vehicles, the "generic one set for all models" approach is obviously a mistake as engine

Ford Escape Brake Upgrades

Fitting larger brake discs and better quality pads will make for radically improved braking.

Note that race pads will be noisy and will need a lot of heat before they start to work.

On a road car the brakes are occasionally used, therefore will not stop you as well so choose pads which don't need to be really hot.

Turning our attention to the Escape's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Spending a little money on the best engine and handling upgrades could transform your car into a high performance car.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brakes cool down and are usually lighter than the steel ones. Get a good track legal slick tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your Escape. Large Escape alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Because of this we would advise sticking to a maximum wheel size of 16 inches, although we know some of our members have installed larger rims with no problems.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss Escape options in more detail with our Escape owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Ford tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which mods work best for them on each model of car. We use your comments and feedback to improve the accuracy of these tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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