The first attempt at fixing the sudden shutdown issue was to replace the Electric Motor Cooling Pump. Since it was a recall the dealer replaced it for free.
The picture pump above is the "out the factory model". The one below is the replacement model. There is an obvious size difference between both.
You can find instructions on how to replace this pump yourself on many websites/blogs such as blog.yagelski.com. We had to replace this pump twice after the dealer replaced it. I purchased both from Amazon, search for 2008 Ford Hybrid DriveTrain MECS Coolant Water Pump. The best do it yourself instructions can be found in this video provided by FordTechMakuloco.
Unfortunately replacing the cooling pump was not the end of our troubles. The car shutdowns got more frequent, coming to a stop at a red light triggered panic attacks; the minute you tried to accelerate from a full stop the shutdown would initiate.
The car went to the dealer one last time and back to our garage after we were given the choice of purchasing a replacement Hybrid Battery Pack for $9K or trade it in for $500 and get a new car. We just got it towed back home.
After a year of being parked the choice to junk the car for cash was made but not before I felt confident all possible repair attempts were exhausted. I went to the nearest Advance Auto Parts and borrowed their OBD Reader Scanner Tool. I had 6 error codes to research and find solutions to. My research included reading forums and watching YouTube videos especially the FordTechMakuloco channel. I'll spare you the fix details to the first 5 errors. An alternate fix to the last error on the list P1A0C proved to be the most frustrating/elusive. Every solution I found for that error was to replace the MECS Coolant Water Pump; I had done so 3 times already.
While reading forums I came across page 28 of this post mentioning a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) that I had not seen regarding 2008 Ford Escapes. I googled the title RED TRIANGLE ON AND STOP SAFELY NOW MESSAGE - DTC P1A0C and downloaded the PDF.
The Service Procedure states that
For Vehicles outside the new vehicle limited warranty, if diagnostics lead to replacing the
throttle body you may use this procedure to clean the throttle body as an alternative to replacing it.
Cleaning the Throttle Body I had not tried. As mentioned I watched hundreds of YouTube videos, two of them from FordTechMakuloco came to mind. The first and the second which related to the 2008 Ford Escape prove to be worth gold.
I followed the video(s) instructions. Right before taking out the Throttle Body I noticed the ring of sludge mentioned in the videos (pictured below). Quickly headed over to Advance Auto Parts and got me a can of CRC throttle body cleaner
I cleaned the inside of that throttle body until the liquid ran out; way too much if you ask me. But I was not going to leave anything to chance.
I have waited 5 months prior to creating this post. Since the Throttle Body cleaning procedure, I have not had a single Stop Safely Now event; Nor have I had to replace the MECS Electric Motor Cooling Pump. I been driving the car daily and can confirm the issue has been resolved.
If you are experiencing the Stop Safely Now, I hope this post can be of help.
- You don't need to purchase the Hybrid Battery Pack from the dealer. If you HAVE TO get one, call up a local junkyard. I was quoted $600 for a used one.
- Since the car was parked for a year I had to get the 12v battery replaced. I then had to jumpstart the Hybrid Battery Pack. This procedure is covered in the owners manual(Page 234).
- Two months after the Throttle Body cleaning I replaced the Ignition Lock Cylinder. This video show's the symptoms and solution