I've got a 2002 Ford Escape (automatic transmission) that will start fine and reverse without any problems, but when I put it in drive and try to pull forward, it remains in idle. I can hit the gas and take it up to 3000+ RPM, but it just moves forward at about 5 MPH idling, with the O/D light flashing.

However, if I put it in L1 or L2, I can get up to 20 MPH, shift into drive, and it will shift up and down just fine until I come to a stop.

What's causing this? Is it a computer/electrical problem?

  • Have you read the system to see if there are any trouble codes with this? What I've read on the internet does not bode well for your tranny, so just looking to see if there are any other diagnostics you might have. Jan 27, 2014 at 19:31
  • No codes related to the transmission.
    – Doresoom
    Jan 27, 2014 at 20:13
  • Did you ever figure out the problem. Thats all mine has is reverse?
    – user9308
    Feb 3, 2015 at 0:16
  • This isn't an answer to the question. But yes, I did find the problem. See my answer. The fix was a new car unfortunately.
    – Doresoom
    Feb 3, 2015 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


I spoke with a Ford dealership service technician and he said the most likely cause of this behavior was that the clutches were going out in the transmission. The recommended fix was a new transmission, or as I decided for a 2002 car with over 200k miles, a new car.

On a side note, they said it shouldn't harm the transmission to continue to drive it like a psuedo-manual. So as long as I shift into L1 when I come to a stop and shift back up to Drive when above 20 MPH, I can get a little more life out of it.

  • I wouldn't expect the limp mode to last you too long, though. Jan 27, 2014 at 23:04
  • @Paulster2 Yeah, hopefully it will get me through the new car search/buying process.
    – Doresoom
    Jan 28, 2014 at 0:15
  • limp mode only lasted me 2 days then all I had left was Reverse.
    – user6982
    Sep 15, 2014 at 14:02

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