How To Test The Ford Escape COP Coils (Troubleshooting A Misfire)

Testing the COP coils in your 3.0L Ford Escape (or 3.0L Mazda Tribute) can be a challenge, since three of them are under the intake manifold plenum (this article can be applied to several other 3.0 Ford models).

The three that are underneath the intake plenum are the COP coils for cylinders #1, #2 and #3 (cylinder #1 is the one closest to the serpentine belt).

These three can not be easily tested like the ones that are on the engine bank that is closest to the radiator.

Well, in this article, I'm gonna' offer you a comprehensive testing strategy that'll help you get to the bottom of the misfire on your 3.0L Ford Escape or 3.0L Mazda Tribute.

You can find this tutorial in Spanish here: Cómo Probar Las Bobinas De Encendido (3.0L Ford Escape) (at: autotecnico-online.com).

Important Tips And Suggestions

TIP 1: Although the main focus of this article is testing the COP coils on a 3.0L Ford Escape (3.0L Mazda Tribute), the tests apply to the vehicles listed in the ‘Applies To’ box on the second column (since these vehicles also have the COP coils for cylinders #1, #2, and #3 underneath a plastic intake manifold plenum).

TIP 2: The fuel pump relay needs to be removed before testing the COP coils for spark. This is a safety precaution that will prevent the engine from starting.

The photo of the fuel pump relay (in the fuse box) in this article is of a Ford Escape (Mazda Tribute). You can see this photo here: Location Of The Fuel Pump Relay. If your vehicle is not a Ford Escape, you'll need to consult your owner's manual or a repair manual for the location of the fuel pump relay on your specific vehicle.

TIP 3: Testing the COP coils on your Ford Escape may require removing the top part of the intake manifold (known as the intake manifold plenum).

TIP 4: When removing the plastic intake manifold plenum, you've got to be extra careful nothing falls into the open intake manifold ports.

Once the plenum is off the intake manifold, stuff clean rags into the 6 open ports to prevent any foreign object (like a bolt) from falling inside.

Symptoms Of A Bad Ford Escape COP Coil

The most common symptom of a bad COP ignition coil on your Ford Escape is a misfire condition. What ‘throws a wrench into the works’, is that the misfire condition sometimes doesn't set a diagnostic trouble code (DTC).

You may also see one or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Check engine light is on with one or several of the following DTCs :
    1. P0300: Random Cylinder Misfire.
    2. P0301: Cylinder #1 Misfire.
    3. P0302: Cylinder #2 Misfire.
    4. P0303: Cylinder #3 Misfire.
    5. P0304: Cylinder #4 Misfire.
    6. P0305: Cylinder #5 Misfire.
    7. P0306: Cylinder #6 Misfire.
  2. Rough idle.
  3. Bad gas mileage.
  4. Excessive tail-pipe emissions (pollution).
  5. A "rotten egg" smell coming from the tailpipe.
    1. This smell is caused by unburned gasoline from the misfiring cylinder overloading the catalytic converter's oxidation process.
  6. Engine misfires under load. In other words; the engine starts to miss as you give it gas.

What Tools Do I Need To Test The Ford Escape COP Coils?

You'll test and diagnose the ignition coils on the car or truck with some very basic tools. You'll need:

  1. A 12 Volt automotive test light.
  2. A multimeter.
  3. An HEI spark tester.
    1. This inexpensive spark tester is a MUST have tool to be able to correctly diagnose the ignition coil pack on your Ford (or Mercury or Mazda) vehicle with the info/tests in this article (don't have an HEI spark tester? Need to buy one? You can buy it here: OTC 6589 Electronic Ignition Spark Tester).
  4. You'll need a helper to help you crank the engine while you perform the tests.
  5. A repair manual.
    1. For any remove and replace info that I don't cover in this article.

A scan tool will come in handy to read any misfire diagnostic trouble codes stored in your Ford Escape's PCM's memory but to test the actual COP coils -You DO NOT need a scan tool.

Ford Vehicles:
  • Escape 3.0L
    • 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • Five Hundred 3.0L
    • 2007
  • Freestyle 3.0L
    • 2005, 2006, 2007
  • Taurus 3.0L
    • 2000, 2004
Mazda Vehicles:
  • Tribute 3.0L
    • 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Mercury Vehicles:
  • Mariner 3.0L
    • 2005, 2006
  • Sable 3.0L
    • 2000, 2004