I need to ask you if you are having any problematic symptoms, or if just you just want to do a tune up for general maintenance.
Basically spark plugs and the air filter element and maybe fan belts. Here are some pointers as I have 2 2002 Ford Escapes.
The front spark plugs are easy to get to. If you break a plastic keeper unpluging the plugs from the ignition coil on each plug, you can secure it back with a tyrap around the entire plug and coil when you put it back.
Each individual ignition coil on each plug has a 6 inch rubber boot. I personally pull these boots off, pull the connecting spring out, stretch it out an inch longer, mash the spring back into the coil holding only the inch of spring at the coil until it bottoms out, and put a few drops of motor oil on the spring where it will contact the spark plug at the other end.
Never get these individual ignition coils wet. They are not water proof and I found out the hard way after pressure washing an engine and the damn things are $75 a pop.
You can do the front 3 plugs in a half hour. You need 3 hours for the back 3.
You have to disconnect the plastic intake plentum. It is not that bad. Remove the rubber boot on the air intake. Take the 2 10mm bolts out of the EGR valve body and watch that the gasket does not fall into the engine. Unclamp the 3 vacuum hoses on the rear of the intake plastic plentum. On the left rear are 2 cable harness plugs that just pull out of a bracket with barbed plastic keepers. Take the 8 8mm bolts loose and they will stay in the plentum. You can now pivot the intake plentum diagonally toward the drivers side outside mirror and just stand it up and out of the way. You don't have to disturb the throttle or cruise cables. You have just enough room to get the 3 rear coils off and the plugs out.
While you are in there, check for rotted or cracked vacuum hoses. I like to put a drop of motor oil on each of the 2 pins in each coil plug and I do that with injector plugs also.
I also like to put a drop of motor oil on the threads of every bolt and screw that I remove so it won't rust or seize before the next time I remove it.
September, 6, 2008 AT 9:34 AM
Oh, I forgot, there is also a vacuum switch that bolts to the plentum with 2 8mm bolts behind the EGR valve.
I have always had the greatest reliability and minimal chance of getting a defective spark plug by using Autolite Double Platinum plugs. I use them in everything ie Ford, Chevy, Toyota.
As for the plastic cover over the engine: I never could see that it served any purpose or provided and benefit, so I took mine off years ago and left it off. It just hides your visibility to things that may be wearing out and need attention.