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Ford Escort Electrical Problems



  • t0b1nt0b1n Posts: 3
    I thought about that too but why would it run fine for 2 days and one overnight stay with no issues and THEN start this. I don't know how long it takes but no more than a night.

    Can a missing defroster fuse be the cause? It's the only thing "off" I can find.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    edited December 2011
    It's not directly grounded, then. You said the radio wasn't working earlier, yet the fuse is fine? Have you considered pulling the fuse to the radio and seeing if that helps? Basically, what you're getting is similar to a dome light being left on.... a constant drain that pulls enough current to cause the battery to go dead with enough time, but not a direct short that would discharge the battery very quickly.

    So, things not being connected would not cause this. Something is on and not turning off when it should. You could start pulling fuses and see when it stops; that should help narrow it down. Start with the main fuse, then go from there. A multimeter would be very helpful here.
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • t0b1nt0b1n Posts: 3
    Thanks a lot. After many days of looking and fiddling. I think I may have figured it out. I need to take it to get tested to be sure. If I read things correctly, I could have blown the regulator on the alternator as well.

    When you say multimeter. I have a little gadget that clips on to a grounding spot and the pen like meter lights up if there's power. How would I use that to test certain fuses?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    No, that's not likely going to do it. That tester only tells you if there is power present. If the one you have is for DC, you might at least be able to know if there is current somewhere there shouldn't be! A multimeter will actually tell you how much.

    A multimeter is a testing device with a dial on the front that lets you select a variety of options, from resistance (measures ohms), direct current, alternating current, etc. Hence the name. It uses prongs like the tester you have, but has either a needle gauge if analog or a digital readout. You can go spendy to very cheap ($20-25), but either type should do the trick for your purposes.
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • My 1999 Ford Escort will not turn at all. After jumping it will start. I had the battery and alternator checked and both were found to be normal. However, after sitting for a period of time there is no power to the car, no lights, key fob won't work, no radio, etc..., completely dead battery.I replaced the starter to but find out that starter was OK.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    If you disconnect the battery between uses, does it work when you attempt to start? If so, then the previous conversation applies to your situation as well.... you have something remaining on or shorted when the car is otherwise off.
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • the hood pin under the hood in front left side is what is making your alarm go off i have a 1999 ford escort same problem and i unplugged it and the alarm stopped from going off by itself it's that pin that is making it go off
  • jofrostjofrost Posts: 1
    Missing under load, tachometer jumping around, seems to happen when warm, does anyone have a suggestion please as to what I should check/do/replace. Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 47,642
    Sounds like some kind of ignition breakdown, so first thing I'd do is check condition of the spark plugs and the spark plug wires especially. Given that your tach probably is electrical and picks up pulses from the distributor, the connection of the tach jumping around and your engine misfiring makes sense.

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  • loubenialoubenia Posts: 2
    We just bought it as an emergency car, 1994 Escort Wagon,1.9 Engine, Automatic, 119.00 Miles, problem is when the engine is running the Fan blower,wipers and AC DON'T WORK at all, but when the key is in ignition (the middle) but engine not running they DO WORK ...WHAT is going on?????????...somebody knows, thanks.

  • hello i am having trouble with my x cort i had some body was working on it and i though he fix it but to find out my 100 amp blows every time i put the negit wire touch the battery the red wire was up on the fire wall and around to the batter to connect i have got new re wire for it but i am not sure wats going on with it i just know i need this car up and runing if any one have any idea what it can be let me know plz
  • I've been fighting with my escort for the past couple of days. Battery was acting dead, first step was to clean the posts and connections and throw the charger on. Charged right up, but still would not start. There seemed to be a constant drain on the battery the first morning, but not now. Tried jumping it this morning. Went from getting a clunk when I turned the key to getting something that sounded like "sca-wong" twice. Let it charge for a while longer and tried again. This time nothing at all. Not even the clunk.

    Disconnected my jumper cables and had a look at my fuses. They all seem in tact, other than a little corrosion on the top. Tried turning my headlights on to see if they would be dim, indicating a low battery or a cabling problem, but they were fine.

    Tried starting the car again for the hell of it. As usual, no sound. Was planning to start it with the headlights on to see if they went out. As soon as I turned the headlights back on, my service engine soon light started fluttering and there was a loud clicking from the vicinity of the fuse box in the engine compartment. Turned the lights back off. Pulled the fuses for the headlamps, which were both in tact. Replaced the fuse for the right side and tried turning them on again. This time no sound.

    Not sure what is going on here.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    Hey, grey!

    It sounds to me like your starter is seized up. Mine (1998 Escort LX w/ 2L) did a similar thing over time. I was convinced it was something in the battery or cables, but no, it was the starter.

    The clicking/fluttering of lights, etc., that you experienced sounds, to me, like a low amperage situation that is probably due to the excessive draw from the starter trying (unsuccessfully) to turn over. You wouldn't get that with just having the power on for the car, but could get that when trying to actually start it.

    I would suggest trying to tap on the starter body with a hammer while having someone holding the key in the "start" position, but the starters on these cars are tucked away well enough that you likely would not be able to get a hammer on it (nor have the space to actually tap it).

    The starter is a $100+ part, so it would really be worth your time to have the issue confirmed by a shop. Replacing the starter is simple enough, but quite challenging due to clearances. You'll need to take the battery and tray out of the car, as well as work very carefully from the passenger side to snake your arm in behind the engine (under the intake manifold) to access the starter and one bolt.

    Once I replaced mine, though, I could not remember a time when the car started so easily! I'm sure my battery was thankful, too!
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • ddialogueddialogue Posts: 1
    edited August 2013
    Dec 18, 2009

    "Hello All,
    I have a 94 Ford Escort Wagon, 1.9L Automatic with the strangest problems. When I turn off the car and remove the key, the heater (A/C) blower and the windshield wipers will continue to operate. Also, the A/C button will light if pushed while fan is blowing, as when the car is running. These issues are not major; we just have to remember to turn everything off whenever we park the car.
    I have checked the fuses and have even replaced the ignition switch with no luck. Has anyone seen anything like this or know where to start looking? I can’t see a common component or relay that would cause this issue. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you.

    I realize this is an old post but I thought I'd ask anyway whether you were able to resolve this? I have a 1995 Escort with the same issue (wipers and blower motor still have power after key is turned off; nothing else has power, radio, etc.)

  • adem1adem1 Posts: 1
    I got in my car last night to leave a friends house and it wouldn't start. It just clicks. All the power turns on. The battery is only two weeks old and I even hooked it up to a charger to make sure it had power. I also tried jumping it with no luck. I've already checked the terminals to make sure they are connected tight. I even tried pop starting it with no luck, although maybe I didn't get it rolling fast enough. It had no issues before last night. It doesn't even attempt to turn over. I also checked the switch on my clutch and it engages and the gears shift easily. I tried hitting on the starter, to the best that I could manage because of where its located. That didn't seem to affect anything.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    Is it a single click, or a series of clicks? A single click likely means that you have a starter/solenoid problem. A series of clicks is most likely a ground issue. I feel your pain with regard to the starter location... serious PITA!

    You should be able to get it started on a roll, though. If pushing it doesn't work, try pulling it (w/ another car) at up to 15-20 mph. Quick clutch pops should spin the engine enough to get it to fire, assuming you have the key in the "run" position! :P
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • k_sidk_sid Posts: 3
    My car is a 97 Ford Escort Sport. Yesterday when I was coming home my after market stereo would turn off and on every 2 or 3 seconds until finally it didn't come back on at all. Today when I started up it turned over very slowly and that's when the crazy started to happen. My low fuel light was on (I just filled up yesterday) and the gauge showed about half full. The battery light was flashing sporadically and the tachometer was hopping all over between 1 and 2K. When I gave it some gas the tach needle would shoot to 0 almost like it was hooked up backward. I drove a block and pulled over because the speedometer was also not working. About a minute later it sputtered a few times and died. Now when I try to start it nothing happens. No clicks or anything just completely dead although I still get dash lights and the "key is in ignition" beeps. Lights still work also. I pushed it home and let it sit for about 30 minutes and went back out to it. This time when I tried to turn it over I did get about 5 or 6 clicks and then nothing. Is this just a dead battery and if so why the weird gauge behavior?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    Well, it's not "just" a dead battery, most likely. I think you'll need someone to run some diagnostics on it to confirm, but it sounds like your alternator (or circuitry for the alternator) isn't working properly (or at all). If the voltage output drops, things that require more juice will die first, followed by things that require less (such as gauges), followed, eventually, by the engine itself. If the battery isn't being charged, it doesn't take long for the on-board electronics (esp. an aftermarket stereo!) to suck it dry.

    So, yes your battery is dead. Now. But, that doesn't mean the battery is the problem (e.g., it might be okay once recharged). Charge the battery, start the car, run some simple diagnostics on it (use a multi-meter to check the voltage and current while off and while running). Your volts should be ~12.5 while off (with full battery) and ~14 while running. If it is not near 14 or is at or lower than in the off state, your alternator isn't charging it. That's when it's time to pull the alternator and have an auto supply store bench test it.

    Checking the current draw while off and while running is useful for determining how much demand is being put on the battery while off and on the alternator while running. That information *may* be useful when determining what alternator to buy (assuming you will need to replace it).
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • k_sidk_sid Posts: 3
    I'll check those things in the morning. I have a meter but how much current should I expect because I think it can only handle a max of 1A before the internal fuse blows. I'll check the voltage for sure. I really appreciate the fast response.
  • k_sidk_sid Posts: 3
    For anyone who happens upon this and wants to know the outcome it was a bad alternator.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    I'm glad you were able to get it sorted out with minimal fuss, k! Here's to many trouble-free miles ahead.... :)
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • bizlybizly Posts: 1
    Hi , I just turnned my '97 escort on last night and I've got no lights for my odometer,spedometer, radio etc. Headlights are fine just lights in the intrument panel are out. I assume just a fuse maybe but I'm not experienced enough to make that call and I don't know where or how to go about
    fixing it.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    Were they all working perfectly before? The lights in my '98 Escort went out over time (a short period of time, probably no more than twelve months), and it wasn't hugely noticeable until the last one finally bit the dust. This did not include the radio, though. So, if all of those did go out at once, it most likely is a fuse.

    To check fuses, there is a panel in the driver footwell area, just above the "dead pedal" on the left side, that includes most, if not all, of your interior functions. It is most likely a smaller one, like a 10A, but I don't know what it is called (and don't have the Haynes manual for it anymore, as I gave that to the new owner when I sold the car). If the abbreviated identifications on the panel don't give it away, you can pull each individually and look to see that it is good.

    If it is blown bulbs, they are fairly easy to replace, but do require that you remove the bezel from around the steering column and instrument panel in order to access the panel to pull it out. If you can keep it attached to its cabling, all the better. The lights are connected to little "caps" in the back, and I think there are five of them. Just turn each a quarter turn for it to pop out, place a new bulb in it, then re-insert.
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,417
    I'd only add that a short in the wiring somewhere is also a possibility. (from the two-cents dept) ;)


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  • Hi,

    I have a '95 escort that I've been driving for the past few years, that's starting to have some electrical problems. I'll list the symptoms I know about and the timeline as best as I can remember.

    Sometime a year or two ago the high beams stopped working. I can hold the flasher in and they work, but setting the column switch stick to high beam causes the lights to go off.

    I've had sporadic issues the past 2 years with getting the car to start. Sometimes I would turn the key and it would crank to no avail. It always would eventually start. It usually needed 2-3 minutes of "rest" before I would try again and succeed.

    Within the past 6 months or so I've had intermittent issue with the heater and wipers not turning on when the car starts, or just completely stopping while the car is running. They always either function or not function together.

    About 3 months ago my car just died going down the road. It was like the entire car just lost power. Pulled it off and started it back up and it ran fine.

    I've probably had the car die will driving happen 2-3 times since the first incident, but it's always started back up. Hell sometimes it would coast for a few 100 feet and then it would power back up. When the car dies, all the lights,radio,wipers, etc still work, just like the engine itself momentarily lost power.

    This morning it died again while driving. I coasted off the road and started it up again. I got a little further down the road when it did it again. Managed to coast to a safe spot to try and start it again. Except this time it wouldn't start back. I tried it 5-10 times over 10 minutes and it never started. Sounded like it was going to a few times, but never did. After the 10 minutes or so, now it would even crank or click when I turn the ignition. Heater,wipers, radio, etc all work, but nothing from the starter, just silence.

    My very novice thought (with some help talking with more experienced friends) is there is a short in my steering column and/or the ignition. But with it not even trying to start this morning, I'm not sure now.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 9,278
    Yes, it definitely sounds like it a short or a grounding issue; perhaps both! I think that perhaps the most frustrating thing about cars is when, mechanically, they are perfectly fine, but they succumb to electrical gremlins! And, inconsistent issues are the worst because they're so darn difficult to hunt down.

    I doubt there's much anyone can do from afar. And, even close up it can often be more trouble than its worth. The only vehicle I ever scrapped while it was in generally good order was a vehicle that had electrical gremlins. It was either get rid of it, or drive the damned thing off a cliff! LOL
    2008 and 2010 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup, 1974 Ford Pinto Wagon
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 2,417
    The headlights are likely a failed multifunction switch. You are turning the high beams on with the "flash to pass" function, confirming just about 85% of the circuit is intact.

    The shutting down, and now the no-start won't crank will have to be figured out in the order of get the engine to crank again, whether you simply depleted the battery, or maybe even damaged the starter trying to get this to fire up. Then someone can work to figure out why it quit. Everything is in play with that part at this point since there hasn't been any testing done.
  • So after work, I went back to my car and it started up just fine and ran fine the way home. Even made a quick stop at the grocery store.

    somehow that makes me more frustrated.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,417
    Electrical gremlins are like that :o


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