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Ford Escort ZX2

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  • Hey all, I'm still alive, still getting used to driving stick. Certainly better, though I'm far from completely comfortable. Got a few comments. 2001 ZX2? Cool. No matter what the specs and reviews say, the ZX3 doesn't look anywhere near as good as the ZX2.

    Photog:

    About your auto trans car fantasy thing, I wouldn't recommend a used Hyundai. I've got a friend who works at a Hyundai dealership. ( he just went back there) If you're gonna get a Hyundai, only buy new (to get the free warranty, which shrinks if it's ever sold). You'll be making use of it. Other than that, I don't have any opinions. Supposedly Fords have terrible autos, in general. Though my 90 Taurus is still going strong after 100k+ miles. (Speaking of which, anybody wanna buy it????) If you ever do get something though, let us know. I might do the same one day, assuming I ever make any real money.

    Jimi:

    That's got to be a bummer. I didn't even bother test driving the auto. Even though it's been a tough adjustment to driving stick, the recommendations here steered me away from the auto. Especially the one story about how hard they are to work on (high labor costs). But really, when it comes to cars like this one that aren't produced in extremely high quantities, you can't always have everything you want. (I would have preferred the Disc Changer or the alloy wheels to the moonroof) But hey, it's cool. Enjoy the thing. It's still a nice new car, that handles great, and looks cool too. Just don't try to race the rice boys. ;)

    Ralex & everyone talking about wheels/tires:

    I know NOTHING about this sort of thing. But I have thought about getting different wheels someday. The swirls are *alright*, but the factory alloys are much cooler looking. So I guess I'd like to know, what options are out there for wheels/tires? Where should I start looking to learn about such things? Thanks!

    I must say, thanks again to everyone here. You've been great help to me and others, not only in deciding on a car, but learning about the little things too. =)

    MjC
  • ddoggddogg Posts: 13
    So basically, I could go ahead w/ the 16"x6.5" wheels, and mount 205/50s on them?
    Would this be intrusive to the wheel well (if you cranked the steering wheel to the farthest it would go, would the tire rub against the body?)
    What do you think the maximum profile I could go with on these rims? I'm also looking in to the 15" 1996 Escort GT 7 spokers, what would be an appropriate tire for this?

    Thank you
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    The same goes for the 96 GT. I went through this whole deal with my 94 GT first.
    As for the 225s, the wheelwell my not be able to accomadate them even with no load, so be double sure first, although everyone agrees these are overkill.
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    DDog, you might want to check that the bolt pattern is the same for the Contour and ZX2. While they both might be 4 bold, I think the Contour has a larger pattern and the Contour wheels won't bolt up directly to the ZX2 hubs.

    If they do, let me know because I would like to get some Contour wheels for my ZX2 too!
  • ddoggddogg Posts: 13
    I've checked quite a few online rim stores that sell OEM/factory parts, and I've seen the configurations between contours and zx2s. They appear to be the same. They both say 4 stud, 100mm(4 inches). This leads me to believe that they are universal fits for 4 bolt Fords. However, I guess one shouldn't be too sure. I'll e-mail my Ford parts dealer (the one who quoted me the price of the SVT rims) and double check.
    Thanks ralex for your in depth response. I'll keep you all posted.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    I am ever so sure you where all mystified by my strange discover of the Unlisted colours (Try not to Yawn too loudly). Well Today (actualy Sunday) I figured out part of it. It seems the Ford distrubtion centers have some colours of their own that are not listed AND they have different names for the more popular listed colours. Those of us who own Tropic Green ZX2s will be delighted to know that the "Tropic Green" is also known as "Amazon Green". Conversly those of you who own "Cloud Nine white" ZX2s will be thrilled to find your colour is also called Ebony White. Are you asleep yet?

    My source for this vertible fountain of useless, but mildly interesting information was a chance meeting with someone who works for Ford (not the dealerships). I ran into him while shooting some late night shots of some aircraft. It seems in his free time he is part of the support crew for several Warbirds that fly for the CAF (Confederate Air Force). As for where he works within Ford? You guessed it the division that deals with assigning the colours for the various cars. Now granted all this sounds a little bit funny, as I am quick to point out. However on his advice I had a look at the dealers delivery ticket (you know the one that lists all the "loose items" such as antenia and radio fuse, etc.) that was in my owners packet. According to this piece of paper, guess what the colour of my car was listed as? Amazon Green. So maybe there could be some truth in what he said.

    2001 S/R...
    While I had his attention I did ask him about the future of the ZX2 . The year 2001 IS THE LAST year for our beloved cars. Apparently as of last month there will be a new seriously improved incarnation of the Focus appearing in 2002. He did say that there MAYBE A VERY small run of Super S/Rs, as they still have a few new build S/R sub assemblies left. IF they do release a Super S/R (and he was quick to point out it is a mighty big IF) to make up for some missing items; they are going to borrow a couple of pieces from the Focus line, and use some left over Contour parts. Which parts he said he was uncertain of.

    He also said even if they do decide to release this Super ZX2 S/R, it may not make any news. It seems Ford has a special customer list, and these cars would qualify as "Manufactuer's Custom Cars". As result any that come out of Mexico will go to the lucky people on that list.

    Take the gentleman's words for whatever they are worth. Truth or fantasy, though he was dead on the mark about the colour of my car, and where I could find the written proof of his words.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    ...now, how to get on that list. I suspect Ford has me on a list alright, but not that one. :)
  • XLR8RXLR8R Posts: 1
    Does anyone else have a problem with a musty odor coming from the AC vents? I've read all the other posts in the other discussion groups in regards to this. Just wondering if it's a common problem with the ZX2.
    Thanks
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    I have never had the musty AC problem, but have heard others in this group complaining about it. It appears to have something to do with condensation collecting in the AC vents. It's unclear why some have it and some don't. It may even be regional (temp/humidity).
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    As far as I can tell, The 4 bolt Contour/Mystique wheels are 4 1/2 inches where the Escort/ZX2 pattern is 100 mm which is not the same.
  • dmoulddmould Posts: 76
    I finally saw a ZX2 S/R here at a dealer in Ottawa, Ontario. Pretty cool looking, although I was a little disappointed in the wheels. Waiting for my back pay cheque before doing any shopping for a summer car. Price with moonroof just over $22,000, red in colour. Would like to drive it to see how it compares to my girlfriend's Focus SE. I previously owned a 1994 Escort GT, but I didn't like the handling on it. I trust that the ZX2 is much better.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    The ZX2 S/R you will find better. no question.
    The regular ZX2 is actually very similar handling to the old GT's. The Escort GT was a very capable little car, with a very similar suspension, same acceleration and better brakes. I loved my GT even more then my ZX2, I'm just curious, what did you not like about it?
  • dmoulddmould Posts: 76
    I didn't like the 'passive' rear wheel steering that was built into the rear suspension of the 1991-1996? generation of Escorts. The rear end would step out at different times, and this is not a great thing in a front wheel drive car. Maybe I just wasn't used to it (and I had owned high powered rear wheel drive vehicles - 5.0 Mustang, etc.), but this led to me wrecking the car when the rear stepped out when coasting through a sweeping curve at about 100mph. The insurance company wrote off the car - $8000 damage to wheels, suspension, and brakes on a $17,000cdn loaded GT. I ran over the curbed median backwards, and this caused the airbag to go off ($1000) and one ABS sensor ($1200) to get wrecked, among other things. Less than 1000miles on the car.
    I did like the car other than that - great little engine. I hope that Ford has engineered out that passive rear steering in the ZX2, and everything I have read indicates this is true. I know from driving the Focus that the Zetec is a sweet little motor as well.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Do you mean the rear tires actually steered too? My 94 GT had nothing of the sort!
    I actually liked the 1.8l in the GT better then the 2.0l in the ZX2. Not as sturdy, but it seemed better quality - quieter and smoother.
  • dmoulddmould Posts: 76
    Some movement was purposely built into the rear suspension of this generation of Escorts to allow some 'steering'. It might have only been one degree of deflection in the bushings, but it was definitely there, including the 1994 Escort that you owned. It was supposed to reduce understeer, there by improving handling of the FWD car, but actually worked too well at higher Gs (higher speeds), causing oversteer. If you would have pushed your car often in the corners, you would have found that the rear end would slide fairly easily, sometimes unpredictably.
    I find the 2.0L Zetec in my girlfriend's Focus automatic to be pretty smooth and sweet sounding, but I agree that the 1.8L Mazda engine in the GTs was great. The 2.0L is not great on gas, either.
  • edswordsedswords Posts: 47
    I am getting 33-34 mpg with mostly 70-75 mph highway traveling in my ZX2 S/R. I think that is pretty good.
  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    For the most part, any of these small cars that are a blast to drive get 30+ mpg on the highway, not too shabby at all. Each new model is getting heavier though; can't beat the curb weight of those late eighties/early nineties pocket rockets. Doubt we will ever see a sub 2300 pound performance vehicle with 4 wheels again. Heck, even the Miata has gained over 120 pounds over the years... One of the best reasons to grab a ZX2 over a ZX3 from my perspective.

    -Beanboy
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Take a trip to europe and you will find some. North america is still hooked on the 'bigger is better' idea.
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    There is a method to their madness. They know that gas is going to get very pricey, very soon. They want to put everybody in a pickup or SUV now so that when the fuel hits the fan, everybody has a gas hog to trade for the efficient, lightweight, 3 and 4 cylinder cars they are designing, but not building now.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    I saw a white 1998 ZX2 on Thursday with a different rear spoiler on it. The car appeared not to have customized in any other way. Apart from this visibly smaller Rear Spoiler. Most likely a cheap after market addition. I think I prefer the existing one as this one had no style at all to it. Almost piece of flat fiberglass with square edges.

    Also if you have a sunroof be greatful it is a powered, or pop top style. I saw a customer of my mine struggle for a full 15 minutes trying to get the T-Top on her shiney new Trans Am today. Now granted the Trans is a world different from our faithfull little steeds. However when I went out to my car it took me a whole 8 seconds to open my sunroof. Versus her 15 minutes.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    Perhaps you are putting the blame in the wrong place. I've worked Z28 T-tops before, as well as 300ZX tops, and It has never taken me more then 2 minutes to remove the tops and store them. That woman might have been working them for the first time?
    I wouldn't get t-tops anyway because you have to store them in the trunk, and I hate having things in my trunk if I don't need to.
    Besides, I can get the Miata's entire roof open in about 12 seconds... ;-)
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    The T-Top may not have anything to do with the gender. This customer is a bit of a character. You know the type whom all the associates run away from or find projects to do when they walk in the door.

    Still I agree with Freddy, I don't think I would enjoy a sunroof that I have to stow in the trunk. I am surprised that they don't create some sort of powered version of it. There again I am relatively ignorant of the higher end sports car options. I like the looks and feel of the Camaro but I prefer it with the standard powered sunroof option. Curiously the Trans and the other sisters of the Camaro just don't do a thing for my when it comes to looks.
  • dmeldmel Posts: 4
    ...dangit. Owning my first new car has turned me into one seriously paranoid freak. I noticed a teensy almost invisible ding in the door (obviously from another vehicle's door) last week and I've been taking great care about where I park! This is insane.

    Yesterday I pulled too close to a curb in a drive-thru and be danged if I didn't scrape a portion the outermost edge of my driver's side front rim (swirlies!). Any ideas to make it purty again? Short of having it replaced? Can it be sanded down or something? Is it obvious that I know *nothing* about rims???
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    take them to a custom rim and tire place, they should be able to smooth out and polish the scrape.
  • dmeldmel Posts: 4
    Thank you kindly! Knew I'd come to the right place for help! ;->
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    MAny years ago in my Acura I banged the right wheel into the guide track in a car wash and cracked the hub cap badly. It only cost me $25 at a junk yard to replace the hub cap. Perhaps one of the two good things about hub caps is they are far easier to replace and the 2nd is they don't show the dirt of the brakes.
  • freddy_kfreddy_k Posts: 376
    I got pulled over for speeding the other day. Damn pulse radar! He came up to my car and asked if I knew how fast I was going. I said no, he said 30 over. I had just washed my car at one of those do it yourself coin wash places and the car was still a little wet. I told him I was just air drying my car cause I forgot something to dry it with. He told me that next time I should use the freeway, and that he'd better not catch me doing that again and let me go!
  • ralex2ralex2 Posts: 287
    I got pulled over for doing 72 in a 55 on my old Suzuki GS750ES one day. The patrolman had made a u-turn to get me, so I figured he was going to write me up. He looked the bike over closely while explaining that I couldn't do 72 in a 55 even if I was passing somebody. Then he said,"Thats a good looking bike. How fast will it go?"

    I smiled, looked him straight in the eye, and said politely, "Seventy-two !" He laughed and sent me on my way ticket free.
  • photog0264photog0264 Posts: 314
    Freddy did the cop give you the ticket, or just the stern warning?

    In the spirit of good fun...
    My favourite two tickets occured in my reckless early 20s. The first was when I parked my brown BMW illegaly in Old Town Alexandria. The only problem was on that particular day I was with my parents on the ocean liner QE2 half way between the US and the UK. Six weeks later when I was back state side I got a letter threatening me with a suspension if I didn't reply at once. I called the Police Department to ask them about the ticket that they said I had recieved. Their reply was I will just have to go to court and try to fight it in front of the judge. After a couple minutes of not even listening to me the silly cow rung off. So I called back and asked for a Superviser. Where I explained to him:

    Number 1. I have never owned a BMW let alone a brown car (at that time I owned a white Mazda GLC).

    Number 2. That it was phyiscaly impossible for me to have even been in Alexandria as I was on that very day 3000 miles out in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean. What's more if they insisted upon dragging me to court I would be more than happy to provide phyisical proof of my where abouts at the time of the offense.

    At the end of all this he apologised for bothering me, and told me don't worry about the ticket, as it will be taken care of. The cause of all this was a cop with very bad hand writing , it seems the "D" in my license plate was mistaken for an "O" by the clerk of the court.

    My second favourite ticket was also in the GLC. While coming back from vacation I was stuck behind a line of trucks. I saw a chance to overtake them so I floored it. The only problem was smack in the middle of them was a North Carolina State Trooper. I didn't even bother to see if he had got me; as soon as I cleared the trucks I just pulled over and waited. A few seconds later the police officer was asking me if I knew how fast I was going. I said 65mph as that was the top speed of my speedometer. He said try again. I said in that case I honestly don't know as my speedometer only went that high. He walked me back to his cruiser and showed me his radar gun which said 87mph. My reply was cute if not especialy original. "Thats impossible as the car won't go that fast". He wrote me up for 65mph in a 55mph zone, with of course the appropriate warnings. His logic was "well we can agree that you where doing 65mph" so thats what I got.


    Just to make this into a ZX2 dialogue; how is this for frustration. LAst Saturday I went all out and polished up my ZX2 and really did make her shine. I felt so proud of how clean she looked. The next day I went to an Airshow and while driving out of the grassy parking area, some drip comes along in a 4x4 and aims for a roped of area that is deep in mud. You guessed a huge splash and my car is covered in the stuff. Damn what an unholy mess it made of my car. Thankfully I had only just closed the windows and sunroof because me car was really caked in it. Sunroof to tires, nose to spoiler thick gooey brown mud. For a few seconds Murder went through my mind following this. My wheel wells still have some mud in them. I think I am going to have to go to one of those car washes with the high power spray guns to get it all off.
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