Ford Escort ZX2 Transmission Problems

obiwampaobiwampa Member Posts: 1
edited February 2020 in Ford
I have a green 2001 ZX2 with automatic transmission and all of the sudden, the shifter sticks in Park. I had to pop off that little cap next to the shifter and use a pen to depress the little lever inside. I have to do this all the time now and it has become a real nuisance. I hesitate to take it in for something so seemingly simple, (cash is really tight right now), so does anyone know of any simple tricks I can do myself to rectify this problem?


  • stunna2stunna2 Member Posts: 13
    yeah, mine did the same thing, it may sound crazy but all it was was soda or something that caused it to stick, but when I jerked it back I bent the pin, it's not hard to fix, just some plastic to take off.
  • magihmagih Member Posts: 3
    hey guys- my used '98 ford escort with 90,000 miles doesn't
    always get in gear. I gun it and it doesn't move. I'm broke. The ABS light goes on. I'm sorry I ever bought this thing-$3,000 last year. I'm spoiled with 200,000 mi corolla toyota I gave my son, expecting it to start having trouble (but zip!) So I'm stuck with ford. Would bus it but disabled.
    Could anything else cause the car not to get in gear?
    magi h
  • stunna2stunna2 Member Posts: 13
    Alright, so I have a 98 zx2 also. And the bad news isI'm on my third transmission at 178000 miles. But mine did the same thing when my first trans. went out. But I also have alot of play in my throttle cable which is causing some problems now. I can't tell you much but good luck. My trans was about 1300 dollars after labor.
  • ogilthorpeogilthorpe Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 ZX2, with manual transmission. Today it is in the shop for the 6th time for transmission-related problems, with only 117k miles on it. Just got quoted a repair bill in excess of $1300 to replace the entire clutch assembly. This in spite of an entirely rebuilt transmission going in just before 80k miles when Ford Motor Co. finally owned up to my powertrain warranty and "fixed" the problem. I'd gone through three clutches, dozens of phone calls, and many weeks in rental cars before they admitted the tranny was bad. The clutch underwent some more minor repair right around 100k miles, but here I am today, with another major bill to keep this heap of bolts on the road.
    I've researched the issue and firmly believe from my own experience and those of other owners that Escorts made between 1997 and 2002 have defective transmissions. The vehicles were not properly engineered. Dare I say... :lemon:
    If I were Ford, I would not stand by these vehicles and ruin my brand name. All owners should have been offered a voluntary recall with full credit applied toward the purchase of a new vehicle.
    As an owner, I cannot recommend strongly enough against the purchase of a 1997-2002 Escort due to a high occurance of transmission problems.
  • igotthisigotthis Member Posts: 9
    I have a 2000 zx2-automatic trans. Almost every time I start my car and I put it in reverse it jolts into gear(and no i'm not on an incline). I got around this by 1st putting the car in drive, to bring the RPM's down to about 1000, put it in reverse, and it runs smoothly. But then, sometimes when I am in city traffic(stop and go), and I have to brake hard but then I immediately let off the brake and depress the gas pedal(i.e.: stop and go), the car doesn't respond for a sec, then it jolts into gear.
    WHAT IS WRONG?? Is my car trying to tell me something? Please help me. :confuse:
  • bjohndbjohnd Member Posts: 1
    Transmission slips in '99 zx2 with 105k. Any experience with changing one of these? I've done rear wheel tranny's before but never a front wheel drive. I can get a used one with approx 40k for about $925.00. Anybody got any advise for me?? Thanks!
  • natebird99zx2natebird99zx2 Member Posts: 1 car does that also....its done that since it turned over to 98000 miles...its running pretty bad when its cold, revs high til it warms up, runs in semi neutral til it warms up...i think its the cold weather, but also it does it only when im up a steep hill......i think it has to be the trans filter vents are clogged so i gottaa change maybe you should do the same....tell me what happens if you do it

    i really dont think it is the transmission going though,........well.....i hope not
  • smokeyjoesmokeyjoe Member Posts: 13
    I have a 2001 ZX2 with 80K that I have owned since new. Only since last month have I noticed some odd noises coming from the car. When I hit 40 mph, there is a very odd rubbing/humming noise that comes from the right side of the car. I'm thinking it just must be the tread from my Michelin Harmony tires, since the noise is still present, though far less pronounced, at lower speeds. However.....I also notice that when I am driving from 40 mph on up, when I let off the gas the car slows down too is almost as though I am driving with the overdrive disengaged, though that is not the case. The car drives fine otherwise, and I have had no mechanical problems to speak of in the 7 years I have owned it.

    I have taken the car into CarX who couldn't figure out what the problem was, though they did note a slightly out-of-round rim. We swapped rims out and it didn't solve the problem. They also thought it could be the wheel bearings.....I took the car to Ford for a more definitive answer. They could find nothing wrong, other than bad wheel bearings on the driver front-side wheel (which is NOT where all the noise is coming from, and definitely would not cause the massive slow-down in driving at faster speeds). I hope I'm not looking at a transmission issue....?

  • boorocbooroc Member Posts: 1
    On a automatic trans you have to press on the brake to release the trans out of park,a sensor that plugs into the shifter in the trans releases the trans out of park once it detects you have your foot on the brake, kinda of a safty feature I guess you have a bad sensor.It looks like a little black box about 1inch by one inch. on the right side of the shifter councle if you could screzze your figer under the councle youll fell a meatle bar move the bar up with your fingers and it will come out of park that bar just locks it into park.
  • mmiquelimmiqueli Member Posts: 1
    Last February I bought a 2000 ZX2 from a dealer. :D
    In May my car started skipping so i thought it might be the transmission, so I brought it into the shop and low and behold I needed a transmission. Was without a car for almost 2 months before they could find a transmission for my car. A month later the whole process started again. The shop that installed my transmission was going to make good on the transmission that I had installed for over $1,000 a month earlier, but five weeks later and a rent a car for $1400.00 my car was not fully fixed. I got my car back, but was driving it and the lights started to go dim. then it died all together. I would put it on a charge start it up and continue with this process until I could get it home.
    My car was taken into a shop where now they say it was an altinator........bought a new one...................week later same problem................As it was in the shop again the electrical system blew. Got the car fixed and that night I picked it up the whole thing blew again, so back in the shop again!!! :cry:
    Now I have had the car for one whole year and have driven for about a month the whole time.
    Does anyone have any ideas to what I need to do with this Lemon :lemon: before I put anymore money into it. :mad:
    I have called the dealer to which I bought the car from last may and they told me there is nothing I could do!!!
  • belinda1belinda1 Member Posts: 3
    Could everything go bad at once on a car? I bought a escort zx2 new in 2001 and 2 weeks ago it started acting like it didn't want to go and started cutting itself off every time I had to stop that was really aggravating. Then it wouldn't get over 40mph. I took it to one person and he couldn't find what was wrong so I took it to ford's and the estimate was 2000.00 said it was the cam sensor and timing belt and sensor, oxygen sensor needs new water pump and some mor things so I asked about putting a motor in it and they said it would still need all these other things so the total price to fix it and put in a motor would run me close to 7000.00. I am so disgusted I paid 200.00 to find out that I need 2000.00 to 7000.00 to fix my car this is driving me crazy..........I can't afford another car but 2000.00 ain't easy either. I found this site and saw people talking about trans problems and now I am terrified iis it worth even trying to fix it..........Getting close to buying a moped
  • avos_5avos_5 Member Posts: 1
    as far as getting the car into gear with the manual transmissions, i have no idea. however with the automatic transmission i may have a suggestion, most of you seem to be complaining about transmission issues about 75 to 80k miles, about the same time that you should change your transmission fluid. my car is starting to shift roughly into the next gear when at 3.5 - 5k rpms, talked to my friend (a mechanic) he suggested that i change the tranny fluid, will post again with results.

    also, to those of you with an auto that are having issues getting out of park, that is usually (in my experience) a problem with the switch that tells your car the brake pedal is engaged so that you can shift out of park (a safety feature on many new cars) the switch can sometimes fail causing the shifter to stay put, and the button to fail to depress. many times mechanic shops will just remove the switching mechanism entirely to fix the problem.
  • owen99zx2owen99zx2 Member Posts: 2
    I Have a 99 ZX2 w/124K miles on it. After my car sits over night it wants to shake as if its not is enaged all the way. But after a coulpe of stops and shifts, to and from, First Gear its stops the jerking back and forth. Any and all help is appreciated.
  • hardeeboyhardeeboy Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 Escort 1.9 Liter. I just took it in to have the trans fluid changed and after I picked it up I drove home about 4 miles from the shop with no problems. The next day I am going up a hill and it slips out of gear for about 3 seconds and the engine reves. After 3 seconds it went back into gear. I have never had problems before and change my trans fluid by the ford recommendations

    I went back to the mechanic and he said it was not his fault because he did everything right. Could he have put to much or not enough fluid in or maybe did not disconnect and reconnect certain things? I am not a mechanic but if he did not change out the trans filter would that contribute to the problem also?

    Has anyone encountered this before? It only slips in drive not in any other gear.
  • anvil21anvil21 Member Posts: 4
    about 3-4 years ago I had my 5 speed manual transmisson completly redone.Well about 1 year ago while on long drives hour or more the trans. would pop out of 5th gear.Then I would have to drive the rest of the way only in 4th gear.

    Has anyone have or had this problem ? What could be causing it?

  • owen99zx2owen99zx2 Member Posts: 2
    I had a 87 Toyota MR2 and I was having the same problem. And what was found was the person that fixed the tranny had either left something loose or didn't realize there was a chip. Long story short, my fifth gear was chipping away and it was replaced again.
  • fordmanfordman Member Posts: 3
    hello i was told by someone recently the lever your mashing is connected to a small box on the side of the shifter say about 1inch x1 inch also do both your brake lights work you can use a 12 volt test light at this box plug on the shiter to see if you got juice to it then if you do my dear go to a salvage yard ford a ford escort or zx2 shifter grab the box put it on yours you should be ok now merry christmas ford man
  • JRQCJRQC Member Posts: 3
    Dare I be the one to stand up to the reliability of these cars when maintained properly.. but instead of bashing and complaining, realize you have a car that has so many high performance aftermarket parts available for it for.

    In 2000, Ford offered the ZX2 S/R. This model had over $4,000 in aftermarket parts as a paltry $1,500 option. Of the items pre-installed by Ford was a "Centerforce Dual-Friction Clutch". As one who had his clutch replaced at 88k miles for no good reason (worked fine but was upgrading to S/R spec suspension), I ask why not go buy a Centerforce clutch which is light years more durable than the OEM clutch?

    If you were not aware of this option then go visit and get the parts then have your mechanic put it in. I have the B&M short shifter and polyurethane shifter bushing too and talk about a night and day difference!

    Look - if it was good enough to surpass Ford OEM specs in 2000 then why should you question the durability of the Centerforce clutch?

    Also, I have used Mobile 1 synthetic since 2k miles and the engine has zero blowby on the rings, the compression on each cylinder is within 5lbs of original, and the internals are spotless (viewed when open oil filler cap). I change the oil at 15k miles and the filter (Mobile 1 part# 209) every 5k. Oil stays tan until approx 2.5k miles too.

    If you have not done so, run some Seafoam additive through your engine (full quart) for 1k miles then change to Mobile 1. Your engine will thank you for it by not breaking down.

    Hope this helps.
  • RatonyRatony Member Posts: 2
    I bought my 2000 ZX2 brand new in November of 1999. I baby my car and have kept it well maintained and serviced. I have less than 50,000 miles on it and was pretty happy with my car. Happy until last week when my “check engine soon” light went on and I started to notice a delay when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear (I have an automatic). Turns out I need my transmission rebuilt (Took it to Aamco). A quick search on the internet tells me I am not alone. There is even a group trying to bring a class action suit against Ford. Seems like the Escort, ZX2 and Focus all have faulty transaxles. Aamco stated it looks like a defect in the metal (Ford used cheep metal that eventually fails far before it should). I need my car so I’ll pay the $2,500 bill for a car worth only $4000. The one thing I learned from this: NEVER BUY FORD again.
  • anvil21anvil21 Member Posts: 4
    I own a 2002 Ecort Zx2 and it has been a nightmare. To let you know how bad it has been overall,the car has only 39.320 miles. The latest is I can not go out of town because after an hour in 5th gear the transmission pops out.Then after that I have to drive in 4th gear,

    During Hurricane Gustov I had to drive from Laplace,Louisiana to Houston and back in 4th gear.
  • izaclown1izaclown1 Member Posts: 118
    We had to out a new shift sensor in our 98 ZX2 just last week. It wanted to start off from a dead stop in 2nd or 3rd and would not idle because of that.
  • belinda1belinda1 Member Posts: 3
    I would love to know who is filing a suit against ford motor company and I would gladly jump on board my 2001 escort zx2 is a piece of s*** !! I have put a few thousand dollars into this car besides the 14,000.00 spent to freakin buy it. Just to keep it running enough to get me to work and back so if anyone knows who and how to sue them I will follow....I am still putting money into this car because I can't afford to buy another one right now..

    Belinda Bradford

    p.s. My Daddy worked at Ford Motor Co. for 26 years and all he got was cancer and died. They need to pay for something and I know he wasn't the only one..Out of the Sheffield, Alabama plant there was 2400 workers and now there is only approx. 400 still living and most have died from cancer.
  • RatonyRatony Member Posts: 2
    I am sorry to hear about your father.

    Just do a search on "Suing Ford Transmissions" and you will pull up a number of ongoing cases some involving serious injuries and deaths.

    I would also strongly suggest all to file a complaint against Ford at the following web site:

    Follow up on my car, only five months after trans was repaired the trans is failing again. Can I now be eligible to file a case under the lemon law? :lemon:
  • tonybrockstonybrocks Member Posts: 2
    hello all , recent overnight trans failure. trying to determine what happens & repair.
    80k on unit

    reversed out with a bang - going forward- noises until no further wheel movement- Towed home

    raised & inspected- no visible failure, axles& wheels spin in neutral , shift linkage goes through pattern ok, fluid is full * ok.

    day after- when cold trans will operate forward with noises ( like bearings grumbling) then stops movement when warmed up. noise gone - no more wheel spin.

    any ideas internal failures- pump,flex,torque ??
    thanks fellas
  • luvmyzx2ripluvmyzx2rip Member Posts: 1
    i bought my2002 Ford Escort ZX2 from a dealer in 2004. i was the second owner of the car. I RAGGED this car out for the last 8 YEARS driving from state to state , and i didnt take as good care of it as i should. This car had 40,000 miles on it when i bought it, now at 180,000 miles, my car has out last every car my husband has bought. The only thing i ever had done was a transmission flush and a filter change, because it was time for it not because it needed it. Sadly my car got rear ended , and now im on the hunt for another car, just might be picking up another one tomarow :) Sorry you had horrible luck , but this car has saved my skin many a times, and as bad as the accident was , my husband walked away without a scratch. :)
  • anvil21anvil21 Member Posts: 4
    Sorry for the delay in responding. To me Ford gets lower than an "F". My 2002 Zx2 only has 47,520 miles. It has been throwing serpentine belts at a rate of a belt every 7 months. Today I found out why. The idle tensioner pulley is bad.

    Still can not go on road trips because of the 2 time repaired 5 speed manual transmission that keeps popping out of 5th gear after 30mins of highway driving.
  • bbb2002bbb2002 Member Posts: 2
    edited March 2011
    Have a 2002 Ford ZX2 with 98,700 miles. When I am stuck in traffic, creeping along at 10-15 miles or so, it shifts down to the normal low gear (as it should), but when I speed up (to about 55 miles), it will not kick out of the gear it’s in. At other times, it gets “stuck” in 2nd or 3rd gear and won’t kick out of that gear. The RPMs rev WAY up. When I slow down or stop, it goes back to normal. And this problem happens intermittently.
    I took it to be looked at, and the mechanic could not duplicate the problem. The trans fluid levels are fine, but look a little brown. What could be going on? I am not going to put thousands of dollars into this car. If it’s done, it’s done. I just want to make sure it's safe to drive if they haven't been able to find anything!
  • petepekk57petepekk57 Member Posts: 1
    99 ford escrot zx2.automatic its been acting weird like delayed on shift times. to start off i have to put it in low and get it hight enough and then hit it into D. this still takes a minute because it revs up high then clicks in and goes. If i start out in D its just reving for a few minutes to and wont go anywhere. Reverse is bad too sometimes itll work sometimes it wont... so i thought it might be a vacum leak or the tranny checked both fixed the leak and just spent 800 on a used tanny and had my buddy put it in. I was hoping it would be ready to be sold the day the new tans went in but not a now im down 800 dollars and its still not working.. its still doing the same thing now fluid was good. but now its got a tans fluid leak so i have to fix that. Im not sure if the shift sensor next to the linkage or the linkage is messed up thats causing the shift problems? Any help please trying to get rid of this thing already.
  • sellsimosellsimo Member Posts: 1
    My car has been having issues with 2nd gear lately. I have to let my RPMs fall down to 1000 before it will hold. Even then, it seems as though something is preventing it from going into gear. Brought it into a dealership and they said I need a new clutch. Wouldn't I be having problems with all other gears if it was the clutch? I was thinking more along the lines of a synchronizer in the tranny....
  • baicasbaicas Member Posts: 1
    My car had a problem with the box that was attached to the battery grounding post, the wires busted off, and I was told by the mechanic that it's an obsolete part from Ford, so he had to rig one up, that is what caused my electrical problems, cos that box and wires controls the computer and electrical system in the car, if you haven't done so already have them check this out.
  • redneck379redneck379 Member Posts: 2
    alright i have a 2000 ford zx2 and im having tranny problems. the tranny was acting weird like it would shift to neutral when i let off the gas or went around a corner. but it was still completely driveable. so i took it to a tranny shop to see if i could get it fixed before something got worse. well they said the tranny was bad and it was 2200$ for a new one. well the cars not even worth that. so i said screw that. then i left there and barely made it home. and now after that is is not drivable at all. when i start now it goes into gear then pops back into neutral after about 5 seconds. it doesnt slip it shifts good and hard when it goes into gear. and my code reader said it was a solenoid. so i have no idea. i heard that the solenoids are right inside the tranny pan and there are 3 or 4 of them. so i thought about just changing them all. so i dont know if anyone else has had this problem or not.
  • redneck379redneck379 Member Posts: 2
    have you tried changing the transmission filter?
  • mkyek828mkyek828 Member Posts: 2
    Wow is all I have to say! I just finally got rid of my automatic 2003 ZX2 today and I can not be any happier! It gave me nothing but headaches for 5 1/2 years. I bought the car in 2006 with 42k miles on it and traded it in with 97k miles. First off my 1st tranny went at about 50k miles and was luckily covered under warranty. My shifter lock also always seemed to be locked so I always had to stick a screwdriver down there for the past 3-4 years def a huge pain! Twice after driving through a small amount a water a belt slipped and the car died... About a month ago the alternator died in the middle of the road and I was stranded in the middle of the road. $500 later im back on the road. Then maybe a week later my 2nd tranny has been doing the exact same thing everyone else has been describing, def not fun and not a comforting thing to happen when I have about a 1 hour commute each way to work. Traded that piece of crap in today for a new Chevy Sonic and could not be happier! To anyone even thinking about buying a ZX2 do your self a favor and DONT .
  • kgunfeverkgunfever Member Posts: 1
    iam having same problem mine delays from 2nd to 3rd it goes in 1st and 2nd good but when it goes to 3rd it acts like it wants to go from 2nd to 3rd then it goes in 3rd .did you get yours fixed.
  • mkyek828mkyek828 Member Posts: 2
    nope traded it in for a brand new car. I didnt even bother to get an estimate and I def dont miss it one bit. Do yourself a favor and do the same trust me its not worth it to get fixed, the amount of money I put into that car in the last 2 years just makes me sick.
  • jayman123jayman123 Member Posts: 1
    Hey, mine does the same thing. Did you ever figure it out?
  • lileskimolileskimo Member Posts: 2
    Every car has it's lemons no car is prone, the zx2 is a good car 100times better then anything chevy has put out pryer to the cruze, I have a 99 zx2 and love it bought it with 87k and now it has 124k only had to replace the alternator $150 and general maintenance, the alternator doesn't just go out like that it tells you when it's failing
  • lileskimolileskimo Member Posts: 2
    I got a tranny from a junk b/c the prev owner didn't know how to drive a stick now I couldn't be happier, it's pretty quick and faster then most compacts
  • IveGotTheSolo81IveGotTheSolo81 Member Posts: 2
    My problem wasn't even related to the transmission!! This took me long to diagnose than anything I have worked on before!!!
  • IveGotTheSolo81IveGotTheSolo81 Member Posts: 2
    Carefully removed the MAF Sensor clean it with MAF Sensor cleaner
    Allow to dry
    Reinstall MAF Sensor
    I hope this helps!!
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