Ford Escort Electrical Problems

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
Dealing with a gremlin somewhere in your wiring? This is the place to work those problems into solutions!


  • nlamontnlamont Member Posts: 1
    Hi folks, 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.
    Any comments/suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    The headlight/dimmer switch is likely the culprit. Most of my vehicles have had dimmer switches, and the one on my 96 Sentra can be a bit touchy at times. I'd go over a rough spot in the road and suddenly everything would go dark. If I tried to adjust the brightness of the dash, I'd get all or nothing, and sometimes turning it all the way up would leave me with nothing. Turned out the dimmer rheostat had simply gotten dirty over the years. Rapidly moving the dimmer back and forth from all the way off to all the way on several times cleaned it up a bit and returned the function to normal.

    I don't think you're looking at a bulb problem since everything is out. It might be a fuse, but what caught my eye was the year of your Escort since it was close in age to my car. If it has a dimmer, run it back and forth a few times and see if that clears it up before you move on to replacing the switch. I'm certain that I'd check the fuses first though, since that's going to be a much cheaper item! ;)
    Most of the time you're going to find the fuse box under the dash down at the driver's side end. I'm not overly familiar with the Escort, but that's where I'd look.
  • tjb19tjb19 Member Posts: 1
    I have 89 Ford Escort GT 1.9L HO 5 speed, with alot of miles on but still runs good. Recently the tach needle started to act eratically and not register correct rpms. Ford dealer said nothing they can do to fix problem. No miss yet in engine. Please advise. Thanks
  • sam8thsam8th Member Posts: 4
    one of my back seat door locks hasn't worked with my automatic buttons for awhile and recently my hatchback lock started not working with my automatic button. same thing with the key fobs. nothing except manual unlocking works.

    these are unimportant things but a nuisiance to me. how fixable are they? and ... this:

    my glove compartment door falls down and empties everything out if i forget to hold it open.
  • ttomm46ttomm46 Member Posts: 2
    i had a bad starter asnd the last time i turned on my headlights when it was bad they they only work if i hold back the dimmer switch in the back position ill get brights if i hold in in place weather headlight switch is on or not.

    Now for problem number 2 ,, i was checking fuses and the fuse panel is impossible almost to get to...i don't know if i stuck a fuse in wrong or what but my radio only gets static and maybe voices you can barely hear....of coarse i had that problem one time before i i even had it worked i don't know. i can't find a way to remove the fuse panel and i wished i had a picture of what fuse goes where... hell i'm 60 and crawling and twisting to look under the dash is one serious pain...also no map lights....then i have to find my original headlight problem....cant figure the radio.. just static and no am to fm change either
  • ttomm46ttomm46 Member Posts: 2
    Does anybody know where the headlight relay is at?.. i saw a pix of the realay online and it has a fuse but i've lookid all over for it...

  • chadk2006chadk2006 Member Posts: 1
    I can't figure out how to get the blower motor out after taking out glove box compartment if you know what i'm doing wrong please help out if possible. Thank you
  • susssuss Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2nd hand UK version of this car and had trouble with heater blower,i took the fan out and bought a second hand one.I tried and tested all the wiring to the heater switch and to cut a long story short i joined a live wire from the cig lighter(red one) to the main fan switch and hey presto it works ,but make sure you turn it off as this is continuous voltage so will continue blowing even if engine is turned off.
  • msteinbrennermsteinbrenner Member Posts: 1
    Lookin' (grasping actually) for ideas here---about 18 months ago the car began having trouble starting--just dead (no clicks or power to lights or radio) w/o any notice. So I checked the battery terminals & cleaned & removed the corrosion & all was well again for a couple of weeks. Then it began happening again. I had the battery checked & it was shot, So I of course replaced it & changed the cable terminals @ the same time. This cleared the problem again for a few weeks, then it restarted. Once again, just nothing to the starter. Now at this time we noticed that w/ multiple attempts the starter would eventually engage & start the car. but over time the trouble went from an occasional start difficulty to multiple times a day. Took the car to the shop & it was diagnosed as a flat spot on the starter. I had that trouble w/ a car many years ago so ok let's change it. No trouble for 3 months & then the same old thing getting progressively worse. We put up with it until spring & took it back into the shop. they replaced the starter (new as opposed to a remanufactured) again. all ok again for 3months. The trouble then restarts & we notice that now the power locks are intermittently locking when the ignition is tried during these episodes. bottom line is that we have also replaced the ignition, fuel modules & alarm system on separate occasions & w/ each action the trouble has cleared for a time only to resurface in 2-3months. The last change was the alarm was removed by the dealership 2 months ago & last week the car simply stopped running while driving on my wife & she was unable to restart. 20 minutes later by the time I got there it started right up but then failed on trying to restart @ home. The dealership then had it for 3 days w/o any success in duplicating the trouble. Other notes: the car has approx: 145k miles but has no ( I really mean no) smog emissions. ---- my wife doesn’t trust the car anymore due to last weeks engine stall while driving & wants a new car now (she has been putting up w/ this for 18mos) but financial timing could be better. Any ideas? --mike
  • ottoman1ottoman1 Member Posts: 2
    Hi folks, I when turned my '96 mk6 escort on I've got no back lights,or on the dash board also the buzzer to let you know the lights are on doesn't work when the door opens.But my head lights,brake lights,radio,cigarette lighter still okay.
    I've checked the fuses & they seem fine.
    Could anyone help please as dark nights are here...
  • ottoman1ottoman1 Member Posts: 2
    i had the same problem,it's caused by a faulty light switch on the steering opposite the indicators. it has to be replaced... ;) :shades:
  • ambrianaambriana Member Posts: 1
    I have a 93 ford escort lx, 5 speed; I was trying to repair my driver side sun viser when I cut the wires to the mirror (apparently a bad idea!!) When I did that the radio died and the dome light and the two interior front lights (for the driver and front seat passenger), and possibly the trunk light died too (the trunk light sparatically worked before this). I've tried reconnecting the mirror (that hasn't lit up for years) but that doesn't help. I've checked and changed the fuses still nothing. The dash board lights and all exterior lights are still functioning. I also have a sun roof and that is working too. Any ideas on what maybe causing this and what to do or check?? I can deal with the lights not working but not having radio really stinks!! Thanks in advance for any input.
  • mstar67mstar67 Member Posts: 3
    We have a 95 escort 5 spd with a 1.9 engine. This past week our car totally died. Tried to start and nothing happened, we had headlights and horn but no radio and no clicking or anything. We checked the starter and it was fried. So, we replaced it and now all we are getting is clicks. Coming from the relays on the firewall. We have replaced them both and still only getting clicks. Still have lights, horn, fan turns, no radio. Took the battery and had that replaced and still not getting anywhere. Just clicks! PLEASE HELP! Getting desperate here! :sick:
  • madcityjackmadcityjack Member Posts: 2
    I have a '97 Ford Escort wagon with a dash light problem. Here's what I know - Every fall the dash lights start to "act up." (Is this problem related to cold weather?) This usually happens right after I've adjusted the brightness of the dash lighting (when will I learn to leave it alone?) For a few days the lights will occasionally come on, change brightness, and then go out all by themselves. Then its no lights forever more. I have waited as long as to March to fix the problem. At least part of the problem is the dimmer control and replacing the control module mounted on the dash fixes the problem. I have experience in replacing it. Using a chisel pry the trim frame around the switch away from the dash, breaking the frame. When the frame is broken away you can maneuver the switch out of the opening. [Be careful not to drop the switch back behind the dash face, I suspect it would be impossible to retrieve it.] Unplug the defective control. Plug in a new one purchased from your Ford parts dealer. [The price is skyrocketing, I've paid $27, $38, and last year $52 for a replacement switch.] Push the new control into the opening in the dash, it will click into place. Takes maybe 15 minutes tops. I have done this successfully four times, but don't yell at me if I haven't been clear enough or you are too forceful and damage something. Use care and common sense. {PS, a Ford technician told me to do this to replace the control.} Here's what I would like to know. Why does this happen? [I've tried contact cleaner and circuit cooler on the control with very limited results.]
  • madcityjackmadcityjack Member Posts: 2
    I see a couple things in my prior post that are not clear.

    The control that comes from the Ford parts department includes an integral frame as part of the control so breaking the old one off the defective control doesn't destroy anything important - it gets thrown away with the old control it was a part of.

    The control connects to a fairly long cable which will pull out from the dash along with the damaged control you are replacing. I've had no difficulty unplugging it from the defective dimmer control and connecting it to the new control switch. For me the cable has not tried to retreat back through the hole into the innards of the dash, but take care on this point as I think it would be as difficult to get the cable out from behind the dash surface as it would be to get the defective switch control out if you let it fall back behind the dash surface.

    When I refer to "lights" in my prior post I am referring to the illumination of the instrumentation (speedometer, gas gauge, etc) and the radio and clock, not headlights or tail lights or the interior lighting.
  • mstar67mstar67 Member Posts: 3
    I want to thank everyone for their suggestions. We have a neighbor whose brother in law came by and rigged a temporary wire from the cylanoid straid to the battery, it started right up. However it was only a temp fix till we could get it somewhere else. We did some checking around and found that an ANIT-THEFT system was installed. We removed this system and have not had a single problem with the car since. It appears that the anti theft device had a broken computer chip in it and that is what was keeping the car from starting. :)
  • 1bosshog1bosshog Member Posts: 3
    Can you please send me a dyagram. I have a 93 with same problem. Intermintent starting problems Iv replaced the relay on firer wall and also the starter thinking it was the silonod. Still same thing, it seem's to be intermintent some times it starts up and runs fine and sometimes it does not but problem has got BAD!lol Can you please let me no what post to run the wire to the batt there are the large post with nut or the little one that plug's on? please im in desprit need this car gets me to work! I NO WITH OUT A DOAGHT ITS THE SAME PROBLEM I READ YOUR'S AND I THOUGHT I WAS READING ABOUT MY CAR. And please if possble can you let me no where anti theft device is installed. Ill Be waiting for your reply please hurry thank you so much for understanding my dulema. With out a doght its the same problem.
  • 1bosshog1bosshog Member Posts: 3
    I ran the temporary wire from the cylanoid stright to the battery and my car firers right up also. If you could send me info about the anti-theft system uninstall Mstar67 thanks very much.
  • rgoatcherrgoatcher Member Posts: 1
    Hi, i have just tonight gone to my car and the The Dash Lights, Side front lights, Clock lights and Rear lights have all stopped working. In addition to this the Alarm has stopped flashing. I guess from reading your problem, i have the same. Please can you explain tome what i need to change and where i can find this thing. Bloody car. it's going after this. I had the starter problem last winter and now this. :cry:
  • 1bosshog1bosshog Member Posts: 3
    Have not had my dash lights or clock or rear lights stop working yet knock on All I did was run a wire from where the little plug/little post plugs on to the starter to a push botton thing used to start cars/truck and so. Find at you local auto store $6 then I ran 16 gage RED WIRE from the push botton start thing to the + side of batt. The reson you dont just hook wire straght from starter to batt is it will keep silonode open witch ingages starter so you use that push botton thing and when you push it complets conection of wire witch starts the car then let off botton and putter in gear and go. DONT LEAVE CAR IN GEAR WHEN STARTING THIS METHID BYPASSES HALFING TO INGAGE CLUCH TO START WILL START IN GEAR OR OUT WITH OUT CLUCH INGAGED.

  • dreamingofmoredreamingofmore Member Posts: 4
    I have a 91 escort gt with the same problems for me it is the speed cable and it happens mostly when it's below freezing. Disconnect the cable and use a powder graphite on the cable. First clean the cable with a cleaner then powder it up!
  • mrgrass100mrgrass100 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 99 Ford Escort, only owner. Recently, the alarm has been going off, especially in wet weather. The alarm is not even set, it does not seem to matter. It will go off randomly, then stop- then 20 minutes later do it again. Often, that will be the end of it- but at 1am- it scares the #$%^ out of me an the neighbors. Any idea on what the issue could be?

  • mznicole_in_ncmznicole_in_nc Member Posts: 1
    I recently replaced alternator and belt. But the alternator light isn't working at all, not even when the key is turned. What could be the problem? :confuse:
  • littleasianguylittleasianguy Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone know of a website that would have a good schematic of the stereo/speaker wire harness for a 94 escort LX.
  • harryrodharryrod Member Posts: 1
    have a 1993 ecsort 5 speed wagon
    Have a problem with turn singles, back-up and dome lights. When i turn on turn on turn single all turn single lights come on plus back-up and dome lights all blink: When I put in reverse back-up,dome and turn single lights all come on -
  • gillescgillesc Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 Escort Wagon XL with about 115k; still does the job.
    I'he had a strange electrical problem lately:
    when the headlights AND the rear defrost are on, the engine won't
    shut off. I turn the key to the off position, I get it out of the
    ignition switch and the engine, the headlights and the defrost are
    still on. At that point, if I turn either the headlights, OR the
    defrost off, everything shuts off. It is only the combination
    headlights-defrost that does that. If I turn the headlights,defrost
    and heater-blower on, and I turn the key to the off position,
    the heater-blower will shut off but not engine-headlights-defrost.
    Headlights-heater-blower, defrost-heater-blower everything shuts
    off fine.
    Any ideas !
  • yellowsnow1yellowsnow1 Member Posts: 1
    i have an escort xr3i 1988.
    when it's cold it starts fine,,problem is when it's hot the starter turns very slow and not enough to start the car.
    i've fitted a new battery,a new starter and put a new earth lead near the fuse box.
    can anyone help as this is starting to get me down now and i don't wanna get rid of the car cos it could be something really stupid.
  • grabasegrabase Member Posts: 1
    My fuel and Temperature Gauges are not working the Fuel is at center and the Temperature has exceeded the Red Line with a cold engine and does not move even when the coolant is hot. The engine is NOT overheating. I replaced the Fuse and disconnected the Fuel sensor with out any luck.
  • elmastoelmasto Member Posts: 2
    I have a 5 spd 91 escort wagon...and i have had this problem eversince I got it...just never got around to solving it.
    Only half the dashboard lights up. The left if i am driving in the dark, I can't see half of the speedometer. Any ideas how to solve it?
  • klerk183klerk183 Member Posts: 2
    The problem you have is the gearbox.
    Comming out of the gearbox is the cable for the tacho.
    Atached to this cable is this wheel, made of plastic and is worn in de centre.Replace this wheel would not help you more then a week or so.The problem is the gearbox main bearings.
    Greetings Siem
  • pos_escortpos_escort Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a '93 escort lx 4/dr and I go to take a ride at night but my dash lights wont work, can't see the spedo to know how fast im going. and ive replaced all bad fuses, whats the problem? also the cover to my fuse panel has vanished from the face of the earth according to the previous owner, so if some one could send me the fuse diagram so i know what fuse works what, that would be heller cool.
  • ndiamondndiamond Member Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Ford Escort. Last night the radio started to turn on and off automatically while driving. Before long I had all of my warning lights turning on and off. There was a distinct clicking sound as this was happening. When I got home I turned off the engine and restarted. At that time everything was fine, until I put in drive and accelerated. Then it all started all over. It is like a power surge is coming from somewhere. It has never done this before.
  • kw0mcskw0mcs Member Posts: 1
    The problem started with the radiator fan staying on with the car off. I noticed it when after not driving it for a few days, I went to use it and the battery was dead. I replaced the battery and as soon as I connected the battery the fan would come on and stay on unless I disconnected the battery. The day I was bringing it to the auto shop the fuel pump was also on with the engine off. They replaced a relay and it seemed to stop the radiator fan but not the fuel pump. They also said that the oxygen sensor was bad and they replaced that also, but when they hooked the fuel sensor up the fuel pump will stay on sometimes. They seem to think that it has something to do with the automatic start that I had installed years ago. Another problem is the service engine light is on and at times while driving the car acts like its not getting gas and hesitates or stalls at stop signs or stop lights. the car is a 1997 with 154,000 miles.
  • davef7davef7 Member Posts: 2
    Quote: Hi folks, I when turned my '96 mk6 escort on I've got no back lights,or on the dash board also the buzzer to let you know the lights are on doesn't work when the door opens.But my head lights,brake lights,radio,cigarette lighter still okay.
    I've checked the fuses & they seem fine.

    I have the same problem as Nick above and wonder if anyone can help me solve it.
    Thanks in advance,
    Davef7 [email protected]
  • flangwigflangwig Member Posts: 1
    I have an 1992 Ford Escort wagon. The cooling fan will not come on at all. I jumped it with a hot and ground wire and it runs fine. I replaced the 2 (hi & low) speed cooling fan relays. I replaced the so call " cooling fan relay" in the under hood fuse/relay box which incidentally works with the cooling fan and the starter. I replaced the 2 pronged temp sensor and I replaced the 2 relays at the eec as well as the eec under the center console under the dash. If I disconnect the eec from the wire harness the fan comes on low. When I pull the yellow/white wire from the low side cooling fan relay the fan comes on. I'm running out of places to look. I think it may be before the eec... What device and color wire feeds the eec too tell it the a/c is on (the low fan speed is supposed come on automatically when you turn on the a/c. the high speed is turned on when the temp sensor tells the eec the engine needs cooling. Any help would be greatly appreciated... Thanks in advance
  • misty7misty7 Member Posts: 1
    did you find out what was wrong with your car? I got in mine last night and the raido and clock quit as well as the dome light in the front and also the key lock on your keyring won't lock or unlock the doors when you press it. I was wondering if you figured out what was wrong with yours? i don't have a lighted mirror though so i don't know what happened!!!!
  • smcbirneysmcbirney Member Posts: 1
    try this 1, take the plug off the temp sender and see if the gauge goes down, if it does then the sender is the problem if not thake the plugs off the back of the clock pod in the dash and check the wires for continuty if the wires are o.k then you need to check which wire are giving a live feed, you should only have a pink wire which is live with the ignition on, if there is any other wire giving alive feed you need to trace this wire back and then you will find your fault most escorts have a bad problem with the fuse box this can be expensive to replace but don`t buy second hand it doesn`t pay
  • coolbreze4coolbreze4 Member Posts: 7
    Not really trouble shooting but simple question. Trying to change tail light, I see the two screws but how do I remove the two white plastic pieces holding it in?
  • dew_nothndew_nothn Member Posts: 1
    My fan also stays on sometimes. The only way to get it to shut off is to unplug the relay (in the fuse box next to the battery). Is that the fuse they replaced? Also have you had any problems with your battery light staying on even while the car is shut off?
    Thanks Dave
  • hassie1234hassie1234 Member Posts: 1
    A co-worker replaced my spark plug wires. The same day I was in heavy traffic and my car really overheated. He didn't place one of the boots entirely on and it was only running on 3 cyl.'s. Now my car keeps overheating. The fan stopped working. I've replaced the relays, some electrical stuff, the switch, the entire fan assembly (fan motor included), etc...It still will NOT come on! Any suggestions would be greatly apprec.'d!
  • jwhichardjwhichard Member Posts: 1
    i have the same problem can you help
  • liverpoolfanliverpoolfan Member Posts: 1
    :mad: Have an escort 97(R) the dahs lights, tail lights and number plate lights dont work have changed the multifunction switch( indicator column etc) and it worked for a short period have tested with and electrical tester everything seems to be ok the fuses are ok checked them except they dont test(the side light fuses) when tested with my electrical tester i get no response all other fuses seem ok.
    Can anyone advise on what the problem could be because i am stumped now and we cant really use the car in the dark or rain. No smug remarks about dont go out in the dark because thats what we are doing.
    Thanks :cry::)
  • indianrex1indianrex1 Member Posts: 1
    i have a 1994 escort wagon and we were driving and it all at once just quit and when you try to restart it all it will do is turn over but will not start .....any ideas
  • mickey_mac8mickey_mac8 Member Posts: 1
    I see you had the same problem as me on your escort....
    It is rainy and wet after a January thaw here in Detroit Mi, and our car is beeping every couple hours.....
    Did you get an answer to what may be happening?

    Here's your posting: I have a 99 Ford Escort, only owner. Recently, the alarm has been going off, especially in wet weather. The alarm is not even set, it does not seem to matter. It will go off randomly, then stop- then 20 minutes later do it again. Often, that will be the end of it- but at 1am- it scares the #$%^ out of me an the neighbors. Any idea on what the issue could be?
  • sam8thsam8th Member Posts: 4
    this has been happening to me for years. i called ford when i still had a warranty in place, but they said they'd never heard of such a thing. then i dropped the ball and the warranty ran out and now i'm just up the creek with the problem. it seems to be mostly in cold weather that this happens. my car is a 97 ford escort wagon lx
  • davej11011davej11011 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1994 Ford Escort LX with a weird problem.
    My car wouldn’t start at one point, and then only after excessive crank time did it actually start and then no problem for a week, then it did it again and it was once again fine for a week, then it did it again and I haven’t been able to start it since, now there is no spark, no fuel pump no quick power on self test through the dash lights (ie: now check engine light lights up for 5 seconds and then goes out once I’ve initiated the ignition process)in addition the automatic seat belts do not operate and I know it isn’t flooding out. So I need some help here guys anyone who has any ideas throw them my way… thanks
  • droitwich88droitwich88 Member Posts: 1
    hi i have got the same problem i was wondering if you have solved the fault. i would be very greatful if you could reply
    many thanks
  • davej11011davej11011 Member Posts: 2
    we did finly get it. it was real easy!
    it was just the ignistion switch.
    it had burnt the other three contacts out but not the the contact for the starter.
    i have been finding out that that is a common problem in the escorts.
    good luck
  • bellsouthpokerbellsouthpoker Member Posts: 1
    My brother n law owns a 1991 ford escort 1.8L GT and we are having a problem fixing it. Recently it had been running with very little power (i.e when going up hill it lost power and slowed the car down drastically). We were working on it, pulled the distributor cap off, noticed that the contacts on the cap were dirty, scraped them and put the dist. cap back on. Before we pulled the cap off it was running, just with little power. When we put the cap back on, it stopped running. Today we replaced the cap and guessed it, the engine is turning over just won't finish firing up. Anyone have any suggestions on what it could be?
  • davef7davef7 Member Posts: 2
    Hi, the problem is in the stalk/indicator assembly, you can get a used one for £15 or £30 for a new one. My advice is get the new one as it might be cheaper in the long run,I got a used one but that is playing up a bit so I`ll get a new one now.
    They`re really easy to fit,get a dumpy scewdriver to undo the stalk and a small "star" bit for the housing if I remember correct,the electrics are on plugs,just unplug,dead easy.Another good tip,find which fuse it uses and take it out before fitting and replace afterwards (I blew mine twice).
    Good luck
    Dave (Everton fan)
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