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Ford Escort Engine Problems



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    Hah! I should have read the rest of the messages before I responded!

    Odd that the fuel filter would act up only in the rain...
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have a 97 Escort wagon with 49k miles. I've had it since 25k miles, about 3 years.
    Check engine light has come on and off at least twice, but it's been a long time - at least a year. I remember twice thinking that the car felt excessively hot when returning home from short (30 minute drives) and made a mental note to ask someone about it which I never did (coolant was OK).

    Car has never got great mileage, 20-22 mpg, mostly local.

    Here are the issues - flaky temperature gauge will register correct temperature at cruise or at stop, but when I let my foot off the gas or the car shifts or occasionally when neither of those conditions exist, the gauge drops to zero - sometimes it recovers immediately, sometimes in a few seconds.

    Car surges at about 1 second cycles when at a stop when car is warm - IF the A/C is ON the idle is fine - if A/C is then shut OFF the car resumes surging when the cooling fan stops.

    There is some sluggishness getting up to highway speed - not terrible, but noticeable.

    There is a sound in/near the engine compartment while accelerating that sounds like the exhaust system, but there are no leaks.

    Plugs and wires are new, serpentine belt new, fuel filter new, air filter nearly new, IAC cleaned, throttle body cleaned, new muffler and pipes. No apparent vacuum leaks.

    Does anyone have clues about any of my issues? My next thoughts are EGR, O2 sensor, throttle position sensor, replace IAC, but in what order or is any one more likely than another. I don't see how any of those will cure the temp gauge although they could help the other issues.

    Thanks for any help you can give.
  • It could be the timeing has jumped and you need to replace the timeing belt. if you have never done this before it takes about 4 hours or so lots of little parts to take off to get to the timeing belt.
  • I have the same year escort and the same problem did you find any help on what it could be.
  • token2token2 Posts: 5
    1st things 1st is it auto or manual trans? if auto trans parked check noise in nuetral and put in deive, engine should have bout same idle, big change and noise its bad mounts. 2nd check is exhaust put ur hand over tail pipe if you here air excaping it exaust
  • I am getting service engine light on code P0171 system running too lean, In May of this year they replaced the converter when same light went on. Do converters go that fast again or can it be related to the converter and give same trouble code?
  • My 2001 escort has always idled rough when sitting at light or stop sign when in gear. Does not do it when in park. It smoothes out when you accelerate and have been told by mechanics that this is common in the ford escort? any one have similar experience and am I being told the right information? thanks Header1974
  • i have a 97 escort with the 2.0. the car drives fine when moving, but when i stop it will die wether it is in nuetral, park, or in gear. it doesn't die instantly, it will idle rough for a few seconds, then die. i have a check engine light on but when i went to have it scanned, we found that the plug for the scanner was bad. is there a way to access a check engine light blink code? or a way to bypass the plug? or does anybody know what could be causing my condition? (it has a brand new fuel filter, that's the first thing i did) i asked about the blink code at the local ford dealership and, all i got was blank looks, then an offer to change my scanner plug for a mere 5 or 6 hundred bucks!!! thanks a lot ford!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    Try cleaning the Mass Airflow Sensor, which is located along the intake line between the air cleaner and the throttle. It may be that the sensor is giving poor feedback. I experienced the exact condition you describe with a '96 Subaru Outback. It would also illuminate the CEL when this happened, but a scan of the system would not yield any codes (and the plug was working!). A knowledgeable mechanic suggested the MAS, so I gave it a shot (I replaced mine w/ a used unit) and never had another problem with stalling.

    As for the plug not working.... what is the problem? Physical damage? Otherwise, there may be a bad fuse that controls it. This happened to me on a Dodge Caravan - the link port was protected by a 10A fuse that had blown; replacing the fuse solved that hiccup. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • well, i was going to clean out the mass airflow sensor, when i noticed the vacuum hose to the fuel pressure regulator was in really bad shape...cracked up real bad, so i cut a piece of line and replaced it, and just on a whim i started the car, drove it for a few minutes, and what do you know? it ran great!! i guess it's fixed for the moment, but while it's fresh in my head i'm gonna clean off the sensor anyways. also i checked the fuse for scanner plug, fuse was good and i inspected the plug itself, and it appeared fine. i'm going to track this problem down though in case of future problems. thanks for your help i really appreciate it when people reply to the post quickly!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    That's fantastic!

    Vacuum leaks.... they're almost as bad as electrical gremlins. Hopefully your car is back in its 'A' game for a while!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • so i have a ford escort village 97,i have it for about a month now...the problem is that when i press the clutch it either accelerates till like 3000rpm and stays like that for a few seconds then it just dies unless u accelerate it while it drops and it drops preety fast either it just dies no matter in wich gear u are its happening often and often every day like at every stop or light i have to start the car again..plz help me out guys
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    I am going to guess that you either have a vacuum leak or a bad throttle position sensor (TPS). I have an intermittent revving issue with my Escort as well. Shutting the car off and then turning it back on seems to correct the problem for a while, but it invariably returns. Last spring, when the problem was very bad (no stalling issues, though), I replaced the TPS and the problem was gone. However, it has begun to return and is making me think that perhaps the issue is more vacuum-related than sensor-related. I am not sure, but since the sensor is $45 to replace, I am going to inspect the vacuum system thoroughly in the Spring before looking at sensors again.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • i am going to a repair shop tomorow and hear what they say
  • It could be the mass air sensor thats lacated right by the air filter. their is a spray you can buy for around 6$ at a parts store its a mass air flow sensor cleaner once you get that then take the sensor out and theres two realfine like wires on the sensor that get dirty when you get the sensor out just follow the directoins on the can. You will be able to see if its dirty or not.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    Yes, I agree that could cause the stalling. I have never had a tempermental MAS cause revving, though. Cleaning it couldn't hurt!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have big problem with my Ford Escort 97 2.0 135 k second time drop valve.
    Any advise. any machine shop or big company fixing those heads (any improve)
    That is my wife's car she love it. Same problem different valve #1 & #3.
  • Hi,

    My Escort has 275,000 miles on it (currently, 110, 000 miles on a new motor). It's been getting about 4 miles per gallon less than it usually gets per tank 28 instead of 32.

    Service engine light went on Sunday.

    Going uphill around 40, transmission will not click into gear. It does not do this on flat or downhill.

    Here's the code I get:

    MIL ON
    0 INC
    7 READY
    02 SENSOR
    02 HTR


    Can anyone help me this this?

    Thanks in advance,
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    What did you use to pull this diagnostic? Were there not simply codes, such as P0420, etc?

    Have you ever replaced the oxygen sensors on it? If not, they are probably pretty worn out and giving poor feedback to the emissions management system. That may be the most likely source of the poor fuel economy. I have 127,500 on my '98 LX and it intermittently gives me starkly poorer mileage. I also get a code, P0420 (Catalytic Converter Below Threshold), that leads me to believe the oxygen sensors are involved. I am going to replace them this Spring to see if that helps.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I have the same problem with my heat gauge. Did you ever find out what it was that was causing the problem?
  • orcabcorcabc Posts: 6
    edited February 2010
    2.0L, automatic, fuel injected, A/C, having a few problems. First, when I start the car up it runs fine. As the car warms up is will start to run rough, not while highway driving (at least not yet), only while sitting at a stop light or while accelerating from a stop. At a stop light it will run a bit rough the longer it idles then it will start to skip. After being stopped and I start to accelerate, the harder I step on the gas the more it will sputter. It’s like it’s not getting any gas and I can barely get any speed out of it. Then, if I let of the gas and try it again it may or may not sputter. It hasn’t stalled yet, but the problem is getting worse every day. I do not get a "Check Engine" light.

    The spark plugs, wires, fuel filter, air filter were changed in September and the ignition coil was changed today. Re-gapped the spark plugs a few days ago, they look fine. It was on a scope today and I have one print out. Said the negative was showing a spike? Or something like that and diagnosed it as the ignition coil.

    Other problems (related?):

    1. heat gauge goes up and down, sometimes will bottom out as I push on the accelerator, but have no idea if it is related. The gauge has a mind of it’s own.
    2. The high beam dash light will stay on some times when I dim the headlights.

    Any suggestions for a cure would be MOST appreciated.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    How long after starting it up does it start to show symptoms? If it is running fine before shifting to the "open loop," meaning it is using feedback from various sensors to adjust the fuel/air ratio, your problem may not be be mechanical but, instead, electrical. Once the engine is at operating temperature, it uses feedback from the mass airflow sensor, oxygen sensors, etc., so those may be worth checking.

    I had bad spark plug wires early last year that caused similar symptoms to yours, but they provided consistently poor performance regardless of engine temp. An ohmmeter showed extremely high resistance in two of the wires.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • There is no noticeable symptoms when it is cold. I can start the car, warm it up for a minute, and drive to work in the morning which is about 5 minutes down the highway and then about 5 minute city driving and it runs fine. It generally starts after the car has warmed up. It really doesn't like to sit at lights as it starts to idle rough and bucks every so often. After sitting at the light and I hit the accelerator a little harder than normal to go it will sputter like it's starving.

    I had the problem before the new plug wires so it's probably not that. I will look into what you suggested. This could truly be a costly find.

    After owning a Ford Festiva for 18 years, which was the best car I have ever owned, and running this used Escort for a year and a half I really can't compare. I understand the Escorts have many problems, looks like I bought into them.

    Thank you.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    Haha; I hear ya. While my escort, a '98 LX, is reliable, I have put 150% more into it than what I paid at the start and I have only had it for nearly 20 months now. Still, it is an incredibly cheap car to drive. With the new Festiva about to be released, I keep playing with the idea of replacing this one in another year or so.... :sick:
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • I can't say I get the greatest gas mileage, especially so lately. And, today my car made a liar out of me. When I started it after work it hiccuped a couple of times just after starting it. So, it does not have to be warm to give me problems.

    Just how much money is too much when it comes to fixing up older cars? Sure can't afford a new one even though that would be nice.

    I think you mean the new "Fiesta" being released, at least that is what is coming out in Canada. Please correct me if I am wrong...if they are really coming out with a Festiva remake then that would be awesome! :)
  • Wouldn't the 26 point diagnostic show that the O2 sensor had a problem? Same for the Mass airflow sensor, etc.? There was a check list that had a green check mark by these things. I have no idea how these things work.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    edited February 2010
    Fiesta - yes, sorry!

    As for sensors, not necessarily. They can be working well enough to satisfy the engine diagnostics (which is based on voltages and resistances) but still be providing erroneous information if they are fouled, dirty, or otherwise compromised. If the sensor is still "working" it often will not throw a code.

    You know, it does sound like the issue may be spark-related if your car had "hiccups" just after starting. Try observing the engine bay in the dark while it is idling and watch for spark - perhaps the coil has a hairline crack? I know you just put in a new one but it can't hurt. Other options include fuel injectors (dirty or not operating properly), fuel pressure, and sticking valves.

    How much is too much? Well, my opinion is that you would have to spend upwards of $4,000 a year on a "paid" car to have it cost as much as a new one, so if you are spending half or less than that much, it is probably a better investment. That is, however, assuming the car is generally reliable. Peace of mind counts for a lot, so if you cannot drive the car without worrying about it breaking down, you may consider replacing it. The problem, though, with buying another older used car is that you then have an unknown entity and may end up in the same situation you now find yourself, but with a car into which you have just sunk $4,000-5,000 to purchase.

    It's a gamble, for sure, but every car needs maintenance and has wear items that must be replaced periodically.

    Oh, and I think the alternator on my Escort is going out. It seems to engage intermittently all of a sudden and most of the way to work this morning my lights were very dim.... :(
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Spark related? Well aren't you just one smart cookie? LOL It turns out that the plug wires were not changed when I had the tune-up a few months ago. And, my daughter discovered it, not the mechanic. I think I will pay my daughter from now on. My car seems happy now :)

    I guess now it's to find the short (?) in the heat gauge, high beam indicator light, and tail lights. I have a brake light that is coming on and off when it wants to as well. I understand that there have been others who have had problems with tail lights too. I am not sure where to look but have to start somewhere so I guess it will be with the head lights as someone had suggested and then the brake light that works when it wants to.

    Yes, I guess you are right about fixing up cars. You never know what you are getting when you buy used that's for sure. I hope you get your alternator problem worked out. Are you in the US?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    That's funny (if not frustrating), but at least you have it resolved! Electrical gremlins are the worst; I could tackle mechanical problems one after the other and not mind it too much, but those electrical issues drive me up the wall.

    The voltage regulator had gone out, so I replaced it and all is good now (for now!).

    I am in Alaska (Fairbanks).
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • deerman11deerman11 Posts: 2
    I was driving my 1997 Escort wagon with a 2.0 engine on the interstate. The valves started rattling. I got on the ramp, put it in neutral and it quit running. Now when I try to crank it, the engine will not fire and is laboring to turn over as if it is out of time. It is not backfiring while it is turning over. I have taken the valve cover and timing cover off. The timing marks are correct and all the valves open/close so there appears not be any problem here. I am wondering if it is either the cam sensor or the crank sensor. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.
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