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91-95 Ford Escort Sedan

smbutlersmbutler Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Ford
Thinking of buying a 95 Escort. Any words of


  • dhoffdhoff Posts: 282

    I used to own a 1991 Mercury Tracer (same as the Escort). I just sold it last year (to a relative) with about 158,000 miles on it. It still ran great, got great mileage and burned no oil.

    I did almost all the preventative maintenance myself. I changed the oil & filter about every 3,000 miles, coolant and fuel filter at 60,000. Had the timing belt and water pump replaced around 100,000.

    It was a surprisingly reliable car. I did have to replace the outer tie rod ends a couple of times, the alternator around 85,000 and the O2 and TP sensors around 90,000. It was a 5 speed with the 1.9 liter engine. It wasn't a powerhouse by any means, but with the stick it was OK. Not what you'd call fun to drive, but cheap, reliable transportation.

  • dhoffdhoff Posts: 282
    Now I'm sure the host will refer you to the Sedans Conference and freeze this topic....

    Good luck.
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    The Sedans topic is the best place to get a wide range of opinions on this car. Was 1991 - 1995 a particular generation of Escorts?? A 4 year product cycle seems short for a "World Car".

    Bruce. your new host.
  • tomsrtomsr Posts: 325
    I'll share this experience not as the owner but
    as the father of the owner.In 94 my fresh out of college son wanted a new car so he got a 4dr LX
    it first had a bad cv boot and splattered grease
    all over.At about 80000 miles the timing belt broke.Besides brake jobs it was okay till 132000
    miles and the engine burnt up because of a lack
    of coolant.We replaced the engine with one from
    a wreck with low miles.It cost us $2000 including
    labor.Now the ignition switch died.It cost $230
    parts and labor.So looking back I think we should
    have got a Honda Civic and maybe it would not had
    these problems.
  • I don't think owning a Civic would have brought you better luck, Tomsr. The timing belt needs to be changed at 60,000 miles anyway. If I understand you right the engine burned up due to lack of maintenance ( no coolant ). And you still got 132,000 miles from the car.
  • dhoffdhoff Posts: 282
    The owner's manual for the 1.9 engine does not specify that you ever need to change the timing belt (at least my 91 didn't). The good thing is that it is not an interference engine, so if the belt does break, the engine stops but it does no internal damage.

    I replaced the timing belt on my 91 at around 100,000 miles, and after inspecting it, it was due for a change. I had the water pump and serpentine belt replaced at the same time.

    You are taking a gamble no matter what kind of car you buy! Every manufacturer makes some lemons. But keeping up on maintanence goes a long way toward making a car last.

  • On my 89 Probe it is recommended to change the belt at 60k so I thought the Escort would be the same. I guess I was wrong.
  • I'm buyin my first car and I'm only 17 I know little to nothing about cars and I heard that Ford escorts are pretty good little cars. I found one for $3,200.00 and I was wondering if I am getting a good deal. Its never been in a wreck. 97,000 miles on it. Kept in wonderful shape. So any info would be very greatful. Thanks.
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335

    Have you posted this in the sedans conference? There is also a topic in hatchbacks. If you do a "Topic Search" for escort you will find lots of topics.

    Good luck,

    Your host, Bruce
  • Tomorrow I will be trading in my 1990 Toyota Tercel for a 1992 Ford Escort LXE. I love the LXE model because it is not a hatchback, but I am wondering if I am doing the right thing. My Tercel has been good to me but is begining to rust and have some mechanical problems. As well, space is limited for extra passengers or cargo. The Escort is in great shape but I am worried because I heard that there are problems with the transmissions in these Escorts and that it is hard to find one and very expensive to replace. Further more, occassionally when the Escort is ideling, it will start to shake then stop and start again. My mechanic told me not to worry about it and the dealer assured me that they would correct this problem, but I still feel a little uncomfortable. This will be my second car and I will be paying it off for a while. I don't want to be stuck with a piece of junk. My parents own a '94 Escort LX wagon and they haven't had any problems with and I love Escorts. If anyone has any advice for me whether to buy or not or any ideas or what they think of their Escort I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
  • shiner1shiner1 Posts: 1
    I have a '93 Escort LX with 70K miles. I've owned the car for 5 years, bought it with 15K on it. It's been a great, reliable car. Within the past few months, however, I've been having a consistent problem. Whenever I'm driving between ~50-70 mph, the car hesitates and shakes if I don't keep constant pressure on the accelerator. So if I'm driving and I let up or push down on the gas *at all*, the car kind of jerks and sputters. this will happen for a few seconds or until I nail the gas pedal to the floor. The check engine light comes on all the time, not just in association with this gas pedal problem. I read through the "check engine light" topic list and it sounds as though this may just be Ford's way of telling me that I should bring my car in for its 60K check-up. But I am concerned about this hesitation in the engine. Someone mentioned that it might be the timing belt, but while Ford recommends changing that at 60K, most people say that you shouldn't have to change it before 100K. I don't want to have to spend all that money to change the timing belt if that's not the problem. Any ideas before I head to a mechanic without any clue about why my car is doing this??

  • tomsrtomsr Posts: 325
    I helped my college bound son buy a new 94 Escort.
    It would have been reliable if he had done maintenance but his idea of maintenance is putting gas in it.He did not have the timing belt replaced on time so it broke.Aside from brakes
    and tires it was uneventful till 130K miles when
    something caused it to lose coolant and the engine
    self destructed.We had a used engine installed
    and it is running good again.Original transmission
    works okay.The ignition switch burned up last month.The body and interior are holding up and
    considering he never cleans it's surprising.
  • I recently bought a 1992 Ford Escort. When I took it for a test run, every time I would stop after accelerating, the car would die down, then race up, and start to shake. I brought it back to the dealer who said they would replace it. It turned out that the problem had nothing to do with the engine or anything. There were sensors in the computer that were gone. The part to fix it was over $250 Canadian. So if I were you I would have the computer checked. Also, it would be worth the money to bring the car to a garage and have a computerized analysis done. That is how they found the problem with my car. Hope this helped.
  • newbie4newbie4 Posts: 6
    Hey! I had a 94' Ford Escort LX Sedan with the shaking problems at 75 to 80 mph! (after 80 mph it stopped) As it was so high on the speedometer, most of the time it never affected me, but it was constantly there from the time I bought the car at 19,000 miles! Wow! I just now discovered this might have been a natural Ford trait and not just my car's "distinctive character". And yeah! that check engine light thing - I saw that too! Whoa! (I feel like Kenau Reeves: "I am the Matrix/Escort" -all part of the grand design!)
  • Hmm, I've had a problem recently with my light, which started coming on about the time I moved from California to Denver. Apparently something that regulates the fuel mix is malfunctioning, it's running a bit rich, but the car seems to be running OK, still getting good mileage. Also, the coolant gauge is reading higher than it should, looks like another sensor.
  • newbie4newbie4 Posts: 6
    The check engine light turned out to be more scary than a problem. After three trips to the oil change place, someone finally got turned it off permanently (probably ripped out the fuse wires - HaHa!). BUT - now that you mention it, my car also had a tendancy to run hot starting about 50,000 miles. Two different mechanics gave two opinions: one said to "scrap the rust off the inside of the radiator for $2,000.00" - Yeah, right! (that was sarcasm from me). The other said to replace the temp thermo gauge - and the problem magically disappeared!

    Oh well, I guess my secret is out - I'm not the mechanical type, just an average joe driver.
  • aichezhuaichezhu Posts: 6

    I have posted a message in a new topic list before, but that topic mysteriously disappeared yesterday. Anyway, I am looking into one with 55K on it. The brakes squeals when pressed, the seller says the sound will be gone when the new pad wears away. I remember a post some time ago that someone had the similar problem and the sound woulnd't go away. Anyone who had such experience? The fluid of the car's automatic transmission is light brown, that is supposed to be reddish, right?

    Besides, are there any other parts which need replacement in the near future with the car at this stage? Any advise and inputs appreciated.
  • spectre3spectre3 Posts: 67
    did you see my last post in your new category??

    its time for a radiator flush and refill and new thermostat.(if the seller has not done it already).
    flush the brake system completely with new fluid if the fluid looks dark in the master cylinder reservoir..
    check the spark plugs, inspect the spark plug wires.
    pick up a haynes manual on this car. it will give you a list of what needs to be done for routine maintenance.

    these cars are pretty common and plenty are for sale at least in my area.

    i think i would have this car professionally looked at before buying ,if i were you..

    brown trans fluid, possible brake problems and a no-start when warm at 55k.. this could wind up costing you quite a bit to take care of....
    it doesn't sound as if proper maintenance was done to this auto.

    i think i would shop around.

    my 95 escort has no none of the problems you mentioned.

    if the seller has thrown on a set of cheap pads, odds are the brakes will always squeal.

    was he qualified to do the work?? their are shims and clips that must be in place after the pads are changed. the rotors MUST be turned usually...

    good luck!!

  • hugo1966hugo1966 Posts: 7
    I have a 1995 Escort LX with 66,000 miles. No problems until my speedometer started wandering above 55 MPH. I have had the speedometer replaced twice with a used part. The problem remains. A bump in the road can set it off or if I hit the dash with my hand it will start or if it has started it will stop it for a short while when I hit the dash. It is worse when it is cool. Never had this problem with the 5 Escorts my family has owned.
  • spectre3spectre3 Posts: 67

    this might be a problem with 95's. mine has a mild case of what you describe. 63,000 miles.
    i just put up with it... if it gets worse i may replace the speedo with a new one.

    i also have had other escorts that didn't have this problem(different years).

    i am curious if you are having your ford dealer service the problem???

    best wishes,

  • hugo1966hugo1966 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the info. I has the speedo replaced by a mechanic I have used for years. Never had a problem with him. The first replacement was worse then the one he took out. The second is better, but still has problems--must be the model. I hate to think how much a new one would cost, but I may have to do that. Also, I looked at a Focus--I was not impressed. Its geared for teeny boppers. Later
  • hugo1966hugo1966 Posts: 7
    Thanks for the info. I has the speedo replaced by a mechanic I have used for years. Never had a problem with him. The first replacement was worse then the one he took out. The second is better, but still has problems--must be the model. I hate to think how much a new one would cost, but I may have to do that. Also, I looked at a Focus--I was not impressed. Its geared for teeny boppers. Later
  • dhoffdhoff Posts: 282
    I had a similar problem with my 91 Tracer (which is the same as the Escort).

    I did have the speedo head replaced under warranty when the car was about a year old. After that, in cold weather, it would read WAY high. And it seemed the colder it got, the higher it would read.

    I remember one -15F day, driving on my street at
    about 25 mph, it read 50 mph.

    It did get better as the car warmed up. I never
    bothered to do anything about it.

  • crieckecriecke Posts: 37
    Anyone had this condition: Cooling fan never
    running even with the temp gauge at the hi end of
    the normal range but not in the red?

    Fan runs ok when I turn on the A/C.

    Any idea at what the temp is when the gauge reads
    that high, book says at 220 F the low speed is to
    come on and at 230F the hi speed runs.

    Any info. about the fan will be of interest to me.

    Thanks Charlie
  • spectre3spectre3 Posts: 67
    is it possible the water temperature gauge is not accurate?

    you could measure the actual coolant temp in the radiator(carefully). if it is actually running too warm , then i would check:

    1) thermostat
    2) fan switch
    3) fan motor (you say it is running?)

    the reason i include the fan motor even though it runs when the air is on:

    my son's 93 mustang lx 4 cylinder also started overheating.
    his car ran too warm according to the temp gauge and the fan also ran when he turned the air on.

    we changed out the obvious things , thermostat, then fan temp switch.

    it still ran too warm....

    it was the fan motor after all.
    is there two circuits to the motor? i wonder. this was diagnosed and replaced at the ford garage, and replacing the motor solved his problem.

    are you losing coolant somewhere and can't figure out where its going? that could be bad news.

    does the gauge drop to the normal range when the car is in motion?? my gauge reads about 1/2" to 3/4 " from the cold side, when at operating temperature at all times.. i expect this to be close to normal.
    i am not an ase certified mechanic or anything, but i wouldn't wait too long to have it checked. a real overheat could wind up costing you plenty..

    good luck,

  • crieckecriecke Posts: 37
    Bingo., further test showed the gauge reads high.

    Measured the temp of the coolant at the thermo
    housing and not hot enough to turn on fan.

    Blocked rad. and let it get up and fan came on.

  • km1996km1996 Posts: 3
    I drive a '93 Ford Escort LX hatchback with 94K miles on it. For the first 5 years/75K miles, the car's performance was nearly trouble-free. I have conscientiously maintained it with every factory- recommended maintenance procedure with the sole exception of having the timing belt changed, which I plan to do very soon. Here's my problem: about 2 years ago the Check Engine light started to come on & stay on. I was worried so I took it to a mechanic my insurance agent recommended. They ran 2 engine diagnostic tests and said there was nothing wrong with the engine. They said the Check Engine sensor may have been damaged and did recommend an complete engine tuneup, which I immediately scheduled & paid for. IMMEDIATELY after taking getting my car back, it started violently jumping and hesitating when I drove over 55 mph (I coped by simultaneously putting my foot on the clutch & letting off the gas pedal). I immediately returned to the mechanic to describe what had happened. The mechanic told me it was probably condensation in the gasoline and that it would go away when I filled up my gas tank (since this happened on a hot summer day, I figured it was a plausible explanation). The mechanic also told me to stop using 87 octane gasoline and start using 89 or 93 octane from then on (which I've done). For the next 2 months, the car jumped & hesitated at high speeds even with multiple tank changes of 93 octane gasoline. When cooler weather came, the problem ended as abruptly as it began. The next 2 summers the problem reappeared. Also, I've recently had the very worrisome experience of having the car totally die when I stop at a stop light or slow down on an exit ramp (this seems to happen only when the weather is very hot). This has happened about 4 times in the past month, but each time the car re-started immediately. Has anyone had this/these problems and had them resolved satisfactorily? It sounds from other posts that it might be a sensor/computer problem, but I'm wondering if the timing belt could also be a factor. Advice is greatly appreciated! (PS, the Check Engine light STILL flicks on every time I drive!)
  • crieckecriecke Posts: 37
    I hope you told the ins. agent to stop sending
    people to that tech. Charlie
  • spectre3spectre3 Posts: 67
    i agree whole heartedly with criecke...
    i wouldn't send someone i didn't like to that garage!!

    i have a 95 escort lx and replaced the timing belt & waterpump at roughly 62,000 miles.

    odds are its not the timing belt causing your problem.

    if your owners manual doesn't say it(the timing belt) needs replaced at the 60,000 mile interval, then you might have the newer styled round tooth timing belt which seems to last longer than the old style flat toothed design.

    i had an 86 escort with the old style belt and it broke at almost exactly 60,000 miles.
    dummy me, i didn't replace the water pump at the same time, and it(the pump) seized up at 65k and took out my new timing belt. so i had to pay for it all over again!!(i learned a good lesson).

    the gates (timing belt mfg) website recommends replacement at 60,000 miles for both of our vehicles. it should be of some comfort to you to know that these years of the 1.9 L engine are not the "interference" type. so, if you decide to drive the car until the belt breaks the engine should not suffer any internal damage, but you might have a long walk in the rain sometime.

    granted, the gates company is in the business of mfg belts and hoses, but i followed their advice.

    i believe(imho), its always a good idea to replace the water pump at the same time, because if the pump fails later you also will be replacing the timing belt again most likely.

    i am very picky about maint, so i also flushed the radiator and replaced the thermostat when replacing the belt/waterpump.

    do you have a friend that has a ford code scanner? it is easily snapped into the diagnostic port and should tell you if there is a sensor problem or sometimes if the computer itself is faulty. if you are not mechanicly inclined, find a good mechanic and let him run the diagnostic check for you. there are so many things it could be. the code scan should narrow it down or help identify the problem.

    just my two cents....

    good luck,

  • km1996km1996 Posts: 3
    Thanks for the advice! I am NOT mechanically competent, unfortunately, and am a woman so I harbor intense suspicions of all mechanics as I've had & heard of horror stories of being ripped off by unscrupulous mechanics. It's my own fault -- I should take a couple of comm. college courses on learning ones way around an engine. I did trust my insurance agent (Geico) to give me a reputable place for work to be done, but obviously the mechanic who did the work jerked me around. I will try to find a good mechanic to run another diagnostic test.
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