2002 ZX2 5 Speed | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

2002 ZX2 5 Speed

Discussion in 'Drivetrains' started by HunterM1, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. HunterM1

    HunterM1 New Member

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    I'm looking into buying a 2002 Escort ZX2 5 speed. The seller says that there is a problem with the transmission where you have to "search" for the gears. With that being the only details I have on the issue would anyone happen to know what might be going on and if it would be worth buying and fixing if I can get it for the right price? It would be just a beater to drive to and from work in.
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  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Im guessing that the bushings in the steering mechanism are worn out, and the shift lever has to be moved around pretty far to get into the right gear. These bushings are still available, and can be installed; but there is a fair amount of lying under the car involved.

    There are two rods running between the shift lever inside the car and that transmission. One of them just stabilizes the distance between the trans shift input and the shift lever. The other one moves the shift input to the transmission when you go to move the lever. Once these bushings were in good shaped, and you could easily find where you moved the lever to put it into a specific gear. When they are worn out, (and if things are somewhat rusty under there) you may have to move the lever around somewhat, to know that you are going into 3rd versus 5th or 1st, etc.

    Another factor that you should be aware of, is checking that the trasnmission has enough fluid in it. This can be checked by removing one of the hex headed plugs on the front side of the transmission. You didnt say how many miles are on this car, but draining out the old fluid and putting in new fluid might be a good idea too.
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  3. HunterM1

    HunterM1 New Member

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    The car has 240k. I'm guessing from what you mentioned above that the transmission is sealed with no dipstick?
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I wouldnt say its sealed, but on the LX Escorts, even in the 3rd gens, there is no dipstick. You take out the hex headed plug, and put your pinky into the opening, bent downward. If you feel fluid on your fingers, then its full enough. The trans has a vent to allow expansion of the air inside the trans, as it gets warm while driving.
    I check the fluid level in my 5-speed Escort once each year. I half to add less than 1/2 pint each 2nd or 3rd year.
  5. HunterM1

    HunterM1 New Member

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    Do you know what type of transmission is in these cars? I may end up having to see about getting a rebuild kit for it especially if they have been driving it with low oil I reckon.
  6. 4cylinder

    4cylinder FEOA Member

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    based on the description the problem is only the bushings for the shifter and the shift rod. I have provided an image of what it looks like. You will need at least 4 of these for the fix.

    since you did not post your location then your problem may also be worn out shifter housing. The rubber deteriorates on these and the shifter falls down onto the exhaust but check the bushing i have pictured first

    Attached Files:

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  7. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    With my 94LX 5-speed I had to sort of rebuild the spherical shifter 'socket' that the shift lever sits in. This allows the shifter to move in any direction, being guided by the control rod, which connects at its front end to the shift-shaft that goes into the transmission. The shifter socket had come loose from its support, (due either to rusty conditions of the parts under the car or very forceful shifting). I made up a plate to support the shifter socket, and used permatex RTV to replace the torn up rubber supports that allow the shifter socket to move a little bit. The small movement prevents vibrations from making the shift lever uncomfy to the hand.
    I asked at Ford and a few other parts sites, but didnt find anyone have a new set of shifter control rod, stabilizer rod, and the shifter mechanism. Thats why I made up a replacement shifter support myself. I dont like to think what it would have cost to have a mechanic to the work, as it wasnt a quick process. There were several steps, including extracting the shifter parts from under the car, putting in the new bushings, making up the new support for the shifter, and reinstalling.
    I did this when the engine and transmission were out of the car, though the extra room in the engine bay was not vital to doing the work.

    It would also be worthwhile to check that the shift control rod is bolted securely to the shaft that goes into the bottom of the transmission. There is a small bolt (6mm I think) that connects the two rods. If its loose it would add much to the mytserious mushy feeling at the shift lever.
  8. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    As mentioned, replace all bushings from shifter bed to shift rod.

    John
  9. HunterM1

    HunterM1 New Member

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    Thank yall for yalls help. The day I was going to go pick up the car this past sunday and the person sold it. I happened to check my phone to let her know I was on my way and she told me she sold it even though we had agreed on a time for me to be there to get it.
  10. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    This happens often enough with craigslist. It may have had more problems than they though, and they scrapped it or sold it to a mechanical type who convinced them it was hopeless. In the end you might have been sorry you bought it. Still Im sorry you didnt get it.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  11. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    You always hear about having to deal with flaky buyers on Craig's List, but I guess there's flaky sellers too.
  12. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I have had two occasions where I had arranged to meet at a neutral location (in front of a Walmart for example) and the seller didnt show. In one case I had the ph# and called, to learn from a different voice that they had sold the radio that .a.m. Supposedly.

    I only give a buyer my address where the item advertised was not mobile, i.e. a Honda Civic with no brakes and plenty of rust. In that case I sold him the car, got the money, gave him the title, and made it clear to him that the car was not driveable; not having any brakes; I had also removed the license plates. It would start and run though. So in the middle of the night the car disappeared from my driveway. I wondered it if had been stolen. Calling the buyer I learned that he had picked it up in about 3 a.m. and drove it away. He also admitted he had gotten on a long downhill on Franconia Rd. and had smashed into the back of a flatbed trailer to get stopped.
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  13. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    That's a "good" story, Denisond.
    Happily I haven't had really bad issues, but I mostly use my city's different online buying and selling site. I have got a different kind of flake lately. This type emailed me to offer a lower price on something I had for sale. I emailed back accepting the offer, and never heard back.

    Maybe next time I'll email back and remind the person to phone, in order that I never hear from them again quicker.

    I always include my phone number, my logic being that flakes usually email, and serious buyers will phone.
    Heck, I'm even in the "phone book"!

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