2003 ZX2 Project | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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2003 ZX2 Project

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by OvalSports, May 3, 2020.

  1. OvalSports

    OvalSports FEOA Member

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    Hello, and glad to see some other active ZX2’ers out there,
    I had bought a silver 2002 ZX2 new and loved style and the handling after some mods. - should have never sold it.

    A couple months ago I picked up a silver 2003 ZX2 manual w/sliding sunroof to work on with my kids. Plan is street use then track.
    The shifter was extremely loose, the engine stuttered pretty bad at idle, and radiator fluid showered the interstate 60 miles homeward bound.
    It has a small door ding, chipping clear coat on the rear bumper, small hood dent, and minor surface rust in the nooks & crannies. Full paint job will come to include around truck and hood jams.


    Upgrades over the last couple months:

    1. First upgrade was metal shifter rod bushings since the original plastic/nylon bushings were non existent. Upgraded the actual shifter bushings with energy suspension polyG’s. The shifters feels awesome and there’s no more guessing what gear you are in or go into!
    2. Upgraded the thermostat housing and the blown outlet to a metal housing (made after market for the focus’s). This required screw in sensors in lieu of the original clip-ins and a 1997-1998 plastic outlet angle as the aftermarket metal focus’s straight outlet was not an option. - Tried different radiator hoses with the straight outlet, but could not alleviate hose chafe on the radiation fan shroud.
    3. Manual to Electric windows and door locks. Kids got spoiled from mom’s and dad’s cars. One of the original door panels were ripped, so we went all in With matching door panels, and did not have to cap a manual window lever hole.
    4. Remote Keyless Entry installed. This was very simple after buying a used RKE Module as the harness with connectors was hidden in the trunk and we had a couple extra Ford key fobs. Bonus - it included active anti-theft! The system was designed to lock both door and unlock only the driver side, but I have read that it is mod-able to unlock both doors.
    5. Replaced several rotted vacuum lines, PCV, and valve cover gasket. The idle issue is 80% better, but we need to trouble shoot more.
    6. New spark plugs and plug wire installed which helped get us to the 80% idle improvement. - any suggestions on resolving 100% is appreciated.?
    7. Installed hood bra to cover the dented hood.
    8. Purchased parts for rear drum to disc conversion (non abs) to include black anodized rotors and ceramic pads. The rear end is half apart - still convincing some rusted control rod bolts to back out. This will be finished throughout the week.
    Can use some help with the following:
    a. The idle still is rough. This may be related to the fuel system as we need to cycle the key several times to build fuel pump pressure.
    b. The engine cooling fan seems to be intermittent. In only turns on at 75% hot in temperature gauge and does not seems to turn automatically with turning on the A/C compressor. We tried slaving in a different CRM (Control Relay Module), but the car did not accept the donors CRM at all. Does anyone one know when the cooling fan should turn on and why our waits until 75% to engine overheat?

    Attached Files:

  2. ZX2.0

    ZX2.0 FEOA Member

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    Do you have any codes that would help diagnose the rough idle? What brand of spark plugs did you use and what gap? Most of the time, the rough idle on these engines can be traced back to a rotted, collapsed or split rubber elbow at the end of the PCV hose where it attaches to the intake manifold.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
  3. pextor

    pextor Moderator Staff Member

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    The passenger door should unlock when you press the fob button the second time.

    I did a manual to power conversion myself about 10 years ago on my 99 sedan. Added cruise control, too!
  4. OvalSports

    OvalSports FEOA Member

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    Pextor,
    Spot on - the double press unlocks the passenger side.
    We do need to double back and adjust the driver side as it was hesitant to lock before and is not pulling down enough.

    zx2.0,
    Thanks for the reply. I believe we went with motorcraft w/.050.
    We change the valve cover gasket which was leaking oil and most likely air. We also found oil in the spark plug galley which I believe is resolved by the valve cover gasket replacement.
    We have now changed all of the vacuum hoses with the exception of the PCV as it looked good and is not easily replaced, but we did replace the PCV and the crankcase breather will be replaced tomorrow when it arrives. Some of those vacuum hoses literally deteriorated in our hands.
    We have an engine light with only code Po171.
    Not sure if this is fuel pressure related, because we are required to cycle the fuel pump a few times before the car will start. I’m thinking either a new pump and/or a CCRM overhaul. CCRM because the radiator fan is not kicking on low unless the A/C is turned on; it does kick on high when engine temp is around 2/3’s to 3/4’s or when we disconnect the water temp sensor.
  5. ZX2.0

    ZX2.0 FEOA Member

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    Good call on replacing all he vacuum hoses. A good looking PCV hose does not mean it IS good, though. The actual "hose" part going from the PCV valve to the intake manifold is actually a hard plastic line with a foam covering and has molded rubber elbows on each end. It is the rubber elbows that fail, not the hose. If you have a facebook account, look here. This is when I had a P0171 code.

    https://m.facebook.com/groups/249786435195899?view=permalink&id=1315860538588478

    Most agree that the Motorcraft Double Platinum plugs @ .050 gap are what the ZX2 runs the best with.

    I have a couple rebuilt CCRMs with higher amp rated A/C relays installed if interested

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