Common Problems | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Common Problems

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by Jeffescortlx, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Jeffescortlx

    Jeffescortlx FEOA Member

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    Common problem Specific to 2nd gen LX's.
    (all prices are parts only)

    Ignition switch.
    -Problem: Some accessories dont get power or starter wont respond but battery power is fine. (91-95 only)
    -Fix: New $40 switch at local part store. Easy install. Dont need to remove lock cylender.

    Motorized seat belt.
    -Problem: Seat belt is stuck half way in the track. Cable binds in the track.
    -Fix: Free. Chances are good, if you replace it, that one will go bad to. But, you can manually lock the seat belt all the way back and use it as a normal non-motorized seat belt and still be safe.
    There is small round plastic cover snapped in the B pillar right next to the seat, remove it. You will see a single wire plug, disconnect it and leave it unplugged. Next if you look in that access hole, you will see the shaft of the motor. If you can find a tool bit to fit the shaft, you can manually spin the motor till the seat belt is all the way in the locked postion. You may have to convince the seat belt some to get it un-jammed.
    *Do at your own Risk.

    Rear Suspension (Broken Rear springs)
    -Problem: Rear end sitting low.
    -Fix: Quick strut set ~$300 local parts store. No special tools required, no alignment needed. Quick strut set replaces the entire strut/spring assembly.
    -Can also be from the top of the strut tower tearing from excessive rust, but not nearly as common as broken springs.

    Outer tie rod end.
    -Problem: clunking sound heard and felt in steering wheel.
    -Fix: $15-30 per side. Can be installed at home, but requires alignment.

    Timing belt and/or water pump idler pulley.
    -Problem: Engine spins over (quicker then normal from no compression) but wont start.
    -Fix: $15-100 depending on quality of parts and if water pump is replaced.

    Valve seat Drop.
    -Problem: Engine sounds like it's trying to eat a bucket of nut's and bolts. Spark plug (one or more) normally has the tip chewed up. Bad or no compression.
    -Fix: New or reman head, or whole new engine depending on damage. Problem is very hit and miss with 2nd gens. Some might have it happen twice to them while others will never have a problem. A used good running engine should cost $100-300.

    Hydraulic Lifter.
    -Problem: TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK... One or more Lifter is squishy and wont hold oil pressure.
    -Fix: Remove the rockers and push down the top of the lifter, if it's soft then it needs to be replaced. You can try taking it apart and cleaning the check ball valve, but chances are if it's been ticking for awhile, it will be too worn out to hold oil pressure. They can cost as much as $25 each.

    Hot glowing red catalytic converter & loss of power.
    -Problem: Ignition or cam timing is off, causing power loss and high Exhaust Gas Temps.
    -Fix: New Crank Pulley. The rubber ring insulating the pulley from the crank sensor trigger ring has failed, letting the trigger wheel slip.
    -Can also be from a damaged crankshaft & harmonic balancer keyway hole.
    -Or can also be the same with a timing belt that has jumped a tooth.
    -Fix: Needs new timing belt.

    Poor heat & Engine cant warm up.
    -Problem: Over cooling. Heater does not blow hot, and engine temp gauge hardly makes it past cold.
    -Fix: Either the the thermostat has failed, or the bypass built into the thermostat housing has opened up. This is normally over looked and missed by the average back yard mechanic. Thermostat housing need's to be replaced.
    https://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Fo ... highlight=
    Warning: Thermostat housing bolts like to break off.

    Heater & A/C Blower.
    -Does'nt work at all = Plug on the bottom of the blower box (right above the passangers feet) is corroded from moisture, then melted from over heating from the poor electrical connection.
    -Only works on high setting = Blower motor resistor.

    Poor idle.
    -Problem: PCV tube elbow dry rots or cracks open, causing the car to stall.
    -Fix: Replace with OEM elbow, or similar sized elbow from the "HELP" section of your local auto store.

    Battery Dummy light.
    -Problem: The red Battery light on the dash is on when running.
    -Fix: Can be 2 main problems, either the alternator has failed OR the small single wire that plugs into the top of the alternator has a poor connection.

    Speedometer Bounce.
    -Problem: Speedometer needle jumps up and down at highway speeds. Very common in 96.
    -Fix: Speedometer cable is binding up, replace or lube. Swapping in the older 80mph speedometer seems to fix it also.

    E-Brake.
    -Problem: It's either stuck on or stuck off.
    -Fix: You need to remove the drum and find the lever that the cable is hooked on. It has a pivot point that loves to seize up if not used regularly.
    Soak it in penetrating oil and work it loose. May need to clamp it in a vise and hit it with a hammer to break it free.
    https://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Fo ... 262#637262
  2. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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  3. ethangsmith

    ethangsmith FEOA Member

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    Also: Cooling fan does not turn on due to PCM or relay failure.
  4. Dave94LX

    Dave94LX FEOA Donator

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    Location:
    Under the Stairs
    -Problem: PCV tube elbow dry rots or cracks open, causing the car to stall.
    -Fix: Replace with OEM elbow, or similar sized elbow from the "HELP" section of your local auto store.
  5. Benlightnd

    Benlightnd FEOA Donator

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    Engine stalls, misses, making pinging sounds etc when running between 55 and 65 mph when you attempt minor acceleration:
    Problem: O2 sensor failing causing the PCM to lean out fuel injection.
    ( may or may not throw a check engine light )
    OR MAF sensor is dirty causing the PCM to lean out fuel injection
    FIX: replace the O2 sensor
    check and clean the MAF
  6. Jermfactor

    Jermfactor New Member

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  7. 4doorscort

    4doorscort New Member

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    Brampton ON
    ^ yep

    [​IMG]
    Cody Bates likes this.
  8. funkyMonoloko

    funkyMonoloko Guest

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    M8 i have same problem but i have fix tfis up

    probably the connector is burnt out and is no good connection to the power source .when i replaced the connector and burnt wires So position 2 and 4 have bean fixed on the fan switch !!! And all WORKS
  9. funkyMonoloko

    funkyMonoloko Guest

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    I FORGOT PLASTIC CONNECTOR TO THE FAN MOTOR underneath DASH BOARD OFF passenger SIDE
  10. juggalo

    juggalo New Member

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    i think the speedometer bounce will stop with any speedometer swapped in. my 80mph speedometer in my 92 would bounce till i got one from a 96 with 120mph and +1 mile marker put in.
  11. juggalo

    juggalo New Member

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    fuel pumps loose pressure causing power loss at turns or WOT and causing surging problems at highway speeds. replace it with a bosch fuel pump only. fel-pros loose pressure very early.
  12. Jeffescortlx

    Jeffescortlx FEOA Member

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    It's a problem with the fuel pick up tube, not the pump it's self.
  13. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    '94 LX 1.9 (US)
    Ignition Lock Cylinder & Worn Keys...
    https://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=66351
    (sometimes door & trunk locks as well)

    ==============
    Also, *permanently* repairing those door-jam switches // inoperable dome light...
    https://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=66354

    ==============
    Burning (plastic) smell when run heater on full or blower motor doesn't work ?
    -Blower motor wire harness burns up due to corroded contacts.
    -Solution: Replace wire harness contacts. (gold plated available at parts store) My blower motor resistor for the most part was fine. Was able to clean and coat contact surface area with solder. Resistor coil wires will not accept solder. Junkyard parts will all be in worse or similar condition. (or are already cannibalized)

    ==============
    Pronounced tapping noise from the head ? (*ticking noise)
    -check 8 Hydraulic Roller Lifters
    -5 to 15 minute job, minimal tools necessary (10mm and other mm socket), look for flat spots on roller and/or missing roller bearings, *hydraulic pushbutton should not give, align tiny oil-feed pin-hole on side of side of lifter with elongated hole on side of lifter well, valve cover bolts easy to break - only 7ft lbs torque

    ==============
    Charcoal Cannister Vacuum lines may have excessive length, allowing sway, have dry-rotted ends and be disconnected. (very easy to miss)

    ==============
    Water in the trunk & foggy rear window ? Seals all perfect ?
    -severely deteriorated strut-mount (not strut tower) allowed water to splash up into the trunk

    ==============
    Clacking sound from the passenger side of the engine ?
    -Waterpump bearings worn.
    -By design, warning Clacking sound made when propeller angles to slap a back plate

    ==============
    HEAR SOUND - Dropped valve seat...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpMP70nYwMc

    WHY VALVE SEATS FAIL -
    http://www.aa1car.com/library/ar993.htm
    https://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Fo ... 883#675883
  14. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  15. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Frozen door and trunk locks in the Winter ?
    -Hardware stores carry solid graphite, for lock cylinders. Best done annually. (before freezing)

    Frozen doors and trunk seals in the Winter ?
    -Auto parts stores carry liquid silicone spray, (otherwise known as "belt dressing") With a rag, spray and wipe down all rubber seals with the lubricant. Best done annually. (before they dry out)

    How do Escort owners keep the rubber trim beneath the windows from dry-rotting ?
    -Auto parts stores carry liquid silicone spray, (otherwise known as "belt dressing"). With a rag, spray and wipe down the trim as needed. (before they begin to dry-rot and *especially* after car washes)
  16. ChrisM

    ChrisM FEOA Member

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    NOW ya tell me. :cry:

    That's the very first thing I broke on my '91 Wagon.

    First fix I had to do was replace the Coolant Temperature Sensor. I figured I might as well just flush the radiator, install a new thermostat, and get a new radiator cap, while I was at it.

    The prior owner must have thought that a cold engine was a good thing...I found that whoever replaced the thermostat last forgot to replace the thermostat - there was no thermostat. Good thing I live in an area (SF Bay Area, CA) that very rarely gets temperatures that drop below freezing.
  17. Jeffescortlx

    Jeffescortlx FEOA Member

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    I bet your old coolant temo sensor was fine, but was tripping the CEL because it would never warm up.
  18. ChrisM

    ChrisM FEOA Member

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    eh...$15 ain't gonna break the bank.

  19. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Red transmission fluid at your feet ?
    -Replace the speed sensor. An internal seal is blown. Transmission fluid is being siphoned into the passenger compartment via the speedometer. Do not overfill your manual transmission and account for thermal expansion differences with temperature.

    Black hydraulic brake fluid at your feet ?
    -Replace Clutch Master Cylinder. An internal seal has worn out, allowing fluid past the piston and into the passenger compartment.

    Clutch won't work after servicing hydraulic system ?
    -Must maintain fluid at peak level at all times during the slave-cylinder bleeding process. Brake Master Cylinder Reservoir is compartmentalized, and it is *very* difficult to tell what level the clutch reservoir is at. (Reservoir could appear to be 3/4 full but the compartment for the clutch be bone dry.)

    Trouble bleeding clutch hydraulic system ? (step 3)
    -1) SLOWLY pump clutch pedal as needed before holding to the floor.
    -2) Release air at clutch slave cylinder.
    -3) ***Force slave cylinder piston back in.
    -4) Close slave cylinder bleed valve.
    -5) Repeat process as needed.
  20. Intuit

    Intuit FEOA Member

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    Some images hosted by: http://www.imageshack.us/

    Bad smells from blower ventilation HVAC ducts:
    - https://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Fo ... 329#614329


    Chronic Rotor Warping ? (pulsing brakes, pedal shakes or vehicle shimmies)
    • -Caliper slide mounts are locked and need to be honed-out.
      (sometimes create a pop, knock or clunk as they break loose while cooling)
      -To clean the slide pins and caliper mounts, degrease then attach a 1.5" or 2"
      steel wire tube brush to a high-speed AC plugin drill. (no battery operated BS)
      -Several examples of the steel wire tube / pipe brush: (LINK: Burr Clean tube Brush)
      OR get these from Lowes hardware and just hacksaw the handle off:
      [​IMG]
      Another example:
      [​IMG]
      -Rubber boots that don't seal need to be replaced.
      Stiff wire wrapped around the ends may assist seal.
      Special lubricants are available for caliper slidemounts.
      Otherwise, any high-temp bearing grease may due. (note: may react with rubber)
      -Rotors will need to be machined or replaced if near minimum thickness.
      Cheaper rotors may warp more readily than more expensive, heavier duty ones.
      -Warping can present some dangers during slippery cool rains and winter weather.
      Vehicles with ABS will experience much longer stopping distances. VEhicles without will begin to slide very easily.
      Before developing this solution, used to keep two sets of rotors and regularly swap them, to keep them machined.
      BREAK PADS--
      -Do *NOT* buy life-time or extended-wear brake pads.
      -Get the proper sized pads for your rotors.
      Do not use 13" pads on a 14" rotor. (CarQuest has full-sized pads.)



    Problem removing front caliper slide-mount sleeve pins from caliper ?
    • -Securely hang your caliper to prevent stressing the brake line.
      -To avoid damaging the sleeve, use a 1/4 drive deep socket that has a tapered end.
      Similar to this but the tapered end is small enough to fit inside the sleeve.
      [​IMG]
      The wider end is too big to fit inside.
      -With that inserted from the pad-side of the caliper, use a pair of large slip-jaw pliers.
      [​IMG]
      one end on the back-side of the caliper and the other pressing on top of the socket, and then press it out.
      -alternative-
      a large C-Clamp to press it out.
      [​IMG]
      -NOTE: Sleeves for top and bottom are different lengths.
      Make a record on which slide mount sleeve pin goes where.



    Parking Brake ineffective ? (Drum Brakes)
    • -An automatic adjuster inside one the two drums may seize.
      Set your parking brake, wheel-chock the front, jack up the rear and attempt to torque each wheel. (one may roll)
      Problem resolved by removing all parts, (except wheel cylinders unless leaking,) grinding, cleaning,
      greasing metal-metal contact surfaces, simulating movements, checking springs, reassembling and testing.
      Re-seat your brake shoes post-service and on occassion, by hard-braking in reverse until your front wheels lock up.
      There are three automatic adjusters in the system, including the balancer.
      It will *never* be necessary to adjust the cable at the parking brake lever.
      -More detail: https://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Fo ... ic&t=70877
      -NOTE: If your rear shoes are lasting forever, then they probably aren't doing much of any work.
      The rear of the vehicle raising abnormally high on otherwise normal stops, can be an indication of this.


    Problems removing rear brake drum from wheel ?
    • -Drums may have a few non-beveled threaded holes. (likely need to be cleaned up with a tap)
      -Matching thread, hardened bolts may be used to gradually torque drums free from hub
      -Before reinstalling drums, coat hub contact surfaces with anti-sieze lubricant.

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