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My old archenemy, RAKES!
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Sooo... here's some background info:

Gf's car, '00 ZX2, automatic. 117k miles, no mods.

No start issue, was taken to a shop before I had a chance to look at it. Shop had it apart, found that the Crankshaft Position Sensor was all chewed and busted up. They recommended a new engine, not worth it to fix.

I have driven the car on occasion, not noticing anything funny going on other than excessive vibration at idle (which I assumed was normal upon reading threads here), and also odd surges in acceleration at full throttle in left turns (like pulling out ahead of traffic). There were no other warning signs. She parked it for the night, came out for work the next morning... no start.

So, I did some searching and found a thread where someone had a ZX2 with crankshaft end play, causing the same problem. Is this the same as crankwalk, or am I confusing the terms? Did the shop make the correct diagnosis? If I were to just replace the crank sensor, how long before the same thing happens? And if for some reason it doesn't happen, how long before more serious problems arise (and what would eventually happen)? Sorry for all the ?'s, an inquiring mind wants to know. Thanks.
 

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1998 ZX2
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From what I have read, crankwalk does occasionally happen on the ZX2. Supposedly, replacing the main bearings will fix it. I wounder if you could just put spacers on the crankshaft sensor?
 

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We had that issue on a 99 ZX2 with just over 100k miles. It was DEFINITELY crank walk. If they replaced the crank sensor, it is probably because the crankwalk caused the flywheel to hit and break the crank sensor.

In our case, the car was a 5-spd. The previous owner had gernaded the trans, so we swapped in a new engine and the transmission. We ran into a problem where the car would start, run REALLY rough, and die whenever you tried to rev the engine. The exhaust actually sounded like a john deere tractor, and came out with enough force to push your hand away. We troubleshot it for a long time before Cory got the idea to pull the trans back out and inspect the flywheel. When we looked at the flywheel, one of the magnetic disks from the original crank sensor was stuck inside one of the little holes on the back side. This caused it to trigger twice in one rotation, instead of once. It was very hard to see, the flywheel even went to the machine shop to get cut down, and they never noticed the magnet. Testing with another flywheel, we found that the original flywheel had a stronger magnetism, so we scrapped it out.

Long story, but I figured I would add it, as not many people responded to my post about crankwalk.
 

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You can space out the sensor, but there is no way to tell how long the engine will live. The issue is that the thrust bearing fails and allows the crank to move in and out of the block. This is crank walk. It puts a sideways load on the bearings and rods and they will fail, just a matter of time.
 

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make sure to include pics... talked to EscortWhisperer, and he said he is probably interested, depending on price.
 

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There were a few 2000 S/R models (all yellow ??) that had engines which developed crankwalk at low mileage.

If the crankwalk isn't too severe, you can fix it by replacing the main thrust bearing, while you are at it you may as well replace all the crank bearings. Once the crank starts to move fore and aft, you don't want to drive the car much farther, the wear rate will accelerate. In addition, the fore and aft movement will put additional stress on the connecting rod bearings, wrist pins, seals and rings.

If the car ran decently and the body and interior are good consider doing a quick bottom end rebuild. It would be easier to do it with the engine out of the car, remember the Zetec has an aluminum brace that fits between the block and oil pan that must be removed to get to the crank bearings.
 
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