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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My car deserves a journal! Its driven me over 20k miles in the year I've owned it :)

I paid $1600 cash for my ZX2 in March 2009 (Eagle Auto in Corsicana, Texas). Its visible issues were a big dent on passenger door and a check engine light. That was my budget and I'd already driven 2 horrible cars. I test drove this one and loved it. It wanted to drive. Dad said it was a good car and he was right. This car is far more value than its worth. It has more than paid for itself.

My first few months, I was paranoid. Dad said stuff like, you need new tires, you're transmission is going out. No one (mechanics) could ever find anything wrong with it. The check engine light was a broken water temperature sensor ($75 part/labor; part had to come from Ford). No one ever found anything wrong with the transmission; Meineke said the clutch was going out (after it misbehaved 1/2x, not going into gear and shaking roughly at stop). But Meineke must have been wrong, since I've driven it over a year since then. (Dad told me to double-pump the clutch when it sticks, and this always works). That year I replaced the manual transmission fluid and got a tune up (new spark plugs and wire kit) in my search for any transmission problems. I also replaced the battery terminals, when it had trouble starting (problem solved).

By the end of 2009, after I added 2 new tires and everything above, I started to trust the car.. I signed up for a fitness challenge which would have me drive between Corsicana and Dallas every other day (minimum 120 miles round trip). The car did really good with this. Its always made a loud warbly noise when I turn corners quickly or when it starts up cold... this was really its only fault (something that NO mechanic could ever figure out).

2010 improvements included: 2 more new tires (now they're all good) and a CD/AUX player (never really felt enough need to replace the speakers).

My biggest mistake... starting to drive my husband's MR2 Spyder once we bought it. I drive 100% more than him, so I was the one to drive the new car/make sure it had no problems. Of course, he gets buyer's remorse and I agree to keep the Spyder.. Too bad it was a dud :( Owned it for 2 weeks and only drove it for fun once (and it nearly stranded us an hour from home in middle of night). Dumb spyder had electrical issues. Returned it 3x for same problem and they couldn't fix it. ANYWAYS... that explains my love/hate with my ZX2... not the escort's fault, but hell- you stick me in a sports car then take it away and I'm stuck my my old car.. It (ZX2) has served its purpose. I bought it to be a cheap, reliable car, and it delivered.

So now... back to the Escort. I'm still putt-putting around everywhere in it.. it likes to go but I never said it likes to go fast...

Anyways, last week in my lunch hour rush, I bottom out BAD pulling straight into a parking lot (not at an angle) that's a sharp incline. I can instantly tell that I messed it up and after 2 trips to Dallas, I'm scared and take the car to mechanic. They replaced the struts and serpentine belt ($315). I figured the belt was the warbly noise, but it wasn't. The car still didn't drive as good (noise around the front wheels when turning), so I took it back. They figured it needed new tie rods (wobbly wheels when jacked up) and later called to say it also needed new brakes and rotors as well. All of this was replaced today (another $315) and it feels much safer :) Supposedly all I need now is the front end alignment ($45, getting done tomorrow before work) and the ZX2 is beach ready.

I wonder now if the rear end will need all those parts (like the front). I guess I spent 2/3s of my down payment (for new car/wishful thinking) on fixing the ZX2, but this was probably the smarter choice and will hopefully be better in the long run. I guess those were just old parts that needed replacing (maybe even since I bought it), since its always made that noise, it just got louder when I bottomed out.

The car still has some little issues: headlight that went out even after it was replaced this month, dome light bulb, and my stereo is loose... The engine sounds whiney even though I just got oil changed, but then, it does have 206,800+ miles now :)

I wouldn't mind comments on my journal, especially since they'd probably be helpful.. PM me if you have comments, I guess.

Thanks! And I'll post updates here :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Long first post, I know. Had to catch up the first 1 1/2 years with my car.

So glad I got all the front suspension parts replaced (struts, brakes, tie rods, rotors). I got the front end aligned this morning and it feels much better/safer now :) They also fixed my headlight that kept shutting off. Maybe it got knocked loose or the last mechanic didn't put it in right/all the way.

So now I have little odd-end things to do with the ZX2. Clean in and out again.. 'grease monkey' is not an exagerration. Oh well, they fixed the problem; I have no problem cleaning off black smudges.

Little issues still needing fixed:
-loose stereo harness/ac control off center
-interior dome light bulb
-cigarette lighter

Still not sure if the back suspension will need parts replaced too..

Oh- I have a photobucket album for the zx2. Here it is:
http://s110.photobucket.com/albums/n92/ ... ort%20zx2/
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Little issue: car stereo loose/ac control off center (FIXED)

Yesterday, I went to local car audio place to get a price to have stereo affixed back properly (got knocked completely loose when bottomed out last week). These guys couldn't tell me if it was the harness or the clips that were bad and then they knocked the ac control off (the center one that was off-center). Glad I caught this, since the stereo guys knocked it loose jerking on the radio. They fixed it back how it was (though now the center knob is properly centered). ;) One the the guys suggested I use black silicone around the entire harness to elimate the need for new clips/harness. I went to Autozone after this and pick up the double sided car care tape: http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawebse ... 6E666666--

Put it on this morning (first pulled off the black felt liner to put the tape there instead). Holds good, but didn't like seeing the white tape around the radio, so I squished the black felt back into place. Radio feels secure to the touch. We'll see how it handles with driving and the heat outside. :)

Also went to Autozone and O'Reilly for a replacement dome bulb. Both places were sold out of my bulb, but I got someone at O'Reilly to remove the plastic cover, so we could take out the bulb. Good deal, now I just need to find a store with this bulb. Driving to Dallas today, so maybe they'll have it.

Everyone seems glad that I'm fixing the ZX2 instead of selling it. Dad says "I'm proud of you. Now you can drive it for at least another year". I've got to agree.. a one-time repair bill is better than a monthly payment and higher insurance for the next 2-3 years. I'll just keep fixing stuff on the ZX2 so I can drive it FOREVER. lol.

So after I replace the dome bulb, I'll get the front brake lines and rear suspension checked out. Also, the cigarette lighter needs repair (have to press and hold the lighter until it warms up).

Its getting there. Glad I got the loose stereo secured. Hope it stays that way ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Added a new light bulb to the dome light. It works now if set to ON, but not when set to DOOR.

Ordered new front brake lines today and will have them installed tomorrow morning. They also checked the rear wheels and said they were fine. They worked on the headlight (keeps going out) and will work on it again tomorrow.

They (Roy's Texaco) believe the loud car noise is a pulley belt? Maybe I'll have them look into this at the same time, since the car has made this noise since I got it.

Got the odometer over 207k miles this weekend :)

After headlight and brake line fix, hopefully we'll be beach-ready (only 4 hours one-way, but don't wanna take chances).

Mounting tape is still holding the stereo nicely (can't even see the white tape) :thumleft:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The bill for new front brake lines, brake fluid, new headlight bulb and labor was $114. They think that loud noise is coming from the cooling fan. I notice the loud noise is especially prominant after long drives (60+ miles hwy driving) after I pull back into town and can be heard when turning (but now wonder if those could be two different noises). Hopefully the headlight STAYS ON now... They'll call me back with a price on replacing the cooling fan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Texaco believes the noise is the cooling fan. It would be $476 for all-new Motorcraft or $200 for new cooling fan motor.

Mechanic says this needs fixed before I take any trips. Dad says be 100% sure of the problem before replacing anything. Dad thinks it could be the cooling fan rotor/pulley/pressure.

Not sure what to do on this yet. Wonder if I can find a local FEOA member and get their opinion. Tried recording the sound to post, but probably would come out better when car is still instead of driving.
 

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Hello, ferretgirl! I had a ferret when i was younger - she was a blast! Will have another one someday.
A noise only when turning? I would be VERY surprised to hear that a new cooling fan fixes that issue! My first suspicion would be a front hub bearing, or perhaps a CV joint in one of the drive axles. Take it to a Ford dealer, not some lame Texaco-type place, and convey this to them. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update: I DID have to replace the cooling fan motor on Aug. 25, 2010 (under $100; huge Thank You to this forum and AutoZone for their help). The forum walked me through installing the new fan motor: http://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Fo ... highlight=

My local AutoZone removed the old motor when I couldn't get it off (rusted on after I got everything unhooked) and installed a new fuse for me to get it running :D

Oct. 2010, I had to replace the battery. Really haven't done anything but drive it since then (currently over 213k miles on odometer).

Over the past 6 months, I've wanted to get a newer/faster/cooler car (like my bf's 3000gt, but in good condition ;) ), but it probably really is the WISE choice to keep my zx2 as long as it runs.. and I bet it will run forever.. talked to an in-law/uncle who said his zx2 had over 275k miles before he sold it (of course it still ran and he wishes he'd kept it).

Maybe/kind-of to go along with New Year's Resolutions, I wrote a list of Ways to Like My Car More, including:

- fix left rear blinker (needs new bulb to stop blinking rapidly)
- fix lighter (this would be a good charger if i didn't have to hold it in to work)
- fix overhead/cab light (replaced bulb but still need to jiggle the "switch" just right for light to come on when door is opened)
- find cause of/stop the loud noise (the same noise it makes when idling, from 0:03-0:07 in vid:
)
- resecure the stereo into its harness (either "re-tape" it or see if tightening the clips with a screwdriver helps them "click")
- install speakers
- remove dents (big dent on passenger door from previous owners and light hail damage from past couple years)
- clean inside & out (remove clutter, wash, vacumn and detail)
- brighten headlights (kit purchased, haven't used yet)
- personalize (probably a rear window sticker)

So that's the list of things I hope to/plan on doing this year to the car. Little, inexpensive things to improve the comfort/quality of ride and make me like my car more so I'll want to keep it longer (actually this idea came from my sister, who also thinks I should keep the car as long as it runs.. she still has HER zx2 too, and hopes to fix it back up one day) ;)

zx2tech: Hi there! VERY late reply, but to answer your Q's, there's two noises the car often makes. In my youtube link above, in the first few seconds, you hear its most common noise (that it makes right after I turn it on, when its idling before it warms up or when its idling after highway driving). There's also a slightly different noise that it makes only when I turn, and the faster I turn, the louder the noise.

I bolded the 3 I'll try to get done this month (start with the easiest).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Over 214k miles on the zx2 now :) I just bought the 3000gt from father-in-law and am fixing it into my new daily driver (love that car; dummy bf for letting it sit in the yard all these years). Anyways... this week I hope to start driving the 3000GT and will let my parents borrow the zx2 indefinitely. I figure its been good to me for nearly 2 years, so it should be good for mom (too low for dad; he hits his head getting in/out). Funny, the little things I never got to fix, I want to fix for mom... I'll at least clean/wash/vacumn it for her ;) Hope it does her right like it's done me right (my zx2, "Buddy", has been a really good car) :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Go figure 8 yrs later, I'd wind up with another zx2. Found this one for $1k, it needs some parts and work but drives decent and glad I was able to snag another.

Another manual, this one has 177k and real 14" wheels (lol).

It needs:
*shift rod (bushings are gone on the "rivet" bolt)
*brake shoes (& drums)
*valve cover gasket
*rear bumper
*1 center cap

Want list:
*purple lug nuts
*purple dome lamp bulb
*purple valve caps
*purple front calipers

Gotta upload pics to photobucket to post from phone but glad I found another 'deedleet critter mobile' :)
 

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Glad that you are back!
Regarding the shift rod bushings. Mine are all 2nd gen LX Escorts They have a bushing on the shifting rod that is right at the bottom end of the shift lever. It was super wasted on my 94LX wagon, and you could only reach it from below. The exhaust pipe and the heat shield were in the way of course. Once renewed, shifting was much more pleasant: I didnt have to guess whether I was going into 4th or 2nd.
Yours being a 3rd gen, I presume you can check the trans fluid using the plug on the front of the trans. On the 2nd gens, doing that check is a miserable chore. Still needs to be done periodically though.
 

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Want list:
*purple lug nuts
*purple dome lamp bulb
*purple valve caps
*purple front calipers

How about a purple car? I don't know that they made purple ZX2s, but I have seen a purple second generation wagon near me, I would love one of them.
(Collect all of 'em! One of each colour)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's the bushings that are gone. Nearly impossible to find 3rd so I just started skipping into 4th last night (that works better, lol). BF pulled one from the junk yard yesterday so may swap them and rebuild mine. He also grabbed a tail lamp, a head lamp, and the trunk trim, to replace mine that are cracked/holding moisture. :)

I'll look into/ask the guys about checking the trans fluid. That was something I hadn't considered.

I've seen purple 4-dr escorts before. I like this green though. Want to find a matching bumper and fender (hadn't posted his bad side yet, but luckily, it's all cosmetic). Don't want a lot of purple, just small accents ;)
 

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I replaced the bushings in all three places where the 5-speed has them. One is right under the bottom of the shift lever. At the front of that 'shift control rod", which is shown in your photo, are the other two. One of them has a bolt you can undo, but the upper one is more work to fix-up. I took the shift rod out of the car to do this.
Using my grinder I ground away one end of the bolt-like item, so I could push it out the other way. I got a bolt the right size to fit into the hole, and with my grinder I wore down its hex head, to ensure it would not touch the shift stabilizer rod, on the right in your photo. I also ground down its length, to avoid hitting the subframe on the other side. I also created a 'flat' nut by grinding that down.
The bushings I got were the fairly standard ones, that NAPA used to carry (but had to order in ), and which I also see for sale on ebay. do an ebay search for "mazda manual shifter bushings". Those look just like the ones I got. They dont result in a snug fit on the bolt, but are much better than the chewed up one. Im pretty sure Ford just used a generic bushing there.
To get the front end of that shift control rod off the end of the input (shift) shaft on the trans, I had to push up the little rubber bellows, and use a 10mm socket and 10mm wrench, to undo the bolt and push it out. Then I could slide the assembly back and off the trans.

Its a lot of work under the car, but 10,000 miles later, I still consider it time well spent. In fact, I will soon want to do that same chore on my other 5-speed Escort.

My understanding was the the 3rd gen 5-speed transmissions had a drain plug on the bottom, and a checking/adding plug halfway up the front slope of the transmission. If you can feel the trans fluid with the tip of a little finger stuck into the hole, then you have the right amount of fluid. I just use the dexronIII in mine, as the service manual calls for.

When not in any hurry, I commonly skip from 2nd into 4th, just lazy. But the way its supposed to work, you pull the level to the left (feeling the springy resistance) for 1st and 2nd, Just shoving the lever forward but without asking it to go to the right or the left, and the trans should go into 3rd. Pulling the lever back - also without pushing it to left or right, and you should be in 4th. To get 5th, you need to push to the right (and there should be a springy resistance), to get into 5th - rather than back into 3rd. Same thing for reverse - pull back and move the lever to the right.
With the new bushings I could tell if I was in 1st or 3rd or 4th just from where the lever was aimed; slightly to the left, or straight up or slightly to the right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
With the "newer" rod, the gears/shifting seems less loose/wobbly but now I can tell it actually is kicking/slipping out of 3rd half the time. Been making sure I'm putting completely in gear and that's how I can feel/see the shift knob kicking back down about 2", enough to make it grind.

That and a small oil leak from the bottom seem to be my gripes right now. When I bought it, I figured the valve cover gasket was leaking but that looks like old oil.
 
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