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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girl and I are going to look at a 1990 Escort tonight at about 1830 (the car would be for her) and I'd just like to get some advice from you guys as far as what to inspect and what to ask the seller.

This is the car we're looking at:
http://classifieds.pennswoods.net/class ... dex=392005

I know to check for rusted rear strut towers (just like the 2nd gens) but did they have any other common rust spots or components that liked to wear out?

The guy seemed like a reasonable person on the phone (older guy, not a stupid kid) so we're really hoping to get the car if it's in good shape. It's right in our price range and it's something that I have a little prior knowledge of for when it needs repairs (unlike the other stuff we looked at).

Going only by that description, do you think it sounds like a good buy? I'll take pics tonight and report back with a more detailed description later.

Hopefully some 1st gen people are watching the forum!
 

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The rear strut/shock towers tend to rust out, but it's easier to spot from the inside, so you may have to pop off the rear covers inside. Another spot is bottom of the door (usually rears). Also look out for the rain troughs, they will eventually leak, but that can also be stopped. A couple people have mentioned a top right corner of the windshield leaking. If the rocker panels are rusty, that's a problem. Get under the car and look at the rear seat footwells. If they're badly rusted you'll have to replace them. Same goes with the fronts.

The picture's blurry, but from that one side it looks ok. Beware of the bumpers cracking...do not lean on them. Make sure the auto belts work, and that the transmission downshift rod is in place and working properly. You'll know if it isn't (will hang in 1st gear until 40 mph in some cases). It's the CFI engine, so it uses essentially the same head as the 2nd gen 1.9, and the 2nd gen stuff can easily be made to fit.

Oh, and watch for hatch rot. It'll be by the license lights. That's really about it. Anything else will be easily spotted. Don't expect it to be fast, the autos generally aren't. But, hey, if you get it, welcome to the club.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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I'm currently running seatbelts from an '86 2-door Tempo. The locating tab has to be bent the other way, and then a small slot made in the Escort's rocker, but it all fits fine. If you find a manual seatbelt Escort, get the belts and B pillar covers. Then take out all the auto belt junk. You'll take about 20-30 pounds of weight out of the car by removing it.

The Metro was a 3 cylinder? Those were only in the manual models, and the autos came with a 4 cyl. Maybe someone stuck the manual engine in an auto car? I'm not a fan of the auto neons...but don't underestimate the single cam engines...you already know a CVH is quite capable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Fart cannon would make me stay away from the Neon. The ticking engine was likely a lifter problem. Usually the little Metro engines held up alright untril thrashed on, but it pretty much took thrashing them to get up to speed. I had two friends with them; one a manual and the other auto. The manual was slower than the auto, and only got 36 mpg. The auto died around 80k miles from the guy trying to drive 85 all the time. The 1st gen looks like a pretty good buy. Also, if not that, then there's one on Ebay from NC if you're able to drive. The transmission sticks in 1st gear until high revs...easy fix (transmission rod is either out of adjustment or it fell off). He thinks it needs a rebuilt tranny...use that. The rest of the car on Ebay looks good. Here's a link:

http://motors.shop.ebay.com/items/Cars- ... ec0Q2em282

Hope that link works.
 

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The Escort looks like the hood and front fender have been painted. I would ask if it's been hit. Also check the front tires for severe wear or featheredging on the outer tread. If it's real dirty around the oil pan area, you've probably got leaking crank and oil pan seals. Pretty normal for these engines after ten years or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well we looked at the car. We talked the guy down to $600 but I want you guys to tell me if it's worth that.

It ran VERY smooth, even with the 3spd. The engine purrs right along. The engine had 89k on it but the mileage on the body is either 110k or 210k (I'm guessing 210k).

The speedometer didn't work, but it might just be a disconnected cable. It appeared to be connected to the transmission so it might be off of the cluster.

The body is in POOR condition and will require a TON of body work. Her dad is a body man and he said he might be willing to do the work on the car. Pics in a sec once they finish uploading.

Oh yeah, the strut towers AREN'T rusted out! There is a hole in the spare tire well, but I couldn't see if there were holes in the floor pans or not. The carpet wasn't wet or anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The car is filthy but I think it would clean up nicely.









The hatch is completely rotted out and would need replaced.



The underside looks like mine does... rusty.







This is the worst area of the car. The guy said his son "tried" to fix it but made it ridiculously worse.





Another pic of the worst area.









 

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UnexplodedCow said:
there's one on Ebay from NC if you're able to drive. The transmission sticks in 1st gear until high revs...easy fix (transmission rod is either out of adjustment or it fell off).
If you look closely, it appears the kickdown rod is missing, at least with my eyes looking the engine bay shoot. That car was on last week with a bin starting at 1300, then lowered it 800.

The car on the pennswood ad, well I wouldn't do it for 650 and I'd buy almost any 1st gen. What is the real mileage? It looks like the odometer has 110,xxx , the ad said 8x,xxx. Whats with the paint on the car, did he use spray paint (both fenders, driver's door and rear door)? Where's the missing bits from the engine bay? Kepe looking, you'll find a better car than that. Like my 90 coupe I'm looking to sell *cough* cough* once I get it inspected. Needs some minor things. Pm if you would like to know more. Or ask Cow, he seen it
 

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You could probably find something better for the money. There's also lot's of rust underneath and the exhaust system looks like it's about rusted out. The exhaust system looks much worse on it than it does on my '88 and my '88 still has the original exhaust system, except for the catalytic converter which was replaced several years ago because of a recall. If the speedometer isn't working there's no way to know what the mileage is. Even if it was only 110K on the odometer, how long has it been disconnected or inoperative?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the input guys.

Yeah... I was suspicious of the mileage too as soon as I noticed the speedometer not working. The guy said he just used the car to putter around town and never even noticed it not working. I wouldn't be surprised if it was actually 210k on the chassis.

The reason the ad said less mileage is because the engine supposedly had less than the body. He said he bought two Escorts and combined them into one (if this one was the better of the two shells, I can't even imagine what the other one looked like!).

He admitted that the "body work" was done by amateurs (his sons) just to get the car to pass inspection. It was done using lots of putty, sheet metal, and rivets and I think a 4yr old could do better body work. They painted it with the wrong colour DupliColor spray paint.

It's also not the original front bumper, as I noticed damage to the radiator that looks like they may have hit a deer with the car. The filler panel is missing from beneath the passenger side headlamp.

I did notice that it was missing one or two bits from the engine bay... he said he "might" have them laying around somewhere in his garage.

My girlfriend's mom is very skilled in haggling with sellers, and she was going to try to get the guy down to $400. I don't even know if it's worth that, considering all the body work that needs done.

All those issues considered, it did seem to be in good mechanical condition. The brakes worked well, it had good tread on the tires, and the engine and transmission were both very smooth.

We're probably going to just keep looking for cars, especially since there are so many uncertainties surrounding this one.
 

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I can vouch for Don's 90....way, way better than the one on CL. Sounds quiet, and runs smooth (yup, I'm selling it), and had plenty of power from what I saw. That CL car isn't worth the 650....maybe scrap price...or parts if you could get it for 100. Hell, even the PCV hose from the valve cover is just placed on there without the baffle box. That's worse hack work than I even do (if you saw my car you'd understand).

That exhaust is shot, and would need to be replaced. The rear transverse arms are surprisingly rusted. This car has sat for a while. That is also a very poor body work attempt. I don't care if it's just primed...but dang, it's not even close to smooth or properly shaped. Most likely it was wheel well rot...which means worse things are lurking underneath.

If her dad is willing to repair it, then that's peachy, but if not, then I highly recommend something else. Like I said, I'll vouch for Don's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah... we're giving up on this car. With the help of your advice, we also feel it's not worth anywhere near what he's asking. I PM'd marshpoprock about his.
 

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Yeah I'd pass just based on the Frankenstein job they did on it. Anytime someone has swapped a bunch of parts between cars, and did a visibly terrible job of it, you've got a lot of screwups to un-do.
 

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nezwick, so have you decided to marshpoprock's 90? just curious. That 90 you showed pics off was a crusher waiting to happen...
 

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Nah, it could be repaired by a skilled body person. You should see Marsh's Project off his Nut; normally I'd call the amount of front end damage cause for crushing, but he sees life in it. The problem with the above car is the price; way too high. It could be restored, but not cheaply.
 

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