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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
first off, WOW, I've been lurking for only about 30 minutes and searching for key words and I feel like I know 10 times more than I previously did. You guys are a wealth of information!!

With that said, I have a broken 99 escort that needs some help =/
It has 130k on it and it died on my fiance at the gas station after being driven ~20 miles from her work. I just simply wouldn't crank over and start and when it did start it only lasted for like 5 seconds and it sounded like it was tearing up the engine. bad news!

I took it to a small shop who barely looked at it and said i was SOL and said it was dead. Didn't charge me so i took it to a local ford dealership. they charged me an arm and a leg IMO and they didn't even take off the intake manifold (that's the part w/ cam and valve stems right?) basically they said my engine had little or no compression on any of the valves and was unfixable they thought.

I've had this car for 10 years and love it dearly. I've kept it up w/e required maintenances for the life of it so I'm totally wanting to fix it up myself. I've had the timing belt and water pump replaced @ 100k.

Sorry if this is getting long.

Based off what I've just learned from you guys and gals is my engine is a non-interference (which is good) and that these SPI engines can sometimes drop valve sleaves. I'm wondering how bad that could mess up the pistons.

My other theory is that possibly when the local dealership changed the timing belt at 100k, they didn't replace the timing belt tensioner and that part might have failed, making the timing belt loose enough to jump a tooth and mess up my engine. I'm assuming that would cause little/no compression but would that also make the engine sound like it's tearing up inside? If you got this far reading my novel :D thanks and any insight you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!!

btw, a totally different local shop has a 98 2dr escort for going to the auctions and he said the engines are swappable? is that right? i think he said that engine was mechanically sound so that might be another idea?
 

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Sounds like you dropped a valve seat. Remove the spark plugs and check to see if any of them are broken on the end. And just to clear things up the "head" where you input the motor oil is where the valves & cam are located. Also the zx2 engine can be swapped into your car and as far as i know its a fairly easy swap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply.

I'll definitely do that. But I'm wondering what would cause no or little compression in all of my cylinders. Do you believe that a valve seat could cause this? Like I said I'm no expert, but could someone explain to me what happens when a valve seat (same thing as a sleeve?) drops and causes havoc in my engine? And along those lines, to my knowledge when the timing belt is off a tooth or more, it'll completely disrupt compressions.

One other question I'm having is regarding variable valve timing. the smart mechanic that last talked to me about my car said it's important to know if my engine has it or not. Does my 99 escort have VVT and does it matter if I swapped it out w/ the 98 escort's engine? are they the exact same engine? Again thanks in advance guys!
 

· Former Escort Owner
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Improper timing can cause a loss of compression, since the valves will be opened at the wrong time.

The only Escort with VVT (or VCT, to use Ford's terminology) was the ZX2, made from '98 to '03.

If your car dropped a valve seat, you'd know it. The car would run badly, if at all, and would have a rattle best described as marbles in a paint can.

As for engine swapping, you can use any SPI engine from a '97 or newer Escort. If you use a '97 engine, there won't be a spot on the engine itself for the knock sensor, which is easily fixed by bolting the sensor to a flat surface on the engine. You will also need to use your car's fuel rail and injectors, since the '98 and newer models have a returnless fuel system. Returnless means that there is no line to the fuel tank from the engine for any extra fuel that's not injected into the engine.

The '98 2dr that the shop has is a ZX2. You can swap the Zetec engine from it into your '99, but will take some slight modification. Look for posts by 99SeSport for information about a Zetec swap.

Sorry for the long post.

Casey
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your reply Casey!
Yes! i've been doing more searching and i found out exactly what you're saying. You're right, i forgot to mention the '98 2dr at the mechanic's shop was a ZX2 and it's the Zetec engine. Mine, if i'm correct, is a CVH (Compound Valve angle Hemispherical combustion chamber) engine. And according to minimal research it sounds like any 4dr '97 to '02 SPI engine is swappable with mine. I'm intrigued about the '98 Zetec that i might buy (mechanic said he'd sell the whole car (which i found out today is a manual and the tranny is broken) for $200. I need to goto bed but I'm probably gonna stay up til 3am researching and looking up how to mod the zetec lol It's higher HP right? that's niiiiice lol

I'm getting more and more excited about doing this all myself! you guys are very knowledgeable and I like the long posts!! keep em coming!! Thanks again! I dont think i'd get a 97 engine, though.

If i can pick your brain more, if it isn't a dropped valve sleeve/seat and it's just a jumped timing valve, is my engine as easy to fix as to just replace the timing belt and tensioner and all done? after thinking it over, i might have misrepresented how it sounded when i tried to start it up. I never heard any actual "grinding" or "tearing" but probably what i heard was just really really bad compression lol at least i'm hoping :)
 

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Ok if you were not hearing any terrible noises from the engine it probably was not a valve seat issue. I somehow missed the part where you said you had no compression in your first post and like casey already said that can occur when your timing belt snaps or skips. And yes you can fix that buy just putting a new belt on and like you already said get a new tensioner. It sounds like the mechanic is giving you a good deal on the zx2 assuming the engine is in good condition. It does have like 20 more horsepower than the SPI motor and also has more aftermarket support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's what i'm hoping escortdude. I haven't touched it in a week but i'll get a chance to work on it tomorrow. After reading up on doing a SPI to Zetec swap, it sounds super hard and possibly not worth the hassle. Others might disagree but if i'm right about the timing belt i won't have to deal with any hassles :)

but before I work on it, let me ask you guys how hard it is to change my own timing belt? i had the dealership replace it already at 100k along with water pump. I have the chilton book but man those pics in there suck hard lol and autozone has a "kind of" comprehensive guide to doing it but is there a better guide out there?

oh and last thing, sorry. If someone can confirm to me what i think is right: my 99 spi engine is NON-interference and therefore probably not damaged from a jumped timing belt??? thanks again guys you rock!!!
 

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If you were to change just the timing belt and tensioner its easy. I could have had it done in under 2 hours except that I also changed the front main seal and water pump at the same time. That water pump was a royal pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey guys,

Well it was nice and sunny today but i only got to work on my car for an hour or so. I did some digging in the How To subforum and found this awesome writeup

http://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Fo ... iming+belt

But i'm having a problem on step 4: removing the crankshaft pulley. When i try to take it off all it does is spin. Also, I got the timing belt cover off my car and wondering if this step is still needed? can i skip this step to replacing my timing belt?

Also last question. How bad would my timing belt tensioner be in order for it to fail? I tried to push on it by hand but it wouldn't budge. I didnt have time to work on it more today =/ maybe tomorrow lol thanks again for your time guys. Like i said though, the tensioner felt solid, but i have no clue... the belt on the right side had some slack though, it wasn't taught. By right side i mean if you were standing on the passenger side of car looking down on engine (headlights to your right, passenger doors to your left), and looking down at the pulleys the vertical right side of them, they're not tight as possible. Is it supposed to be not 100% tight?
 

· Former Escort Owner
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I've had luck using a serpentine belt, holding it tightly around the balancer pulley while someone else loosened the bolt. I'm not sure whether your car has an automatic or manual transmission, but the manuals have a plate at the end of the engine oil pan (now that I think about it, the automatics probably have it too) that you can remove and see the back side of the flywheel. Just stick a strong screwdriver between the teeth and hold on tight.

Either way should get it loose.

Casey
 

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i wonder if the 3rd gen trannys r like the 2nd gen's. cuz with mine, there is a hole on the bottom rear side of my flexplate(automatic transmission) housing. i used one of the thick allen wrenches and shoved it in the hole to lock my flexplate.
 

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I just used an impact gun to remove my crankshaft bolt. You can also arrange it so the wrench handle is resting on the ground and the bump the starter. I have heard of several members doing this with great success.

Replacing the timing belt tensioner with the belt is always a good idea even if its good. Mine seemed good but when I took it off I noticed that the bearing had some play in it.
 

· Former Escort Owner
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i wonder if the 3rd gen trannys r like the 2nd gen's. cuz with mine, there is a hole on the bottom rear side of my flexplate(automatic transmission) housing. i used one of the thick allen wrenches and shoved it in the hole to lock my flexplate.
That's the hole I mentioned in my post...

Casey
 

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^u were talking about the plate between the tranny and the oil pan tho. the hole i was talkin about is on the other side of the flexplate/flywheel housing.
 

· Former Escort Owner
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Oh, I was thinking of the rear of the flexplate as being the engine side, not the transmission side.

Casey
 

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First and for most! Did you check the head? The best way to do this is make sure your radfiator fluid is full,then take off the radiator fill cap,then bump the ingnition(not actually turning the car on).If radiator fluid shoots out your head or head gasket is the problem!

Alot of people may not know this but you can go years sometimes on a blown head gasket! Has your car ever got hot?Have you checked the oil?Does it look milky?If so it's a blown head gasket and since your car is making that crazy noise it's a blown head!

I went through that same problem your having about 5 years ago! Instead of having the head replace I put a new engine in for around $650. You can also use engines out of mercury tracers that are around the same year!

The most important thing I ever bought for my escort(99 by the way)is "the Haynes repair manual for Ford Escort & Mercury Tracer 1991 thru 2000"
The book is awsome!You can get it at any auto zone or advanced auto parts!The best 25 bucks you'll ever spend for that car!
It has complete teardown and rebuild! Do your research and ask alot of questions! Honestly I will never own another car! Escort is cheaper to fix then any other car and their is always alot of parts for them available!Good luck!
 
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