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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy, ya'll. My Escort is a '92 LX station wagon, 1.9L with a 5 speed manual tranny. We bought it new, maintain it religiously and at 128,000 miles it still gets 30 MPG. It has become a member of our family. That's the good news.
The bad news:
Front seats are sagging.
Visors are shot.
Passenger side mirror is broken.
A/C needs recharging and I believe it uses the forbidden Freon so I'm wondering what it will take to get it recharged. The system still works perfectly but it only blows kind of cold.

So, the old girl is a few years short of her twentieth birthday and my goal is to have her in like-new shape before then. My dear wife is on board with the project so we're already budgeting for fresh paint and dent removal but we'd like to fix only those parts of the interior that need fixing rather than go for complete reupholstering. I would like to switch to 14" Ford alloy wheels as well so if anyone can put me onto a set of them I would be very grateful.

Anyway, glad to be here and happy to find myself among some fans of a really great car.
 

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I think everyone's visors are shot, unless the car was kept under a carport. Each time I get into a pick-n-pull junkyard I look for a pair of sunvisors and grab a pair if they are still intact. I also have an old floppy set in case I get interested in remaking them. A pick-n-pull was also where I got my replacement outside rear view mirror, though I see them now and then on ebay. My front seats are okay (a few stains), but the headliner is sagging - so pulling that out and gluing/sewing/pinning a new sheet of cloth up is one of our 'to-do' chores.

The R-12 freon is what your car came with, and if I were going to spend any money on getting it working again, I would go with the new R-134a freon. While some folks have just installed the R-134a and some of its PAG oil into the old system, I believe the old stuff should be totally flushed before recharging with the new type. Personally I would also get a rebuilt compressor, new hoses and a new receiver/drier - so probably looking at 800$ -$1200 to get it done; with me doing some of the labor. Best time to get the work done is in the autumn or winter; no waiting line.

I dont know what part of the country you are in, but unless its a dry climate, I always advise folks to get the rear end of the car up in the air on ramps, to slide under it, and inspect the brakes lines for rust. I had to replace the lines to the rear axle on our 92 in the fall of 08 due to rust. It was worse where the lines run up beside the fuel tank; so can only be seen by looking straight up from below. It was labor intensive work, but fairly simple, & the replacement Bundy tubing was inexpensive.

Along with replacing the brake lines and the brake hoses, I also rubbed grease onto everything on the undercarriage that was rusting, and squirted motor oil up into the holes in the bottom of the little box section 'frame' at the rear & sides of the car. I plan to repeat the oil application a couple of times a year. My strut towers have no rust on them, though I understand the rear towers are a common place for rust on cars from climates where salt is used on roads in the winter.

I liked the 2nd generation Escorts enough after I fixed up my 92 wagon that I bought another one, a 94 wagon. I just bought my 3rd one (a 91 sedan to fix up) a month ago. So it looks like we will be a 3 Escort family - unless I find a good deal on a 4th one!

I got new headlamps for that first Escort from ebay, $40 each. For the 91 I recenty bought, I polished the original 18 year old fogged/yellowed units, with 600 grit then 1200 grit 'wet or dry', then DuPont polishing compound. They look almost new for about two hours of work sitting on the porch on a day too rainy to work in the driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
denisond3,
Thank you for the reply and for the information. I found a vendor named Wheels, Rims Lights and Mirrors at http://shop.wheelsrims.net/ who stocks headlights, wheels, hubcaps and some other parts for the Escort. I was thinking about attempting to polish out the headlights lenses but I was unsure if the discoloration was on the surface or if it went all of the way through. Thanks to your information I'll just polish them out and save myself the $110 apiece replacement cost.
My Escort is a Southern California car so hopefully rust isn't a problem. I'll put it on the rack anyway just to make sure.
When the Escort passed 100,000 miles I decided to replace it with a new car. I found myself looking at modern versions of a small station wagon. Some of them got about 5mpg better gas mileage, had nicer radios and that was about it. Even with all of the work needed for a complete resurrection I'm still nearly ten grand ahead of the game.
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Most of the discoloration is in the first couple of thousandths of the lens. The inner surface of the lens and the reflector probably have some dirt on them - but until i find a good flexible brush with soft bristels, I wont be sticking anythin in through the bulb opening to try and swab it out. The polishing of the headlamps cant get you another few years of good night-time vision though.
 
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