Howdy from Texas | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Howdy from Texas

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Grederi, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Grederi

    Grederi FEOA Member

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    Been driving a 03 zx2 for several years now and she finally kicked the bucket, hoping to find some kind of positive resolution here.
  2. Gamer92

    Gamer92 FEOA Donator

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    What happened to your car?
  3. Grederi

    Grederi FEOA Member

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    AC is busted after the low side got over pressured, and the rack and pinion is getting loose. The first one isn't that bad, but I don't think I'm skilled enough to replace all the steering gear.
  4. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    I am not familiar with the exact car, but swapping the rack and pinion as an assembly is generally not a huge job. Could you check the prices on Rockauto and maybe find a good backyard mechanic in your area?

    I suppose AC is pretty desirable in Texas, I've never had a car with it. The previous owner removed it (working perfectly) from my car before I got it.
  5. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    First check that its not simply the rack assembly sliding back and forth as you go around corners. The two rubber bushings can get mushed and oily. With the hood open, have an assistant wobble the steering wheel half a turn, and looking down behind the motor, see if the rack assembly is moving sideways. The engine doesnt need to be running. It should move more than maybe 1/32". This is a fairly common failure on our old Escorts.

    I have replaced the rack and pinion assembly with two of my 2nd gen Escorts. Mine are the LX, not DOHC kind, but I imagine the firewall and subframe areas are the same. It is a slow job - because you do much of the work lying underneath it and getting dirt in the face. I do all of my own work outdoors, on grass or gravel, under a shade tree if possible; and Im 74, so not so spry.
    It involves disconnecting the steering column from a stub shaft on the rack-n-pinion (done from inside), undoing the two hydraulic hoses connecting to the rack on the driver's side (I do it with the battery and battery tray removed, and two open end wrenches. Then you have to disconnect the outer tie rod ends from the assembly (done from each side of the car), and undo four nuts (14mm) that hold the rack-n-pinion onto the subframe. This can be the most difficult part, if the nuts are rusty. And you do this step from under the car.
    I like to raise the car and support each side more or less under the spot where the control arms pivot on the body, using heavy duty lumber chunks.
    When the rack assembly is free, you have to slide it out out toward the driver's side, and it will take some maneuvering/rotating to get it to fit out past the side of the engine bay body parts.
    I take out the driver's seat, so I can lie flat on my back to work on the u-joint where the steering column connects to the stub shaft. I lie on a sheet of plywood. The two parts are keyed, so can only go back together one way.
    A thing I make a point of, is not letting the steering wheel turn until its hooked back up to the stubshaft. This is so the clock-spring inside the top of the steering column will still be 'centered', and wont get snapped on a tight left or right turn.
    Grederi and austin86 like this.
  6. Grederi

    Grederi FEOA Member

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    That's a great write up, thanks for the info.

    To be honest I'm not sure if I have any more patience for this car. Between a persistent P0174 code and a botched belt tensioner repair that required retapping the mounting screws, I'm at my limit.

    Plus I'm doing most of my repairs in an an apartment parking lot.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
    denisond3 likes this.

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