Just Bought a used ZX2 im new here. | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Just Bought a used ZX2 im new here.

Discussion in 'ZX2 1998-2004 2.0L DOHC' started by ddemier7, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I have a 2000 Ford zx2 with a 2.0 engine and over 140,000 miles and it has several problems at the moment. I only paid $500 for it and its my first car.

    The brake lights were not working (third brake light worked) but I had them fixed for $250 as it was a bad multifunction switch (turn signal switch).
    I had to have some electrical diagnoses on it to find that the turn signal switch needed to be replaced and that price included both windshield wiper blades and a right power mirror with all new rear light bulbs plus license plate light bulbs so my car would pass our State inspection in Missouri. That price also included the state inspection fee of $12.00

    Im now focussing on the oil leak that is coming from under the passanger side engine bay. It leaves a little puddle after I pull it in the garage:mad:. I also noticed the car had no coolant so I topped it off tonight and I will see if its leaking and the temp gauge needle appears to be stuck in the hot position pegged all the way to the right side? The only other thing I noticed was the suspension had alot of body roll when turning around curbs sharply.

    Do you guys have any recomendations on where to start with the oil leak coolant leak and temperature gauge? Why is the suspension so soft? :bored:

    Any other things on this vintage of a car to keep my eye out for?

    Thanks for any solid input
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome the forums & congrats on having an Escort for your first car. My Escorts are all the SOHC LX kind, not the ZX2 kind, so here are my guesses. (I dont have a ZX2).

    You may have a leaking oil pressure sensing switch. This is a common thing to happen to Escorts. It can also leak if the oil filter didnt get installed right, with a good rubber gasket under it. Some oil seeping from the oil pan can also indicate it needs a new oil pan drain plug, and the rubber gasket that goes onto the drain plug as it is installed.
    The temp gauge needle should not be stuck to the right side; That is a new issue to me. If it doesnt drop back to the left when the ignition is off, then being stuck is likely I guess. You may have to take the cluster out and free up the temp gauge needle. A shorted temp gauge sensor will result in the needle seeking the right side of the gauge; but like I said, it should drop back once the ignition is off.

    Mushy soft suspensions: I would check that the links and the bushings for the anti-roll bar have not rusted and broken. You can buy new links, and put new bushings into the clamps on the subframe, which might help the leaning on corners a lot.
    And if they have not been replaced, a new set of struts is likely to improve handling noticeably.

    With the low coolant, keep checking it first thing in the a.m., when the engine is still cold. If it continues to use coolant, you can get the cooling system pressure checked. I wold check both at the radiator cap - and in the coolant recovery bottle. I like to see at least 3" of water in the coolant recovery bottle. I measure it with a 12" long twig.
    It can be something as easy as a radiator leak (this is fairly common with older Escort radiators due to the plastic side tanks), or something a lot more trouble to fix; like a headgasket leak, or a leaking heater core. I have replaced the heater core on two of my Escorts. It requires taking the dashboard out, which is one of those dreaded jobs that is much easier when you have to do it the second time.
    One thing you might want to do pretty soon, is to measure the compession in each cylinder. If there is one cylinder that is lots lower than the others, it could be a leaking headgasket. I think this is more of a problem with the SOHC 1.9L LX engines, compared with the DOHC ZX2 engines.
  3. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    Update; oil leak was from a bad oil pressure switch (sensor) from the back of the engine.

    Any idea on why my gauge is stuck in the "hot" on the dash? Is it the temp coolant sensor on the bottom of the thermostat housing?
    denisond3 likes this.
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    If the gauge only goes to the "hot" position when the ignition is on, then its probably a shorted wire or a bad sensor on the thermostat housing; the sensor with only a single wire to it. If the gauge is still on "hot" after the ignition is off, then its inside the gauge. I think it likely you could unstick the needle, but you would need to have to remove the cluster from the dash and take off the plastic cover of the cluster.
    And while you have the cluster out and opened up, would be a good time to replace the bulbs that are used for 'illumination'. They get the most use, and burn out the soonest. But be sure to clean the contacts on the bulbs and the holder, using something like a pencil eraser to polish the metal of the contacts.
    DFX2KX likes this.
  5. DFX2KX

    DFX2KX FEOA Member

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    I will second denison3 on the lightbulbs, and add that you can get brighter LED ones now if you want.

    Also have the ZX2 as a 'first car' (I bought a Tercel before, but my mother's name was on the title and my stepdad blew the engine), and also got it for $500 in Febuary, funny thing, that....
  6. ddemier7

    ddemier7 FEOA Member

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    The gauge mostly stays in the "hot" but I have seen it move to "cold" before but that was only once. I will try replacing sensor first as its fairly easy and go from there.

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