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Ask if the timing belt has been changed. If not it should be done shortly. It isn't a big job though. Other than that look at the usual "used car" things.
 

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I always advise folks to look for rusty brake lines. You need to look straight up from below, to see the lines where they run up along the body, and beside the fuel tank, to the rear axle.
I hope you know these Escorts should get a new timing belt each 100,000 miles. He doesnt mention that, so I would assume it hasnt been done. Its a good idea to replace the water pump along with the timing belt, since you have to remove the timing belt to replace the water pump.
I recently got a 91 LX sedan with 137,000 miles on it, for $400, since the 'auto' transmission was worn out. I rebuilt the tranny myself, so only spent about $475 for that including a new torque converter. But if you needed to have the tranny redone in the next 50,000 miles and Didnt do-it-yourself, it would probably cost a couple of thous or more. (But at least you would know what you had.)
I think you will find an Escort is a nice simple & inexpensive car in contrast with BMW's. I had a used 501 sedan with the 6 cyl. 30 years ago, and bought a new BMW R69S m'cycle in 68 that I still have. Its got 200k miles on it so far.
 

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If the auto tranny were to go out I would rather swap a manual trans in than rebuild the auto.

I was going to say that Escorts are much easier to work on than BMW's but I never worked on one so I couldn't say for sure. I still would really like a 135i coupe though. :)
 

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That looks like mine except mine is a coupe. Mine is also a 96 and I bought it for $950 a few months ago with 115,000 miles. The only thing I don't like is the small 13 inch factory rims that came with it. Soon I will upgrade to either 14 or 15 inch. Mine is a 5-speed with no power options, ac, and power steering. So far I had to replace a wheel bearing, tie rod and spark plugs. Other than that the car runs good.



 

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96 with 13" steelies? I don't believe you. They upgraded the brakes as far as I know in 94 and 13's wouldn't fit over the calipers. I tried it once.
 

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silverton said:
96 with 13" steelies? I don't believe you. They upgraded the brakes as far as I know in 94 and 13's wouldn't fit over the calipers. I tried it once.
I was wondering about that one myself.

As for the car in question, expect it to have broken rear springs or get them sometime soon if they haven't already been replaced. But it's easy enough to do and when it happens, use it as an excuse to replace the struts all the way around (cheap and easy enough to do yourself).
 

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silverton said:
96 with 13" steelies? I don't believe you. They upgraded the brakes as far as I know in 94 and 13's wouldn't fit over the calipers. I tried it once.
Believe me or not my car came with 13 inches tires. Now not sure if it is factory or not but that is what the previous owner told me. When I bought new rotors for it, the parts person ask me if I have 13 or 14 inch tires. So tire size might have been an option in 96. The brake pads were smaller than the ones I have on my 96, so the parts guy looked up a 93 escort and they matched the brake pads that are on my 96. That seems odd that 96 pads won't work on my 96 escort. I'm thinking maybe my calipers and brake pads were swapped over from a 93.
 

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EscorGo said:
I see rust under the hatch. Make sure the strut towers aren't rusted out. The frame rails as well. I'd be lifting some of the interior pieces to check the condition of the body - you are in the rust belt.
Yeah, rear springs dammit
the OP is definitely not in the rust belt, OR. The "big" pictures that were posted were from someone in Illinois, which definitely has a rusty hatch.
 

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silverton said:
EscorGo said:
I see rust under the hatch. Make sure the strut towers aren't rusted out. The frame rails as well. I'd be lifting some of the interior pieces to check the condition of the body - you are in the rust belt.
Yeah, rear springs dammit
the OP is definitely not in the rust belt, OR. The "big" pictures that were posted were from someone in Illinois, which definitely has a rusty hatch.
The Craigs listing was from Wisconsin right?
 

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BOSS302man said:
gnx547 said:
That looks like mine except mine is a coupe. Mine is also a 96 .............
That's exactly like mine only different.
rofl @ making fun of thread jacker.

Both of your cars are exactly like mine, but mine has different wheels, different paint... wait, the only thing that is the same is that they are all ford escorts... oh man...
 

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I know for a fact that they don't come with 13"brakes! The old owner must have swapped spindles and brakes!

gnx547 said:
That looks like mine except mine is a coupe. Mine is also a 96 and I bought it for $950 a few months ago with 115,000 miles. The only thing I don't like is the small 13 inch factory rims that came with it. Soon I will upgrade to either 14 or 15 inch. Mine is a 5-speed with no power options, ac, and power steering. So far I had to replace a wheel bearing, tie rod and spark plugs. Other than that the car runs good.



 
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