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1999 Escort LX 5 spd
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi I'm new here, wanted to say hi to everyone. I recently bought a 1999 lx, 5spd, 149k miles, Amazon green paint code SU, for $1000. Its a neat car, gets good gas mileage, runs ok. Needs work though. Usual stuff for an old car. I'm averaging 34-35mpg mostly highway, I live in the country. It has some Nebraskan rust on the rear fender underneath the gas cap and on the rocker panels underneath. Frame rails look ok and I dont see any rust anywhere else but you never know with that stuff. I'm going to brush the rust off with a wire brush and use some rust converter and spray paint. I dont trust rubber undercoating. The exhaust had a 1 inch round leak just behind the front Cat that I fixed with a clamp from O'Reilly, a fiber gasket and a piece of aluminum can to keep it from blowing out the gasket. It sounds ok but still leaks a bit. I'm gonna eventually wrap some of that exhaust wrap that you soak in water around it because its a tight fit up in there. The car kind of burbles like a Mini Cooper, sounds like a turbo muffler but I think it is original, not sure. I believe it is just really worn out. I can live with the sound though, its a lot quieter than before. If anything its raising my mpg lol. Shouldn't burn the valves.

Some of the things I have done so far are a front chin spoiler, small 6.5 inch speaker box in the back seat and polished the headlights. I found out all 4 of my sway bar links are broken. The strut mounts are dry rotted. Struts are worn out. We are picking up some O'Reilly struts tomorrow, just the low end stuff. Nothing special. Its the complete kit with mounts and springs. There is no way I want to mess with a spring compressor lol. I think they will be ok, especially compared to how it is now. I know higher end stuff is better but I think we will be happy with these for 50k miles or so. Gonna give the car to my brother/family before then most likely. My brothers ZX2 got burned up a long time ago and it was my fault so I owe him a car... I eventually want to find a low mileage "grandpa" car like a crown vic, lincoln, buick lesabre, park avenue, gs etc to replace it. Preferable supercharged as they have stronger transmisisons. Or find a good condition PT Cruiser Turbo 5spd or a 1st gen Mini Cooper S with a manual. I love old DSM's, Eclipse and Talons but those are a bit long in the tooth and cost too much nowadays... Would love a older corolla but they cost too much. Considered my options heavily.

Stuff on my to do list are Sylvania Silverstar Ultras, hope they aren't too bright or hard on the electrical system. Looked into LED bulbs but found out that is illegal. Thought about fog lights but you aren't supposed to run those all the time so decided to just fix up the headlights. Keep in mind I live in the country so I really need decent lights to avoid a wreck. Obviously going to adjust them to not blind people. Going to do spark plugs, prolly motorcraft platinums and wires from rockauto. Polish the paint, paint the chin spoiler with matching paint. A small 2ch amp for the speakers in the box, some 3 way marine speakers for the back window. Maybe a inexpensive 4ch amp eventually for the marine speakers and door speakers. Timing belt obviously, maybe valve seals and retainers to stop burning oil and avoid the achilleas heal of the engine? Assuming I can do that without pulling the head. I'm going to pick up some zx2 15 inch mags soon, planning on 195-55-15's eventually. But 185's for now. Found a 95 lx, I think lx, rear sway bar for $30. Believe that is 19mm, and the stock front is 21mm I think, not 100% sure though. I'm guessing that will handle fairly neutral, not too much oversteer. I noticed they seem to only use one bushing in the middle versus 2 on my car, so it'll be awhile before that goes on the car as I figure that out. Gonna pick it up and set it aside though. Looks like an easy swap, won't have to get it aligned again.

I got the chin spoiler at Ace hardware for about $13.
EasyFlex 20 ft. L Plastic Black Landscape Edging Kit
It's this one, I hope links are allowed, not trying to advertise for anyone :)
Edging link
It looks nice i.m.o. Nothing fancy but not bad. Molded to the bumper pretty well. Made the steering feel a bit heavier, helped a bit with wind. Car doesn't seem to run any hotter. It slightly blocks the air inlet though. I'm happy with it, wind drives me crazy, and Nebraska has some SERIUS wind on the highways. I'll take pictures tomorrow for anyone interested.

The box is a simple cheap one from AutoZone, cost $55. I replaced the speakers with Pyle 6.5 inch 4 ohm dvc
subwoofers
from amazon. Rated 60hz minimum so not true subs but whatever... Bypassed the tweeters because I don't have a crossover. Radio is 4 ohm standard. I used poly-fill from Walmart for dampening and tried to seal up the box as well as possible. Not solid though :( I used caulking strips to seal the speakers and the other stuff on the box, the port and tweeters. I think I need to seal up the terminals, just realized that... Sealed up the port with aluminum tape and cardboard to make it fairly solid, I know... I know... I'm doing this stuff on the cheap. I just want decent music. Nothing too loud or overkill to drive the neighbors crazy... Nothing too heavy or hard on the engine killing my mpg and reliability of the battery and alternator. That's my reasoning. I'm most worried about mpg and durability of the car. I put Pyle PL63BL 6.5 3 way speakers in the front doors. Sealed them up with aluminum tape and poly-fill. The music has a sharp-hard-clear sound to it. Sounds more like banging, not boomy. Low end is lacking though, no rumble. Sounds fine though. Needs more wattage, car is loud on the highway. I bet with a properly tuned amp and using the rca sub outputs it will rumble more. Future project. Have my mind set on some enclosed marine speakers for the back eventually.

The ac needs recharged. Im trying to figure out how to check for leaks and pull a vacuum without spending too much money. My father suggested using the intake pressure but i think you have to pull 19-22 psi? Don't know if the intake will pull that. Got to do more research. I pulled a control module from a 99 automatic with 88k miles but the part number is different, it is labeled year 2007. Got it for cheap though. Going in the spare parts bin. I hope the pump and everything are good... Never know. Maybe if someone needs that control module on here I can sell it for a small profit for my time and gas. I think we paid $35 with core and tax. I can only guarantee the car runs with it installed, not that it fully works with everything, seemed to idle/run worse though... Took it back out, especially after finding out it controls the cooling fan.

AutoZone has 4 sway bar links for about $25 so gonna grab those tomorrow. Can't wait to see how it handles after the suspension work and alignment.

This is a fun project. Love the little car. Sorry for the long post. Glad to be here.
 

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1999 Escort LX 5 spd
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Replied 15 minutes after the facebook ad went up. We didn't bother haggling.

The parents wanted a safer car for the kid, it was his first car. I told him it was cool he learned to drive with a manual and how rare that is nowadays. I think they may have wanted a quick sale, I'm not sure. I'm surprised its worth that much, I figured $2500 after everything is fixed.
 

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The right way to check for leaks would be to pressurize the system with nitrogen (don't use compressed air), then in theory you'll be able to hear it leaking if it's a big leak, or the pressure will slowly drop over time if it's a slow leak.

I never thought of pulling vacuum on an AC system with the car's engine lol, I kind of want to try that just for grins. I'm pretty sure you can rent a vacuum pump from auto parts stores to completely evacuate atmosphere/moisture from the system, but if the system has been exposed to the atmosphere for a while you may need to replace the Receiver Drier/Accumulator as I don't think you can really get the moisture out from that if it's absorbed too much, and you will need to add some oil if you do replace it (there are charts that are supposed to tell you how much oil to add anytime you replace an AC component depending on which component you're replacing).

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I just put the Silver-star Ultras in it and the original bulbs were Silver-stars from 1999 lol. 23 years? Isn't that longer than LED's are rated to last? In the daytime they dont look much brighter, hard to tell. Have to wait and see.

Looked them up, apparently they are regular Sylvania halogens. Maybe that's what Ford used?

I tried cleaning the spark plugs and discovered how hard it is to get the wires back on right :(
Twist and push lol. Went ahead and bought some regular Autolite single platinum's. Seems fine.

Checked O-Reillys, dryer is $35. Not bad. I wonder if rock auto can be trusted.
 

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RockAuto won't ship to me, but I haven't heard much negative about them otherwise. There is lots of discount codes floating around these forums and the Ford Escort facebook groups for RockAuto.

Maybe someone can chime in on if the dryer should be replaced, I'm making an assumption there.
 

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I'd throw some freon in it and see if the compressor kicks on.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I replaced my front struts and noticed how high it is compared to the rear, but I remember checking the height of the passenger side to the driver side with only 1 replaced so far and the passenger side was only about 1mm taller with the new strut. I'm looking at that picture above and it was already that way. I wonder if that is normal or whether my rear sagged... I'll find out when I replace the rear ones. I read that they will settle over the next couple weeks. I hope so. Looking at google images the front is usually taller than the back, or has a bigger wheel gap. So I shouldn't worry.

Passenger side took over an hour because of snug bolts. Driver side took like 20 minutes... what a difference lol. Hopefully the rear bolts come right off.
 

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Have you seen the price of R134a lately?
If it's never been apart chances are good of just putting some freon in and calling it a day. I charged mine yesterday.
 
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Have you seen the price of R134a lately?
Yeah, it's not much. Still under $10 for a 12oz can the last time I checked. Look up the price for R1234YF if you really want a shock.
 

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Damn trust me bro you do not want a pt cruiser turbo. Working on my father’s rn had to drop the entire engine just to do some service to it (seals, water pump, etc) not fun ford escorts ftw all day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
They wont ship to my brother in Texas either. They just don't deliver to some states or cities I think. Some kind of legal thing. Look it up if interested. There are plenty of other sites that are cheap though.

Looked it up, I'm wrong, brother can get deliveries now. We used to live in Colorado, they wont deliver to Colorado. I don't know about anywhere else.
 

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In Colorado it has to do with home rule municipalities that collect local taxes in addition to other taxes. There are some places in Colorado that rockauto will ship as they don't have a local tax that applies.

I always thought it was kind of dumb since Rock Auto even plays advertisements on local TV here.
 

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most (blue) states have pulled the cans from the shelfs, you need a license to buy refrigerant now. I usually buy 6, 30 lb kegs every spring for a/c season. I was quoted 375$ per keg with a commercial account. your leak is probably from the charge ports them self's, the schrader valves go bad. best thing to do is recover whats left, if any. replace the valves, vac, charge. keep in mind that only some leaks will show under vac, and usually leaks are under pressure.
 

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Interesting to hear about the reasons for the Rockauto shipping restrictions.
It's understandable that they can't handle individual county tax fooforaw.

I was surprised that the sales tax was broken down finer than the state level. Seems like a royal pain in the butt when taxes get that fussy.
 
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