Mine is a 2nd gen. so different weak points - but for your car; have a close look at the rust on the undercarriage, the strut towers front and rear, and the rust on the brake lines. In states that use salt on the roads in winter, or have a lot of rain - rust is a problem for the older Escorts.
Not a problem in Arizona for example.
i live in the middle of Indiana so rust would be a problem. i am trying to move to Arizona in a couple of years so its funny you say that exact state.
the rust on the body isnt bad but i havent looked at the undercarriage yet, i'll make sure to do that tomorrow.
anything else i should look at?