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Newbie questions, '98 manual

877 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Boost
Hi, I just bought a '98 manual Sport model (4 door, split port engine) with 142k miles. Runs great and I love it, even though there is some evidence to suggest it's been very wet before. Very excited to learn about it and I hope it will provide me with thousands of miles of good transportation like it is doing now. I do have several questions after a few days of driving it, and although I will research each one on my own I really wanted to ask them here in the hopes that some are normal or very common to these cars. So here it goes, thanks a lot in advace for your responses:

1) CLUTCH PEDAL ENGAGEMENT VERY LOW, sometimes the car stalls / shakes when releasing clucth from a dead stop. Are these cable or hydraulic clutches? Is the pedal adjustable? Does is have a bad slave maybe? Or do I just need to get used to driving it because this is the way they are? Or is the disk worn? (I hope not :( )

2) TRANNY SHIFTER FEELS NOTCHY/ HARD especially going into 4th gear, sometimes 1st and sometimes gets a little stuck in gear or just feels very notchy / stiff overall. On previous cars I've owned overhauling the bushings by the shifter and swapping the fluid helped. I still need to change the trans fluid, what good synthetic is recommended? Or is this just how these cars are?

3) ENGINE VIBRATES AT IDLE - I have learned that this is a major characteristic of this engine and that's ok. I've already done a nice tune-up on it. The mounts don't seem very broken and the TSB (bulletin) in Alldata to repair teh tranny mounts is a complicated pain. I can like with it if I don't have to replace all the mounts soon (which I plan on doing in the future)

4) LEFT REAR WINDOW (area) shakes/rattles sometimes - doesn't leak or seem to move but vibrates during certain frequencies, like 5th gear. No big deal, maybe just needs new seals?

5) It has keyless entry but only the driver unlocks and that's it. This may not be escort specific, just that is was wet or simply needs the power locks repaired, no biggie.

6) No check engine light - I think the guy seller took it out somehow, anyways I pulled oxygen sensor and emission codes, nothing serious. I have already purchased new sensors, hopefull they will improve the economy as it's getting about 29-30 mpg now and while that is outstanding I would expect a little better from this setup.

7) Half of gauge cluster does not light up, no big deal, probably needs a new cluster if the bulbs are not replaceable.

8) Seat belt kinda loose, does not like to tighten around me by itself. This bothers me but I understand many older cars were this way. (?)

I know I am being picky with some of this stuff, the only things that REALLY concern me are #1 & #2 (clutch and shifter) possibly related?
I would especially appreciate input about the low clutch engagement / notchy shifter as well as any other common issues / fixes a new owner should be aware of. I love this car, it's just what I needed and glad to have a nice forum like this as a resource.
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number one and two are probably related, either the clutch slave cylinder needs replaced, or it needs bled.

check the door panel on the left rear door, it could be your vibration.

your car has "driver door only" keyless entry, which is fairly common. it should pop the trunk and have an alarm button too, right?

pull the gauge cluster and you can fix #6 and #7 at the same time. the bulbs are replaceable, bulb # 194 if I remember correctly.

no clue about the seat belts, mine work fine.
Thank you thank you thank you! I knew that you guys would know right away about what some of this is or at least point me in the right direction. I love this little car, I plan on fixing it up as much as possible. I have a long history with cars, they are a very big part of my life and I am very glad to have found this forum. Thanks again

And that makes sense about the driver only keyless but it does not lock?
it should lock the drivers door only.
It unlocks but does not lock it.
Could be your keyfob, does the keyfob have "Drivers Door Only" on it? Just out of curiousity...I have two fobs for my '99 ZX2 one that says Drivers door and one that doesnt...your battery might be low in the remote or the button might be worn out, I dont know if its the car itself giving you issues...although it may be.

Seat belt is probably worn out, my Tracer is slow to return and stuff so I know it could be that.

If you go on ebay you could get a new remote for right around fifteen bucks...to program it is easy, just turn the ignition between the run position and completely back like 8 times somewhat slowly, cycle the switch untill the doorlocks lock and unlock, leave the key on, then hit a button on the new remote and then the old one and shut the key off...that should program it...if you get it right.

I am pretty sure it's a driver door only fob, seems like the button is bad. I would like to get an extra one anyway. I appreciate the valuable info about the programming and all the other advice. I love this little car, even though the insurance company says it has horrible crash test rating, and gets me around very nice although it seems to have a bad clutch slave.
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