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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Noob here, and I recently picked up a nice 94 Escort LX wagon with a 5 speed and 93,000 miles. The problem which the dealership, nor anyone else, can figure out is this:

Symptom 1:
When the engine is cold, it is a very unhealthy sounding startup. Coughing, sputtering, shaking, and general malaise from the engine bay. Feather the gas to rev it up, and it subsides, and it get better the warmer the engine gets. On a warm start, it purrs like a kitten. until you touch the gas. one cough, then it revs right up.

Symptom 2:
The car is driveable. Careful modulation of the accelerator and clutch produce excellent driveability. If you give it too much or too little throttle, it chokes and sputters, and occasionally backfires. A slow, progressive roll onto the throttle gives great performance. I was able to drive this car on a 700 mile trip, and it cruised fine on the interstate, as long as the throttle remained stationary (No cruise control). upon any kind of acceleration, it would buck, jerk, and backfire, unless I downshift and roll on the throttle, then it's fine. 43 mpg average over 700 miles.

Symptom 3:
The clutch pedal only comes halfway through its travel before the clutch grabs. There's about 3 inches of travel from top to actuation. It feels like it's very strong, it never slips, but the actual amount of takeup is very, very tiny.

Please tell me someone here knows what this is caused by, or at least has an idea. The CEL comes on after about 10 minutes of driving, but the tech couldn't pull any codes off it. I think he rides the short bus. HELP ME PLEASE!
 

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First off have you replaced anything yet?

Symptom 1
Disconnect the vaccum hose to the egr valve when it is running rough when cold. If than helps than you probably need a new egr pressure sensor or egr vacuum solenoid.

Symtom 2
A new air and fuel filter would be good. Clean the maf sensor and possible a new oxygen sensor. The temperature sensor may be needed as well. Also plugs and wires. All this is your basic maintenance items, so doing this won't hurt anything and will narrow down the list of possible causes.

Symtom 3
Check for any leaks at or around the clutch master and slave. May just need to adjust the pedal. There is an adjustment on the rod that pushes the piston on the master.

HTH
 

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the master cylinder is on the firewall behind the battery which has a tube that's connected from that to the brake fluid reservoir. the slave cylinder i believe is on the transmission that has a line connected from the master cylinder to the slave cylinder.
 

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The clutch master cylinder is bolted to the firewall and has a rod from the clutch pedal to it. The slave is bolted to the trans. itself and operated the throw-out fork. There is a metal line connecting the two. They use the brake fluid from the brake master cylinder to operate.
 

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^^ha got u by a minute lol
 

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The master is on the fire wall behind the battery. Follow the hose from the brake master cylinder reservoir to it. The slave is on front of the trans behind the radiator fan. It has a metal line to it from the master. The slave is easy to find but the battery and battery tray must be removed to see the master. If you look under the dash at the clutch pedal you will be able to see the master on the back side. It will be more than likely to leak on the interior side of the firewall.
 

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go out to the car and check something for me. Look at the line that runs on top of the valve cover. It is the PCV tube. Follow it up to the 90 degree bend at the intake mani. Check to see if it has any cracks in it. Be sure to feel/check the backside.

It sounds similar to an issue I had with my 94 back in the day. I had several of these fail on me until I finally swapped in an aftermarket elbow.
 

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keyway on the crankshaft could be worn, causing the crank gear to move, happened to me.. caused a similar issue.

also-- when the CEL comes on, shut the car off and immediately check the codes.. see what comes up.

also check to see if the heater core has leaked onto the ECM at all.. can cause issues like this as well- if so, replace ECM.

also check everything everyone else said.
 

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I remember once my car was sputtering and surging like crazy. I was backing out of the parking spot at work and it did it, but I had remembered that not even 2 hrs earlier it didn't do it. I popped the hood with the engine running like sh!t and the PCV hose came out of the PCV elbow, which looks like someone made it using an old spark plug boot. Needless to say when that line comes off, creates a huge vaccuum leak and all hell breaks loose. The reason the tech at the dealer didn't get any codes is because they were probably using the wrong type of scanner, which the new ones won't work on the pre-96 cars, or he was a complete idiot and did not know how to trip the computer.
 

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Setnev.. youre awfulyl quick to pass judgement on someone you dont know.

as someone who works in a service dept. at a dealership, if you think that ANY dealership hires a technician who cant work a diagnostic scan tool then you are seriously mistaken.

on a side note, I have seen torn or deteriorated PCV elbows cause lean condition codes and a CEL.
 

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Hey they weren't my words, the OP said the tech rides the short bus :lol: I give the auto techs a lot of credit though. They have a lot of tools I wish I had to work on my cars with. That and they have the training to get the job done without breaking something more than it is. I would be alongside them if I had money to put myself through school to get my degree.

At any rate, the times my PCV hose came off and the car sputtered the CEL never came on, nor was I able to get any codes after it did it.
 

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Are there any updates to this problem? Anything tried? Anything found? This problem can be fixed. It is a 1.9L after all is said and done. Unless you throw a brick on the gas pedal and walk away, it can be fixed.
 

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The OP hasn't been very active in the thread letting us know what's going on, so I guess he either fixed it, had it fixed at a shop or said the h--- with it. It would be nice if people would let you know the outcome to their problems. It might help someone else out later on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Finally got my computer back...

First off, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who posted responses, I didn't expect such a high turnout. Secondly, the problem is halfway fixed. I changed the plugs and wires, and the car runs great now. I can take it from idle to what I think is the redline (shift light?) at any throttle position, no jumping, bucking, anything. I still get the check engine light after about 5-10 mins of driving, but I'm not too concerned with it. The clutch problem seems irrelevant, as it never slips and just requires a steady foot to release it.The tech no longer works at the dealership, after I told them what the main culprit was and they figured out he had not even connected the computer (I love security cameras). He apparently took a nap in my car from what they told me. I apologize for keeping everyone in the dark, my computer is around 10 years old and needed a new something or other. I will definitely be back with more questions as the car needs it. Thanks again!
 
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