Overheating issues. | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

Overheating issues.

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.8L DOHC' started by virominoff, Sep 3, 2015.

  1. virominoff

    virominoff FEOA Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    68
    91 Escort 1.8L. (Edit: sorry it's a 1.9L)

    My temp gauge climbs to the 'L' in "NORMAL" while idling. My fan does not come on so I crank the windows down, turn on the heat, and everything is good.

    Well today it got to 'L', the engine kinda sputtered, and the fan kicked on. Which is weird because the fan hasn't worked in high speed mode for a year.

    So my questions are:
    1. Is getting to the 'L' going to harm the car.
    2. How should I go about fixing the fan?
    2.1. Where can I find a wiring diagram too put in a switch?
    3. About the same time the fan stopped working I replaced the thermostat with one that opened at 190 and not 200+ like the original. Could that be part of my problem?
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,865
    Likes Received:
    2,651
    Trophy Points:
    563
    Location:
    south TX or northern VA
    I doubt that a thermostat opening at 190 versus 200 would make a difference. I think most original thermostats were set to open at 195.
    Ford had a lot of problems with the temp gauges reading differently from one Escort to another - even within the same model year.
    There was even a factory authored fix for it - I think it consisted of replacing the thermal sensor for the gauge, and perhaps replacing the gauge as well; I can't recall.
    So to answer your questions:
    1. I dont think the gauge going past the L is any problem.
    2. If the fan comes on, then cycles off when the gauge shows a lower temp - then you dont need to do anything to fix the fan.**
    3. Most all of the wiring diagrams for our Escorts are in the Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual, the EVTM. They are a companion to the Service Manual, (which has almost no wiring diagrams) but no volume 1 or volume 2 is indicated. You should get the one for your year of Escort. I got mine from Ebay, and now have one for each year of Escort I own. Putting in a switch isnt something I want to tackle, due to the way Ford engineered the relays controlling fan operation. I would want to have the switch, AND have the original control of the fan by the PCM.
    I have four 2nd gen Escorts, all with the 1.9L engine, and each of which gets to a different spot on the temp gauge before the fan comes on. If your Escort has an a.c. system, it was made with a two speed fan, and the normal operation is for the fan to come on at its low speed first, only going to the high speed when the coolant temp gets up to something like 220f. (It would also come on to the high speed if your a.c. system still works and you turned it on, or used the defroster). I think the low speed fan should come on when the coolant gets to 205f. And those are temps as measured by the engine coolant temp sensor, the one having two leads to it. The sensor having only a single wire to it is the one that only drives the gauge.

    With my 91LX the fan comes on when the needle on the gauge has gotten past the end of the word "normal", by about 1/4 inch. And it does that consistently in heavy traffic n hot weather, etc. I have stood next to it in hot weather with the engine idling, to make sure the fan would come on. When the fan starts; after a few minutes the temp needle drops back to pointing at the "m" in normal, and the fan shuts off. Then it heats up again, and the fan cycles again, etc.
    I once had the gauge read higher than I thought it should on my 92LX; when the car didnt show unusual heat, as measured on the top radiator hose with my hand held infra-red thermometer. Then I found that if I shut the engine off - but turned the ignition back on right away without starting the engine - the gauge would read about where I felt it should have been. Fixing that took some investigating. There is a black rectangular connector at the negative battery terminal, with 3 or more wires connected. They are ground wires for various things, one of which is the instrument cluster. I clipped those wires, stripped back the insulation, and soldered them together to a heavier wire. The heavier wire I soldered to the grounding bolt where the negative battery cable is grounded to the body of the car. Then my temp gauge behaved as it should. I have since had to make the modification to that grounding connector on two of my other Escorts.

    ** At some point your fan will wear out its motor. The motors are now fairly reasonable, and I advise replacing it before the one on your car lets you down while sitting in a traffic snarl.

    The slight twitch in engine speed when the fan turns on is normal - its the load on the alternator as it starts the motionless fan to spin.

    And welcome to the forums!
    virominoff likes this.
  3. virominoff

    virominoff FEOA Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Thank you for your post there is a lot of good info there. I didn't think about using an infrared thermometer to check the temperature.

    The car never used to go past the "M" before the fan came on. But maybe I just need a new motor and temp sensor. Now that I know the needles are garbage.



    Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,865
    Likes Received:
    2,651
    Trophy Points:
    563
    Location:
    south TX or northern VA
    The fan motors usually work fine - until they die. I dont know that they show any symptoms before that time. A new sensor for the gauge is a good idea, though I would check the condition of the connection to that sensor.
    virominoff likes this.
  5. rdbpdx

    rdbpdx FEOA Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    153
    Check the fan relay in addition to the fan. In my case the fan was going bad and ended up trashing the fan relay. I have a 1.8 so I am not sure where the relay is on the 1.9.
    virominoff and denisond3 like this.
  6. virominoff

    virominoff FEOA Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    68
    I'm pretty sure I checked the relay before. But I know that there is a chance it's under the air box.

    Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk
  7. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

    Messages:
    4,490
    Likes Received:
    399
    Trophy Points:
    333
    Location:
    Russellville, Kentucky
    2nd generation hi/low speed relays are located next to the driver's side fender and will wrapped in a rubber protective boot. If I recall correctly there's also a fan relay located inside the fuse panel in the engine compartment.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
    virominoff likes this.
  8. Bomdoutscort

    Bomdoutscort FEOA Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    288
    Location:
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    The fan temp switch is located at the thermostat housing
  9. virominoff

    virominoff FEOA Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Thanks! I was looking at YouTube and saw that the Fuel Injection relay also controls the fan. So I'm going to test the relays this weekend.



    Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk
  10. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    9,865
    Likes Received:
    2,651
    Trophy Points:
    563
    Location:
    south TX or northern VA
    I believe the fuel injection relay only controls the fan indrectly. When the ignition is first turned on, the fan should run for a second; maybe not even making a full turn, because 12 volts goes to one of the relays via its 'normally closed" contacts. Then the PCM, after running through its Power-On-Self-Test & sensing the engine does not not need cooling will tell the fan to shut off by energizing the relay so its "normally closed" contacts are opened. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I believe that is what happens. This is how I test the radiator fan motors: If they dont spin on first turning on the ignition - then something is wrong in the motor or the circuits that feed it.
    I believe the fuel injection relays puts 12 volts on one of the leads of each of the fuel injectors. The PCM then triggers each injector by bringing the other lead almost to ground, as the Crankshaft Position Sensor and the Cam Position Sensors indicate that it is time to do so.
    I get this kind of info from reading the Electrical and Vacuum Troubleshooting Manuals (EVTM) for my Escorts.

    P.S. In my 94LX 5-speed I connected a l.e.d. across one of the fuel injectors; the l.e.d. positioned inside the car where I could see it. When you first turn on the ignition you get one 'blink' of the l.e.d, indicating one squirt from each injector. When the engine is running the l.e.d. blinks away - - -
    - - - Except when you take your foot off the gas in gear and are coasting. The fuel injectors stop getting triggered if your foot is off the gas and the engine is spinning father than about 1500 rpm. When you are pushing on the gax, the l.e.d. also blinks more brightly under acceleartion, versus a steady speed.
    I havent tried this with my 92LX with the automatic transmission yet.
  11. virominoff

    virominoff FEOA Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    68
    On my car the relay is listed as cooling fan and that's all it controls.

    Thank you all for the help I posted my follow up topic in the 1.9L section since I didn't want to be off topic.

Share This Page