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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As prompted by another member, I´d like to share with you my car´s problems and symptoms and see if anyone can offer any advice...

I own a 1996 Escort LX 1.9L 5-speed manual transmission. It has over 200,000 miles on the original engine.

For about a week now, the "Check Coolant" light has come on intermittently. I pay very close attention to my car, I notice every little change because I drive it so much. When the light came on, I looked at my temp. gauge and it was normal. The fans are running, and the vents blow warm air. So it has never overheated. The light comes on sometimes right as I start it up, sometimes after it is driven over varying amount of miles. Sometimes it comes on and off within the same trip. Since the car showed no other symptoms of overheating or overcooling, I thought maybe it was just the sensor. I also have checked the coolant levels everyday and the overflow contains (good-looking) coolant at the full cold level when cold, and at the full hot level when running at normal temperatures. The radiator cap was having problems with pressure last summer, but that was resolved at that time. I get my coolant flushed every other fall and have my engine oil changed every 3,000 miles (which is about every month for me) and the coolant is always checked at those times.

The new problem is this: Last evening I drove home (in a blizzard :) ) which was a trip of about 45 miles. 5 miles from home both the "Check Engine" and "Check Coolant" light came on at the same time. I checked the temp gauge - normal. It was cold outside and I had the heat on and the vents were still blowing warm air. I also did not notice any change in the engine performance at all. The last time the "Check Engine" light came on, it was traced back to the catalytic converter, but instead of doing work on it, they turned off the CE light and it hadn´t come on since, and the car runs perfectly fine.

I´m not taking the risk of driving it long distances when the CE light is on. I need to get this resolved ASAP. Better safe than sorry. I was wondering if anyone had any input to help me direct any mechanics I may take it to.

Thank you very much!!
 

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Well, all 96+ model cars are OBDII, so there´s a chance that the check engine light (CEL) is related to the Check Coolant light.

The Check Coolant light may very well be a failed sensor. Usually the CEL will come on when a sensor fails completely, or is disconnected. The easiest way to find out is to call around to local automotive parts chains and see if any of them give free diagnostics readings. They should be able to tell you what needs to be replaced.

The catalytic converter thing you mentioned before sounds like it might be a timed oxygen sensor light. It´s just something that trips the CEL every 30 or 40 thousand miles to remind you to replace your oxygen sensor. I´m not even sure if the computer in the scort is equipped with such a function though. If so, that may be the source of the CEL again (some crazy coincidence).. if not the coolant sensor.

--------

I´ve just spent the last week trying to figure out the source of a CEL on a ´98 Forrester.. got the code read and it was the speedometer sender. I spent last night swapping out the sender from my Legacy.. Yep, that was it! Problem w/ the Forrester is that it has a limp mode, so every now and then it would try to go into that limp mode (cuts ignition timing back like 20 degrees!). Driving around town with a non-functioning speedo isn´t a big deal.. having the computer kill 60% of your power because it thinks something is wrong... is a royal PITA.

Beaverboy

PS: According to this website no 95 model year escorts were made OBDII.

[ This message was edited by: Beaverboy on 28-03-2003 11:29 ]
 

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Beaver is right on an OBDII, if one light goes it will throw another...but check this one:

I kept getting a check coolant light for low coolant levels intermittantly. After time I checked it back to a leak on my pump. So after replacing the pump everything was fine. Also, its possible that if your pump seal has worn out, you´re getting a check engine light from the pump too.

maybe that is
 

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I believe that the second gens do not have very good wiring. My sec. gen has had similiar problems. The Fuel Cut out switch and brakelight switch will get stuck on. And my check Coolant cycles on and off like yours. After eplacing the coolant and cleaning the censor it stopped for about a day. I think that the censors are just screwed. I wouldn´t worry about it, you might have a pinched wire. I ripped off my steering wheel the other day to try and fix the problems with my brake light and fuel cutout. i found that the wires coming from the steering wheel get pinched in between the dash and the wheel. The space provided is too small. So i just moved them to the side and problem was fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all for your input!

I took the car in a while back and it seems to be the O2 sensor by the catalytic converter or something that sets off the CE light. They unplugged it and plugged it back in and it went out, so therefore they didn´t replace it..... A week later it´s back on! :-|

Anyway, in the meantime, I went car shopping. I am now the proud(?) new owner of a 2003 Mustang LX Coupe. I did not trade in the Escort, I intend to use it as back-up. And fix it up a little bit while I drive the new one. :-D I´ll post a pic of the new car (and maybe the Escort) sometime!
 

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Mmmmmm Mustang. Good choice.

Anyway about the Escort. If you have an Auto Zone near by you can take it there and they do free diagnostic checs. You might want to make sure to get them to write down the codes for you because half of the people I have met at the Auto Zones around here are morons. Post your trouble codes here and I can help you a bit easier. I don´t think the Low Coolant light is a part of the OBDII system. I´m pretty sure it is just an added feature on the Escort. Mine is an 89 and it is OBDI. It has been dead since before I owned the car. My sensor is a float in the overflow tank. It is possable for the tank to be slightly low when you start the car and then when it does warm up the level in the tank will rise causing the light to go off. I can tell you one thing though, there is no sensor for the waterpump seal. So even if your water pump was leaking like a siv it would not throw a Check Engine Light for that reason. It might leak on another sensor and make it crap out, or cause a condition to trip another sensor, but it won´t throw a code for the water pump.
 
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