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I'm pretty sure the crank sensor has died on my car. I will replace the sensor next weekend... but it seems like the probable cause for its failure would be worn out thrust bearings on this engine.

Is it possible to replace the thrust bearing in place on these vehicles? I might be able to negotiate/rent time on a hoist for a day, but I've never worked on the bottom of an engine before. Removing the engine for repair or replacement is more than I can or want to try.

Does anyone have the procedures for bearing replacement on these engines? Is the Chilton/Haynes my only option for a car this old?

For example, what is the torque spec for the bearing cap bolts, and can they be reused? Do I have to completely remove the crank, or can I slip a new bearing in around it?
 

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My escorts are all the SOHC LX kind, where a sloppy thrust bearing would not cause any problem with the crankshaft position sensor. While it is -possible- to replace the thrust bearing on the block without taking the crankshaft out, I would not think of this work as being easy or without risk.

Yes, after taking off the oil pan (which also requires dropping the catalytic converter) and unbolting the main bearing cap, you would be able to get the upper half of the bearing to slide around till it can fall out the bottom. The bolts for the main bearing caps can be re-used, and the torque value is 40-43 ft-lbs.
I would recommend you get the Ford Service Manual for your car, to have a better idea what is involved.

Hopefully someone who has worked on their DOHC engine will respond.
 

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I can't imagine the crankshaft thrust bearing being sloppy enough to cause problems with the Crank Sensor before the inside of the engine was totally destroyed.
Is your car a manual or automatic transmission?
 

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Assuming this is on a 2000 zx2? Ford produced a small batch of motors have had crankwalk.

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk
 

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I'm pretty sure the crank sensor has died on my car. I will replace the sensor next weekend... but it seems like the probable cause for its failure would be worn out thrust bearings on this engine.

Is it possible to replace the thrust bearing in place on these vehicles? I might be able to negotiate/rent time on a hoist for a day, but I've never worked on the bottom of an engine before. Removing the engine for repair or replacement is more than I can or want to try.

Does anyone have the procedures for bearing replacement on these engines? Is the Chilton/Haynes my only option for a car this old?

For example, what is the torque spec for the bearing cap bolts, and can they be reused? Do I have to completely remove the crank, or can I slip a new bearing in around it?
is this car a 5speed? this is important information which has been left out

also, it sounds as if you are guessing whether the crank position sensor has died. It either has or it hasn't. If it did die then how did it die? this too is important information

there is more involved to what you wish to accomplish but i cannot provide you the information you are looking for unless you provide this additional information. A picture of the current crank position sensor would also be helpful
 

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@4cylinder sorry for leaving out these important details! This is a 2001 ATX with just over 100k miles. For almost 10k miles, I have been getting a grinding noise consistent with crankwalk whenever the torque converter unlocks from 4th gear. Whether it's staying in 4th or kicking down to 3rd, always a brief grinding noise for 1-2 seconds. I suspect this is the flywheel hitting the starter or something.

Here is the update:

Yes it was the crank sensor. After sputtering out a few dozen times, it threw a p0320 (I forget the code but I think that's it--the one for crank sensor.) The first problem occurred on the freeway at the exact moment my torque converter unlocked, upshifting to 3rd, when the grinding noise happens. Soon it wouldn't run at all except for idling. I managed to idle my way off the freeway to a sketchy side street in LA. On a whim I swapped the cam sensor to see if it would help (I was near a parts store) which of course it didn't. So I called for a tow truck to take me home and waited for a new crank sensor to arrive (and for time to replace it!)

It took two weeks for the new sensor to arrive (ugh) but I finally swapped it out today. Sure enough the old one is ground down. Luckily I think most of the missing magnet got stuck to the crank sensor bolt and came out.

20201212_162232.jpg


I shimmed the new sensor by the thickness of damage to the last one. And the car is now running fine. But I'd like to evaluate whether or not I can repair the crank thrust bearing problem, or if I should be shopping for a new car.

Thanks!
 

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Thank you @denisond3, I have ordered what I hope will turn out to be a Ford service manual on eBay.

Hopefully I can keep this car on the road for a few more years. Everything else is in great shape, including the top end of this engine.
 

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I shimmed the new sensor by the thickness of damage to the last one. And the car is now running fine. But I'd like to evaluate whether or not I can repair the crank thrust bearing problem, or if I should be shopping for a new car.

Thanks!
shimming it as you have done will last for a while but do be prepared for an oil mark left on your hood flung on there by the belt.

your issue with the sensor is likely due to the bearing being worn out. This is caused by normal wear on a 5speed due to using the clutch to shift gears. Every time you shift or start the car the clutch presses the crank onto the bearing.

if you are lucky it is only the bearing. I mention this because there are times when the bearing will actually survive and the crank will have a groove worn into it. This will suck if this is the case because it would mean replace the crank. It is not hard to replace the crank, it just means taking the engine apart

I have had to fix this a few times on 5 speed cars. Other times i just replaced the engine. If you decide to replace the engine then look for one from a 98 or 99 in a car with an auto trans. The 98 and 99 have better thermostat housing so they will usually not be in there for overheat or anything real bad. Usually the auto trans took a dump and the car ended up in a yard for the bad trans. While you are at it take the thermostat housing from that car as well if you decide to go this route when the time comes.

good luck, your engine will last a while as it is but remember now your rods are also moving side to side as well as up and down so it is just a matter of time. Make sure you keep an eye on the oil level
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ugh, good point about the other lower engine wear :(

I'm going to wait for the eBay repair manual to arrive to evaluate whether I can replace the bearing without pulling the engine. I simply do not have the skills, tools, or space to pull an engine.

I did previously swap to the 98 thermostat housing on your advice on the other forum. Thanks again!
 

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you can replace that bearing with the engine in the car. It will take tapping it out with a screwdriver and hammer. Not hard to do. You can then replace new one using method in reverse. The main thing you will need to do is physically stick your finger in there and feel the crank surface that bearing comes in contact with. You will be feeling for a groove worn into it. If you have a groove in it the bearing will only buy you a little more time
 

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you can replace that bearing with the engine in the car. It will take tapping it out with a screwdriver and hammer. Not hard to do. You can then replace new one using method in reverse. The main thing you will need to do is physically stick your finger in there and feel the crank surface that bearing comes in contact with. You will be feeling for a groove worn into it. If you have a groove in it the bearing will only buy you a little more time
Thank you for this insight. I'm starting to think this is something I can tackle! I hope to keep my car running like new, rather than grinding through the rest of these bearings and dooming her to the scrap yard.

If I do find that the crank is damaged as you described, could I then remove it for repair or replacement, without pulling the engine? For example, it looks like you can buy undersized (oversized?) bearings, where you would take the crank to a machine shop to be resized for the new smaller/larger bearings. That might give a fresh bearing surface within tolerance for a long service life. Or, maybe I could buy an undamaged crankshaft from a junk yard or something? (I haven't been to a junk yard since high school!) But if removing the crank requires pulling the engine, then that is probably out of reach for me, given my limited knowledge and resources. Perhaps this is trivial for engine repair experts, but to me it seems like an insurmountable challenge.

Sorry for such novice questions here. I have never taken apart the bottom end of an engine. I really appreciate your advice!
 

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crank is connected to the part of the engine which contacts the trans. You will either have to remove engine or remove trans to get it out if you intend to replace. Realistically, if you are going to do all that work it is easier to replace engine than to replace crank. Also, after all the parts you have to buy to replace a crank then it is about the same just to get an engine from a yard and replace.

replace is easier than you may think. It seems like a lot of work and it is. The thing about it is that it is really only removing everything connected to it then putting it back on. This is a lot easier than taking engine apart then trying to put back together because you have to take a lot of parts off including the trans (if replacing the crank)

machine shop cannot really repair a groove in the crank if it has one. It is not really worth the time and money involved to do that. Replacement is the only thing which makes sense to do if that is the case.

and about oversize and undersize bearings, those things really have nothing to do with repair of this issue. If a bearing were designed to fix the issue of the crank having a groove worn into it then it would require the sides to be enlarged (thicker) to compensate for the surface worn off. This would be about the thickness of the shim you used for the sensor.

you mentioned this

...I managed to idle my way off the freeway to a sketchy side street in LA....
i am going to guess you mean Los Angeles not Louisiana. if los angeles is where you are located then there are a few of us in socal who may be able to help with this if problem or even buy your car from you if the task is too much financially or labor-intensive.
 

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funny thing is that ford never learned from these issues. the new 5.0 disgustangs have the same issue.
so the question is,, is it possible to replace the thrust bearings.. absolutely...
is it possible to do it in the car,,... debatable.. normal main bearings ive done in the vehicle before. not for a longevity reason, but for a quick emergency fix. as long as the crank surface isnt ground down and its just the copper in the bearing has ground away.

there has been some success with shimming the sensor out to where it does not contact, but this can also cause ckp signal issues.. double edged sword on this one.

the debate of mt/at, having the mt cause thrust bearing failure more than at... i would disagree. the converter often baloons out causing force on the crank 'all the time' vs a clutch where force is exerted during clutch operation.
 

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I would never recommend trying to replace the crank while the engine is in the car. While it might be possible, I would consider it more work to do that way. I would think it worthwhile to remove the engine, and do other repairs that might be needed. I like to hoist the engine and trans out at the same time. It is possible to take out the engine by itself, if the car has the automatic trans - but if it has the 5-speed; then taking the engine out along with the transmission is easier, for me, than first taking the 5-speed out, then taking the engine out.
I use a cantilever hoist, which cost me under $200, and I do all of my work outside, on grass. I can get the bare engine block into my little workshop. Any trans work, (like rebuilding the auto trans) I also do outside, on a workbench I set up in the yard.
Another tool I have that comes in very handy, is an oxy-yacetylene torch. It makes short work of rusty exhaust system bolts and nuts, and has even been used to help with removing the hub nuts. Each time I have to take an engine/trans out, I have to take off the CV axles from the transmission. And I often find the ball joints and tie rod ends are no longer snug - so they get replaced.

I am currently fixing a dropped inlet valve seat, which destroyed a piston, involves a rebuilt head (cast &240), and will go back together with the pistons being .020" oversize. While having the CV axles out, I also found the brake calipers would no longer slide sideways, to allow even wear of the brake pads. So I am freeing up the sliding pins on the calipers.

Im retired, and this is good exercise for me; also saves huge amounts of money.
I do have another escort - needed for going to get parts.
 

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It is possible to repair a crankshaft with thrust surface damage or spun bearing damage, but is only worthwhile for very expensive crankshafts.
The procedure is to machine away the damaged area to an even surface, electroplate only that surface with nickel and then grind it back to original specs.

When I was an apprentice at a large industrial facility we did this on an old small engine I was restoring. It was a very satisfying job, and I was grateful to the "old guys" that indulged my enthusiasm for old machinery.
 
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