Replace bottom end bearings while doing oil pan gasket? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Replace bottom end bearings while doing oil pan gasket?

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by Itchigo, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

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    Just what the title says. Is it worth replacing the bottom end crank bearings if your dropping the oil pan for gasket replacement? I do have a little tick- nothing major, enough to bother only me.;) It could easily be a rocker arm too (I replaced the lifters). I hate hearing ticking and clicking, loud valve trains are annoying!

    I should say that I'm having the work done for me as I don't have a place to do messy jobs (I live in a condo). I'm also having other work done in a 1 shot deal just to be done with it (new radiator, front brake hoses, trans fluid change), so I don't want to add to the bill if I don't have to. FYI, the car has only 100,000 miles on it.
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I have worked on eight 2nd gen Escort LX engines, some with definitely over 200,000 miles on them, two of them being past 260,000 miles. I replaced the crank bearings (mains and rod) just because the engine blocks were sitting on my workbench. I was also putting in new piston rings on used pistons into newly honed cylinders; and just buying the bearings was kind of a bargain. In no case did the mains OR the rods look like they needed new bearings. Also in no case did I get the cranks ground undersized or even polished. They were all still well within the specified 'wear limits'. So far I have not replaced an oil pump either.

    So in your situation I would not bother with new crank bearings, unless you find evidence of the engine having been run low on oil. Like fragments in the oil pan or bits stuck onto the inlet screen of the oil pickup.

    I have replaced radiators, done trans fluid flushes (as well as F4EAT rebuilds), & replaced most all of the front brake hoses. Anytime I replace a radiator, it gets at least a new upper hose. The lower hose is so hard to get a new one installed really properly, that I dont think I would bother with it. Also removing the thermostat housing can involve breaking off one of the really small bolts! Removing that I mainly do if/when I am putting a rebuilt head on the engine.
    On a 91LX I fixed up for a single parent friend of ours, I did a careful job of sanding and priming and painting the trans cooler lines, along with new hoses for that. Its easy to overlook the rust on them, as its at the bottom of things.
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  3. 04Svt

    04Svt FEOA Member

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    I wouldn't.
    If the engines in the car the rods can be replaced but the mains can not. You have to physically take the crack shaft out to replace both on each main cap.
    The rods could be done but you have to disconnect the cap then push the piston up in its bore to get the top part of the bearing off the rod.
    Not worth it imo.
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  4. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

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    Good deal, thanks for all of the info. I was hoping you guys would say that... I'm a perfectionist when it comes to engine noise.

    Right now here's what I have: Radiator on order ($45 shipped). The main reason I don't do this myself is I live in a condo, I do work, but nothing messy (aside from oil changes). That and I know about those small bolts breaking. Better to be in a shop when they break anyway. Already have upper and lower hoses, and a thermostat. The reason for this is the car doesn't quite get up to temp in cold weather (below 25f), that means I don't get much heat. I get heat in the warmer months, and the temp is where it should be on the gauge. That tells me thermostat.

    Oil pan gasket. Have it at home, just paying labor.

    Front brake hoses: Have them at home, just too lazy, and since it's going in anyway...

    Motor mounts: I need some good pics so I get the right thing. Easily enough changed out, but I don't have air tools. I've been working with hand tools all of my life. The ones behind the radiator and on the other side of the engine look the same (2nd and 4th pics). Is that right?

    Trans fluid: Having it changed, it's likely it's never been done. Starting to get a little dirty, but not black. Guessing it's wear and tear from the disc clutches.

    Should I be concerned about the left control arm (pic3)? The car doesn't pull, the alignment is off by about 1 tie rod rotation. With the car jacked up I have no play in either wheel (tie rods/ball joints).

    IMG_0389.JPG IMG_0390.JPG IMG_0392.JPG IMG_0397.JPG IMG_0398.JPG
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  5. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    When my Escorts dont have super good heat, I usually blame the blend door on the heater assembly for being out of adjustment. You can get to that mechanism on the side of the heater, without doing more than twisting your back to get to see it. And if the thermostat has not been off your car in the last few years - the three small bolts holding the thermostat housing to the engine head have been known to snap off when someone tries to remove them. At least that is how it is on my 2nd gen Escorts.

    Nope, the mounts on the front side and back side of the bell-housing are different.

    Me, I wouldnt worry about the top passenger side motor mount, shown in your first picture, nor the one next to the radiator, shown in your 2nd photo. The ones I see on my Escorts that gets replaced, is the one on the back side of the bell-housing, near the firewall. Its the one that gets bathed in oil leaking from the engine or trans, and therefore softened. It is definitely different from the one on the front side of the bell-housing. Its also the most difficult one to replace, unfortunately. Ford calls it a transmission mount, rather than a motor mount. I dont know what the auto parts places call it.

    In your 3rd photo, where the clamp holding the back end of the control arm is, before I would try loosening those two rusty bolts, I would try spraying a lot of penetrating oil into the hole in the subframe first, to get the top end of the bolts wet with the lubricant. If you can find a new clamp for the control arm, it might be nice to replace it. And if you do - please let us know what your source was for that clamp. They dont come with new control arms. Probably lots of them in junkyards, but of course they are on the bottom of the car.
  6. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Ticking is probably from a hydraulic lifter. They can be dismantled and cleaned to remove the varnish that causes the sticking, and ticking.

    When I had my oil pan off, the con rod bearing were worn a bit on the top or bottom (I don't remember which), so I swapped the uppers with the lowers. They checked out okay with Plastigauge, but at the top of tolerance.

    Edit: I read that you replaced the lifters. But maybe new ones tick a little anyway, especially if they are not OEM units.

    You have a fair bit of rust under the car, you must not be on the West Coast.
  7. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Rod bearings wear on the upper half, the one in the rod. The main bearings wear on the bottom half - the half that gets squeezed during combustion. Unless something is really very wrong.

    If and when you have the lifters out for any reason, check that the little axle for the roller on the bottoms are still staked tight into the bottom of the lifter. If the axles work loose, they can migrate sideways, and score the heck out of the lifter bore.
    That has happened to at least one member, and I have found 2 or 3 lifters with axles that were loose - but had not yet damaged the head. So I got replacement lifters.
  8. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

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    The heat I'm chalking to a bad thermostat because the gauge doesn't go as far up as it does in the warm weather. Also, in warm weather I get plenty of heat, so it's not an airflow problem. The needle should spear the "T" in TEMP. It's somewhat below that in cold weather, while it almost never goes over it in warm weather.

    Control arm: They have a Control Arm bushing that's shown with the clamp at Rockauto. It's $22.79 + shipping.

    Lifters: The lifters were done, the rockers weren't. Yes, I should have, but didn't have the money. That, and I got a hell of a deal on some NOS ones ($40). The noise isn't anything that spells "immanent failure", it's just annoying to me, since I love a perfectly running engine. (I have a 125cc motorcycle with almost 40k on it, and worn rocker pivot shafts. It drives me nuts lol).

    Joey_Twowagons: You're right, I'm not on the West Coast. This car has been in New Jersey all of it's life until I "rescued" it and brought it to the Chicago Suburbs. It had 84,300 miles when I bought it off of Ebay in 2016 (yes you read that right lmao). The body is in great shape, excepting both rockers at the rear, by the rear wheel. But, I have 2 spare rocker panels. The driver's door has a bit of rust just starting in the bottom edge of the door, but it hasn't gone through. All 4 doors have been sealed- inside and out. The trunk is getting the same treatment next year. The underside has some rust, but only a few actual holes, and they're small. I used some Flextape (™) to cover them.

    I have another car to use when it gets nasty out, so I won't be running this in the snow very much, if at all (unless I want to do donuts...)

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  9. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    A temporary fix to a car that doesn't warm up well in winter is to put a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator. I often cover up the entire radiator with no trouble, and forget about it until spring when I discover the engine overheating.

    But even then, the cooling system of the Escort is so good I found that when I stopped and yanked out the cardboard, the temperature gauge dropped back to normal in a couple of city blocks.
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  10. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    In the 70's Volvos came with a piece of cardboard to fit in front of the radiator. It had a drawing of where to cut the circular holes, smaller holes for colder temps. You had to cut the hole in the proper spot, so the front mounted engine driven fan would not be unbalanced at high speeds - and flex the blades till they broke off.
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  11. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

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    I never had any problems with my old Escort getting to temp or heat, even in cold weather. I'm no stranger to using cardboard though as I drove a tractor trailer for 25 years. But since I'm replacing the radiator anyway (leaking) I'm going to have him do the thermostat and hoses as I bought those when I bought the car.
  12. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

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    Can the control arm bushing be replaced without taking the control arm off? It looks like there's just enough room.

    Also, on that trans mount: Rockauto doesn't have it with the rest of the Escort parts. You have to search for 2648 and you will find it, but you will not find it looking at Engine/Motor Mounts.

    Has anyone tried those E3 spark plugs? Just curious...
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  13. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    If you get a new radiator, make sure that they reuse the OE hose clamps.
  14. millball

    millball FEOA Donator

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    It certainly is possible to replace the main bearings without removing the crank from the engine, and while the block is still in the car. I have easily done so on several different Escort 1.9 and 2.0 engines.
    I make a small 'T' shaped tool from a suitable cotter pin that goes into the oil hole in the cranks main journal and use it to rotate the top main bearing shell out of by turning the crank with my tool in place in the oil hole. I rotate the new shell in the same way. Piece of cake. I have done this over the years on many engines besides these Fords.
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  15. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    "You have to search for 2648 and you will find it"
    Thanks for that tip. I recall getting quite frustrated trying to find items like this in the Ford parts catalogs, not knowing what category they were listed under.

    " make a small 'T' shaped tool from a suitable cotter pin that goes into the oil hole in the cranks main journal and use it to rotate the top main bearing shell out of by turning the crank with my tool in place in the oil hole"

    I read about this tip years ago in old engine servicing books. I've never used it, but it seems pretty clever.
    There was also mentioned the use of the intriguingly named "Sneaky Pete" tool.
  16. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    I do have a little tick- nothing major, enough to bother only me.

    This is my proposed solution:
    [​IMG]
  17. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    What's that thing?
  18. 04Svt

    04Svt FEOA Member

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    Its a amp for a subwoofer.
    Drown out any noises.
    Lol
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  19. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

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    I already have a 320 watt ghetto blaster in there. I turn it 1/3 up and I can't hear traffic, the wife, or anything....
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  20. Itchigo

    Itchigo FEOA Member

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    Has anyone tried those E3 spark plugs in an Escort?

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