Score on a mint Escort wagon! Advice on proper care for powertrain/interior? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Score on a mint Escort wagon! Advice on proper care for powertrain/interior?

Discussion in 'Escort Wagons' started by volscort, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. volscort

    volscort FEOA Member

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    When I turned 15, I was already deeply in love with cars. I loved everything automotive related, and always wrenched with my pop on his many 300TD wagons. At this age, I saved up enough cash to buy a junkyard 1993 Volvo 240 wagon, and restore it with him; a car that I drive to this day.

    Fast forward to today, where I have several of these Volvos and have fallen in love with their Swedish charm; I never expected to learn to love a little Ford wagon from the 90's. But that's exactly what I've done. My great-grandmother, Ada, owned this 1998 Ford Escort SE wagon from new, and took exceptionally good care of it. It has no body rust, and very few scratches or dents. It only has 108,000 original miles, and she has decided that now, at the age of 98 years old, to pass her beloved Ford down to me.

    At first, I did what I could to care for the car, as it hadn't been driven since she had been diagnosed as 'legally blind' at 96 years old, so I have it an oil change, a fresh set of plugs, and I began driving it off-and-on.

    And I completely fell in love with the little car.

    I never expected to adore a tiny Ford wagon, but I have! This little Escort has become a staple member of me and my roommates' fleet of odd cars, and has become my go-to daily driver while I work on my Volvos and Saabs. I've done tons of research on the Escort, and have maintained it properly so far - but this thread is basically me asking for advice on how you all care for your stock Escort wagons. I don't want to modify the Ford (yet), I want to keep her nice and stock and cared for, just like my great grandma wants - and I intend to do that for her. Does anyone have some advice, or any tricks that worked for them in caring for a stock 2.0L 3rd gen wagon?

    My wagon has no modifications, and is an automatic.

    1998 Ford Escort SE wagon on a sunny day after a trail run.jpg 1998 Ford Escort SE wagon in the rainy Gateway Garage.jpg 1998 Ford Escort SE wagon on a sunny day after a trail run.jpg 1998 Ford Escort SE wagon in the rainy Gateway Garage.jpg
  2. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Nice!
    Don't let your roommates drive it.
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  3. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Agree with above advice!
  4. Pizzaman5000

    Pizzaman5000 FEOA Donator

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    Anhydrous lanolin or some other rust preventer underneath.

    Consider inspecting and rust proofing the rear shock towers.

    I'm super liberal with the pressure washer on the interior fabrics.... But thats a big risk with airbag sensors in seats.
    Using sprayway foaming window cleaner and a shopvac is good if you are afraid to totally drench the interior. Or just soapy water and a shop vac. Or "pet" spot shampooers for furniture. I just use coin wash engine degreaser without green tint. Even though the green tint has always come out for me. Again, risky!!!
    But seatbelts REQUIRE pressure washing.... Don't care what anyone says. Pull the seatbelt all the way out, and close the door on it. The pull it tight with one hand and pressure wash with the other.

    Great color! The headlights could use a polish!
    I reccomend taking the plunge and buying the big brown bottle of 3m heavy rubbing compound. Not for your shiny paint.... But ANYTHING else. Rust stains, headlights, valve lapping etc. It will last you 10 lifetimes of detailing if you keep the cap closed.

    Also, if you pressure wash the engine bay, the transmission range sensors are known to go crazy for a couple days, makes the transmission feel blown!

    Wheel cleaners make engines beautiful. But if you don't rinse it well, teargas comes out of the air vents.

    *Edit: That thing is begging for some tint. It would be a hell of a good daily then! Such a great color!
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  5. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    For the reason of protecting the range sensor switch on an automatic transmission, I dont plan to wash under the hood - but if I need to, I would carefully cover that range sensor switch. It also turns on the backup lights. Mine are 2nd gen Escorts, and those range sensor switched dont seem to be available anymore. They are much easier to get for the 3rd gen Escorts. I see them on ebay often when I go looking for the ones for the 2nd gen Escorts. Sadly they are not able to be swapped onto a 2nd gen - as the 3rd gen range sensors work on a different means.
    Pizzaman5000 likes this.
  6. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    My current wagon looked exactly like yours but it has long left the stock look. I agree with you on the Escort love. I'm a V8 guy but these cars handle well out of the box and don't need much to improve the suspension even more.

    I wish they had more torque but then again what do you want from a late 90's grocery getter?

    My advice? Regular oil changes. Can of fuel system cleaner every 6 months or so. Not much more you really need to service as these cars are pretty much bulletproof. Maybe the reason I like these cars so much is they remind me of my first car that got me into wrenching and modding. '68 VW. When I bought it it ran on 3 cylinders and had no front seats. I used a milk crate for the driver seat and drove it on 3 cylinders for 4 months! LOL!

    Your Grandma did a nice job keeping her intact.

    John
  7. Dusk2600

    Dusk2600 FEOA Member

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    Very nice shape. Green looks good on these. Congrats
  8. Colleen

    Colleen FEOA Member

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    Aww, seeing your green wagon makes me miss mine, which was a '99. We kept her up very nicely and then the dreaded 4th valve seat failure took her down quickly. Be on guard for that, it's a flaw in that generation of Escorts. Like a friggin time bomb that you have no clue is gonna go off.
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  9. volscort

    volscort FEOA Member

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    I am definitely starting to prepare myself for the chance of that time bomb! :wtf: I found a set of heads that a fella was selling on eBay with new seats that seem to be a lot more robust. Just $270 and a day's job and I think I'll have solved that time bomb problem!
  10. 04Svt

    04Svt FEOA Member

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    Clean wagon.
    Yeah I would put a new head on it with harden seats if you plan on keeping it stock.
  11. Patao

    Patao 2020 version. Lowered with pinstripes. ZX2 rims

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    I couldn’t agree more on the window tint. Made a huge difference with my wagon. I didn’t realize what a fishbowl these cars are until I tinted mine. Make sure you get the good stuff, professionally installed by a reputable company. Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing window tint bubbling up on a nice car, and I could only imagine the regret for the owner.
  12. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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  13. Eric luebbers

    Eric luebbers FEOA Member

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    If your interested I’ll have a 93 wagon for sale soon. It’s also teal in color. Was my sons car for college.
  14. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    Where is it? Pictures?

    John
  15. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    "I found a set of heads that a fella was selling on eBay"
    You only need one.

    Probably the biggest threat to cars is rust, so when you wash it, clean the wheel wells inside edges of bumpers, and all the underside nooks and crannies with the old garden hose and a brush, with soap and water.
    Dirt, sand etc. accumulates there and will retain water, causing rust in the future, even if there is none now.
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  16. Eric luebbers

    Eric luebbers FEOA Member

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    It’s in Wisconsin just south of Madison. I don’t have enough posts yet to post pictures.
  17. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    Damn! Too far away from me.

    Curious.....what are you asking for the wagon?

    John
  18. Eric luebbers

    Eric luebbers FEOA Member

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    Looking to get one thousand for it. Runs and drives fine but has some rust and the rear tailgate and bumper have damage from a hit and run. Where are you? Maybe able to meet half way if interested.
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  19. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    I'm in California. The fact it has rust would be a deal breaker for me.

    Good luck with the sale.

    John

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