The Death of my Wagon | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

The Death of my Wagon

Discussion in 'Escort Wagons' started by David G. Hedges, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. David G. Hedges

    David G. Hedges FEOA Member

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    Vacation time. I took a week off to go to South Florida. My Girlfriend is from Boca Raton her parents are selling their house and she still has boxes of stuff if their garage. We pile into my 99 Escort SE wagon. The trip is great her dad rents us Wave Runners I get to meet her High School , swim in the ocean see miami and south beach for the first time. My escort seems to handle it like a champ blowing cold air and returning an average of 25mpg. The car does seem sluggish and I make a mental note to check on some things when we get back to New Orleans.

    On the way home we plan to stop at a spring in High Springs FL and go take a dip before driving the 8 hours home. We pull into a rest area about 40 miles south of gainsville on the I75. I try to start up the car nothing. I can hear the solidond and its not kicking in the starter. The battery is fully charged. I frown a bit and finally call AAA. Its sunday so I decide to tow it to her friends house in Gainsville. With the help of the neighbor we pull the starter. He bench tests it, it spins up but he says the bearings are bad. The next day I get a new starter and go to install it. It was a pain in the ass but we got it done. put the battery in and try it. Same thing. Finally we try to turn the motor. Its stuck on one part. I pull the plugs and sure enough there is metal fragments in number 4. the dreaded valve drop I read about. Now I feel fairly certain that given enough time and this forum I could probably rebuild the damage is maybe not so bad since the valve dropped as the car was starting but I am in Gainsville.

    My Girlfriend who has been waiting patiently has to get back to work. So we rent a car and drive home. Her friend is gonna scrap the car for me and split the money with me unless anyone here wants it. It has lots of new parts, including a new starter. I am looking at a 1990 honda accord tomorrow. I was really tempted by another 99 escort se that was pretty much the same car but this valve drop thing is kinda a deal breaker. Also the honda is 700 and the escort is 1350. You guys are great I feel so much more confident about working and understanding cars because of this forum.
  2. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    That sucks man. How much is a $700 Honda really going to cost you? There's a guy on my Cadillac forum getting those same surprises with his 'new' Honda. It's easier said than done sometimes, but it might be better to bite the bullet and get something newer, not older. I've had to learn that lesson myself.
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  3. David G. Hedges

    David G. Hedges FEOA Member

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    Yes, I'd like a Focus Wagon with a manual transmission and the ztec motor. But the thing is that I have to be in Chicago on the 1st of august. I'd really like to drive because I wanna take my GF to Wisconsin for a camping trip. Thinking that the Honda might be a good temporary solution until I can find a focus wagon. I could just fly or take amtrak and rent a car. I dunno gotta make a decision today.
  4. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    I wouldn't want to take a $700. car on a long drive (several hours/miles) until I'd at least driven it locally for awhile to see whether there were bugs/repairs that needed attending to first. Personally, when I buy a used car I like to put a few thousand miles on it locally before starting out on a road trip in it.
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  5. novanutcase

    novanutcase FEOA Member

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    If you haven't scrapped the wagon by now why not find a wrecked zx2 and swap in the zetec? This will eliminate the dropped valve seat problem and you'll get a peppier engine in the process.

    John
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  6. EscorGo

    EscorGo FEOA Donator

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    That's what I'm driving now. An '03 Focus Zetec wagon with an auto though. I still see 29MPG. It's soooo much more comfortable than the old '95 wagon.
  7. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Are there any Hondas that dont have a timing belt, and are not interference engines? If I bought a used Honda, my first weekend would be replacing the timing belt and tensioner. Then post a note as to mileage and date on a laminated card under the hood.
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  8. David G. Hedges

    David G. Hedges FEOA Member

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    hondas have interference engines? good to know gonna look that up right now.... If my wagon died anywhere near where i live i would have done the ztec swap but its in about 600 miles away. I am gonna drive the honda locally until I can save money to get a newish focus wagon with a ztec.
  9. ar154all

    ar154all The Police never think its as funny as I did.

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  10. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I dont know about later model Hondas, but as of 15 to 35 years ago, I think they were all interference engines.
  11. madmatt2024

    madmatt2024 FEOA Member

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    If it was running fine, you shut it off, and then it just wouldn't crank when you went to start it then damage is probably minimal. Repair the current head or slap a re-man on and it will be good to go.
  12. David G. Hedges

    David G. Hedges FEOA Member

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    the problem is that I live in New Orleans and the car is stuck in Gainsville at on this very unpleasant man's property. how hard is it to replace a head?

    Also the motor ha 206,000 miles on it. I love that car but i sorta gave up on it maybe I should go rescue it?
  13. Gamer92

    Gamer92 FEOA Donator

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    Not that hard to replace a head on these cars. 4-5 hours to remove and reinstall maybe? You will need to clean intake and exhaust manifolds to avoid any leftover fragments of valve seats. May also need a new piston, but not hard to fix.
  14. madmatt2024

    madmatt2024 FEOA Member

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    If the engine didn't even make one complete revolution then the likelihood of him needing a new piston is slim.

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