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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I am having issues with the transmission in my 1999 Ford Escort LX with a 2.0L engine

A few weeks ago my transmission started to make a rattling sound. It almost sounded like there was something being thrown around in there, it didn’t sound like metal but something else. The sound came when I would engage the clutch then put the car into gear. If I engaged the clutch the sound remained until I put the car into natural and disengaged the clutch. Once I disengaged the clutch the sound went away.

Today on my way to work I noticed it was a little difficult to shift to all gears. I stopped at a stop sign and engaged my clutch to shift from second to first, once the car was in natural I could not get it to shift to any gear. If the car is turned off I can shift freely from gear to gear. If I shift into first and try to start the car with the clutch engaged the car will try to move forward as if it’s in gear without the clutch engaged. When in natural and the engine started I can’t shift to any gear and when I try reverse the transmission grinds.

I called a local shop for an estimate and they quoted $600-900 to replace the clutch and possibly motr if there are other issues. This price seems a little ridiculous to me especially since I purchased the car six months ago for $2,400.

There obviously seems to be a problem with the clutch. Since the clutch is a hard fibrous material, I am guessing the sound that I was hearing may have been part of the clutch grinding away in the gears. I am somewhat familiar with the workings of an engine and am comfortable taking it apart. I have an automotive book as a guide but am not sure what exactly needs to be replaced.


In your opinion what do you think the problem is and why? Please also list the parts that I need to purchase in order to hopefully resolve my transmission issue.


Thanks for any and all help!
-Rob
 

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I dont have a 3rd gen, but your symptoms sound normal enough, and could be several different problems: - with the throwout bearing, the clutch release fork, some broken 'fingers' on the plate-shaped spring in the pressure plate, or some loose pieces of friction material that came off of the clutch disc itself.
All of these would require separating the tranny from the engine to fix.
And once you did have them separated - I would advise replacing the clutch, the pressure plate, the throwout bearing - and getting a new release fork.
The difficulty is getting the tranny moved far enough from the motor to be able to get the clutch and pressure plate off. Its probably more than 4 inches, and would involve lowering the tranny (and maybe the subframe) enough to let it slide over that far. This would be after the axle shafts were out of the car too.
At least this is what would be required on a 2nd gen. Escort.

And the reason you cant shift it into gear easily is because with the engine turning, the damaged clutch parts are keeping the clutch disc & therefore the input shaft of the transmission turning - and the synchromesh is holding the shifting 'dogs' from going into place. There isnt any synchromesh for reverse, so it just makes the grinding noise.

In my opinon, 98% of the work of changing a clutch, is getting to where you can unbolt the pressure plate from the flywheel - and then reassembling it all. Acutally replacing the clutch parts is 2% - unless the flywheel surface is scored or warped.
 

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Dragging Clutch

Sounds like another case of the disintegrating PILOT bearing. Escorts use a needle -roller pilot bearing where the transmission input shaft is supported in the end of the engine crankshaft. When they fall apart they may cause a lot of drag and keep the input shaft spinning when you need it to stop, like when standing still and you want to put it in a gear.
The real bad part of it all is you have to take the engine and trans apart from each other to get in to it.
Kinda like having a clutch that doesn't release all the way, only it's not the clutch.
One of my cars the pilot growls a bit now and then, but doesn't drag. I hope it holds out till the weather gets a little warmer. It seems a whole lot to do just for a little grease but I guess I had better do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply you guys.

So it sounds like I have two problems. My clutch not releasing and something inside the tranny.

Over the weekend I replaced my Master and that didn't solve the problem with the shifting. I then replaced the Slave and the shifting issue is now resolved.

I don't have much experience or time to tear apart the tranny so I'm going to do the not so responsible thing here and leave it be. After test driving the car yesterday I didn't hear the noise at all. Maybe swapping the slave resolved the sound issue? I'm not sure how exactly this would happen. Maybe something with the clutch not releasing all the way or something? I don't know.

Anyways, the issue seems to be mostly resolved for now. Resolved enough to drive it back and forth to work.

Thanks for all the help guys :)

-Rob
 
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