What did you do to your 2nd gen today?? | Page 74 | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)

What did you do to your 2nd gen today??

Discussion in '2nd Gen 1991-1996 1.9L SOHC' started by chestypuller, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    My cleaning method seems to have worked on the dome/map light. Works perfectly when I open the passenger door, and often when I open the driver's side door. I will have to look at that door switch later...

    Anyway, the light that comes on when you open the hatch has an issue with it's ground wire. I can wiggle the wiring that goes between the body of the car and the hatch and the light comes on. I pulled back the wiring cover that goes to the hatch and yeah I see two broken wires and at least one more missing the insulation!
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
  2. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I have fixed up the bundle of wires going from the interior body of the car into the gate on two of my wagons. There are a couple of ground wires in the bundle; one of them for the defroster grid, and I think the other one is for the latch switch so the cluster wont turn on the 'gate open; light. There are a few wires that carry 12 volts into the gate; for the 3rd brake light, the license plate lights, the interior panel like the dome light, the actuating signal for the wipers. Cars with electric door locks might have 2 more wires.
  3. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    How did you fix it?
    Does it unplug at on end, or am I going to have to remove all the plastic parts in the hatch and that interior area?
  4. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    I spliced in pieces of insulated wire about 18" long. This also involved slicing out maybe 6" of each the original wires whose insulation was hardened from exposure to UV light from the sun. The reason I used 18" pieces was to let me push all of the splices themselves back into the interior of the body, or into the interior of the gate, and not have all splices bunched up right at the hole into the body or into the gate, where the rubber grommets had been. I slid on about 3/4" chunks of heat shrink tape, positioned down away from the heat of the joint itself. All of my joints were 'overlaps' (or lap joints) at the ends of the new and old wires, with solder being the actual material that held the new and old wires together - at least until the shrinking of the heat shrink tubing added a little bit of structural strength to the joint area. I didnt twist the wires together because it would have added up to a large bundle of lumps in the wires, and hard to get pushed back into the body and the gate. I used a double layer of the heat shrink tubing. I had a jig made up of clothes-pins glued together onto a tongue depressor, so as to hold the joints in place while I soldered them. A blow drier will shrink the tubing nicely.

    Somewhere about 2' away from where the wire harness leaves the body is a connector, which I undid. About every 6" the harness was clipped to panel fasteners inside the body. I unclipped these. The wire harness inside the gate unscrews or unclips from all the stuff it attaches to, which I also did. Then I could pull the wiring harness 'out' from both the body and the gate, and have the large bundle of wires, being a loop at least 12" in size. So that loop was where all of my splices were made. Then I had to urge the bundles of soldered and heat shrunk insulation back into the body - and winding up with all new wires in a loop the same size as the original had been. I used black vinyl electrical tape instead of trying to get the wires back into what was left of the rubbery bellows.

    I used #12 awg wire for just the defroster feed and the one large ground wire. The rest of my wires were #14, or #16 if I figured the current was less than an amp. I wasnt able to duplicate the original colors, nor to find enough different colors at my local store; so one or two of my wires were duplicates in color. I also had to repair a melted connector inside the gate, where it fed to the defroster grid.

    I advise anyone who is going to do this, to also remove the plastic strip on the gate that the license plate lights are mounted in, and replace the rusted phillips head screws holding the lenses in, with new stainless ones. (you have to remove the lenses to replace burnt out bulbs). I found it non-possible to get my dremel cutting wheel against the rusted screw heads until that plastic strip was off of the car. To remove this you -must- work from inside the gate, as well as from outside the gate for one large phillips head screw. I ground slots in each of the screw heads for the license plate lights, so I could unscrew them with a flat bladed screwdriver.
    Depending on the level of rust you car has, this may take as long as splicing in the new wires to power the stuff in the gate.

    There may be different and easier ways to do this repair work, but its the scheme I used, and which I will use in future to make the similar repairs that any escort wagon is almost certainly to need eventually. And maybe hatchbacks for that matter.
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  5. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    I wasnt able to duplicate the original colors, nor to find enough different colors at my local store; so one or two of my wires were duplicates in color.

    I figure on doing the same, or using paint to vaguely match.
  6. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    The thing is; once its fixed and put back, with all the interior plastic panels in place - no one is likely to ever see or care about the colors.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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  7. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    Very good job on the wiring repair. A handy source for different colours of wire is discarded washers and driers.

    I have to do this repair to my car but am procrastinating it.

    The cause of the wires breaking is improper design, you can search for how wires are rigged on opening doors and hatches in airplanes to see the correct way of doing it.
  8. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    On airplanes they also use different (better) wires. Typically the strands are larger in number, but smaller in a.w.g; this helps a lot with vibration. They are typically individually tinned to forestall corrosion. The insulation is probably teflon, not a rubber compound that will easily burn

    I would love to find reasonably priced aircraft spec wire - but they are pricey.
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  9. Joey_Twowagons

    Joey_Twowagons FEOA Member

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    No doubt the aircraft grade wire is better, but the way the wire is supported in flexing areas is something that auto makers could copy. The aircraft technique (at least what I've read on the Internet) is to make many coils of the wiring harness, much like a coil spring at the pivot point, so that several coils unwind or wind up slightly when the door, hatch etc. is opened and closed.

    It might be possible to find surplus aircraft wire on ebay, if it isn't mandated to be scrapped to insure it doesn't find its way back into an aircraft.

    A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to look closely at some small water bomber planes and admired the simplicity and high quality of the components and workmanship. They don't want to have to pull over if they have problems.
  10. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    And since I took some pics:
    [​IMG]

    The hardest part was getting out (and reinstalling) that interior plastic piece on the inside that covers the spot where the wiring goes through. It's nice to have everything working now! I am sure this is why my rear defroster blew a fuse.
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  11. EntenteEscort

    EntenteEscort FEOA Member

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    I have been having defroster issues with my 91 since i bought it. The switch it came with seemed to "work", but didnt activate the defrost grid. I replaced the switch, but the new one doesnt stay down when pressed. If i can find the old one ill put it back in, but after reading this wiring stuff, i may tear apart the hatch wiring to see if theres any issues and possibly pick up a few more switches.
    Thanks for the detailed info!
    EE
  12. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Good Luck with getting the defroster grid to work. The innards of the OEM switch in the dash cluster bezel was fairly feeble. New ones are about impossible to find. The current to the grid is almos 20 amps, and can melt the connector inside the gate (on the passenger side). I had to solder up that melted joint when I reid my wires. I also replaced the oem switch with a relay operated by a pair od submin switches. One to turn it on, the other to turn it off. (Also shutting down the ingitio would turn ut off.) It was enough work to construft the switch, and get it to fit into the -broken- oem switch housing, that I have not yet made the same lash-up for my other two wagons.
  13. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    https://www.feoa.net/threads/1995lx-rear-defog-switch-replacement-with-generic-aftermarket.113358/
  14. WestyNaut92

    WestyNaut92 FEOA Member

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    Wow so, it’s been a long time, but I’m back! I picked up a ‘92 LX 5 speed wagon.
    Today, I installed some LED headlights, because they were far better than the stock 9004s.

    Attached Files:

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  15. denisond3

    denisond3 Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome back & congratulations. I like the wagons best, and own three of them, all 2nd gen ones and all in daily use by my wife and I. Two of mine are 5-speeds.
    Be really careful of the rear bumper; I havent found any source for them. The ones in junkyards are either smashed or missing, and so far in periodic checking at ebay and craigslist, I only ever saw one for sale - which I bought in 2008 and which has since gotten many cracks. **
    I still see new headlamp assemblies on ebay, for about $50-$60 a pair. They even come with bulbs, though they are the 9004 kind.
    At rockauto(dot)com they still have the grille pieces listed, though only 6 are left (cause I just bought one to have as a spare! Also I see them on ebay, but for a little more $$$. The only difference between the early and the later ones is that the oval opening got wider. I find the connecting tabs break easily, so mine are held on by nylon cable ties.
    With both of my 5-speed wagons, I had to be able to check the transmission fluid. This requires getting the Vehicle Speed Sensor extracted from the rear end of the transmission. Its not an easy spot to reach, not an easy job to do, even f the VSS is not corroded into the hole in the transmission; which is fairly common in the rust belt. But its the -only- feasible way to check the trans fluid. (the trans fluid is dexron). Since I also needed to replace the clutch in both of mine, (and to put new bushings into the shift control rods) I hoisted out the engine and transmission. (I did this with the engine still bolted to the trans, since that is the only way you can get the 5-speed out by raising it). Otherwise you have to separate the trans and lower it out the bottom! Im old and my back does not like lying under the car any longer than necessary, so I hoisted the driveline out with both cars.
    Then with the trans on my workbench under a shade tree in the driveway, I was able to get the VSS out. Even then it was a struggle. After cleaning off the corrosion and coating it with generous anti-seize compound, I can now check the fluid level by just taking out the battery and its tray. The top of the VSS is plastic; gripping it just with pliers can crush it. I check the trans fluid annually now, and re-coat with antiseize each time.
    The other issue the wagons have is the wires running from the rear of the body and going into the gate get a lot of flexing, and exposure to UV light. Then they crack & eventually break. With two of mine I have replaced the bundle of wires, by splicing in new lengths of the seven or eight wires. It took me quite a while to do it the first time, much less the second time, and now I need to do it on the 3rd wagon - since my middle brake light is not working, which is needed to pass inspection. Maybe when I do it this time I will post some photos.
    ** Needing a wagon bumper for a friends car, I bought a new bumper for a hatchback, and sliced its top with a reciprocating saw to let the gate clear. I posted a picture of the result in the wagons subforums, titled "My wagon bumper effort". Its also necessary to get longer studs for the bumper, since the rear body part of the wagon is thicker than the hatchbacks.
    Good Luck
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  16. zzyzzx

    zzyzzx FEOA Member

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    At rockauto(dot)com they still have the grille pieces listed. I find the connecting tabs break easily, so mine are held on by nylon cable ties.

    I have had those nylon cable ties break. I now use scrap pieces of solid copper wire. As in leftover pieces after doing household electrical work.
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  17. Pizzaman5000

    Pizzaman5000 FEOA Donator

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    You gotta try "safety" wire for racing and industrial applications. It's the most malleable wire I know of.
    It seems you can twist it 1,000,000 times without breaking it!

    I'm parting out my RUSTY 96. It doesn't have any sheet metal to give, but fortunately the front and rear bumpers have been replaced.
    In fact this escort has the best plastic bits in general.... It gave me bumpers, clips, AND door latches. All four of the grill clips were 100% for instance.



    Gonna pull it's windshield to possible save a few more bucks on my other 96.
    The way it's looking it may go to the junkyard on 2 doughnuts and a bald 14 with no tailgate or powertrain
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  18. WestyNaut92

    WestyNaut92 FEOA Member

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    Not today, but l! I got a short throw shifter (thank you, eBay!), and some tracer headlights. Also got a tracer grill, didn’t realize you had to run a tracer bumper too.
  19. focus2000

    focus2000 FEOA Member

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    Washed her up and drove up to the Smogman and surprisingly passed the tough CA smog test one more time.
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