Just acquired a 95 Escort for $600. Not expecting much of a car for that amount of cash I am a little surprised at how well this vehicle has been holding together. It does have a few problems; but nothing even close to the 95 Saturn which ran perfect for 2 months - then flat out died on me in the middle lane of rush hour interste traffic - with the wife and kids on board. Just died as if I just turned the key off. Sold that P.O.S. for pocket change and picked up this little Escort.
The Escort has a 5 speed and the 1.9 motor. The gas economy is not as great as I had hoped, but it has 98K ""exempt" miles. Probably double that. I can fill the 12 gallon tank and get about 220 miles out of it before I have to top it off with another 6 gallons. Air filter is decent.
It does have a rather wierd EFI computer module idle problem with the idle. Does not happen ALL the time. The motor will fire up and idle up and down between 600 to 1500rpm as if I were fanning the gas pedal - all by itself.
It will stop doing this and idle at 600-700 after a while, and start doing it again. It's these goofy electircal problems that I do not trust. Mechanicals I can deal with, but electrical sporadic problems are THE WORST to fix.
The Speedometer will bounce around as well. I'll been driving say at 50, hit a bump in the road, and watch it pop u to 70 and bounce around between 50-70 for a little, then settle back down to 50. I had something similar to this with a Honda Accord - the speedometer went wacko, dropped all the way down to 0mph when I was driving it at 60.
Ever since that Saturn situation I am somewhat leery of these electrical situations, and do not want to go through that episode again with the wife and kids on board - a dead car, and along walk home. Goofy thing about the Saturn is that it died one time, I pushed the car off the road. I tried to start it for about 15 minutes, and it ran again, only to leave me stuck in the interstate middle lane twice within 30 minutes. Second time I pushed it off the road and left it there. Then, the next day I went back for it to tow it in, and it fired right up and made the drive home.....where I sold it.
I am reading something about these Escorts and the erratic fuel guage readings, potentia fuel pump shutoff, and a new fused wire put in by a dealer with some Ford recall issue.
I do have a overheating issue as well. Not red zone overheating but a small incremental increase in engine temperature the longer that I drive it. Locally it runs under the halfway mark, but 20 miles out the TEMP needle runs up to the M and into the "P" on the guage, getting a little too near the overheat mark.
I should flush the entire system, put in a new thermostat, new brake pads, charge the AC, etc. Aside from these little problems the car is a good little "get me from A to B" vehicle thus far. It's getting the groceries and putting the kids to school.
Anyone know what AC gas this model uses? R12 or R134?
Any suggestions about the loopy idle?
If you're driving 220 miles on 6 gallons of gas your getting over 36.5 MPG which isn't too bad for the 1.9 with a 5 speed tranny especially if any of it is city driving.
My first guess with the idle issue would be the idle air control valve needs cleaning or replacing. I'd begin by cleaning the inside of it with carb cleaner and a wire brush.
The speedometer problem shouldn't be anything to worry about unless it stops completly. My '88 Pony has had eratic behavior like you are describing off and on for 10-15 years and is usually worse during cold weather.
I've got 4 Escorts and I've never had any problems with the fuel gauges in being eratic in them. One of them has over 501K miles and I've never ran out of fuel even when the gauge would be reading dead on empty.
The overheating issue could be many things. Bad thermostat, faulty cooling fan, faulty cooling fan relay or blown head gasket. I'd begin by verifing the fan works by running a hot and ground wire directly from the battery to the hot side and ground side of the plug. If it runs then you need to try to verify the fan is kicking on when the cars temperature gets high. Most likely if it was the thermostat stuck it would be stuck either completely open or completely closed and if it was stuck completely closed it would overheat in a matter of minutes, because the water wouldn't circulate through the engine fast enough going only through the by pass. Most likely if the head gasket was blown you'd have water in the oil and you'd be having to add coolant to the resivoir frequently. Be sure to get the overheating problem resolved as quickly as possible, because if it gets too hot it's likely you'll blow a head gasket and warp the head.
I too am pretty sure that the '95's a/c system uses R-134A. You can tell by the type of fittings on the a/c hoses if they are threaded then it's R-12 and if it's a quick disconnect type fitting it's R-134A.