Getting Annoyed With Ford
Join Date: Nov 2008
1995 ford escort electrical problems
Hey everybody. New car owner, old car as first one.
I've got a 1995 ford escort, 1.9 liter 4 cyl, I think it's got 190K miles on it. Either way, rather high mileage on it.
About 2 months ago I began having problems getting it to start. After much bruising and bloodied knuckles, cursing and broken tools, I had my local auto parts store check my starter (turned out good, just needed to be cleaned), replaced my alternator and put in a new alternator. I also replaced the thermostat due to overheating, and had two bolts snap off in the valve cover (got them replaced though, not a big problem). Oh yeah, and I replaced the ground cable when I put in the new battery, cause the old one and new one have the connectors on opposite ends (i.e. pos. neg. vs neg. pos.) so I had to buy a new cable so it'd be long enough.
I have an aftermarket stereo I installed myself, along with a 14" 500 watt sub running off a 425 watt amp. (Kinda had to do it myself considering the fact that when I bought the car the previous owner had completely ripped out the stereo.)
Anyway, like I said, about 2 months ago I had the car die on me, which led me to have the starter tested. It turned out to be good, it just needed to be cleaned at the terminals so I did that. Put it back in, ripped out the alternator and replaced the battery. It ran for a couple minutes, just long enough for me to get it off the street and into my brother's driveway. Now it won't stay running at all for more than a few seconds, and then only with the help of a jumpstart. I talked to my uncle who's worked on and completely rebuilt several cars (although none of them were fords) and he did some testing, found that for some reason the alternator isn't charging. The car apparently won't stay running because it's only using the battery, not the alternator as it's supposed to. I guess the voltage drops from a (supposedly) normal 14.5 volts to the battery voltage (12 volts) and then keeps dropping.
I called several mechanics and asked them about it, only one could say anything. He said he'd seen several Focuses with the same problem, and that it was a wire in some harness that came loose so it wasn't telling the alternator to charge properly, if at all. Not sure if the Focus is even remotely close in any aspect to the Escort, but it's worth a shot.
On a somewhat-related side note, I've run out of gas once (that I know of, don't know the car's previous history, although Carfax says there's some stuff of interest... IDK) and that mighta screwed up the fuel sensor? Not sure...
Well, given the data above and your own experiences, can anyone give me advice? I kinda want to get this thing running before the real snow flies, so I don't have to worry about walking to work or walking my daughter to dr appts. Any help will be greatly appreciated.