2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues
I've got issues...some of which you might be able to help me with, others i might need psychiatric help for. For instance, I'm trying to keep this car running for a few more months...sheesh.
Anywho....I'm fairly familiar with the escort zx2, and the early '00's focus with the same engine, since my household has both. There are a multitude of common issues i have solved and re-solved, and I have a fair amount of aptitude with getting my hands dirty as a weekend warrior mechanic. This one, though, is far beyond my ability to diagnose, so I am really helping someone here can help me.
It's on the 2002 escort, about 150K on it, and was an extraordinary vehicle until it started falling apart in the last year. This issue started as something I thought i could handle, having done so before, and Has turned into a ridiculous quagmire of issues that have me pulling what is left of my hair out.
Here's the story. Last weekend the car pulled code p0125, engine not reaching proper temp to operate a closed-loop system. Common problem with this car. Replaced the thermostat, gasket, temp sending unit, coolant temp sensor. Usually the issue here. But then the code didnt go away, and the engine still refuses to heat up. Furthermore, it is having a ridiculously long crank period on cold days when it has been sitting for a few hours (it was 19 degrees last night, and this morning, when i went out to investigate more, it took several tries to get it started).
The engine cranks, and cranks strongly, no odd noises or smells, and will even to a single turn and turn over, but then die. I'm thinking a fuel injector problem, but what do i know about fuel injectors?
Secondly, the car still wont heat up, and it threw a second code at me (still throwing p0125), when it added p0118 to the list. The ECT sensor is apparently receiving too strong a signal. I know, look for a short, a ground or some other block in normal current, and be prepared to change the harness and connector. Got that... Haven't done it yet, but I understand what that means.
Also, fuel economy has taken a turn for the severe worse. On a trip trying to steve mcqueen out any bubbles in the heating/cooling circuit, a trip that should have taken about an eighth a tank of gas, the old girl drank up a full half tank.
Furthermore, there is an excessive amount of water coming out of the exhaust. She's an old girl, so some of it is normal, but this is above and beyond the call of hydration.
It was due for an oil change in about 300 miles, so i did that, and no, there is no coolant in the oil. Also, no funny smells in the exhaust, and no funny smells in the passenger compartment. The gauge seems to be working, since it starts well below the cold mark and will warm up to almost halfway (lower than is normal). But, the engine cools very quickly, and I even can touch the valve cover with my open palm without it being painful (hence, engine not warming up) Furthermore, there is heat coming into the passenger compartment, so i know the coolant/antifreeze is circulating, at least enough to get to the heater core.
What i plan to do next is again exchange the thermostat, since it seems as even the brand new one i just installed is stuck in the open position (the car will not warm up). I also plan to inspect the connector and wiring coming from the ECT sensor to the PCM, since the p0118 seems to indicate that.
I know that the poor fuel economy and poor starting under cold conditions could all be related to the heating and cooling issue, which hopefully I will have addressed here shortly. But seeing as how I just replaced these parts yesterday (all of the parts concerning a p0125), I was hoping that someone on this forum could help point me in another direction to find the cause of the issue.
Thanks for your time, and I hope you are all having a happy holiday etc etc etc....Time to go work on the thermostat, I will check back in in a few hours.