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Old 12-10-2011, 10:36   #1 (permalink)
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2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

hello:
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.

-mike
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:17   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

I believe you're looking in the right direction. The thermostat is the only part that will kep the engine from warming up. Heating up is another story. Does the replacement thermostat look identical to the original one? The DOHV engine has an extra piece at the bottom to open in another area when it's closed on top. Hopefuly they gave you the proper sending unit too. Is the thermostat opening and is the radiator hose pretty hot? Here's some good reading on the 2 codes if you don't already have it.

OBD-II Trouble Code: P0118 Engine Coolant Temperature Circuit High Input

OBD-II Trouble Code: P0125 Insufficient Coolant Temperature For Closed Loop Fuel Control
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:44   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

ok, thanks, bert, for your prompt reply. I actually think you were the one who helped me with my last issue with my focus. Thanks for that too.

New development, I smelled gasoline in the throttle body housing. I am thinking leaking injector o-ring so planning on replacing those as well.

May have a shorted injector....any way to test which one it is? At 60 bucks a pop i'm not going to superfluously replace all 4, but i would like to know which so i can replace the ones that need it.

Any advice on this issue?

Thanks
Mike
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Old 12-10-2011, 12:59   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

also, is there an easy way to depressurize the fuel system before i get started on this so i dont go spraying gas all over the place?

Thanks
Mike
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Old 12-10-2011, 13:04   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

If the O'ring was leaking, you'd ahve a vacuum leak around the injector. If the injector is dripping, the injector itself would have to be replaced. You will smell gas in there because it's been running rich. I'd get the engine temperature fixed before worrying about that. You can always smell gas there anyway. Check the other Escorts.
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Old 12-10-2011, 16:20   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

ok....well unfortunately i didnt get that message until well after i had taken off the fuel rail (btw...anybody else out there with the same problem, save yourself a mess of trouble and just disconnect the throttle body housing and get it out of the way...the 2 hours in time savings is totally worth the $2 gasket you'll need to replace). So i took off the o-rings, and definitely, yes, one was dried up and cracked at the intake. So i replaced all 8 of them, changed the thermostat again and moved on with my life.

We'll see tomorrow if the light comes back on. For now, it's 19 degrees, and I successfully didnt set the car on fire. It started smoothly and the temp gauge went from way below cold to almost halfway (unfortunately where it stuck before as well), and the cooling fan turned on.

The only other thing i did was with every connector i took off i sprayed some electrical contact cleaner in them (and gave each about 2 hours to dry).

WE'll see. New thermo, new fuel injector o-rings, and clean connections....car assembled and not ablaze. I'll call it a win for the day.

-mike
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Old 12-10-2011, 16:48   #7 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

Sounds good. Keep us posted.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:45   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

Ok....tried to start from a very cold night and had some serious problems.

Coolant was excessively low, a full quart lower in the overflow resevoir than it had been yesterday when it was 19 degrees. I assume that is normal since i disconnected the upper radiator hose and took the thermostat out, which necessarily leaks all sorts of coolant all over the place.

Before I filled it back up i tried to start it. It took about 30 (inconsecutive) seconds of cranking before ti actually started and ran. Furthermore, during some of that extended cranking time, the engine did turn over but the engine didnt start and run. At one of those points, i got out of the car, and smelled a little bit of gasonline, strong enough to smell it from outside the car with the hood closed. Inspected the injecctor seals, not leaking externally. After letting it sit for a moment I tried to start it again, and after less long of a crank it started up.

Once it had run for a moment, I shut it off, let it sit for another thirty seconds, and then started it again...slower to start than normal, but it did start. Once it starts, it runs just fine.

Engine warmed up to the same place the gauge always gets stuck (making me think the temp problem isnt solved yet).

So.....While running I inspected for leaks, found none, checked the tranny fluid and no coolant look or smell. Shut it off, started it again with a short (as is normal) crank time, then shut it off, checked the oil, not inordinantely high, and not smelling like coolant or gas, then topped off the radiator and added coolant to the overflow tank (after which i got a wonderful slurping sound.....odd), and came inside to write this post.

I know nothing about flooding engines or fuel injection, but in my currently-over-thinking-it mind, i am immediately drawn to the fact that the engine smelled like gas and after waiting a minute after that smell the car started up, combined with the horrid fuel economy and the thicker than normal white exhaust, im thinking theres too much gas being pumped into the engine, choking it to death when the engine is cold. Now what the hell do i do?

Your thoughts?
Thanks
Mike
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:26   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

I just thought of something. Yesterday, even when ridiculously cold, the car started with no issues just after i had re-connected the battery. Perhaps the factory settings of lean/rich were optimal, but once the car was able to sit and read data from the ect, the car had starting problems again.

Does the ECT cause a lean/rich change? If so, since i just replaced the actual sensor 3 days ago, what is the next cause? Autozone doesnt sell the connector or wiring, so what other options are there? it'as sunday so the dealership is closed, but when i inspected the wiring i didnt see any signs of short/problems with grounds. But then again, i dont really know what i am looking at.

Any ideas?

Thanks
Mike
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:35   #10 (permalink)
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Re: 2002 escort zx2 heating/cooling issues

It may be the fuel pressure regulator. They can leak to the vacuum line if yours has the vacuum cobtrolled unit.

What's the fuel pressure just turning the key on, holding after the key is turned off, and engine running?
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