Ford Forums banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:bsr: Hi, I have a '95 Escort station wagon (my son's car) with a 1.9L engine, manual tranny. About six months ago, out of the blue, the power just dropped off. It has gotten much worse since then, When driving it and you floor it (or at least accelerate), it feels like someone put their hand over the carb (old time term), or over the air cleaner inlet, or plugged off the exhaust pipe, just runs like a dog (no power). Going up even a small hill in town requires low gear. But it would probably do 100 on the interstate, if you had a long, flat road (maybe a slight downhill slope, ha). No missing, really, just no power. Tried a bottle of injector cleaner that didn't help at all. Well, finally I've started trying to diagnose the problem. No 'service engine' light ever came on. I have had this car to two GOOD mechanics in town, and now finally it has been at the Ford dealer's garage for over a week and they are tearing their hair out. Between all three, I'm sure they have checked everything at least twice. We have put in new plugs, wires (twice,sad to say), fuel pump, swapped ignition modules from a known good car. Checked exhaust back pressure, mass air flow sensor, compression, cyl. balance, etc, etc, etc. I'm running out of troubleshooting money.

Allow me to take up a little more space, if I could. There is a lot that I'm not sure of, as the mechanics themselves would say they checked everything (but give no detailed list), but here's to the best of my recollection. The car starts and idles fine, but while driving it sometimes runs poorly. (This is addition to the extreme lack of power). Also, the gas mileage is about half of what it was previously, down from about 35 mpg to about 20 mpg.

Mechanic #1
At that time, it had a miss also, so he put in new plugs and plug wires. That cured the miss, but he didn't have time for further analysis, except that he said it could be:
A) exhaust pluggage
B) dirty injector. (wanted to run a complete injector flush deal, whatever that was)
C) said that he cleaned and (recharged or something) the MAF sensor
D) nothing showed up his big computer, but he did say that the plugs were badly burnt, like it had been running lean for some time.

Mechanic #2 had it for a few days and checked a bunch of stuff, then checked the fuel pump pressure and said it was bad. We brought the car home and put in a new fuel pump from Napa. Still ran the same. Just had a new fuel filter recently, so didn't change it again. We took it back to him (he rechecked the pressure and said it was still low pressure), he found out that there was a bad Schrader valve in that test connection, replaced it, and pressure was ok, so probably the old fuel pump was ok, too. Left it there and he checked the following:
A) put it on his smaller computer and said the ignition all looked fine.
B) said the exhaust pressure seemed fine at about 1# backpressure when they revved it up.
C) not sure if he checked the MAF sensor
D) checked the timer belt and timing
E) said he checked everything else, but don't have a complete list.
F) said a dirty injector will usually cause a miss, so didn't go further
G) said it could possibly be a bad ignition module, but didn't want to just replace it, as for the expense and it did check out ok on his machine.

Mechanics #3 (Ford Dealer) Also, kind of hard to say ALL of what they checked, as they sure don't say much, but I do know that they checked the following:

They did put on new plug wires (again) and:
A) fuel pressure check = ok
B) ran injector test = ok
C) spark duration relative compression test = all ok
D) exhaust back pressure = ok
E) regapped plugs = ok
F) install new spark plug wires = ok
G) test coil pack = ok
H) test ignition module = ok

Costs so far:
Mechanic #1 $130
Mechanic #2 $ 200 - 250 my estimate
Ford dealer $ 384
Fuel pump $ 85 - we installed
Grand Total $ 799 - 849 (so far)

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, still runs as bad or worse than before.
Allen :bsr:

6 Posts
Hi..sounds like you gotta head back to the basics.
Probablly by yourself.

Not mechanical friction?Wheel bearings etc.,

You haven't got a bad tank of gas have you?

Check the compression yourself.
Test the engine vacuum with a gauge..idle/run
Loosen the ex.pipe/manifold at the motor.
Run it with no a/cl.

Check the fuel pressure AND volume

Check the engine timing..initial,centrifugal,advance and whatever controls(load) the advance.

Buy a Walmart code reader..try that

Perhaps substitute another computer..

6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Arnold,
Thanks for the ideas and help . Right now, I have the car back at mechanic #1, as he is probably the most proficient and never had the time previously to real delve into it. I’ll keep you updated and pass along the list of things to check to him. If he can't fix it, I'll probably take it on myself and with the help of people like you folks, I'll finally get it.


6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
:edit: Escort Update 01-16-04

I also have a ’95 Escort of my own that my son was using while the mechanics were working on his. I got his Escort back from mechanic #1, who really didn’t have a lot of time to work on it for very long. My son came home this weekend and we started swapping and checking parts. We checked the following:

1. Timing belt WAS checked out previously by mechanic #2.
2. Had the catalytic converter and exhaust checked at Midas for back pressure, etc., and they said all is fine.
3. Hook up vacuum gauge. 15-16” vacuum at idle (same as my good-running Escort). We are at nearly 5000 feet above sea level. Unhooked ALL vacuum line from central manifold (vacuum distributor) and plug lines. Vacuum stayed about the same and engine ran the same or worse (normal, I’d say, for having some items not connected)
4. Checked EGR with vacuum pump tester -seems to work fine. Kills motor right away when vacuum is applied, returns to normal when vacuum removed.
5. Swap out PCM (power train control module) – no change
6. Ran with MAP sensor disconnected – no change (mechanic #1 had checked it previously and said it was ok).
7. Pulled connection from ECT (engine coolant temperature) sensor and test drive. IMMEDIATELY HAD FULL POWER RESTORED, but only for about a minute or two of driving and then resorted to it’s old self. Hooked it back up and poor performance continued. Unhooked again and same FULL POWER for a few minutes.
8. Swap out ECT sensor – no change
9. Ran with O2 sensor disconnected – no change
10. Swap out O2 sensor – no change

Nearly back to square one, except that we can maybe rule out a few things.
By pulling the ECT connection, we feel that we gave it a rich mixture and caused the excellent running for a minute or two, but what is causing the lean mixture is still a mystery to me.

6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
:edit: Update 01-27-04

A couple more things that probably weren't in the previous posts.
1) A few days back, we hooked up a small propane bottle (the Bernzamatic type for soldering) to a 1/4" hose and ran it into a vacuum port (on which we plugged the other end, actually it was just a line going to the heater/ac system to move dampers), drove the car, and while we were trying to accelerate we opened the bottle all the way. It changed nothing. We could tell we were getting at least some propane through as the bottle and tip got frosty.

2) Last night while testing, we are now noticing that the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter are both red hot. Only takes a few minutes of slow or fast driving to get this way. This wasn't happening before, as we unplugged/reconnected the ECT (engine coolant temperature) sensor at night many times before this.

3) Checked the grounds last night and found one ground wire from the engine to body that was broken. Repaired and cleaned both fastening ends, but no change. Also cleaned and inspected any other grounds.

4) Car actually continues to run worse as the days and changes go by, but, here's the kicker: the good car that is receiving the questionable parts (my green wagon), continues to run perfect.

---We are even thinking about replacing the camshaft sensor, but it's quite a job to r/r on BOTH cars just for a test. Also, we and at least one other mechanic have checked and rechecked it."

Thanks to all the posts so far,

6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
:edit: Update 2-4-04

It is with great joy and thanksgiving that I write this message.

1995 Escort Wagon 1.9L ‘Poor Performance’
PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It turned out that the vibration damper (which on most newer model cars is a cogged gear that has a special cutout slot with one tooth missing for the crankshaft position sensor to determine the position of the crankshaft) had a worn keyway (possibly from the attaching bolt being loose). When my son, Brad, pulled it off to recheck the timing belt (overhead cam), he noticed that it looked funny. He had me look at it and I thought ‘‘wow, this it’’. The damper keyway was worn about 3 widths of the half-moon key and you could see that it had been moving back and forth.

Put the damper from my good Escort on and finished putting the motor together (we had also removed the intake manifold to check that also), and fired it up. You could tell as soon as we started it, that it was running much better. Took it for a 20 mile drive and works awesome. Thanks to all for the help.

Pictures are included.


1 - 7 of 7 Posts