Question about 1996 Ford Escort 4 Door

4 Answers

No compression in one cylinder

My 1996 Escort Wagon with 116K miles and 1.9L, 5 Spd was running fine one day then the next it started bucking and idling rough. Hooked up my code scanner and retrieved a P0304 trouble code, "# 4 Cylinder Misfire". Replaced plugs and coil pack, wires were replaced a short time ago, no improvement. Obtained a compression tester and checked cylinders #1 - 160 psi, #2 - 150 psi, #3 - 157 psi, #4 - 0 psi, specifications called for 170 - 207 psi. Injected oil into cylinder #4 and ran test again, still "0". Checked radiator for combustion residue or smell and found no traces. Removed valve cover to explore claims of sticking valves due to carbon buildup. Area around rocker assembly on top of head looked like new, I use synthetic oil. When cranking engine all valves operated freely. Question arose about blown head gasket but, could it be that severe as not to show some residual pressure during compression test, I got "0" as mentioned above? My last resort is to consider removing oil pan to view piston from below for any possible cracks or holes in piston which would account for massive compression loss, confirm.
I've worked on cars for a long time, but this one's got me confused, any help you can provide would be appreciated.

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  • delayed fix Feb 04, 2009

    I have my neice's escort in my garage with identical symptoms as DISCUSS 11's. Since she is away at college, I have put off pulling apart the head as I typically find myself making a major project out of a problem that only required a simple repair, and a little more thought. Is it possible that the cam timing is off perhaps due to a timing belt problem? Since I too have no compression in #4, I am thinking that in this cylinder, there is an open valve when the piston is in its compression stroke. The piston does not hit the open valve because the engine is designed with consideration for the likelihood of a broken timing belt, and clearance is given to prevent excessive damage. If you find the solution to your problem, I'd like to know where to look.

  • Cindy Jun 05, 2013

    my ford escort pony did that I needed computer part replaced.

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Timing belt slipped around cam pulley. Take off your timing belt cover and check the position. This would explain misfiring and compression loss. Stretched belt or missing cogs in belt likely culprit.

Posted on Feb 04, 2009

  • delayed fix Mar 12, 2009

    I had the same problem. I thought that my timing belt slipped. I looked at other solutions posted, but they did not seem to apply to my condition. Looked for all of the simple easy fixes first, everything appeard to be ok, but it ran like **** and no compression in #4. Then I finally gave up and pulled off the head. The valve seat, which is just a ring of hardened metal pressed into the valve opening broke into pieces. it rattled around in the cylinder chewing up the piston. Never saw anything like this before .If you type into your google search "Ford escort valve seats" you will find that you are among many that have the same problem originating in #4 cyl. I will not buy a Ford again. They have had enough time to bring up their quality but it appears their marketing strategy is to make money with replacement parts. A boneyard motor may be the most viable solution. I got one for $150, but most seemed to be priced around $400. Fixit and dumpit.

  • bobturp
    bobturp Dec 11, 2013

    i have been a true ford guy i dispise chevy because they were the first american car company to outsource but after these pos cars and 6.0 diesels have ruind my busness and my bank account so i have switch to mexican dodge i have a hundredeleven thousand on my durrango never been in the shop and doesnt leak a drop

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1 of 2 things could be a burnt Valve or your head gascet is faulty, It can also be a sticky valve so the valve stays open. Best advice is to remove your head to see.

Posted on Dec 08, 2008

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Compression loss is normally caused by the valve seats being worn.
Other causes are piston ring(s) worn or broken or a head gasket leakage. 


Posted on Dec 08, 2008

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You have a stuck valve, there is no other thing that will cause this dramatic loss of compression, the could be bent or just stuck in the guide, it could also have a piece of carbon holding it open.

Posted on Dec 08, 2008

  • yadayada
    yadayada Dec 08, 2008

    If you have a hole in a piston there would be allot of pressre in the crancase, you would fell and hear it through the PCV port.

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