Question about 1997 Ford Escort

11 Answers

Hi there, we recently picked up a used ford escort wagon- 1997, 2.0 l, for $1200 reportedly about 90k on it. Disclosed was it needed alterator, and exhaust. Couldn't test-drive due to where stored. We got completely snowed- he knew we were desparate for a 2nd car.Guy was a crook. It had been sitting though, which is never good. Long and short of it - spedometer disconnected therefore don't know the speed you're going just to get the thing home, mileage likely incorrect as a result, brakes bad.... get the thing home, starts stalling out too. Now $1600 into the thing and still parked and still don't know what the heck to do. on start up, Found temp gauage would go off the charts on scale of 0-10 starts cold at 8 and goes past to about 15... fan doesn't come on, rad says temp about 176. didn't replace water pump - seems to be circulating... Replaced brake lines, alternator, exhaust,fuel filter, thermostat, sensor, sender, and now it atleast runs to test drive, but afte 15 mins. overheats even just sitting idling. We're in NY so temp about 35 degrees outside. HELP! got an appt. with local mechanic that can't take it until monday- 5 days from now- and we need the car yesterday. Have had it near a month already and the money pit has yet to be useful. It looks good but didn't need another lawn ornament. Any assistance would be most appreciated.

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  • jroberts007 Mar 17, 2009

    as stated... it was in storage and couldn't be test driven. no it wasn't from a dealer - a private crook -I wouldn't be writing for PAID assistance if it was anyone else's lemon problem. Can someone please actually provide an ANSWER to my problem posted a week ago?? My details were pretty thorough.

  • jroberts007 Mar 17, 2009

    emissionwiz, thanks for your help. I understand what you're saying about the spedo- but can't see how I can prove the spedo was disconnected by him - this was a private deal. Craigs list no less. Ad said 99, it was a 97. Ad said 60k and it had 90 k. he knocked 400 off his asking price in ad to help with disclosed alternator and exhaust issue, but we paid, took key and title, went to register and came back next morning to pick up and drive out. Of course he wasn't home. When we called him to tell him everything wrong with it, he says oh well - you should have checked it out better. As is is what I said. You're stuck with it.
    We knew he knew we were desperate, and that he was right. we were idiots and its our fault for being taken advantage of. We trusted the wrong guy. Normally we aren't stupid individuals so this is something to be ashamed of for sure.
    Anyway- when we did a diagnostic that comes on CD- the only thing it came up with is speed sensor. Could this be responsible for all the issues? elevated temp gauge? overheat after 15 mins. just idling or driving?

  • jroberts007 Mar 17, 2009

    johncaman, yes the heater blows hot/comes on when car on. I'll dbl check with John and find out if he filled completely, bled etc. Thanks!

  • jroberts007 Mar 17, 2009

    USfalcon, no. no coolant leaks, and already changed out thermostat, sensor and sender and let rest. Still having the issue. elevated temp gauge that doesn't drop, overheat/stall out after 15 mins.

  • jroberts007 Mar 17, 2009

    alot of problems, but what specifically -that is my question so we can fix it? after buying it and putting another 400 in and it still isn't drivable, no cannot afford to just 'buy another one.'

  • jroberts007 Mar 17, 2009

    thanks blueextc for your help. As noted, thermostat already replaced along with sensor and sender. Yes, did a antifreeze flush. didn't do hoses yet. did CD diagnosis and only thing it came up with was speed sensor. Will check into fan issues and dbl. check spedo cables. thanks.

  • jroberts007 Mar 17, 2009

    thanks shotta, guess (and I certainly pray not) it could be the headbasket, but no, no mixing of fluids/milkshake etc. lol
    will have John check fan, fuse and spedo connections as you stated.

  • jroberts007 Mar 18, 2009

    we appreciate all the feedback we've received, and while we had to take it to a mechanic when we didn't get a response here to our question for several days (thankfully not a crook like the guy that sold it to us) we will definitely check to ensure that some of these things noted will get looked at if they haven't already.
    thanks again.

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11 Answers

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  • 416 Answers

First of all if you dinot sign any agreement says "sold as is no warranty or guaranty" you can sue the guy and ask the money back. Second is the heater inside the car blows hot air. It should reduce the engine temperature. How the coolant looks is it rusty and has some particles. If yes you need to flush the radiator or whole cooling system. Temp gauge might be just deposited and dont show the exect temp. Ideling overheat it migyht be due to problem with pump/pulleys, just getting stuck at low rpm. Try check this too. Remove the serpentine belt and rotate the pulleys. Maybe you will still have to replace the water pump too. Speed sensor just responsible for operation of tramsmission it it is automatic trans.
Also check the oil for coolant (milky in color) and coolant for oil. These are the common signs for bad head gaskette caused by overheating.
But in addition to all of these if you fix it by yourself it is worthy if mechanic does it it will cost you at least 1000 extra. You can check the prices at repairpal.com
Good Luck

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

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  • 234 Answers

Don't they have something call the lemon law?May be you should into that.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

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  • Ford Master
  • 783 Answers

Couple of things to look at here. You stated the cooling fan does not come on. You also stated you did a CD diagnosis. If you did a key on engine running self test cooling fan should have come on during the test.If it did not you have a problem. One quick thing you can do to check it out is unhook the powertrain control module.It is located in the front of center console under dash.With PCM unhooked and you turn the igntion switch on then fan should come on high speed if it doesn't you have a fan problem.
I would also be really concerned with coolant flow, the Engine Coolant Temp sensor is what the PCM uses to turn on the cooling fan.It will turn the fan on when coolant temp reaches 221 degrees F. It will not read correctly if it is not in or submerged in coolant. In other words if you do not have good flow and have an air pocket in coolant then ect sensor may not read correctly. One way to be sure of this is to jack front of vehicle up so radiator is higher than heater core then run engine about 1500 rpm for a few minutes to bleed air out and top off the coolant.
You also stated you have no coolant leak but I would still suggest removing spark plugs and inspect for greenish tint on the ends of them. This vehicle has an aluminum head and can blow a headgasket very easily.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

  • Chuck Martin
    Chuck Martin Mar 17, 2009

    I would strongly suspect though you most likely have a cracked head or a leaking head gasket due to the fact it overheats in 15 min. If the cooling system was any were near up to capacity it should take at least 30 min or more to overheat if.problem was cooling fan. I suspect vehicle had a coolant system problem and someone added stop leak to system which may be masking the real problem and may also be stopping up the bottom rows in the radiator.

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  • 19,396 Answers

Check if there is volt to the pump. the pump must be tested by energizing it.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009

  • Ginko
    Ginko Mar 11, 2009

    Check if there is voltage to the fan.
    the fan must be tested by energizing it.

    Iv the fan does not come on replace the thermostat attached to the radiator, if the fan is broken replace it, check also the fuse for the fan.


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Well first of all I'm sorry to hear of all these problems. where do I start, First the over heating problem check and make sure that the head gasket is NOT bad, check oil for coolant mixture if it is it Will look like milk shake. Check radiator fan to make sure they work manually by supplying power to fan if the operate, check change fan switch that should take care of you problem, also make sure that radiator fan fuse and relays are good. About speedometer not working it may be that the speedometer cable is broken or disconnected from the transmission. Good luck and contact if you need more help. Thanks for using FIX YA

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

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Thermostat is probably stuck/rusted shut if it sat for any period of time. This is an easy 2 bolt and gasket fix.
While doing it, I would suggest replacing the upper radiator hose, lower radiator hose, and antifreeze flush as well since it has been sitting for an extended time.
Fan may be fuse blown or bad spot on electrical winding. Spin by hand to see if it moves (with car off of course).
Have you had on an obd diagnostic computer to check engine codes?
Even if the light is off - there may be codes to clear, or the bulb may have been removed.
Double check the speedo cable, as escorts had a tendancy to strip gears. You may just need a new speedo, or cluster - in which case the vehicle must be reported as "inaccurate mileage" afterward anyways.
If the seller knowingly sold the vehicle with a disconnected speedo (without telling you), and filled in the mileage as ACCURATE on the title - you can sue him for mileage odometer fraud, and in some cases get triple damages.

Thanks for using FixYa

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

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  • 173 Answers

Hi! In your case I think there is a still a lot of problems in it, why not look for another one?. But if you need it badly because it still looks good then its worth to put money on it. GOOD LUCK thanks

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

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  • 175 Answers

If there is no any coolant leak from the water pump try to change the thermostat first and bleed the system good then rest any code come on then try again befor u spend too much money on the water pump

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

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  • 201 Answers

Are you sure the cooling system is completely full? Some of these engines have a bleed/fill cap on the engine somewhere that must be used to ensure there is not air in the system, which will cause overheating and also cause the rad temp sensor to read lower than the actual temperature (hence, the fan never comes on). Does the heater inside the car blow hot air? I'll see if I can do a little more research for you.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009

  • John Aman
    John Aman Mar 17, 2009

    What evidence do you have that the car is overheating, besides the temperature guage? does it start running really rough, pinging, anything?/

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1st off the factory fan doesn't come on until aropund 225-230 Degree's Farenheit, normal operating temp is 180F-240F, so by what u have written you don't have and overheating problem, also if the speedo was disconnected the seller has violated the law, and u could get a refund. I am a Ford factory Tech with 30 years in new car dealer's

Posted on Mar 11, 2009

  • yadayada
    yadayada Mar 17, 2009

    For what it will cost to get this car in safe driving condition u are going to need allot of money, u can buy a running used compact for less.

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Was that from a licensed dealer ?

Posted on Mar 11, 2009

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