Question about 1998 Ford Escort

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1998 Ford Escort ZX2 Clutch replacement

My daughter has a 1998 ZX2 with over 150K miles and original clutch. She is getting ready to drive cross country, but I am afraid of letting her go without pre-emptively replacing the clutch. Does any one have experience with how long I can expect a clutch to last on this cart? It has been driven about 50/50 around town and highway.

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  • djohnh Aug 11, 2008

    Thanks for the input, it is helpful. I have performed the checks you suggested on the other items and all is well. I will check out the clutch tomorrow. Once again, thanks.

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Clutch life depends entirely on how the clutch has been treated. If it hasn't been driven abusively, it could conceivably last the life of the car. To try it out, put it in top gear around 30mph and floor the gas. If the clutch is going to slip anywhere, it's here. If the car gains speed without the RPM shooting up, the clutch is fine and you should have no worries about her making it safely across the country.

Posted on Aug 11, 2008

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  • Jeremy Dellow
    Jeremy Dellow Aug 11, 2008

    As long as she's going to be going, a few things to check out - have the tires inspected for abnormal wear, put in a new air filter and new plugs, change the oil, rotate the tires, and inspect the brakes for pad thickness and rotor condition (minor grooves are OK, but deeper grooving means replacing them), and take a look at the bushings in the suspension - if any of them appear dry-rotted, cracked, or leaking, address them. Finally, take a good look at the CV joint boots (inner and outer) on both sides of the car - if they're intact and look good, they should be fine, but if they have any rips or tears in them, it's only a matter of time (and probably not that much time) before the CV joints sustain damage from debris getting inside. If there are tears or cracks, or if you see evidence of grease on the suspension parts immediately around the CV boots, replace the boots at the least, or go one better and replace the axles - you don't want her to end up with a deteriorating CV joint on a cross-country drive. A blown CV joint means the car won't move.

  • Jeremy Dellow
    Jeremy Dellow Aug 11, 2008

    Finally, as a care package, put together a box of automotive items for her to take in the trunk - a bottle of power steering fluid, a couple spare lug nuts, a four-way tire wrench, a good jack (not the scissor jack that comes with the car, but a compact 2 ton jack), a quart of oil, a bottle of coolant, a can of fix-a-flat, and some basic wrenches and screwdrivers. If something happens on the trip, even if she doesn't know how to fix it, if she has the tools with her, someone else may be able to help her out.

  • Jeremy Dellow
    Jeremy Dellow Aug 11, 2008

    Anytime:) I wish her well on the adventure:)

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