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Old 05-09-2010, 11:39 PM   #1
jetrinka
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93 Escort 1.9

So I posted this here to get a bunch of you electronics and tuning geeks opinions. lol

Anyway here is the situation. I have a friends 1993 Ford Escort 1.9 at my house. I told him I would fix a few problems he has been having with it so he left it with me for a week or so.

Initial problems were
1: Car idled like crap. The RPM would rise and fall at whim.
2: Car had an overheating problem
3: General lack of power

So I delved in and solved the idle problem first. The throttle body and IACV needed a good cleaning. Problem 1 solved.

Problem 2 and 3 were somewhat related in my eyes. Checked the cylinder compression for the heck of it and cylinder 2 was pretty down on compression. All others tested around 180 while number 2 was around 130. Threw a block tester on the radiator and found a bit of combustion gas in the coolant. Fine. Head gasket needs replacement.

So I got into pulling the head only to find the timing belt installed severely wrong by about 2 teeth. This would contribute to the lack of power problem. Fine. So get it all torn apart and sure enough there is a little spot on the head gasket that was bad right by number 2. Got the head resurfaced and pressure checked, new head gasket, threw it back on, followed all directions blah blah blah. Got the new timing belt on correctly and everything.

So now we come to where I am now. I get in the car to drive it around today to make sure all the problems are gone before giving it back to the guy. The car drives great. Power is more substantial that before, car never overheats and overall runs really well; about 95% of the time.

Problem 4: Car now seems to enter some sort of safe mode at random times while driving. No dependent on RPM, speed, or anything it will all the sudden lose power for about 5 seconds before coming back and running fine again. It seems to happen more at highway speeds but will happen from a stop as well. If this is happening at idle it will idle just fine but won't rev much above 2000 RPM. Restart the car and it works fine again. Or if you are on the freeway just downshift into 4th, floor it and it will recover and run again.

I know everything was installed correctly and it hasn't jumped timing. It has air, fuel, spark, and good compression. These things I do know. Whats hard to figure out is why it would be malfunctioning like this at some times but run great otherwise. It does not feel at all like an ignition misfire. Its more like something is not giving the car the correct information about airflow into the engine and therefore it isn't sending the correct amount of fuel at that time which leads me to think perhaps a MAF problem.

The other thing is that apparently this is the real problem he wanted me to look at in the first place but neglected to specifically inform me about it or something. I never got it to happen on my test drives beforehand either but my test drives beforehand were not that substantial either. So the problem existed before my invasive headgasket replacement which leads me to further believe everything was done right.

Anyway. Ask any more questions you need. I just need some possibilities before I start more on this.


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Old 05-09-2010, 11:52 PM   #2
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Your better with this stuff than I, but what about it being a transmission issue? What your discirbing is almost what my auto zetec was doing before I replace the nuetarl position sensor.
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:22 AM   #3
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Did you try cleaning the MAF sensor?
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:51 PM   #4
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There are OBD1 readers where you can read what the sensors are doing , that would be your best bet

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Old 05-10-2010, 06:51 PM   #5
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Make sure the " accordion hose" conecting the TB to the MAF is not split on the bottom.

I once chased a performance problem on a 3.8L Turbo Thunderbird that ended up being a loose fitting on the intercooler pipes. It would run and idle fine until it started making boost then the pipe would separate just enough to create a problem. When you looked at it, everything looked like it was bolted on and tight..... DOH!

Also I think all Ford's of that era had a common ground return for several of the engine sensors bolted to the head/manifold. Look for an orange wire with an eyelet bolted somewhere on the head/manifold. Make sure it has a perfect clean and tight connection to the engine block. When this ground return does not have a perfect connection, it skews several ECM sensor inputs and the vehicle never runs right.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

I should clarify that it is a manual transmission.

And its a strange problem as it runs great most of the time but has these little seizures once in a while. Its most definately a fuel delivery problem but the cause is a bit more fuzzy. And its frustrating to test for it because as said above it isn't acting up most of the time so to pinpoint exactly what is happening and where is quite annoying.

That being said I haven't actually looked at anything yet so perhaps I should head down to the garage and take a peek at the MAF. I know everything is plugged in correctly as that its one thing I checked initially in a murderous rage. There isn't any real common ground for the sensors that I saw either. We shall see. Perhaps the MAF is just real nice and fuzzy and needs a cleaning. We will see.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will post here again when I have done a bit more digging.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:53 PM   #7
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I found this info on another forum....

"jeffescortlx
09-09-2004, 03:47 PM
Try the ECT sensor.
check and add ground wires.
Make sure the two sections of the crank pully have not seperated causeing the crank pos trigger ring to move."
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:46 PM   #8
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^^^Thank you for that! I will check that out immediately.

But also I went down and figured a way to check for codes using an analog voltmeter and the diagnostic port. Doing an engine running test it flashes the code 111 which supposedly means all normal. During a key on engine off test it flashes a 172 code meaning injector pulse width shorter than expected.

I can't find much useful information on this using google so who knows. I am going out to check the tooth ring and crank sensor real quick.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:13 PM   #9
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Sooo the tooth ring on the crank seems very solidly attached to the pulley. Twas a good idea though.

I went out and pulled the MAF and it "looks" fine just looking at it. Its passageway is clean as well as the wires. I tested the circuit as well and it has battery voltage on one pin, a five volt reference voltage from the computer and good ground so we know electrically all the pathways to the MAF are fine. I am unsure about how to test the MAF itself though. I might be getting hung up on the whole MAF thing.

It makes sense though. A bad O2 sensor would cause running issues all the time and not just sporadically correct? There is no MAP sensor on the car. Its not a TPS or IACV issue. The temp sensor in the air cleaner wouldn't have anything to do with this I don't think. There is no external EGR that I can see. The only thing that leaves me with is the freaking MAF and the stinking 172 code.

Very confusing. Makes me appreciate OBD2 and datalogging.... Maybe my work has the scanner Tom is talking about.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:39 PM   #10
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OBD I scanners are available at Vato Zone for like $30. Ive seen them there before.
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