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Posted: 3/7/2015 9:32:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2015 9:34:37 PM EDT by TheOTHERmaninblack]
Best friend is struggling with a dead car. Running smooth right up until it died. Just lunged a couple of times at a light (like you get when the idle is way too low) and died, never to start again.

Towed it to my shop (computer, not automotive) and started in diagnosing.

1. Spark? check. Used the old screwdriver method, and it'll jump spark at least 3/8 inch. Orange, but at that distance, about what I'd expect.

2.Fuel? Nope. pulled plugs, cylinders dry.

3. Fuel pump? Check. Pulled it and let it run in a bucket of gas. Pumps fine.

4. Filter? Check. Pulled the fuel filter and it's clear.

5. Fuel lines? Check. We tested and it's getting fuel all the way to the pressure testing zert at the end of the rack (can't remember the proper term, but it's the thing you hook the pressure gauge to to check rack pressure)

6. Pulled the timing belt cover, and the belt seems tight, and the tensioner square (bearing not gone, allowing the belt to slip)

Everything we've checked so far is pointing to a timing issue. Figured that I'd have him check the timing marks to be sure. And that's where the problems started. There don't seem to be any! Everything we find involves indexing the timing belt, but nothing on adjusting the actual ignition timing. At least not anything that doesn't involve special tools and partial disassembly of the engine.

I'm admittedly old school, where timing involved adjusting points and using a timing light to adjust the distributor. All I want to do is check to make sure that the belt didn't jump, not rebuild the freaking engine!

Additional info, just in case anybody's familiar with this issue. When the ignition is turned on, the fuel pump runs for about 2 seconds, which is appropriate. If we crank the engine, once we stop, there's a loud buzz emanating from somewhere beneath the intake manifold/rack assembly. Can't quite place it exactly, but it sounds kind of like a solenoid that's trying to engage but can't.

The guy is living on disability (about 1k per month) and doesn't have much cash, so I'm trying to get him going as cheap as possible. Meanwhile, he's been driving my car when I can get it to him, or bumming rides from me (all those mooks he's helped over the years are apparently too busy to return the many favors). Any help/info will be appreciated.

Oh, we hooked it up to a diagnostic tool and it pulled a litany of codes, but when we tried to get the hex codes, it had cleared. I'll post the codes we got as soon as he gets back with my car.
Link Posted: 3/7/2015 10:29:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2015 10:31:24 PM EDT by katrina24]
pluged catholic converter........pull out a O2 censer pre converter and see if it fires right up.... if it runs. she's plugged
Link Posted: 3/7/2015 10:47:16 PM EDT
Those efi jap engines they put in those era cars were tough and reliable little engines. Hard to kill. I threw a timing belt on one. Finding somebody to work on standard transmissions was a bitch.
Link Posted: 3/7/2015 10:53:38 PM EDT
Here are the faults it threw

misfire monitor
fuelsys mon
comp component
cat mon
htd catalyst
evap sys mon
sec air system
ac refrig mon
oxygen sens mon
oxygen sens htr
egr/vvt sys mon

Thanks for the help, guys.
Link Posted: 3/8/2015 1:45:43 AM EDT
My sisters 98 escort the harmonic balancer came apart or something with the rubber inside ripped apart. Same thing driving fine then died. I think it threw the belts off though.


Sorry I don't remember much it was in 2002. My dad pushed the car home with his Oldsmobile and fixed it in the driveway within 2 or 3 hours once he got parts.
Link Posted: 3/8/2015 12:05:44 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TheOTHERmaninblack:
Here are the faults it threw

misfire monitor
fuelsys mon
comp component
cat mon
htd catalyst
evap sys mon
sec air system
ac refrig mon
oxygen sens mon
oxygen sens htr
egr/vvt sys mon

Thanks for the help, guys.
View Quote


Jeez. Thats everything and the kitchen sink.

Maybe a Ford mechanic can chime in on this one. Symptoms you describe and some of those faults seem to point to a plugged cat. Dont know for sure.
Link Posted: 3/8/2015 4:38:44 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TheOTHERmaninblack:
Here are the faults it threw

misfire monitor
fuelsys mon
comp component
cat mon
htd catalyst
evap sys mon
sec air system
ac refrig mon
oxygen sens mon
oxygen sens htr
egr/vvt sys mon

Thanks for the help, guys.
View Quote


That is the monitoring systems not the codes.
Since you have spark and fuel then you have to be missing injector pulse. Best guess without being there would be a cam or crank sensor. Try reading the codes again and see if it has any.
Have you tried spraying carb cleaner or starting fluid directly into the throttle and see if it would run? Just don't drown it or you may have a big fireball
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 6:12:19 AM EDT
Double-checked, and we do have strong spark. Checked the manual, and it says that if we have spark, the crank sensor is working. Tried starting with starting fluid, but no joy.

For the moment, we're going with the working theory that the cam sensor is bad. There's a way to test it, but getting to that sucker might be more trouble than the whole car is worth. Trying to figure out how to get it out without pulling the whole rack off.

Meanwhile, my friend was able to get a set of the actual shop manuals for it on ebay. Be here next week. They'll give us the voltage we're looking for in the sensor, and possibly a way to bypass it temporarily. Also going to pull the O2 sensor and hose it out ( so to speak) just in case.

Again, thanks for the help and ideas.
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 12:30:12 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By TacCar:
Those efi jap engines they put in those era cars were tough and reliable little engines. Hard to kill. I threw a timing belt on one. Finding somebody to work on standard transmissions was a bitch.
View Quote



If it's the 2.0L SPI motor, it's not a Japanese motor. It's the old 1.6 from the 80's, bored and stroked with a split-port induction head.
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 3:34:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/9/2015 3:35:16 PM EDT by Stasher1]
I know you said that you checked the timing belt, but did you look over the entire belt or simply make sure it was tight and not broken? I sheared several teeth off the timing belt on a '95 Escort many years ago, and it did pretty much what you described. I downshifted to pass someone, it sputtered and bucked, ran for a few seconds more, and then died. The belt was in place and tight, but the cam wasn't in the proper position due to the belt's missing teeth. I had air, fuel, and spark but I could crank the car all day and it wouldn't start.
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 7:12:55 PM EDT
If it still won't at least try to start on starting fluid then I would think you had a mechanical problem. Compression test?
Is this the single or double overhead cam engine?
Make sure the timing belt teeth haven't sheared off the bottom pulley like someone else mentioned. May have to pull valve cover off to check if camshaft is snapped.
Does it sound normal when you turn the engine over or is it spinning kind of fast?
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 7:17:16 PM EDT
1 thing it may pump fuel in a bucket and still not make enough pressure to run the engine
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 8:12:10 PM EDT
I haven't checked for missing/sheared teeth yet. Trying to rule everything else out before I start disassembling the engine in the parking lot. It didn't buck or anything, which is why I'm not confident it's a timing belt. Honestly, it just acted like it was starving for gas and then quit.

I haven't run a pressure test yet. Friend is in the rack today as his heart's acting up and he's not moving very spry. If the weather's nice tomorrow, we'll borrow a pressure tester and hit the rail. My recollection on fuel pumps (admittedly in the olden days ) was that you needed flow, and that would translate into pressure in the rail. This thing pumped like a fire hose.

The engine is the single overhead cam

Cranking it, it does sort of sound like it's not getting much compression, but I've been putting that down to the low compression nature of the engine. I think I've got a pressure guage around here somewhere.... Tomorrow, if my friend is up, we'll run a comp test on it.

Thanks again. Hopefully, we can get this thing ironed out and start in fixing my truck. Did I mention that I loaned him my truck the night the car broke down and it caught fire? Yeah, it did.... Melted the distributor cap, burned the plug wires, and cooked the coil. That was not a good night for either of us.

Link Posted: 3/9/2015 9:58:21 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By tarheel_shooter:


That is the monitoring systems not the codes.
Since you have spark and fuel then you have to be missing injector pulse. Best guess without being there would be a cam or crank sensor. Try reading the codes again and see if it has any.
Have you tried spraying carb cleaner or starting fluid directly into the throttle and see if it would run? Just don't drown it or you may have a big fireball
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By tarheel_shooter:
Originally Posted By TheOTHERmaninblack:
Here are the faults it threw

misfire monitor
fuelsys mon
comp component
cat mon
htd catalyst
evap sys mon
sec air system
ac refrig mon
oxygen sens mon
oxygen sens htr
egr/vvt sys mon

Thanks for the help, guys.


That is the monitoring systems not the codes.
Since you have spark and fuel then you have to be missing injector pulse. Best guess without being there would be a cam or crank sensor. Try reading the codes again and see if it has any.
Have you tried spraying carb cleaner or starting fluid directly into the throttle and see if it would run? Just don't drown it or you may have a big fireball


Spoiled by my Torque OBD2 app. Forgot that old code readers show that type of info.

I shit you not, I had a plugged convertor in a 2001 Deville that threw about every code imaginable.
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 10:01:14 PM EDT
If it won't run on spray you have spark issues.

Change the plugs they are fouled.
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 10:22:21 PM EDT
I would vote timing belt . That is a common problem on those cars . It will act as you describe . It will also eat the valves on that motor .
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 11:30:03 PM EDT
We'll pull and clean the plugs tomorrow. It's looking more and more like the timing belt. That is going to be a miserable job in the snow.
Link Posted: 3/10/2015 4:26:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/10/2015 4:29:12 PM EDT by Stasher1]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By whiskerz:
I would vote timing belt . That is a common problem on those cars . It will act as you describe . It will also eat the valves on that motor .
View Quote



Wrong motor. The DOHC 1.8 Mazda motor from the Escort GT will eat valves. The 2.0 SPI motor in the 97+ Escort is a stroked version of the SOHC 1.9 SEFI from the '91-'96 Escort/Tracer with a split-port head and a different fuel system with a seperate return line. It's a non-interference motor. When the belt goes, the engine simply dies.

The timing belt isn't a big job. Seriously. There isn't a single difficult job on that car.

If you were closer I'd help you do it.
Link Posted: 3/10/2015 6:52:25 PM EDT
Timing belt. Looks like 2 teeth gone. New parts ordered (timing belt and tensioner) Water pump seems solid, but I'm wondering if we shouldn't just replace it on spec?

Thanks again for all the help. These new velocipede things just baffle me sometimes. Give me an old solid 283 with mechanical advance any day.
Link Posted: 3/10/2015 10:26:42 PM EDT
Car is running! Friend is driving it home as I type.

Thanks everybody!
Link Posted: 3/11/2015 4:08:07 AM EDT
Excellent! Those cars are actually designed very well for DIY maintenance and repair, imo. Most things are out in the open or easily accessible, and the parts are relatively inexpensive.
Link Posted: 3/11/2015 10:13:25 AM EDT
Good work, you did well...Three gold stars for you today
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