The Yeager's 1993 Escort LX Wagon
Escort Wagon in the driveway at our home south of Trenton.
The 'Scort Journal
It has been a very interesting series of events that lead to this project. I originally purchased the 'Scort late in the summer of 1997 to commute back and forth to work. I just gotten a position as Technology Director at a small school district in Northeast Texas. The car had 86,000 miles on it and was clean. As is typical the car had a rough first four years. The car looked good but had some real problems under the surface.
The dreaded former owner put "stop-leak" in the radiator which caused multiple cooling problems over the next few years. The cooling problems were compounded by another problem which occurred during this time -- the partial failure of the coolant temperature sending unit for the dash temperature gauge. We now know the gauge consistently registered low. As the temperature gauge was not registering correctly we had no idea that we were running the engine hot until my wife cracked the head coming back from Dallas one hot summer afternoon in 2000. I have no real estimate how many miles we put on the car while it was overheating. The car had roughly 165,000 miles on it at the time the head cracked and the problems were discovered. About this time I noticed a increase in fuel consumption and I began keeping an eye on the amount of fuel the car used.
My wife and I started looking at new cars a in 2002. (Now that will scare you.) As we examined our needs and wants in a new vehicle we noted that we have 2 children, I need to do light hauling for the school from time to time, I play electric bass for church and some local bands, we co-own and manage several rental properties, we own a cycling business, and I drive 32 miles one way to work. We needed something that was reliable, could haul items, tow small trailers, and was fuel efficient. Seemed we needed a small wagon. I noted that some automobile dealers were pushing something they called a "sport wagon" that sounded worth investigating. The "sport wagon" term is one I found amusing because Ford along with a few other companies (Saturn, Subaru, and Volkswagen come to mind) never quit making the small wagon. It seems that some car companies have "reintroduced" the small wagon to their line and act like they have discovered the alternative to SUVs and mini-vans. As it turned out we owned one of the original sport wagons, it just needed a little more sport put into it.
After several months looking at small wagons, sport wagons, mini SUVs, and mini-vans we could not find anything we liked $15,000 to $25,000 more than what we already had. We could see a lot of ways to spend our money other than a new car. We liked the overall shape of the second generation 'Scort -- its soft, rounded sculpturing and understated design. We had taken good care of the 'Scort: cleaned it, waxed it, changed the oil every 3000 miles, kept DURA Lude or Teflon treatment in it, and repaired any failed items. We had just gotten all the kinks worked out and it was paid for.
Was our current "sport wagon" really in bad enough shape we needed to replace it? I had Kenny Anderson, the mechanic who had been caring for it the past few years, look the 'Scort over and do a compression check on it. Kenny mentioned that the car was in better shape than most cars with 50,000 miles on them.
If that is the case, why not see how many miles we can get out of the 'Scort and improve it along the way. Our basic philosophy was and is to modify the car in such a way that safety, durability, fuel economy, and overall performance would be improved. Thus began a project that would, as most car projects do, take on a life of its own.
Monthly Journal Entries
November, 2002 -- Had the 'Scort professionally checked. Began Internet research on modification possibilities. Made contacts.
December, 2002 -- Acquired 1993 Ford Escort GT four-wheel disk brakes and associated suspension components. Hella driving lights installed.
December 17, 2002 -- The website was launched.
January, 2003 -- Escort GT suspension and four-wheel disk brakes were refurbished and installed. (The four-wheel disk brake conversion is simple in concept. One replaces everything from - and including - the spindles outward and the hand-brake cables with the items from the Escort GT.) The GT brake calipers were rebuilt. New axle bearings, drive shafts, CV joints, and struts were installed. Front and rear stabilizer bars, Cork Sport front strut tower bar, and Polyurethane bushings were installed everywhere but the lateral links in the rear as Energy Suspension does not offer such for the second generation wagons. The ignition system was upgraded and the ZXTuner cooling fan circuit installed. I acquired a1988 Escort GT header and intake manifold (I ultimately decided against using the intake manifold as indicated further on). Ordered Cork Sport "Type II" rear strut tower bar.
February, 2003 -- Fuel consumption is running about 25 to 27 MPG highway and 12 to 15 MPG city. Replaced both water temperature sensors. Replaced air temperature sensor. Ordered S&B "funnel ram" air filter and conversion items.
March, 2003 -- Installed Cork Sport "Type II" rear strut tower bar. Tests run to find cause of erratic fuel consumption -- the MAF sensor and O2 sensor now suspect. Replaced O2 sensor and am continuing fuel consumption tests. Confirmed the factory '88 GT header will work on the car.
April, 2003 -- Installed the ZXTuer MAF to air filter adapter, S&B "funnel ram" air filter, and S&B valve cover breather. Continued to run fuel consumption tests. A fuel consumption pattern has emerged: the longer the trip and the warmer the intake air the better the fuel mileage. The engine appears to be running too rich for too long after startup. The two mechanics (Kenny Anderson of Anderson Automotive in Trenton, Texas and Donald McAllen of Jackson Autoplex in Commerce, Texas) I had been conferring with consulted Ford engineers and other experts, resulting in the consensus that the MAF sensor is the problem. Replaced MAF sensor. Continued to run fuel consumption tests.
May, 2003 -- The MAF sensor didn't do the trick. The current consensus is that the engine is just worn enough that while the engine is cool there is some blow-by and once the engine is completely warmed up fuel mileage and power seem to improve. There is some oil consumption and burned oil clearly evident in the exhaust on startup indicating worn valve stem seals on the "new" head. This is likely a result of running the motor too hot while the undiscovered cooling problems were occurring. The decrease in fuel economy was noticed after the head was replaced about 2 years ago. The search is on for a low- mileage second generation Escort with a good Ford factory assembled 1.9L engine to replace the now aging unit in the car. We are praying as it will likely take God to find a good example of a 1.9L to be a donor for our car.
Jasper Engines and Transmissions of Jasper, Indiana looks very impressive (on paper at least). I am wanting a good solid stock engine for a basis as I am foremost interested in reliability and fuel mileage. I see no reason with a properly built and modified engine that 500,000 miles can't be achieved.
May 31, 2003 -- Sport-compact fans, I had the opportunity to test drive a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (A serendipitous, testosteronic event).
June, 2003 -- The 'Scort passed the 235,000 mile mark. First Annual National Escort Meet in Dallas/Fort Worth (never could find out where the event was held). Ordered Black Diamond Racing 75% under-drive pulley for SIP engine. Every reference I have tracked down on Jasper Engines & Transmissions has been excellent. Researching and selecting exhaust system components. Installed front lower valance and functional cool air scoop under front bumper. Decided to continue making small changes to the car -- Classic Muffler & Brakes and Alignments of Wolf City, Texas installed a 2" Flow master 60 Series to gauge how the car reacts. The plan was to install the factory headers and the remainder of the 2" exhaust system when the engine is replaced. Ordered the manual steering rack and the Jasper remanufactured engine via Kenny Anderson of Anderson Automotive in Trenton, Texas as Anderson Automotive will do the installation work. The ignition lock assembly failed and I decided to replace the broken and out of production multifunction switch (the bright haven't worked in some time) as I had the unit out to replace the ignition lock assembly. Ouch! Over $500.00 in Ford Motor Company parts (I think I know how these automobile manufacturers stay in business while underwriting "0%" financing).
July, 2003 -- Had the old window film removed and LLumar window film installed by The Tint Shop in Greenville, Texas. The Jasper remanufactured engine, a rebuilt power steering rack, the 1988 Escort GT headers (headers are a bolt-on, extra mounting brackets and bracing were added near the final collector using the factory mounting points provided on the engine case, the ERG tube port was plugged and welded, and the factory header bolts were replaced with studs, washers, and nuts), Black Diamond Racing 75% under-drive pulley, and other tweaks installed by Anderson Automotive in Trenton, Texas. Jasper will not warranty the engine unless used with the intake manifold supplied. The additional weight and size of the early Escort GT manifold compared with the stock manifold was also a concern so the GT manifold was not used. The manual steering rack did not work as the rack would not settle in the power steering mounts in the car in a manner that would allow it to be secure and straight. I had not anticipated that the steering rack brackets would need to be changed out. There was no time to find manual steering rack brackets as the engine was ready to place in the car. Heavy modification to the brackets might have been be possible but effort, time, and safety concerns lead to the feeling that a rebuilt power steering rack was the best choice in this instance at this time. The custom exhaust system was installed by Classic Muffler & Brakes and Alignments of Wolf City, Texas. After a fair amount of research I have decided to use Mobil 1 in the new engine after the break-in period. Finally took pictures of the car.
August, 2003 -- The new engine runs great (too early to tell about fuel mileage) and the new steering is really tight. After the initial 500 mile engine break-in we took the 'Scort up to Brandon MO for a family vacation. (Most tank-fulls we got in the low to mid 30s or upper 20s MPG.) Fully loaded with four people the car would motor up most hills in 5th gear and stay at the speed limit -- very un-Escort like. Engine bay heat becoming a problem with combination of the headers and the summer heat. Installed a 10" Hayden pusher fan on the passenger side of the AC condenser to increase the amount of airflow at low speeds. By late August the fuel mileage is about 29 MPG under normal use (combined city and highway with AC running) and 31 to 33 MPG highway.
September, 2003 -- Started carefully exploring what the car can actually do (I am not avoiding passing situations as I feel the that the engine should be pretty much broken in after 5,000 miles). The engine clearly has more power than the stock version particularly in the 4,000 to 5,000 RPM range. Had fuel tank leak repaired (twice). Ordered Auto Meter voltmeter, oil pressure, and head temperature gauges. Finally had to replace fuel tank with one from a wrecked wagon. Installed Access 8.8 mm low resistance wires and custom gapped (wide) Bausch Platinum 2 plugs. Installed Auto Meter voltmeter, oil pressure, and head temperature gauges in the center console under the ashtray and just forward of the cup holders. The Sport 'Scort was entered in a local car show. With all the big V-8s and trucks at the show it drew no one's attention at all. If I do such a thing again it will be at a sport compact event and I will use some of the showmanship techniques I picked up at the show.
October, 2003 -- Installed 50% under drive pulley and sensor for oil pressure gauge. Installed Blaupunkt Heidelberg CD51 receiver. Fuel mileage is 29 to 33 MPG under normal use (combined city and highway) and 33 to 36 MPG trip highway.
November, 2003 -- Purchased and installed a new set of Falken Ziex ZE-512 195 50/15 radials. Had the wheel alignment custom set for minimum rolling resistance with low-profile tires. The following logic was applied. The front and rear camber should be set to 0 degrees (straight up). In this vehicle's case, as with most small economy cars, no camber adjustment is provided from the factory. Fortunately, the camber was practically perfect with about 200 to 300 lb. load. The toe on the front was set to near zero with any error towards toe out (positive). The rear toe was set to near 0 degrees with any error towards the slightest toe in (negative). The theory is to have a zero toe under normal driving conditions both front and rear. Since the front is under power it will try to toe in just a bit due to the compression of the suspension bushings. The same applies on the rear except it is being pulled by the front so it will try to toe out a bit. The alignment was set with a normal load in the car. The Polyurethane bushings on this car will deflect a slight amount, but not nearly as much as stock rubber bushings therefore, a stock auto may actually need its wheel toe set a little in or out.
Cold weather has come to North Texas. However, the cold weather decreased the fuel economy by 2 to 4 MPG. Not sure if this extends from the cooling system overcooling, adjustments made from various temperature sensor input, or a possible problem with the onboard computer. To solve the winter overcooling I approached the problem in the same manner as over the road truckers do with their diesel trucks. Blocking air flow to the radiator. The bra has a custom piece that fits over the upper grill for temperatures below 75 and for very cold outdoor temperatures I place a baffle between the radiator and the AC condenser. The target is an engine temperature of 180 to 190 as the car typically ran during the summer months. Keeping the water and head temperature up resulted in fuel mileage still in the zone of 29 to 33 MPG just tending toward the lower figures which points toward the intake air temperature making a difference as well. Overcooling is an interesting problem but far easier to manage than the much more typical overheating issues 2nd generation Escorts tend toward.
December, 2003 -- Cold weather fuel mileage is holding steadily in the 27 to 29 MPG range. Began swapping thermostats and placing them in a hot pan of water to see what temperature they opened and how far they opened. A problem was found with the original thermostat as it did not open all the way. The fit seemed loose so coolant could have been escaping past the thermostat too early and not allowing the engine to reach operating temperature in cold weather. I tested 4, 3 before I found one that opened at 190.
Replacing the thermostat achieved only a partial cure as the coolant temperature was still not warm enough for the fuel metering to be correct. The 1.9L uses the heater core as the primary engine coolant circuit. The water temperature sending units are located on a line going to the heater core) and the ECU (electronic control unit or engine control unit -- onboard computer) needs constant flow in that circuit to work correctly. The majority of coolant can be routed through the radiator circuit to allow proper engine operating temperature to be maintained. Therefore, the problem must be where the two circuits meet: either at the thermostat or the water pump. I then began to test water flow (I had plenty) and the thermostat housing.
Success! The "vapor by-pass" in the thermostat housing had failed (as indicated by a rattle in the thermostat housing detected while the housing was removed to change out the thermostat) and was letting a lot of coolant past the thermostat. Cold weather fuel mileage jumped about 4 to 6 MPG (depending on whether it is highway or combined fuel mileage) after replacing the housing with one from a '91 Escort. The first tank full after housing replacement was just over 34 MPG with the outdoor temperature in the 30s and 40s, the cool air intake intact, and no baffles in front of the radiator. Once warmed up the stock temperature gauge was rock solid in the middle of "normal". Seems that ECU is very sensitive to not only the coolant temperature but any coolant temperature fluctuations as well.
There is the clear implication that most of the sensors replaced earlier were not causing the problem. On the other hand, no one thought to consider the thermostat housing as a potential problem. I conferred at length with both Kenny Anderson of Anderson Automotive and Donald McAllen of Jackson Autoplex and at first the conversation leaned toward another sensor gone bad. Only when the evidence became overwhelming did the housing become suspect. As the parts manager at Jackson Autoplex commented -- "We have never ordered a thermostat housing " as they "never" seem to fail. All other issues aside, with the car so strong at 245,000 miles, achieving 500,000 with this vehicle seems at least plausible.
Replaced off-brand intake air temperature sending unit with a genuine Motor Craft one as the car still seems a little temperature sensitive when it is near freezing. "Cold weather" fuel mileage after replacing the thermostat, thermostat housing, and intake air temperature sending unit is now 32 to 34 MPG. Ordered a pyrometer directly from Auto Meter. Ordered VDO head temperature gauge and Auto Meter vacuum gauge from Summit Racing Equipment. Installed Auto Meter vacuum gauge. Other items backordered.
January, 2004 -- Broke the fuel pressure regulator vacuum line while adjusting and rerouting the vacuum gauge line during Christmas break. Temporarily replaced it wit a 3/8th inch fuel line as the stock replacement is available only from a Ford warehouse near Detroit. The ECUs on these Mazda/Fords are finicky. The fuel mileage went from 32-34 MPG to 26-28 MPG for the two to three weeks the aforementioned fuel line was in place. Replaced stock fuel pressure regulator vacuum line. Installed Auto Meter pyrometer and VDO head temperature gauge. Contacted Phillip Wong of Intercrew Auto Salon of Richardson, Texas about doing some custom Polyurethane bushing work on the lateral links in the rear of the 'Scort. Was informed by Phillip that little can be done with stock lateral arms. Alternatives are being considered.
February, 2004 -- My wife and I took the 'Scort on a roughly 300 drive to Austin, Texas for a conference. We drove the posted speed limits. The temperature was in the 50s to 60s, the winds calm, and the car lightly loaded. Only 2 short stops were made so the engine temperature would remain at the correct level. We got 38.2 MPG.
Continued consultation with Phillip Wong of Intercrew Auto Salon indicates a custom work on the rear lateral links will have little benefit. The behavior of the rear end during heavy cornering is most likely attributed to the limits of the Escort GT suspension installed in the heavier rear of the Escort wagon and tire flex.
March, 2004 -- Fuel mileage continues to be in the low to mid 30s. Took the car on a camping trip in Southeastern Oklahoma and decided that a lighter socket (12 volt supply) mounted in the rear cargo area would be rather handy. Drove up to Mena, Arkansas and enjoyed the twisting roadways. Painted brake calipers Dupli-Color Ford Red (DE1605) to match engine valve cover. Researching what improvements can be made to the brakes for quicker, safer stops. The Escort GT system is a great improvement over the stock rear drums, however, cross drilled rotors and braided steel brake lines have a reputation for improved stopping. I want the car to be as safe as possible.
April, 2004 -- Rats. For the first time in over 20 years I had an accident. I was struck in the right front corner while making a northbound left-hand turn at a protected signal. It was a busy and large intersection with six lanes going east and west and four lanes heading north and south by Town East Mall in Mesquite, Texas. Both roads had a protected turn lane. I had just witnessed several cars making left hand turns run the red light in the intersection I had just been through. Therefore as I approached the intersection I was concerned about being rear ended if I did need to stop. I was checking the rear view mirrors and the location and movement of the cars around me. I began to approach and enter the intersection with my left turn signal on. It was then I noted the light was yellow. I checked the rear view mirrors to ascertain if there were any vehicles behind me and if they were indeed going to stop. Additional concerns were people making last minute maneuvers such as lane jumping. By the time I saw there were not going to be any issues arising behind me I had missed the signal light changing to red, was well into the intersection, and felt legally obligated to clear the intersection. The young man who hit me was six years into a military career, grew up in a small town, and didn't own a car (he was driving his sister's 2000 BMW 325Ci). He was likely as apprehensive and unfamiliar with Dallas county traffic as I for he continued to proceed into the intersection from the far curbside westbound lane after all others realized the situation and had stopped to allow the intersection to clear. In his defense, the van in the lane beside him likely obscured his view. We were both very polite and cordial while trading phone numbers and insurance information. In the final analysis, if we had both been paying a bit more attention and were less apprehensive about the driving skills (or lack there of) exhibited by Dallas drivers the collision would likely not have happened. By the way, this fine upstanding young gentleman will be deployed overseas again soon so please keep him in your prayers.
State Farm Insurance company acknowledged the work done on the car so now I have to find a good body shop. I am calling local car collectors and getting their opinions on good local body shops. After speaking with a variety of references and several body shop managers I have selected Herb's Paint and Body in Dallas, Texas to do the repair work.
May, 2004 -- We got the car dropped off at Herb's Paint and Body in Dallas, Texas to do the repair work. Some additional damage was found and State Farm was contacted. The clear corner lamp and Cork Sport front strut tower bar was delivered and dropped off at Herb's Paint and Body during one of my business trips in the Dallas area. The replacement bra will have to wait a few weeks for the paint to fully cure. In the mean time the 'Scort will wear a white GT grill being prepared by Herb's Paint and Body. Many thanks to Brian Purkins the manager at Herb's Paint and Body for all his help and professional service.
Cops & Rodders Auto Show -- Memorial Student Center Parking Lot, Texas A&M-Commerce, May 15. It is unlikely the 'Scort will make this appearance.
The 'Scort was picked up May 20th. Herb's Paint and Body did an excellent job and I would recommend this firm to anyone needing such services.
June, 2004 -- The "Scort went back to Herb's Paint and Body to correct a problem that was not noticed with the hood. Herb's Paint and Body has done fantastic job and been very service oriented in getting the car correct. I spent several hours doing final tweaking to get headlights, etc. to my satisfaction.
July, 2004 -- Converted air conditioning system to more available ozone friendly "freon".
My wife finished some removable, tailored seat covers made from medium gray towels. With two children we have always kept towels on the seats so spills, crumbs, and mud can be easily cleaned, but it always looked like we had towels on the seats. The bra and black grill was refitted to the car (it looks much better).
Load, hills, and a strong head wind make quite a difference. sustained speeds of 70 MPH with the car fully loaded (wife, both kids and baggage) lead to the following statistics during our trip to West Texas and Kansas. 32 - 34 MPG at 70 MPH on the high plains of Kansas with no head wind. With a strong head wind and/or hilly roads at 70 MPH resulted in 30 to 31 MPG.
August, 2004 -- The oil pressure sensor line (required to run both an Auto Gauge and the stock idiot light) failed on a trip to Rockwall, Texas while towing the Texas Trail Dust Cycling Trailer to participate in a bicycle rally. It took over 12 quarts (one stop at Wal-Mart and one stop at a truck stop to purchase oil) to drive the four miles to a mechanic that was open on Saturday afternoon. What remained of the oil pressure sensor line was removed and the stock oil pressure sensor refitted. The failed line was brass, so I am searching for something a little more robust to replace it with.
September, 2004 -- Oil pressure sensor line replaced with cast steel adapter.
October, 2004 -- Replaced the second set of Falken Ziex ZE-512 195 50/15 radials with Yokohama YK420 195 50/15 radials. We shall see. The ride is pretty good but I don't think the cars handles as well as it did with the Falken radials. The tread wear rating on the Yokohamas is quite a bit better however.
Disconnected the oil cooler for the winter to see if fuel economy on short trips improves.
November, 2004 -- It would seem that the Ford factory exhaust headers from the 1986-2000 Escort GTs is pretty vulnerable to damage. I was turning into our family MD's parking lot the day before Thanksgiving and missed the drive entry as the curbs up and down the street were obscured by fall leaves lying in the street. The bottom forward radius of the headers stuck the curb hard. It was quite a jarring experience in more ways than one. In doing so the headers were cracked in three places near the oxygen sensor and the upper collectors. Additionally, the twin down tubes were almost fully collapsed at the bottom forward radius.
After a several phone calls I located a suitable Ford factory 1986-2000 Escort GT exhaust header. But could not schedule driving all the way to middle of the DFW Metroplex. I mentioned I would be in contact Monday to confirm when I would be able to pick up the header. When I called Monday I was told the header was sold and picked up by someone else.
More phone calling found a header at Red River Auto Salvage in Sherman, Texas. The price was much better and the header only had a small repairable crack at the oxygen sensor port.
December, 2004 -- Classic Muffler, Brakes and Alignments of Wolfe City, Texas did all repairs and the final installation of the header. Between Classic repairing the crack and final installation I sanded and painted it with a high temperature flat black.
January, 2005 -- Something about the new header is different from the old header in regard to electrical current flow. The Pyrometer will not register correctly. It took a choke and a capacitor to get the former installation (same Pyrometer and sending unit) to function correctly. No amount of tinkering seems to work this time.
February, 2005 -- After some amount of time the Pyrometer is still not working correctly. I replaced it with an Auto Meter Air/Fuel Ratio gauge. This gauge promises to be visually interesting at least. It's behavior will be noted over the next few weeks. During our annual to Austin, Texas for a technology conference my wife and I took the 'Scort and covered a total of just under 700 mile. We drove the posted speed limits. The temperature was in the 60s to 70s, the winds calm, and the car again lightly loaded. We stopped when we desired and enjoyed the trip. We ranged 34.4 to 36.1 MPG per fill-up by using the Auto Meter Air/Fuel Ratio and the Auto Meter Vacuum gauges as discussed in March 2005.
March, 2005 -- I had noted some time ago that most newer mini-vans, SUVs, wagons etc. had a nonskid, protective surface on the rear bumper right in front of the hatch opening. Seemed like a great idea to me so I began a search for a company that would be will to apply bed lining material to the rear bumper. Rhino Linings of McKinney was willing to do the job. They did an excellent job and were a joy to work with. Installation was a snap as I removed the rear bumper on the way to work, left it with Rhino Linings of McKinney for the day, and reinstalled the completed bumper on the way home from work. The sprayed rear bumper has absolutely been worth the effort as we frequently are hauling dogs, bikes, musical instruments, etc. I highly recommend Rhino Linings of McKinney should you chose to do this modification.
I have learned a thing or two on how to improve the fuel economy by reading the Auto Meter Air/Fuel Ratio and the Auto Meter Vacuum gauges. The ECU (engine control unit) seems to have 3 "modes" of engine operation as indicated by the air/fuel mixture and vacuum. The air/fuel ratio will constantly vary from lean to rich during city driving and when the engine is cold. When the engine is under load (driving into a head wind at 70 MPH) or at or near wide open throttle (WOT) the air/fuel ratio indicates a rich condition. During a prolonged period of constant partial throttle when the engine is warm the ECU will cause a lean burn condition as indicated by the air/fuel mixture gauge. If one can keep the acceleration vary gradual (vacuum pressure no greater than -5 inches of mercury and braking to a minimum it is possible to keep the ECU in the "lean burn" mode. The cruise control seems to be setup to keep the engine burning lean as the rich air/fuel mixture will not come into play until the speed has dropped to near 10 MPH lower than set cruise speed. Keeping it in the leanest burning mode can be a challenge as hills and head winds at highway speeds can rob enough power that the ECU richens the air/fuel mixture to maintain speed. Overall I highly recommend installation of Auto Meter Air/Fuel Ratio and the Auto Meter Vacuum gauges for those interested in getting maximum economy from your Escort.
April, 2005 -- This has been an interesting month. As the weather got warmer engine performance got weaker. This was brought to my attention when I turned on the AC and the car could no longer make it up a hill without being "fire walled". The car spent almost 3 weeks with Kenny Anderson, owner, Anderson Automotive, Trenton, Texas under going a variety of tests. I would drop the car off in the morning as I arrived in town for work and Kenny would have the car back together by afternoon so I could drive it home. Finally it was discovered that the pin for the Escort-Focus Performance 50% under-drive pulley located on the crankshaft had sheared allowing the pulley to rotate about a quarter turn. The ECU (engine control unit) thought the piston were located somewhere other than where they were. It was amazing the car ran at all. I am most suspicious this happened in November 2005 when I ran over the curb with the car.
Removed the oil cooler permanently as fuel economy has improved with the car running at full potential with the aforementioned pulley situation corrected.
May, 2005 -- There is a point when everything involved in a project suddenly and clearly come together. The removal of the oil cooler, amazingly enough, has had a great effect on the overall fuel economy with a particularly profound effect on the city (short trip) fuel consumption. The ECU (engine control unit) seems to be very sensitive to engine temperature and the cooled oil was some how skewing the ECU's sensor interpretation and causing the ECU to run a richer mixture than needed. I can't fully explain why removing the oil cooler made a difference, it just did (John 9:24-27). Near as I can deduce one of the two following situations was occurring: 1) the engine didn't reach operating temperature in "X" amount of time and the ECU assumed the car is operating in very cold temperatures and kept the mixture rich for an extended period of time or 2) the oil cooler was keeping the engine below some temperature threshold and the ECU kept the mixture rich until that threshold was reached. An oil cooler, even with an oil cooler thermostat, is not a recommended modification to the 1.9L powered Escort if fuel economy is a key issue.
In general, the overall fuel economy has now actually improved from the level of the stock vehicle when first purchased (31 to 32 MPG on the daily commute as compared to the current 33 to 35 MPG on the daily commute). Highway mileage has ranged from 36 to 40 MPG. The wagon's current fuel usage figures are an improvement over the original EPA fuel economy estimate of 29 City and 36 Highway (keep in mind these were made when the national speed limit was 55 MPH). Additionally the 'Scort is getting as good or better fuel mileage than any modern gasoline powered station wagon according to the Federal Fuel Economy Website.
I have a research based doctorate so I feel an obligation to explain the means by which I arrived at the above figures. Fuel economy was calculated by filling up at the same pump each time and filling the tank as fully as possible with the car in the same position relative to the gasoline pump. The number of gallons needed to fill the tank was then compared to the mileage on the trip meter. Fuel usage data was gathered for a little over 5 weeks. The entire MPG range was from 30 MPG to 40 MPG. The most extreme values (the 30.6 MPG and the 40.2 MPG) were discarded as outliers and not included in the final analysis. The remainder of the fill-ups fell in a range between 33 MPG and 39 MPG. The conservative figure of 33 to 35 MPG on the commute was arrived at by comparing the relatively short 5 week time period to several years of observed past performance and adjusting accordingly.
As I am reviewing this project it seems appropriate to note the engine is running very well and all longevity and fuel economy modifications appear to be justified. A half million miles seem very obtainable.
June, 2005 -- I installed a second 10" Hayden pusher fan on the driver side of the AC condenser to increase the amount of airflow at low speeds and compensate for the loss of the oil cooler. It is hoped that the additional airflow through the AC condenser will help the cooling function of the climate control system.
I was not at all happy or impressed the Yokohama YK420 195 50/15 radials in tread wear (as they are faring no better than the Falkens they replaced) or performance (dry adhesion and having to run a low PSI). I changed back to the proven Falken Ziex ZE-512 195 50/15 radials while the Yokohamas were still under a mileage warranty.
Installed a Rockford Fosgate subwoofer system (purchase in a "going out of business sale").
Rats. Paris, Texas -- I was towing the Texas Trail Dust Cycling Trailer and was headed to a Cub Scout campout with cub scout (my son) and camping gear when an older gentleman in a Chevy half ton stopped at the end of an entrance ramp. Needless to say with all that weight the 'Scort did not stop in time. Damage was minimal. The bad news was the hood was creased just enough the repair cost was going to be about $700 to $800. A new after-market hood is about half that price. The car now has a carbon fiber/fiber glass hood with a reverse hood scoop from ZXTuner. My wife claims she likes the new hood because the carbon weave causes less glare while driving than the stock white hood.
July, 2005 -- Installed blue LED accent lighting under the dash and front seats.
August, 2005 -- The carbon fiber/fiber glass hood has had an interesting benefit. I expected more consistent coolant temperatures with the reverse hood scoop during hot weather and this was been the case. However the air conditioner has been operating much better during the hottest time of the year with consistent duct temperatures of 35 to 45 degrees. in the past I was often fortunate to have air duct temperatures in the 50s during August afternoons.
September, 2005 -- Gas pricing got the best of me and I purchased a motorcycle. A Kawasaki Ninja 250 that with drivetrain modifications gets between 60 to 80 MPG.
October, 2005 --
November, 2005 -- The cooling system is still doing well and holding coolant operating temperatures with the reverse hood scoop at levels only slightly below that of the summer.
December, 2005 -- The 'Scort passed the 300,000 mile mark and is still running strong. The family had dinner out to commemorate the milestone. Performed final adjustments to carbon fiber hood.
January, 2006 --
February, 2006 --
March, 2006 -- Took the family on a day trip to Waco, Texas during Spring Break week. We visited the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, the Dr Pepper Museum, and the Elite Circle Grille.
The Sport 'Scort at sunset in front of the Waco Elite Cafe, now named the Elite Circle Grille, located on the Circle in Waco, Texas
April, 2006 --
May, 2006 --
June, 2006 -- Replaced alternator. The new one from O'Reilly Auto Parts squeaks.
July, 2006 -- Joleen (the wife) was offered a math position at Trenton ISD (where I work) for the second time in three years. This time she accepted the offer.
August, 2006 -- We began commuting to Trenton from Commerce as a family (the kids are attending school in Trenton). We will be doing this until we sell all our properties in Commerce and purchase a house in Trenton. The Kawasaki Ninja 250 is now a recreational vehicle.
September, 2006 --
October, 2006 -- The head gasket failed on the engine and placed the 'Sort at Anderson Automotive in Trenton, Texas for a time. Head gaskets rarely fail on their own but this one did. On a good note Kenny Anderson said the engine looked amazingly good as the score marks are still very visible on the cylinder walls after 75,000 miles.
November, 2006 --
December, 2006 --
January, 2007 --
February, 2007 -- 325,000 miles and running great.
March, 2007 --
April, 2007 -- The original starter quit at about 327,800 miles. Nathaniel (My youngest and I were in Terrell, Texas setting up for a Wing and a Prayer gig at Cornerstone Baptist church. "Wing and a Prayer" is the music ministry outreach of the Greenville Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association (King's Kruizers). We were pushed off by members of the King's Kruizers and got back home with no problems. Anderson Automotive of Trenton, Texas replaced the starter the next business day.
May, 2007 --
June, 2007 -- The 'Scort surpasses 330,000 miles and running great.
July, 2007 -- The rear suspension seem less planted on bumpy roads for some reason. I ask Anderson Automotive of Trenton to look over the situation but nothing is obvious.
August, 2007 -- The squeaky O'Reilly Auto Parts alternator fails. The former O'Reilly Auto Parts had a life time warranty, but for some reason the counter help at the Bonham O'Reilly Auto Parts can not find the my purchase in the national data base. When I call the Commerce store, the inept boobs working there find my purchase but claim I bought the wrong alternator and they will not honor the warranty. I take the next opportunity to travel to Commerce and discuss the matter with the manager whom I know and e clears the matter up quickly. A shame the Commerce manager does not work at the Bonham store. The new alternator also has a life time warranty and squeaks slightly less.
September, 2007 -- I hear a rattle from the rear of the car when traversing rough pavement. When Nathaniel and I stop to run some errands at the Commerce Wal-Mart I look under the rear of the car and note the passenger side anti-sway bar clamp is missing. I know that with a 15 year old car parts are going to be difficult to track down so I call and schedule an appointment at Anderson Automotive of Trenton for repairs from the Wal-Mart.. Matt, a mechanic at Anderson Automotive, tracked down one of three remaining new brackets in Ford's national database. Nathaniel and I drive the 'Scort carefully home.
I look at the underside of car that evening and discover the bracket had fatigued and cracked. I have Matt order one of other last two new brackets just in case. Once the car is in the shop Matt and Kenny find that the driver side anti-sway bar clamp had indeed fatigued, cracked, and needed replacing. Additionally, the lower right forward lower control arm had also cracked.
I called Cork Sport and spoke with the owner. They have found that when they build up a rear suspension they need to reinforce the cheap stamped steel stock forward lower control arms with 1/8" steel plating to keep flexing to a minimum. Kenny Anderson made plans to reinforce the lower control arms.
The 'Scort surpasses 335,000 miles.
October, 2007 -- Once all the rear fatigued suspension parts are replaced and put back together the car had back it's solid ride back.
November, 2007 --
Trip Report: November 3, 2007 -- Houston International Motorcycle Show Trip.
Trip Report: November 3-4, 2007 -- Lone Star Rally Trip.
December, 2007 -- Replaced the worn clutch master cylinder. However the gearbox is still rather "notchy".
December 24, 2007-January 1, 2008 -- Christmas in Branson 2007 Trip.
The 'Scort surpasses 340,000 miles on the Branson trip.
January, 2008 -- Tinkering about on the Government fuel mileage website I noted that the original figures for the 1993 Escort had been down graded to 25 MPG City and 33 MPG Highway. Considering that the ol' 'Scort often gets 34+ MPG Highway I feel the car is doing great.
February, 2008 -- During some hard cornering on FM 815 I noted some odd suspension "clang" toward the front.
March, 2008 -- Nathaniel and I took the Escort to Sherman Power Sports take delivery of the black 2008 Ninja 250R.
Ready to head to Trenton.
April, 2008 -- The 'Scort surpasses 345,000 miles. Continued trips down the sorry wash-board road we live on caused the oil pressure sensor line (required to run both an Auto Gauge and the stock idiot light) to fail again after about 100,000 miles as I was just headed out to practice with the Christian blues/rock band Wing and a Prayer. The Escort dumped all 4 quarts on the last portion of Tiger Lane and FM 815. I turned around in front of the high school and turned the engine off to coast as much as possible back to the garage. The following Thursday Kenny and Matt of Anderson Automotive got the 'Scort and towed it to the shop to be repaired. Mobil 1 0W-30 is highly recommended as the little car still runs like a champ even after being oil starved for a bit. I will have to remember and have the line just replaced every 75,000 to 100,000 miles or so.
May, 2008 -- On a trip to provide training for Red Oak ISD Joleen noted the oil pressure gauge suddenly quit. She promptly pulled off US 75 in Allen, Texas and phoned. We were able to diagnose that the gauge or oil pressure sending unit had failed so the trip continued. The sending unit was eventually determined to be the culprit and was replaced just before the end of June 2008.
June, 2008 -- The old faithful Escort got new front disks, machined rear disks, and brake pads all the way around. The wheels were aligned and new Falken Ziex ZE-512 195 50/15 radials are placed front and rear. Just before the Family Vacation trip a new Auto Meter liquid cooled engine head temperature gauge replaced the VDO unit designed for air cooled engines.
June 14-15, 2008 -- Wing and a Prayer played for a Sunday morning Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) biker service at the Republic Of Texas Biker Rally in Austin, Texas. I took the Escort in order to transport my musical equipment.
The 'Scort is loaded and ready to hit the road back to Trenton.
June 29, 2008-July 13, 2008 -- Family Vacation in Tennessee 2008.
The 'Scort surpasses 350,000 miles on the Tennessee Summer Vacation trip only 150,000 miles left to the half a million mile mark.
July 29, 2008-August 2, 2008 -- Family Arkansas Trip 2008.
August, 2008 --
The 'Scort surpasses 355,000 miles on the Arkansas trip.
September, 2008 --
October, 2008 --
November, 2008 -- Three strikes and you're out! The oil pressure sensor line (required to run both an Auto Gauge and the stock idiot light) to failed yet again after less than 20,000 miles as Joleen was just headed back from her graduate math class at the Texas A&M-Commerce Metroplex Center. The line failed jus as she was coming into Copeville, Texas so she pulled into the Exxon and phoned me. Fortunately everyone at the Exxon was very helpful and assisted her in everyway. Unfortunately, I and the kids were only 2 songs into a concert (Pavlo). I asked Aaron (Victoria's boy friend) and my folks to assure the kids got home and headed to Farmersville to survey the situation and take Joleen home. It became clear that the Escort lost most of its 4 quarts and was not going to hold until we got home. I took Joleen home and tracked down a nearby U-Haul to rent a tow-dolly the next day to get the Escort back to Trenton for repairs.
Thursday morning I managed to squeeze in a trip to Copeville to get the Escort to Anderson Automotive for repairs. Only the Auto Meter sending unit was installed to decrease the complexity and likelihood of future failure as there is no secondary warning system. I attended the next evening's Pavlo concert (Kawasaki Ninja 250 Journal 2008 Ride Report: November 13, 2008 ) at the Terrell Entertainment Series as the Greenville series has reciprocity with Terrell.
The 'Scort surpasses 360,000 miles.
December, 2008 --
January, 2009 --
February, 2009 -- Victoria's boy friend, Aaron (who lives across the street) was visiting and parked his car at the bottom of the driveway. Aaron has been asked to park by the tilt-bed trailer and had been very good to do so. I was in a hurry to get to Wing and a Prayer practice, it was dark, the 'Scort has dark window tint, and I did not note Aaron had not parked in the usual spot. Crunch! The Escort had a hole in the rear bumper. Rats, no repairing that bumper. Considering how old the car is and that the bumper skin is plastic it is going to be a difficult one to rectify.
The rear bumper with hole during a family trip.
March, 2009 -- Several dead ends on the "repair/replace the rear bumper" project. Most bumpers I have tracked down were in worse shape than what I had and a new one, when you could locate one, commanded top dollar. I left multiple messages and got no call backs from "nearby" location of both Service King Collision Repair and Maaco. It would seem they both have all the business they need.
The 'Scort surpasses 365,000 miles.
March 15, 2009-March 19, 2009 Family Spring Break 2009 Trip to San Antonio.
We finally located and purchased a new rear bumper in excellent condition for the 'Scort in southern Austin at Capital City Auto Parts while on the way back from our Family Spring Break 2009 Trip to San Antonio. The following day Victoria and I did some shopping, ran some errands, and dropped the rear bumper by Rhino Linings of McKinney to reapply the nonskid, protective surface on the rear bumper in front of the hatch opening. Once back home the rear mud flaps rear installed on the replacement bumper.
The Escort with its replacement rear bumper.
The last Saturday in March was Junior/Senior Prom Night at Trenton. Our daughter, Victoria, was going to Leonard, Texas to a new hair salon to get an "up do" for Prom night and, bless her heart, got tangled up with a dumpster trying to adjust the car in a "head-in" parking space and not hit a truck that was parked out out in the roadway (something we don't "run into" much out here in the country). At least the car looked good for 8 days.
A week later at the Leonard beauty shop.
The "Kelly" green dumpster was almost in the road as well.
Victoria, with expensive hair, and prom date, Aaron Hass.
April, 2009 --
May, 2009 --
June, 2009 -- Several dead ends on the new "repair/replace the rear bumper" project. It seems that one can no longer find a replacement rear bumper for the second generation Escort wagons. The only options are junk yards and/or retrofitting a 1997+ rear bumper.
The 'Scort surpasses 370,000 miles.
June 25, 2009 -- Found a usable rear bumper at Ennis Auto Recyclers Nathaniel and I drove the Escort to Ennis and picked up a front bumper, rear bumper, and some assorted small items.
Ennis Auto Recyclers.
A full cargo area.
July, 2009 -- I found a location that specializes in restorations right here in Trenton. I had pretty much ignored them due to the name, but happened to note they were listed under "body shops" in the Fannin County yellow pages and decided to investigate. While J & J Volkswagon focus is on classic air cooled Volkswagens they do body work and restorations on anything from old trucks to Chevelles and El Caminos. The quality of their work is excellent and their pricing reasonable.
The air conditioning compressor failed again. Anderson Automotive replaced it and it was nice to have the Escort's cabin cooling properly once again.
August, 2009 --
August 11, 2009 -- Inexperience and rough roads conspired to against Victoria as she was in the process of picking up some of her friends for a dinner outing in McKinney. Praise God all the girls were fine. Victoria was very distraught as one can imagine.
Victoria, Courtney Haynes, and Amanda Magela were pulling away from Courtney's home on their way to pickup two more friends. Courtney's dogs being their usual friendly rambunctious selves gave chase. As the girls turned right onto a rough downhill section of Fannin County Road 4975 the dogs cut the corner and began running along side the wagon. In an attempt to avoid hitting the dogs and leaving the dogs behind Victoria accelerated to the posted 30 MPH. Shortly after entering CR 4975 she feared she might hit a dog or was too close to the right side of the road. Victoria then steered to the left and the rear began to come around to the right. The rough domed road surface and downhill heading of the car caused the amplitude car's the rear correction to go beyond the intended arc. She then corrected right causing the car's rear to slide to the left with an increased amplitude. Victoria continued to counter each ever increasing amplitude of the car's rear oscillation for another twenty-five yards. Finally physics prevailed after 4 cycles and than the Escort fully rotated sending the front and right side in to the scrub cedars and brush lining the road.
Victoria did a lot right such as steering in the direction she wanted the automobile to go and not locking up the brakes. What she couldn't relay was if she released the accelerator.
Both doors and both passenger side quarter panels were damaged. The front driver's side fender was damaged. The front bumper was shattered and the hood cracked. The passenger side front wheel was moved rearward about 4" to 6" rearward and the gap between the front and rear passenger side doors spread indicating heavy frame damage to the right front corner and a slight bowing of the passenger cabin..
The posted speed is too high for local Fannin County road conditions.
From the driveway looking toward the accident scene.
Where the incident began.
Skid marks in the gravel.
The location of the Escort's rotation in to the cedar and brush.
Where the Escort came to rest.
The end at 372,200.7 miles, well short of the half a million mile goal.
August 26, 2009 -- Sate Farm insurance called about the settlement on the Escort. It was under what I expected by a fare amount considering we had spent over $1500 in the last three months on AC and body repairs. I realize that the Escort is an old car and many miles of pavement have passed below it. However, we have improved it well beyond the typical little wagon. When questioned on the amount the lady on the other end of the phone, with an accusing undertone, questioned why we would spend so much money on a 1993. I felt like saying "Because I am a mentally unbalanced sociopath who is 'Googling' you right this moment." I didn't. What I did mention was there are are almost no small wagons available and we felt no need to dispatch a perfectly good car that fits our needs just to toss our money in the market place by purchasing a new car simply because it is typical behavior.
The small amount of the proposed settlement and the increase in our insurance rates would likely lead to an overall financial loss over the next few years compared with not filing the claim. I then called our Sate Farm agent, Dixie Turman, and expressed my displeasure. Dixie Turman has a reputation of truly sticking up for her clients. Her staff said they would look into the situation and see what they could do.
August 27, 2009 -- I hate insurance companies, but like Dixie Turman my Sate Farm insurance agent. Dixie was less than impressed by the shoddy treatment I got from Sate Farm corporate representatives. We have a solid long term relationship with a special insurance agent who stood up for us by requesting I fax twenty-two pages of receipts and documentation on all the modifications done to the Escort to her office. Dixie additionally planned to forward a sampling of the emails I have received expressing how the Escort had inspired an international readership to keep their cars operating. The plan, in part, is to make a case for the cultural impact of the loss of an automotive icon there by upping the settlement on the Escort. I am just going to stand back and let Dixie handle the negotiations. Victoria thought she just wrecked a car when in fact she derailed a cultural movement.
August 28-30, 2009 -- The Sate Farm drama continues with several phone calls and emails to the Dixie Turman Agency.
August 31, 2009 -- Dixie Turman our Sate Farm agent has made such a case for the uniqueness and exemplary condition of the Escort that Sate Farm has hired a consultant from Barrett-Jackson to appraise the Escort. The Dixie Turman Agency is more than willing to put in the extra effort for their customers.
September, 2009 --
September 1, 2009 -- John Cook of the Barrett-Jackson Arizona office called and got some information. From his tone the situation didn't sound promising.
September 3, 2009 -- The morning brought more phone messages and emails from the Dixie Turman Agency. Shortly after noon Dixie Turman called to report that after the deductible Sate Farm was offering a $4045.78 settlement for the Escort. While I am not turning cartwheels it isn't bad for a car with over 370,000 miles on the clock and if a plaid leisure suit clad used car salesman was to sell it would bring maybe: $2,000 to $2,500. A solid relationship with a agent like Dixie is well worth cultivating.
-- The End --
Sellected Email Condolences
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 21:33:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tyler Fleury
Wow... What a shame... I think it’s still fixable... just might be a lot of work to get it back to where it was... I actually just started working on mine again, mine is all torn apart getting the new electrical harness for the 1.8.
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 23:34:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Allan Frank
Sorry to hear about your unfortunate occurrence.
I used to have a 93 scort wagon just like yours.
We loved our escort but it was a manual and the wife really wanted an automatic.
We went with a 2003 ford focus wagon (ZTW) with a dohc engine. It’s really nice; leather, power windows, and moon roof. Although it doesn't do as good as the scort did with mpg. For one thing the tires on the ZTW are twice as wide as the scorts so that is a major factor. But it corners like a dream.
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 23:48:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: Iam DEggman
I'm sorry to hear about your wagon's demise. At least the passengers were ok.
My wagon's currently awaiting a new transmission, and is parked at a friend's ranch. In the meantime, I've been driving a '98 ZX2 that I picked up at the end of February.
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 06:42:49 -0400
From: Michael Druckenmiller Jr.
Well, really glad to hear no one got hurt. Still sad to hear the escort is gone... was such a cool car, and so much time put into it man.
I sold mine a few years ago, in great condition, now it's been wrecked too... and with the cash for clunkers thing those would be hard to come by... I think they want to do away with the older cars and their parts, forcing people to have to buy the new models.
Well, take care, and god bless...
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 08:39:28 -0500
From: Colton Brownell
I'm so very sorry for your loss. I've always thought you've done a great job with that wagon. You never tried to make it a hot rod. You just made it a nice, clean, efficient, and sporty car.
(FEOA.net - colton_levi)
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 09:49:02 -0500
From: Daniel Wiesner
Sorry to hear that man. Yours was always one of my favorite escorts. I lost mine a few years back.
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 2009 08:15:44 -0500
From: D. Hadler
Sorry to hear that the Escort has been decommissioned, it just goes to show that, when cared for, they will run until an outside force brings them down. :(
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2009 17:55:52 -0700
From: John Harjo
It was with deep sadness I read of the end of the line for your Escort. I have been following your updates for about a year now...But most importantly, thankfully nobody was hurt. Your car was an inspiration for me to rebuild my motor, I knew the engine meltdown was coming and that happened on March 28 of this year. My mechanic had a local shop do the rebuild and we are at about 7000 miles since rebuild. My car is nowhere close to being the showcase yours was, but I wish to tip my hat and salute you for the inspiration and dedication. It has meant something in the Escort World. I was so sad to get on your site today and see that! I've owned my car since October, 1997. It was also built in Mexico in July, 1993, so we are sister cars. Condolences and thank you for the great website!!!
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2009 22:10:42 -0700
From: John Harjo
I will be keeping my Escort for a long time to come. I'm also a musician in about five bands...I've had this car fully loaded with fuel, two adult musicians, keyboards, guitars speakers, etc... When the motor was being done I enjoyed the rentals Hyundai Accent and 07 Focus. I also went to Germany last month and fully enjoyed the 09 TDI Golf. I'm hoping to buy another car new- maybe the 10 TDI Golf when it gets here. The TDI stuff almost gets Prius like numbers- saw a TDI Jetta versus Prius report on the net- the Prius got 45 and the Jetta 44 Highway. Happy car hunting.
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2009 20:25:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Chuck Boss
Please accept my condolences on your 'Scort.
My name is Chuck, and I live in Central Washington State. My sister bought a '96 LX back in about 2001, drove it for eight years, and the head failed. She bought a new car and gave me the wagon. I installed a remanufactured engine and have been driving it for about a year. The car has roughly 220K now, 40 of which I have done. I commute 150 miles a day, 75 miles each way. I live in the desert, so it's all freeway and it takes about an hour 20. I love the wagon. I get about 31MPG, but the speed limit is 70 the whole way, and I typically beat that (there is nothing to hit out there). I got 36MPG once, but it took FOREVER to get home.
I hope you guys find a suitable replacement for the 'Scort, I have been watching your website. I will email you again and let you know how many miles I get out of mine. My kids are just little, it will be 14 years before they drive. Maybe my daughter will learn in mine if I can keep it together that long.
Take good care,
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2009 10:04:48 -0700 (PDT)
From: Justin Fremin
I've been visiting the 'Scort journal for about a year now. Sorry about the accident - glad no one was hurt.
I have been building my own '95 wagon for a daily driver and weekend hauler out to my sailboat. I have a Pacesetter header and the rest of the exhaust system is stock except for a missing catalytic converter. I also have a EFP 50% UDP like you but I decided I needed an ODP for the alternator.
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2009 01:21:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mark Junge
I am so sorry at the loss or your 'scort! I've been following your story, way before I got mine. Same year and I got it out of South Carolina and it was clean as clean can be! Every time I would get my oil changed, the guys would open the hood and marvel how clean it was. You could have eaten off of that engine. And not a bit of rust anywhere!
But alas, mine was taken away from me (click here for pictures). I was sitting at a red light and this guy in a SUV hit me doing about 40 in a 25 mile an hour zone and pushed me under the pickup truck in front of me. Being pushed underneath it that way and having the hood fold up probably saved my life! I can't imagine how bad I would have been had it been something shorter.
Dang I liked that car! I am up here in PA and if I was on I-80 or I-90 going east and west bound, I could easily get 37 miles to the gallon, but only on those 2 roads. My first long trip in it was out to New York for my daughter’s wedding and I was I-90 going east and I keep looking at the gas gauge and it’s not going down very much, so finally I got up to 400 miles and figured I had better stop for gas! I put just a tad over 10 gallons in! I've gotten a few other escorts since then.......we won't talk about the one I wiped out coming up from SC after taking out 25 feet of guard rail! :-) Spun that sucker around!
I've got a 94 4 door, but really can only get about 32 miles or so per gallon.
I sure would love to get another wagon, like that, but I guess they are hard to come by. I'll have to stick to "Barbie" for the time being.....I call her that because the paint is Iris metallic. Sure stands out in the parking lot though!
Take care and I wish you all the best.
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 11:29:10 -0600
From: Jason Harmon
Man I've followed your little page for a number of years as I've had various Escorts myself. We had a 96 wagon for a few years, and always admired all the work you put into yours. I'm sad to see yours is gone, but it's good to know someone else out there is crazy enough to keep cars and fix them. I'm seriously impressed at what you were able to get out of the insurance company, I can only hope I do as well if I get into the same situation.
Good luck, I think I'll keep up with your Ninja 250R page now, as I've always wanted to get one of those...maybe keeping up with you will inspire me to do it when I have the money again :)
Date: Wed Jan 27 09:47:38 2010
From: Jon Bowden
I've checked into your site every once in a while, now see the wagon is gone. Sorry to hear about it. Why would I check into your site? I've got a 95 Escort Wagon, and a 94 Tracer Wagon, both 5spd... I've kind of become obsessed with them. Where else can you find a 35mpg car that can carry your climber and a 160 pound 8 pointer in the back? Probably going to sell the escort and keep tracer has it has 50K fewer miles. Great cars. Sorry for your loss
The last two pictures show details of the wheels, disk brakes, and the rear modifications mentioned above. The 'Scort often is called on to "earn its keep" and is fully out fitted to tow Class I trailers for our rental and cycling businesses. Photos of the cycling trailer can be seen at the Texas Trail Dust Cycling Trailer page.
The Escort in the early morning.
The dash of the Escort (give the floor mats a break after all the poor car has over 365,000 miles on it). GPS mounting project details are located here.
4 door wagon
06 - Gray
1.9 liter SOHC
Country of Origin
5 speed manual
General Description and Condition
Detailed Modifications List
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The Almost Official Ford Escort XR3i Web Site
Ford Escort Owners Association
Sigmond's Ford Escort RS Cosworth Page
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Black Diamond Racing
Discount Tire Direct
Falken Tire Corporation
Herb's Paint and Body
Intercrew Auto Salon
Jasper Engines and Transmissions
J & J Volkswagon
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US Auto Parts
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The Yeager's 2006 Trenton, Texas Home
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The Yeager's 2005 Ford Ranger XLT
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The Yeager's Kawasaki Ninja 250s
The Yeager's 2004 E-Z-GO TXT
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