135,000 mile escort experiment

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1995 Ford Escort wagon, 135,000 miles, 1.9 ltr, manual tranny driven in northern, NJ seeing about 50/50 highway/local duty. I purchased the car brand new and used it as a commuter car until I gave it to my dad a short time ago. He uses it as a grocery getter but makes frequent (2-3 times per week) 70 mile highway runs to property he owns. The car has been very well maintained and runs like a top. The engine idles and runs as smooth as the day it was new, doesn't consume any oil between changes (3,000 mile intervals) and gets 34 mpg on the highway trips. All in all, this vehicle is probably the best, most economical and reliable vehicle I/we have ever owned. Here is where the fun starts. By the time I found BITOG the Escort was handed over to dad so I never did a UOA on it. Additionaly, the car was fed a steady diet of the absolute least expensive dino oils that could be found locally (5w-30 or 10w-30). A rare treat was GTX or Pennzoil when on sale or rebates offered but for the most part, sub $1.00/qt motor oil and no name filters were the norm. Well I'm driving the car again for a few days while my truck is in the shop and it got me thinking about seeing what's going on in the motor with a UOA and if switching to a high mileage oil would be a good idea at this point. I got my father to agree to take the car to me for the next few oil changes so I could do some experimenting. So let's have some suggestions on how to proceed. UOA on current fill first then a change from there? I think his local mechanic uses Castrol GTX and he just had it changed about 300 miles ago so it'll be a while before a change is needed. Heck, I may even try some AutoRX or LC or other BITOG popular additive. Basically what I'm saying (in my very long winded way) is lets have some fun with this and give me your suggestions. Mikep
 

vvk

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Yes, these Escorts are real gems. Super reliable and durable, good fuel mileage, very practical. The 1.9l and 2.0l SOHC engines are non-interference, too. They are fairly easy to maintain, although the hardest I have done is the timing belt and the intake manifold gasket. My sister's 1994 Tracer has 204k miles on it. I use nothing but cheapest oil in it. My in-laws have a 1998 Escort -- same story. As the person who maintains the family fleet, I love these cars. We never go to mechanics. All repairs, with very rare exceptions, are done "in house."
 

mikep

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quote:
Originally posted by vvk: Yes, these Escorts are real gems. Super reliable and durable, good fuel mileage, very practical. The 1.9l and 2.0l SOHC engines are non-interference, too. They are fairly easy to maintain, although the hardest I have done is the timing belt and the intake manifold gasket. My sister's 1994 Tracer has 204k miles on it. I use nothing but cheapest oil in it. My in-laws have a 1998 Escort -- same story. As the person who maintains the family fleet, I love these cars. We never go to mechanics. All repairs, with very rare exceptions, are done "in house."
I work with a guy who put 245,000 on his tracer before he sold it. The guy he sold it to still uses it and has over 300,000 on it. Trying to recall problems or trips to the mechanic I can only recall one time....a cam sensor replacement. Mikep
 
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My old neighbor put a little over 300,000 miles on his 1991 Escort before trading it in! The only major repairs ever done to it were timing belt and water pump replacements. (the water pump is driven off the timing belt so they get changed at the same time) He had an inventory consulting company so he put on a lot of miles. He used to buy Honda's but got sick of the expense of repairs and the initial cost, so he decided he would just buy a "throw away car" and drive it till it died. Well it never did. He know says that it was the best car he ever owned, so what did he trade it in for? A Mitsubishi Galant! Go figure, some people never learn! [Big Grin]
 
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I'd kill for reliability like that! And that the engine isn't an interference motor is cool, too. If the car has gone that far on cheap dino, I don't see the need to change a thing, and chances are this car will keep going and going and going. A little Ford Escort, eh? [Cool]
 

mikep

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OK, I have to ask because it's drving me nuts. What does non-interference mean with respect to the engine? [Confused] Sadly they discontinued the Escort line. I think the Focus is the replacement but I don't think it has proven to be as reliable as the Escort. At least judging by recalls and TSBs it doesn't appear to be. Mikep [ February 24, 2004, 06:45 PM: Message edited by: mikep ]
 
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Mikep, if the timing belt (or chain) skips a tooth or breaks in an "interference motor," the valves will kiss (or rather slam into) the pistons and get bent, because the timing regarding motion of pistons and valves will be off. Piston and further damage is also possible and not unlikely. The chances of an interference motor to survive timing belt failure unscathed are slim at best. Necessary engine repairs will most likely cost thousands of dollars. Too many motors are interference motors. [ February 24, 2004, 07:52 PM: Message edited by: moribundman ]
 
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I have a 1998 Escort with 38,000 miles and use AMSOIL ASL 5W-30 oil and their SDF-34 oil filter at 6 month OCI. The alternator quit last year and was replaced with the battery and a fuse at the Ford dealer for over $500. I changed the oil, filter, and antifreeze last week. The antifreeze in the overflow tank was black. Would AMSOIL PI fuel injector cleaner cause that? [Confused] I also have a 1979 Mustang Cobra with the 302 engine that uses the SDF-15 oil filter and the ASL at 12 month OCI. Would the SDF-15 oil filter work on the Escort? It is larger than the SDF-34.
 
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mikep, 1-I would add a bottle of ARX to that 300 mile GTX you have in there and do a UOA. That should give you an idea if the "El Cheapo" oil you've use throughout the year sludge up the engine any. 2-Use a somewhat expensive oil (Mobil 1 or GC) to compare wear and for a fuel efficiency test. 3-Try a 0/5W-20?? 4-Use LC 5-Ever tried FP? Just a couple of ideas.
 
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To dredge up a bit of an old thread, in the interest of gas mileage, would 0w-20 M1 be appropriate in this vehicle, or any other application where 5w-30 is recommended for that matter? Would the -20 synthetic be able to support the loads like a -30 dino (presumably) is able to? Now, seeing as how this thread is geared toward grocery getters and MPG, I don't think performance oriented driving applies. Search has been performed to no avail. -Steve
 
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My friend who routinely puts 400,000 + miles on used Volvo 240s has never had a major engine problem and simply lets his mechanic put in whatever dino oil and filter the mechanics thinks is best. Since he lives in upstate New York, rust is the life terminating factor, not engine wear. Of course those old Volvo 4 cylinder motors are way overbuilt. They have crank bearings as large as a Caddy 500 cid engine yet only have around 140 hp to contend with. Massive cylinder walls and high nickel content iron. John
 
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-I assume John is talking to me- [Hijack] I wish she had 140hp it "contend" with; more like 100hp now (107hp was stock). She has some torque though. The problem with my particular car ('83 240 wagon) is not the motor/trans, but the suspension that is falling apart. On a car that is hardly worth $500 due to high miles/minor body damage, it's hard to justify throwing 1200 bones at her just to keep from eating tires. [/Hijack] Besides, this posts not even for her; she gets a steady diet of Castrol GTX and Mann oil filters. The question is whether M1 0w-20 can take the place of conventional 5w-30. -Steve
 
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I would really really like to see what Auto-RX getrs out of that motor!!!!!!!!!!! You would imagine that with those kinds of miles and conventional oil their would have to be some build up. It would be cool to see the oil that comesout of it after the auto-rx and the filter as well. The fact that it is running great has no leaks or consuption issues is also cool. A lot of the Auto-Rx responces are from people who had mesquito foggers, Sludge Monsters or leaking seals. I do not belive we have seen a really high millage vechiles with no problems use and report their findings on Auto-Rx. If you already have some other product though like LC or Nuetra 131 on hand that would also be cool to see. P.S. Before the Auto-Rx cult trys to flame me I want to add that this is in no way a test or challenge of Auto-Rx's effective etc.......
 
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We never see the "results" of using 131; plenty of info in the Auto-RX ...I mean additive section. My vote is to see what Neutra can do. [Cool]
 
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I would like to see a UOA as is at the end of the current OCI. Then you could see if a High Milage oil has any affect on future OCI. I would not add any other additives just yet. Lets see how these high milage oils work. Will they "clean out" any crud build-up? Just my vote...
 
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quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: I would really really like to see what Auto-RX getrs out of that motor!!!!!!!!!!! You would imagine that with those kinds of miles and conventional oil their would have to be some build up...
Not necessarily, my 1987 Buick Grand National has 120K miles and I bought it new after High School and really drove it hard for the first 85K miles, all on 3K miles OCI using Castrol GTX 10w-30 with a Fram oil filter from the local quicky-lube. About three years ago(approx 100K miles)I replaced the oil pan and valve cover gaskets due to some seepage(sp?) and both the top and bottom of the engine were a nice golden color with no solids or sludge of any kind. I did not even need to clean out the covers before putting them back. I have run this car through at least 100+ 1/4 miles since new, probably even more and never did the turbo-cool down when I was younger. The car runs like a bat out of **** but I still go through a set of rear tire a summer driving very conservativly.
 
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I had an Escort that I got during my senior year of high school that I kept for four years of college. It had about 33,000 miles when I got it and around 100,000 when I got a new vehicle. I drove it hard for the first 2 1/2 years and then settled down when I got around 20 yrs old and realized this car wouldn't go fast no matter how hard I tried (1.9l engine). My dad knows nothing about cars, but he knew what it meant when I needed a new clutch at 65,000 miles. Even though it didn't have a tachometer, I'm sure I redlined it regularly. Got 7,500 mile dino oil changes and it didn't leak and I don't think it consumed oil, but I probably didn't check either. My grandfather drove it as his second car for a couple of years and then gave it to my uncle who used it for a couple of years. The interior of the car was falling apart but the engine and exterior was still in good shape. It only continued to stay in the family because it had $250 worth of tires on it and the resale was worth less than the tires. Somebody eventually sold it for $200 after the tires had some wear on them.
 

mikep

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Shortly after this thread my Dad turned ol' reliable over to my brother for use as his daily driver (I guess he doesn't want to use that shiny new Audi of his [I dont know] ) so my plans were squashed.
 
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