I had both - a 2.3 in an 86 Mustang. Yes, it was gutless but it was tough as iron. The problem with the 2.3/2.5 was it was a boat anchor - 100% cast iron. Great for longevity but it was heavy. At 175k the body gave way but the engine was solid. The 1.9 was in an Escort and it needed the usuals - timing belts and water pumps. The thing with the CVH was never to overheat them.
Originally Posted By: Slacker
I have owned two of these engines you put up against Honda. The 1.6L in a 1981 Escort. This was the engine that turned me into a shade tree mechanic. The most troublesome, worked on car I have ever had! The other a 2.3L in a 1981 Mercury Capri. This slug of a car wouldn't fall out of a tree and had to be rebuilt before it reached 100,000 miles. All of the Honda cars I've owned have been ultra reliable and, quick for what they are. My current work car is a 1990 Integra. It has 245,000 miles and has never had any kind of engine work, only routine maintenance. When comparing apples to apples, there is no comparison.