Picking up a '96 Escort next week -- suggestions?

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1,611
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Pennsylvania
So I found a pretty nice little Escort that I am going to be picking up next week. It's a little '96 LX hatchback and will be used mainly as me and the lady's short trip/daily/beater car. The car seems to be maintained well (has all maintenance documentation for the last 3 years). I am getting ready to do all my used car maintenance but I want some suggestions from you guys. ;\) The car has 115k on it and I am 99% sure it never used a synthetic. Oil changes would be pretty frequent (twice a year, oci at 4k). Should I just stick with a good dino and call it a day? Also this car's manual calls for 5w30 I believe. Should I stick with that weight? Besides that I will go grab a new air filter, pcv valve, and fuel filter. If you have anything to add it would be much appreciated!
 
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39,806
Location
Pottstown, PA
I don't know anything special about that car in particular, but the age kinda puts things like cooling system components and power steering rack and the other running gear into more longer term fatigue failure than the engine. Auto or 5 speed? Just curious. I see nothing wrong with what you're intending to do for maintenance.
 
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25,046
Location
ON, Canada eh?
My partner has one and it keeps on going and going... It's on it's second engine and second transmission, but you just can't kill it. The engine gave up at 200K Miles and the transmission gave up at 160K Miles. We had the these replaced because we just needed a beater car to get my partner through school with and my dad is a mechanic and put both in for free. Good cars, very easy on oil and will give you good life if you look after them. ;\)
 

jigen

Thread starter
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1,611
Location
Pennsylvania
Thanks for the replies. I went on the escort forum (feoa.net) and saw some promising cars that have 200k on the original tranny and 250k+ on the engine, but we'll see. Only problem with the site is it's filled with too many kids pimping their rides, lol. Not something I am really into -- especially with a car like a Ford Escort. :)
 
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3,338
Location
Kansas, USA
I'd go with MC 5w20 with 5k intervals. 1.9's are easy on oil and you won't notice anything between the grades. The only thing other I can think of would be the timing belt.. easy to do.
 
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25,046
Location
ON, Canada eh?
I don't blame Ford for this... It was the lack of maintenance by my partners parents that caused these problems... The transmissions are so/so though, my aunt had a problem around the same mileage... Good luck! \:\!
 

jigen

Thread starter
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Location
Pennsylvania
 Originally Posted By: Eric Smith
I'd go with MC 5w20 with 5k intervals. 1.9's are easy on oil and you won't notice anything between the grades. The only thing other I can think of would be the timing belt.. easy to do.
No records for a timing belt change from the records I looked over. I've seen many to-do's online for this one. Seems like it is something me and my friend can take care of ourselves. The belt doesn't seem to interfere with the engine when it breaks. Is there a way to check if the belt looks ok before changing it? Or is it better to just take care of it regardless? And thank you for the oil recommendation.
 
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1,571
Location
Thousand Oaks, CA
I've had a few of those, but with the 1.8 engine. With both auto and manual transmissions. With a bit of care they will last a long time. The timing belt is a good idea. It won't hurt the engine when it goes, but it will leave you stranded. Change the water pump at the same time, as the timing belt drives the water pump and when it fails it can take the belt out with it. You are in there anyway. I always used 5w30 and it served me well. I did 3,000 mile oil changes, but the oil is better today so I would go 5,000 miles. Catch up on any other needed maintenance too. Trans fluid change, brake fluid flush, etc.
 
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Location
N. Michigan
The 1.9 is known for its reliability. I had a 94 Escort and was very reliable. I always used 5w-30 dino. I agree on doing a timing belt change, which I also did and it wasn't very hard. You'll need to remove a couple engine mount bolts while supporting the engine with a jack. Nice buy if it's in good shape.
 
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West Michigan
good little car, another one here for the timing belt change. the escort has a non-interference engine so you won't break things internally if the belt fails. however, no one likes sitting on the side of the road broke down.
 
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703
Location
Northwest Indiana
I would do the typical maintenance, as youve posted, as well as the timing belt. Beyond that, drive it til it falls apart. I would recommend any flavor 5w30 oil you feel like, with a Motorcraft filter, and change it around 4k-5k.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,830
Location
The Motor City
I owned a 91 Tracer 1.9L. Great car. The problems I had were with the ignition wires. Voltage for spark was 60K and that was pretty tough on the wires. Ditto on the ATF - do a complete fluid exchange.
 
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970
Location
Virginia Bch. VA
We had a very clean 98 Escort Wagon. Bought it with 80k miles on it. First oil change was with a quart of Marvel Mystery Oil and 3 quarts of Valvoline Durablend. Motorcraft filter. Ran it 4000 miles and drained. It cleaned up the valvetrain beautifully. The car ran fantastic. Took it on many 1000+ mile road trips. I kinda miss that car.
 
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19,479
Location
Chicago Area
If you change the belt [good idea] , change the pulleys also. Just do it. 5-30 is your best oil viscosity choice. Fresh trans oil is always good. Watch out for rust at the strut tower tops in the rear.
 
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3,338
Location
Kansas, USA
 Originally Posted By: jigen
Never used Marvel Mystery Oil. Think I should do the same on the cars first oil change?
That type of question will cause a fight.. unfortunately. If you don't know the history I would. 1/2 quart only since it's a 4qt sump... monitor the oil's darkness and change it if gets to dark before 3k. After that use the leftover 1/4 for the next oil change and put the rest in tank. Helped my sister's aging van with a few mpg's.
 
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Location
CA.
 Originally Posted By: Eric Smith
 Originally Posted By: jigen
Never used Marvel Mystery Oil. Think I should do the same on the cars first oil change?
That type of question will cause a fight.. unfortunately. If you don't know the history I would. 1/2 quart only since it's a 4qt sump... monitor the oil's darkness and change it if gets to dark before 3k. After that use the leftover 1/4 for the next oil change and put the rest in tank. Helped my sister's aging van with a few mpg's.
Bingo, use a 1/2 qt and run it for the full OCI, then add it again at the next OCI. It will clean up that engine if there is any slugde in it. AD
 
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