"Turning around" a badly neglected engine

FCD

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I am now a year and a half into owning my 1988 Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet. The previous owner took great care of the car except for the engine, which she neglected completely. When i bought it the coolant ( or lack thereof ) was basically rust-saturated water, when i first drained the cooling system it looked like chocolate milk. The oil was black as diesel oil on the dipstick, and came out looking like it had some sludge in it. Now these problems have been adressed, the coolant is clean, after 5 flushes / changes, and the oil has been changed 6 times! What stuns me is how it stays cool even in +40C ( 100F ) weather, and never needs topping up the coolant or oil, doesn't smoke, leak or burn any oil, this engine was at death's door when i bought it!! it doesn't seem to need any top ups ever, pretty impressive for an engine that is 31 years old and has +100k miles? Engine when i bought it : [Linked Image]2019-03-01_09-05-52 by Argentum Enim in Sempiternum, en Flickr Inside of the upper rad hose : [Linked Image]2019-03-01_10-18-11 by Argentum Enim in Sempiternum, en Flickr Engine now : [Linked Image]2019-03-01_09-06-37 by Argentum Enim in Sempiternum, en Flickr Bonus pic : [Linked Image]Escort fixed 27/03/18 by Argentum Enim in Sempiternum, en Flickr
 
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Great to hear thumbsup I had a similar car (1997 Escort Sport sedan with 5 speed) that I also maintained. Sure, I never let the oil or coolant get as bad as that, but I was always surprised at how cool the engine stayed in the hotter months (+32C) WITH the a/c running. Mind you, this was in consistent slow traffic on the original radiator. Only thing I changed was the coolant and the thermostat. The downside to this "cool operator" was practically NO HEAT in the winter months. eek
 
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I would not say the engine was a "deaths door" then you bought it. I would say badly maintained needing some TLC. For an engine to be at "deaths door" it would be at a state where it could only be fixed by doing things like new rings or valve job or radiator taken to a radiator shop and cleaned in their big tank. The car looks nice for an 1988. I am guessing they do not use salt on your roads.
 

FCD

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Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
I'm constantly amazed at the condition of the car bodies you show. Your weather must be some of the best in the world.
The weather here is comparable to SoCal but with somewhat colder and more humid winters, it very rarely snows though and there is never salt on the roads. The car has no rust but a few rust bubbles on the boot lid.
 

FCD

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Originally Posted by andyd
The thing I' d be most afraid of is rusting coolant passages from running pure water
The block is cast iron and the head is Aluminium, there is still some rust in the system that likes to accumulate in the bottom of the overflow tank but the coolant stays clean.
 
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Yes that was before all the "improvements" and anti-pollution crap was added to the engines. No electronic Frankensteins to create Igor the non polluting engine that will give you 100 mpg while polluting less than a human sfart. grin
 
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It simply amazes me that half the country (the part I live in) would never be able to keep a car like this on the road, salt would destroy every square inch of it (well, except for the drive train). I seriously wonder if there has ever been a car that has survived in the salt belts of the United States for longer than 20 years. And I'm not talking about the cars that sit in the garages all winter and don't see the light of day until summer, I'm talking the every day drivers...the folks driving 40 miles to work every day...right through those days when there's so much salt on the roads that you can hear it getting your windshield.
 
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Originally Posted by Railrust
It simply amazes me that half the country (the part I live in) would never be able to keep a car like this on the road, salt would destroy every square inch of it (well, except for the drive train). I seriously wonder if there has ever been a car that has survived in the salt belts of the United States for longer than 20 years. And I'm not talking about the cars that sit in the garages all winter and don't see the light of day until summer, I'm talking the every day drivers...the folks driving 40 miles to work every day...right through those days when there's so much salt on the roads that you can hear it getting your windshield.
My 2008 Hyundai Accent is used as my winter car. Never been waxed. It has some rust on the left rear fender at the wheel arch. It had some dealer installed plastic trim on the edge and must have been some defect under it. It started as blistering of the paint. But the under side is fairly rust free. They used a bed liner like material sprayed on everything under the car and then painted it body color. A bit behind the tires where the gravel hits but that is from the paint being wore off. Engine subframe is rusty and some have been recalled becasue of it.
 
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Sweet little car. We never got 'fun' Escorts like that here, unless you count the EXP...but I don't!
 

FCD

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It's a great car honestly. Fun to drive, good fuel economy ( 40 mpg no problem on the highway ) , parts are very cheap and easy to get, and it's so far been completely realiable, i've done around 10.000 miles since i got it without it letting me down a single time. The soft top is electric, and when closed it doesn't have any wind noise and doesn't leak when it rains.
 
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