There are reports of failures of the CCRM or Constant Control Relay Module. The CCRM has relays and switches inside that control or provide power to the engine cooling fan, AC clutch (to engage the AC compressor), fuel pump and powertrain control module (PCM). Single switches or relays can fail internally causing a number of different symptoms including no start conditions (inoperative fuel pump or PCM), engine running warm due to inoperative cooling fan, or the AC might not blow cold air.
Problems for specific Ford Escort years:
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Newest reported 2002 Ford Escort problems
Valve seats (components in the cylinder head that help seal the valve) can fall out. When this happens, it causes rough running and creates noise. Replacement of the cylinder head is commonly required to fix this problem.
I purchased my 1998 Ford Escort ZX2 from a private owner. His daughter had been using it to travel back and forth to college. The price was right, and so was the mileage at just 112,000 miles. Aside from the few to be expected highway dings, the vehicle was in good condition. One morning when I went out to start it I noticedthat the car was idling very low, below 1,000 RPMs. It actually stalled once or twice. I ruled out an electrical problem ...