Report: Problems with Engine Idle
Ford Escort Problem
Model Year Affected: 1998
Engines Affected: 2.0L 4 Cylinder DOHC, 2.0L 4 Cylinder SOHC
Average Mileage: 128,500 mi (112,000 mi - 145,000 mi)
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 at first because the car cranked right back over. It just would not idle correctly. One by one I had ruled out the fuel injectors, and many of the other usual suspects. That is when I became aware of this problem that the Escort is prone to having with its CCRM (Constant Control Relay Module). I took the car in to my guy for service, and I am still waiting to get it back. While it's been in the shop I also became aware that the entire exhaust system is shot. From what my mechanic tells me th vehicle still has all original equipment. I guess the previous owner's idea of vehicle maintenance was to check the fluids once in a while and change the oil every 3,000 - 7,500 miles. I am pretty confident that this problem with the idle is due to a faulty CCRM. The more I have read up on the subject the more confident I have become. I should also let it be known that from the time I bought the car the interior cooling(A/C) fan has not worked on any setting. This just helped to bolster the theory about the CCRM. I figure that the defective CCRM has failed to provide power to either the fuel pump, the powertrain control module(PCM) or both. So, once he finishes replacing the entire exhaust system and repairs or replaces the CCRM I figure I'm looking at a bill somewhere around the $500-$700 range. Some would think it might not be worth it but I gotta say that the car has grown on me since I bought it. It runs great on the highway, has impressive pick-up for a 4-cylinder, and isgenerally good on gas. The suspension is nice and tight, just what one would expect from a sporty little car. All around it's just fun to drive. Hopefully this will resolve the problem and I can get it back on the road ASAP. I have always been a Honda guy at heart, but this ZX2 has impressed me. I did make the mistake of buying a VW Jetta once during my college years. It was like driving a go-cart without any of the fun. Anyway, I should be getting the vehicle back early this week and I'll be sure to post a follow up to let anyone with similar questions know how everything turned out, and more importantly, how much it cost to complete the repairs. Be safe out there on the roads.