1998 Ford Escort Car won't start

Tiny
OSHKOSHDOWNHOME
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD ESCORT
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 18,900 MILES
Hi,
I have a 1998 escort 2.0 SOHC engine that I just picked up. It ran beautifully, started right up, ran smooth (no misses or noises). On a short ride the other day it died (just quit) and it cranks over but won't re-start. I towed it home and have checked the following: Changed the timing belt (it wasn't broke but had some wear so I thought maybe it had jumped time - it hadn't as the marks line up perfectly on cam gear and crank gear), checked for fuel at the fuel rail using a pressure tester (have good fuel pressure and the spark plugs are getting fuel as after cranking for awhile they are getting wet with gasoline), checked with noid lights for injector pulse and is good, changed the crank position sensor, changed the spark plugs in case they were getting wet fouled, checked for spark and have very good bright blue spark at spark plugs using spark plug tester. What I don't have is good compression. All I get for compression is around 35 - 45 lbs. In each cylinder. I've checked for vacuum leaks by tagging into the intake lines with low pressure from my air compressor and can't find any leaks. I thought maybe after checking everything else I might have washed the cylinder walls with gasoline from all the cranking, so I injected some oil into each cylinder and re-checked the compression and it was still low with no significant improvement (5-10 lbs. Maybe). The car ran so well before this that I can't believe it had this low of compression and I think the low compression is why it won't start now, but what could cause a sudden loss of compression on all cylinders, yet the timing is o.K. I've also pulled the valve cover off and checked the cam to see if it was rotating and the valves were moving and they were (thought maybe I had a broken cam). I can't thing of anything else to look for. Any ideas. Thanks.

Dennis H.
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Thursday, September 11th, 2008 AT 1:43 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Try squiting 30 weight oil in each cyl. 1 tbl spn and retest the compression not to standards recheck valve timing again by verifying that no.1 piston is on compression stroke/TDC and all markings at the cam and crank are all line up as per the repair manual.

Low compression in all cylinders could mean that the problem of fuel washed cylinders exists. This means that the engine has had too much fuel introduced into it and all of the oil has been washed off the cylinder walls. The oil creates a sealing effect between the piston and ring assemblies and the cylinder walls of the engine block. Without this thin layer of oil, the engine compression would be allowed to escape into the crankcase. This is common with an engine that has a 'flooding' problem.

If the engine seems to run normally but is weak and puffs a small amount of bluish smoke, it could be an indicator of worn piston rings and cylinder walls. In either of these events, use a small oil can and squirt a little oil into each cylinder, then repeat the compression test. If the compression dramatically increases then you have found the problem(s). If the compression readings do not change, then it would indicate a timing problem between the camshaft(s) and the crankshaft of the engine. The timing chain or belt would need to be checked for proper timing
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Thursday, September 11th, 2008 AT 2:00 PM
Tiny
BMRFIXIT
  • EXPERT
Plugged exhaust?

Check exhaust back pressure
or remove an O2 sensor before the catalytic converter and recheck compression

recheck timing marks 180 off also very possible
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Thursday, September 11th, 2008 AT 2:07 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Jack

That's what I called Volumetric Efficiency How well the engine breaths-on a clogged Cat.

Recheck timing marks 180 off also very possible-This one here am very concern with could be it too-that's why I've mentioned valve timing bcuz of the belt replacement.
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Thursday, September 11th, 2008 AT 3:51 PM
Tiny
OSHKOSHDOWNHOME
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Thanks guys for your response. I already suspected cylinder wall wash and I've already injected oil into the cylinders and rechecked compression with no significant improvement (only 5-10. Lb. Improvement). I also suspected the cam was possibly 180 degrees out so I rechecked timing with engine at TDC of compression stroke. Also note that the crank position sensor points to the 9th tooth of the crank pulley gear when the timining marks are lined up (which is correct). Timing is o.K. I will check for plugged exhaust though. Don't see how that can cause a low compression reading on each cylinder though.
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Friday, September 12th, 2008 AT 11:33 AM
Tiny
OSHKOSHDOWNHOME
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Hi again,
Here's a followup to my problem with the car. I tried removing the O2 sensor and checking for an exhaust backpressure problem to no avail. I bought a cheapy (harbor freight) cylinder leak down tester kit and did a leak down test and narrowed the problem down immediately. While running the leakdown test, I could hear air leaking into the radiator on 3 out of 4 cylinders. So I guess I have a cracked head, gasket or block. It must have happened real suddenly on the one test drive. Didn't overheat, but it does have 190,000 miles one it. Thanks for your help.

Dennis H.
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Monday, September 29th, 2008 AT 9:46 AM

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