1998 Ford Escort Cranks, won't start plus other wierd stuff

Tiny
STUCKINMT
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD ESCORT
1998 Ford Escort Front Wheel Drive Automatic 148000 miles

I live in Montana and it got really cold a couple days ago and now my car won't start. It cranks over just fine, all the lights are bright, I even did the battery thing where I took it out and warmed it up but still nothing. I usually drive it everyday but this week I let it sit for 36 hours and the temperature dropped suddenly like in a matter of hours and now it doesn't start but drove just fine 36 hours earlier. Could it be frozen gas lines? Should I wait for the weather to warm up above freezing (in two days it will) before trying to start it again? I have a half tank of gas and the local shop here said add a bottle of HEET and let it sit overnight but that didn't work either. So there it sits as do I.
It also does this funny thing when the temperature is above 80 degrees and I drive it above 70 mph, it starts to chug, the check engine light comes on, the rpms drop and the engine dies. It restarts fine but won't get above 25 mph and dies again. Sometimes it will correct itself and drive fine and sometimes I let it sit a couple hours and it drives fine. The check engine light stays on a couple of days and then goes off until I drive it again when it's over 80 degrees outside. This usually happens when going up a hill of moderately steep grade.

I think it's posessed.
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Sunday, October 11th, 2009 AT 10:56 AM

5 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I'll contact the priest... (LOL) Honestly, how cold did it get? Also, I need you to check to see if it is getting fuel and spark to the engine. Here are the how to's for doing both. Let me know what you find. Also, when the check engine light came on, you should have had the computer scanned for trouble codes. Most parts stores will do it for free and it will identify where the problem is coming from. If we can get it running again (and we will), I want you to take it to a nationally recognized parts store and have the scan the computer, have them give you the codes, and let me know what they are.

Here are the how to's:

http://www.2carpros.com/how_to/how_to_test_an_ignition_system.htm

http://www.2carpros.com/how_to/how_to_check_fuel_pressure.htm

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Monday, October 19th, 2009 AT 9:45 PM
Tiny
STUCKINMT
  • MEMBER
It was frozen lines after all. It's running now. The other problem however still exists. I did have it put on a scanner about I guess a year ago and they said that I needed a new sensor thing, I can't remember exactly some fuel/oxygen sensor. So they put in a new one and it ran fine for a few months and started doing the same thing again. The sensor was rather costly to replace and I figured either that isn't the problem or something is causing this sensor to keep going out. Anyway I pretty much deal with it when it happens as the car does still run when it goes out it just usues more fuel that it should. I would like to get an idea of what might be causing this to happen as I'm sure it's gonna cost a pretty penny to fix and then if I have a general idea I can start saving the money for the repair. I'm sure it's not something I'll be able to fix on my own as pretty much the only tools I own are a hammer, needle nose pliers, and a butter knife (you'd be amazed at what I can accomplish with a butter knife) yeah I'm not one of those girls that actually know alot about cars. I can put in gas and antifreeze and wiper fluid and oil if I need to. But the rest. LOL
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Monday, October 19th, 2009 AT 10:01 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
You sound like a grea person. Actually, if they replaced the oxygen sensor, it should have come with at least a one year warranty. If it did, trust me, you can replace it. (Not with a butter knife but a simple cresent wrench). The O2 sensor will cause an increase of fuel usage.

However, before we jump to conclusions, take the car to a nationally recognized parts store and have them scan it for you. If the light was on, there is a good chance the code is still stored in the computer. Ask them to tell you the code and reset the light. If it is the O2 sensor, check to see if it is still under warranty. If so, all you need to do is unplug the wiring (actually a butter knife may help) and loosten and unscrew the old sensor and put the new one in.

Let me know if you decide to give it a go. I'll be here if you have questions or need help. Also, how cold did it get to freeze the fuel? I live near Pittsburgh and we've made it into the 20's but that is no where near freezing fuel lines.

Joe
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Monday, October 19th, 2009 AT 10:18 PM
Tiny
STUCKINMT
  • MEMBER
We had a week of odd temps it was warm then cold then warm then cold then warm thn freezing, it got down to like 15 degrees in a matter of hours going from about 40 degrees. I have an idea that because of the quick temp changes that condensation built up and then when it dropped it froze. A friend told me to get a locking gas cap as that might help with condensation? I've never heard of that one before. I managed to take out and re install the battery with just needle nose pliers, kinda proud of myself for that one LOL. Didn't use the butter knife was afraid I'd fry myself, non insulated handle and all. :) I will take the car into the shop to get the code thing though it may be something completely different this time.
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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 AT 8:34 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Let me know what you find after you have it scanned.
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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 AT 9:36 AM

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