98 Escort ZX2 stalling when cold

Tiny
TODD R
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD ESCORT
My 98 ZX2 Z-Tech DOHC with 120,000 miles started stalling and sputtering a couple days ago, mostly in the morning when it was cold.

It finally got a check engine light the other day when it started acting up. I had the codes read and there were 4 of them:

Low coolant
cam timing over advanced (2 times)
cam timing over retarded

I know I am low on antifreeze and have a small radiator leak which would explain the first code.

My mechanic said I probably needed a timing belt since it had never been replaced, so I made an appointment to have it checked.

OK, Strange part of the story:
I am taking the car to the garage yesterday and it's acting terrible, stalling, stumbling, I'm afraid I won't make it.

After several restarts, the car gets warmer, and as soon as the temp needle moves off cold, it runs perfectly! (The check engine light disappeared at this time also)

The mechanic calls to tell me the belt is only streched, not tore up. I figured that would be true, otherwise the car would run bad all the time, right?

I told him to change it anyway since it's well overdue, but that does not explain the bad running & stalling when cold.

Would it have anythng to do with the lack of antifreeze, or is it something else?
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 12:49 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
CHEVYII
  • MEMBER
A faulty coolant temp sensor would cause the stalling problem whe its cold, easy to check if you have an ohm meter.
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 10:20 PM
Tiny
TODD R
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the response. Where do they hide that sensor?

I have the car back now and the timing belt has been replaced (he said it had jumped a tooth), and the coolant system has been flushed.

I'll need to check it tomorrow AM when it's good and cold, but it seemed to run OK other than an occasional skip. The mechanic did pick up a misfire in cyl#4 which he said is probably a coil. It was skipping occasionally on the drive home, but nothing like before I brought it in.
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 10:30 PM
Tiny
CHEVYII
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Looking from the drivers fender it will be on that side of the engine around cyl #4 two wire connector collar should be brass, the misfire in #4 could be anything from a plug to a burned valve, start simple on that problem check all of the obvious maint tune up parts before digging into the big stuff
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 10:36 PM
Tiny
TODD R
  • MEMBER
Thanks Jim,
I found a picture of the sensor in my Haynes book but they didn't say how to test it. Can you let me know what it should read?

The mechanic checked out the plugs & wires, said they were OK. I used to have a spare coil around here somewhere. If I find it, I'll put it in to see if that cures it.
TR
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 10:48 PM
Tiny
CHEVYII
  • MEMBER
You need an ohm meter and some heat to heat it up check the temp and read the resistance and record both, then I can tell you if it is within spec

if you are happy with the help dont forget to leave feedback and a vote, as moderators we donate our time here so the vote and feedback is like showing appreciation for the help

let me know if you need the spec after testing
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 10:59 PM
Tiny
TODD R
  • MEMBER
OK,
I'll try to get to that tomorrow. :D
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 11:12 PM
Tiny
CHEVYII
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Let me know bro
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Friday, February 23rd, 2007 AT 11:15 PM

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