Help with late 80's ford

Jump to Last Post 1-16 of 16 discussions (23 posts)
  1. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 13 years ago

    I have a beat up 1988 ford escort pony.  Allegedly it has an 89 engine in it.  I don't know the difference.  Anyways it does not start anymore.  All the spark plugs spark when it is cranked and it is getting fuel.( pulled the fuel line off the fuel filter and got squirted when the car was cranked.)  Any one have any ideas.  its a 1.9 liter engine.

  2. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 13 years ago

    apparently I cant write ford escort in the subject of my post due to forum rules.  kind of funny

  3. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 13 years ago

    so no one knows anything about fords?

  4. Arthur Fontes profile image75
    Arthur Fontesposted 13 years ago

    Maybe it jumped time or the plugs could be flooded and no good.

    You can have spark to the plug but the plug does not spark inside.  Did you just pull off the wire to check or did you pull the plug?

    1. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
      Jesusjohn78posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I pulled the plugs.  They all sparked when cranked.  One of them even sparked to my hand witch felt real good

      1. Arthur Fontes profile image75
        Arthur Fontesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Have you checked the compression?  If the car is turning over fast you may have whitewashed the cylinders, if this is the case remove the plugs and pour oil down the cylinder head.  That will help you to regain compression.

        1. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
          Jesusjohn78posted 13 years agoin reply to this

          no i have not.  is that hard?

          1. Arthur Fontes profile image75
            Arthur Fontesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            You need a compression gauge. You will need to check each cylinder.

            The timing may be off, have you checked the timing marks on the gears?

  5. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 13 years ago

    From what I have read to remove the cover to check the timing I need to unbolt one of the engine mounts and jack the engine up so I can have access to all the bolts.  I am hoping to avoid that.  But i never thought about the compression.  Would bad compression in a 4 cylinder cause it to not start?  Like I said it cranks it just does not start.

    1. profile image0
      china manposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      The easy way to check compression is to remove one plug and put your thumb over the hole, when you turn the engine it should fart your finger off when it compresses smile

  6. profile image0
    china manposted 13 years ago

    A real expert told me - if it has spark, fuel and compression it must fire.

    You got spark, you got fuel, so it must be compression.

    Your timing could be out - this would have shown up as poor starting etc a long time ago and got worse - is your timing belt broken - you can check this by shining a torch through the oil filler to make sure the tappets are alive in there.

    The single biggest ford issue though is damp in the HT leads and breakdown of hte cap they are connected to.  - this sends the sparks out randomly - though you might get an occasional fire if the engine is not flooded completely by the time it gets there.

    Check the timing belt working.
    Put the rotor cap and HT leads somewhere real dry for an hour then try again ( an oven or on a heater )  if this works it will be short term so go get new ones complete and a new rotor cap.

    1. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
      Jesusjohn78posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I never had a starting problem until 2 days before it finally stopped starting.  I had just driven it 180 miles.  It was cold and rainy.  It would not start. For some reason I took the air filter housing off and it started.  it started fine two more times.  I drove it 200 miles back home parked it in my drive way and it never started again.

      1. profile image0
        china manposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        As Arthur says - just cos your plugs are firing does notmean they are firing in the engine - You can check the earth lead to the engine block - this is underneath usually - they often look fine but are not making the connection.  Just unbolt it, clean the connection faces and bolt it back up.

  7. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 13 years ago

    Definitely looks like i have some new leads on what to check.  Thanks a lot everyone!!

  8. profile image0
    Will Bensonposted 13 years ago

    I'm wondering about a fuel problem. Just b/c the fuel is pressurized at the fuel pump doesn't mean it's getting to the cylinders.

    Are the plugs wet with fuel? Did you buy fuel shortly before this started?

    If you spray a little starter fluid (I know, I know "not recommended" etc.) or put 1/2 tsp of gasoline down a couple of cylinders, it should fire -- if the fuel is in fact the problem.

    Any chance of water in the gas?

    Best of luck.

  9. profile image0
    china manposted 13 years ago

    I will bet that it is electrical with a Ford - try the HT leads and Earth strap first - they take a minute to do and easy peasy - before you start jacking around big_smile

  10. earnestshub profile image81
    earnestshubposted 13 years ago

    Condensation may have formed in the distributor cap. Take it off and spray the inside with WD40 I bet it starts.
    The reason I feel this is the problem, is that it was running until you let it stand. As the motor cooled the water would have come to the inside surface and shorted it out. You will still get spark at the plugs, but not under compression. Electricity especially HT will find the line of least resistance, and I'm betting this is it.

  11. Jerami profile image58
    Jeramiposted 13 years ago

    Grandpa always said to check the easy  stuff first.
    If its getting gas compression and spark (at proper time)in the hole you will have an explosion in the cylinder.
      As mentioned earlier, Make sure fire and gas is getting to the cylinder. 
       And as Earnest said, try thy the WD40 in the distributor cap.  Fire could be jumping randomly.
      Check the compression in all the cylinders to get an accurate reading!   If it is low, pour a little oil down all the spark plug holes.  Ck compression again.  If that increases the compression the problem is the compression rings.

      If no improvement it will be burned valves or timing, or poor oil pressure. Poor oil pressure does not allow the lifters to open the valves properly.   
      You can find the top of the piston with a sipping straw,or something slightly flexible, turn the motor slowly by hand till the piston reaches TDC.  The timing marks should be lined up or 180 degrees off. The same is true with the rotor in the distributor, 180 off.. So if you do not see the timing marks, turn the motor one more time.

        that's the basic procedure as taught by GrandPa anyway.   Good luck

  12. Wayne Orvisburg profile image62
    Wayne Orvisburgposted 13 years ago

    I know one VERY common problem with Ford Escorts was cracked heads. I doubt that is whats causing your problems, but I would recommend checking your head at some point.

  13. profile image0
    Will Bensonposted 13 years ago

    Jesusjohn78 - How abt an update...did you find the problem?

  14. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 12 years ago

    Well I got busy and let the car sit longer ( I know that does not help)  I am finally looking into it again.  I just checked the Timing belt and it looks fine and is tight.  I don't know what else to check on the timing belt. 

    I did try spraying starter fluid into the throttle body.  Other then causing a lot of smoke it did not do much. I did this because it worked on my 91 Chevy when I had a starting problem. 

    I need to get the battery charged before I try the distributor suggestion. However any other suggestions on what I can check would be appreciated. 


  15. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 12 years ago

    After charging the battery i tried to start it. The engine still cranks and turns over but does not start.

  16. Jesusjohn78 profile image65
    Jesusjohn78posted 12 years ago

    I have now figured out that the Timing is correct to the best of my knowledge.  The #1 cylinder is at its highest point when the timing mark is at TDC.  I have a nice cone of fuel spraying out of the injector.  I also have spark to all the plugs.  Any suggestions.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)