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1999 ford escort number 4 valve seat dropped

04-05-2010, 08:04 PM
garage recomended replace valve and new set of heads at cost of 1000.00...on a 1500.00 car.has 165k on it,replaced timing belt and pump at 100k.ran good(slight miss and loss of power) when took to smoke or noise or knocking.mechanic showed me bent spark plug off number 4.had it towed home and there she sits...dead.whats the best fix for this?if I replace with a used engine,will I not have the same problem?2.0 sohc.thanks

04-05-2010, 11:45 PM
Pull the head off, inspect the cylinder walls. If the walls are good, take the head to a machine shop to have it rebuilt. That way you KNOW what you're getting. Had mine serviced at a local CarQuest with a machine shop. (this was for cracking - 1.9L) The local racing crowd will know which machine shops are best at what they do. Don't recall what it cost at the moment, but chose that route because I knew the running and maintenance history on the head.

An alternative is to purhcase a head that has already been remanufactured.

If the cylinder walls are scratched, then you have a problem... and a major decision.

04-06-2010, 07:54 PM
If there is damage to the piston tops, the signs of chunks of metal having been imbedded into the aluminum - then I would suspect you also have damage to the pistons that you can NOT see. I bought a 94 LX that had lost the 'usual' #4 inlet valve seat. Some of the broken chunks of the valve seat had been blown back into the intake manifold (through the space around the rim of the inlet valve) and then gotten sucked into cylinder #2. This is fairly common.
I could have just gotten the head rebuilt - but I also took the engine out of the car and opened it up. There were no scratches on the cylinder walls - which looked perfect. But the pistons in cylinder #4 & #2 had been pounded enough to be distorted - which I only learned when I removed them. The compression rings were stuck in the grooves - which had been crushed together, plus the piston would no longer rotate freely on the wrist pin. So the wrist pin boss of the piston had been distorted too. That engine wouldnt have run for 500 miles if I had just put a rebuilt head on it.
I didnt bother to check the con rods to see if they were bent or not, nor to measure the crankshaft to see if the #4 & #2 con rod journals were out of round.
I got an engine from the JY, and rebuilt that. All it needed was new oil control rings, & new main seals, & I got that head rebuilt, and milled flat. I gave it new bearings, though the old ones weren bad yet. And as it turned out, the car needed a new clutch - which I wouldnt have learned if I hadnt pulled the motor. So that saved me having to pull the motor a second time.
If you just get a JY engine without rebuilding the head - there is a small chance it might happen again. But thousands of these cars ran with out ever dropping the valve seat.
As far as it being a '$1500 car'; thats up to you. If you dont fix it - its only worth the scrap value. I paid $550 for the one with the bad motor & had to tow it home on a car dolly; spent about $1200 on all the parts, 3 or 4 weeks of my leisure time, and wouldnt sell the car now for any price another person would ever agree to pay. We just got back from a trip into Mexico in it last week, and in a couple of days will be driving to Long Beach CA (from the gulf coast of Texas), and return.

04-07-2010, 07:03 AM
"Searching", you will find this happens to a number of these engines. Including mine. The basic problem seems to be one of engine production. The inlet valve seat in cyl #4 is not properly secured to the head in many engines ....i.e., it is not properly "cinched" to the head. A good cyl head repair shop will attend to this as part of their valve-job repair. I like Dover.

My cyl head had hidden damage and the valve-job was not successful. Ended up having to remove (again) the head and discarding it.


04-07-2010, 10:22 AM
Great posts. You can easily pull the transmission in a '94 LX without removing the engine though. Light enough for one person to carry though a second person would be advisable.

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