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1995 Ford Escort - Won't Start & Stalls While Driving

07-13-2010, 09:48 PM
I'm just a simple female who is fairly ignorant about the inner workings of an automobile, forgive me. I own a 1995 Ford Escort LX that, since last August, has decide to start when it feels like it - sometimes on the first try, sometimes on the 12th. It also decides to stall out while I'm driving it - doesn't matter what speed. I got new wires put on last August. Then, I was told it was the fuel pump back in January (I think), and so I got a new gas tank as the pump is built into the tank. I had the wiring harness located on the right side of the engine compartment replaced in March. A friend of mine believes it's the vacuum system as it relates to the ignition system (not my words). Also, the fuel gauge seems to be not registering the proper amount of gas; I'll put gas into the tank, knowing that 2.9 gallons is a quarter tank when the gauge says it's quarter full, and it WILL show half a tank...but then that will go up or down, seemingly in accord with the humidity.

I probably sound like an idiot, but if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be most grateful! I'm also a student, not working, pretty much broke & living with my mom, so inexpensive solutions would be the best, if possible.

Thanks everybody!


07-14-2010, 08:01 AM
The gas tank does not need to be removed to change the fuel pump. It's accessed from the inside of the car by removing the back seat. You need a new mechanic.

07-14-2010, 08:05 AM
Thanks for letting me know that - I wish someone had last year!

07-14-2010, 08:06 AM
I have been married over 30 years, have two grown daughters, and i dont think there IS such a person as a -simple female-. ....
First the easy problem; The failure to start on the first few tries is probably either a starter that is worn out, or an ignition switch that is going bad. Starters wear out eventually on any car, but Escorts are -known- for the ignition switches also going bad, after maybe a dozen years and 100,000 miles. Starters for Escorts typically cost $100 and up, and can be installed by anyone with some mechanical inclinations who is willing to get greasy and have a tired back from leaning over the fender.
The ignition switches have two parts, an electrical part that makes the electrical connections, and the key-lock part, where you put the key. You can buy the electrical part separately, its about $40 normally. It can be installed in half an hour, by any mechanically inclined person. It is a little hard to reach one of the phillips screws, but I have done it. To replace the keylock part you probably have to replace the entire switch (both parts), and the combined part is about $90-$110. Replacing it involves removing two 'tamper resistant' bolts that you cant undo with a normal wrench. I have done that too, and it took me about 30 minutes, with hand tools; half of the time was taking off the plastic 'clamshell' that covers the steering column. If I were you, I might replace the ignition switch first and see if it fixes the problem. If not - figure on getting a new/rebuilt starter, or one from a junkyard that you hope is good.

I will send you a p.m. with more info....

07-14-2010, 08:07 AM
How many miles are on the car?

07-14-2010, 09:40 AM
The car has a little over 150K on it. It is a 5-speed manual.

07-14-2010, 11:00 AM
At 150K miles, if it still has the original IAC, you needed one yesterday. Same thing for the PCV elbow. Clean the MAF sensor as well. Then check the spark plugs. Those "100,000 mile" double platinum plugs still need to be periodically regapped. If you don't after around 70,000 miles on them the gap becomes too big and your car runs like crap.

07-14-2010, 11:14 AM
Thanks, Zzy...I will add this info to that which denisond3 gave me. :)

07-14-2010, 03:37 PM
The following assumes that you mean "crank but no start". If you turn the key forward to the run position, you should hear the fuel pump turn on for about a second or two. *Immediately* after the pump shuts off, turn the key to crank it. Should start right up everytime. It's a common issue and nothing to worry about; doesn't necessitate fuel pump replacement. The fuel pump backflow valve is simply allowing the fuel to seep, or run back into the fuel tank.

If you simply mean, "no crank" then the easiest thing to do first is clean-up the battery terminals and make sure that the wires are in good shape; particularly where it grounds.

07-14-2010, 03:48 PM
From my recent - since Sat., 7/10/10 - experiences, it doesn't appear to be the fuel pump. I'm suspecting the ignition system w/in the car. I'm fairly ignorant, not comPLETELY ignorant, LOL!!! Thanks!

07-14-2010, 08:52 PM
If you suspect the ignition system, here is something to look at. Right behind the battery is a small component that has large letters EDIS-x on it; probably EDIS-4. That is what actually makes the ignition coil pack fire the plugs, & is commonly called an 'igniter'. They are fairly reliable, but still there are electronics in it. They are expenive to buy new, but really easy to get from a car in a junkyard - I have gotten one for $5 at a pick-n-pull. I carry it on long drives as a spare, though I have never had one fail.
But the reason I mention it; has a large connector plugged into its bottom. On two my Escorts there is a large nylon cable tie wrapped around the EDIS, in a way to hold the connector snugly seated. If that connector worked loose, it could easily lead to misfiring of the spark plugs.

07-27-2010, 10:43 AM
If the engine is cranking and won't start, I too would expect something related to the switch considering the mileage.
If the engine is not cranking then it might be the clutch switch that needs adjusting or replacement.
A bad ignition switch could cause the car to stall while driving, but if not the ignition switch then you should certainly look into vacuum problems on the hoses on top of the manifold or possibly a leak from the manifold itself.Someone with a little know how should be able to unplug your ignition switch and start the car with some jumper wires. If it starts right up then you will know the switch needs replacement.

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