Ford Escort 2001 - Help!


Candle-In-The-Wind
12-11-2009, 07:16 AM
Apologies in advance if a similar issue has alrdy been addressed/solved in this forum's prior posts.

I am lately facing a strange issue in my 2001 ford sedan. It sounds an "electrical" issue at the first, but I doubt so.

Here is the overview...
1) Car is started and runs smooth for a couple of miles.
2) All of a sudden, it goes into what I call , a "seizure" mode, ranging from a few secs to a couple of mins.
3) When the seizure happens,
- (a) Loss of Engine power
- (b) A/C is disabled(only fan runs)
- (c) Headlights' intensity is doubled,
- (d) Wipers run at twice their speed
- (e) Gearshift(Manual) is very hard
- (f) Indicators blink at a higher rate
- (g) Car Horn's volume is also increased and has more of a "shrill" tone to it
- (h) Increase of heat in the cabin(like a blower)
- (i) Power Windows work like they are in a hurry to stop incoming bullets:grinno:
4) After a few secs/2-3 mins, the problem disappears.
5) Car is back to normal. Problem reappears at random intervals for a short duration.

Some Observations
1. Happens more off a cold start.
2. Battery charging has been checked and found to be normal - Looks like alternator is doing its job of charging.
3. Seizures can also happen sometimes(but not always) over an incline.
4. The PowerTrain Control Module(PCM/ECM) swapping/replacing does not seem to correct the issue.
5. Squeaking noise during cold start(drive belt maybe)
6. None of the lights(battery/engine...) are activated during the seizure - so cant check the codes off the PCM.
7. Brakes do not loose their power-assist(from Engine)

My Suspicions
Serpentine Drive Belt( V-Belt ), which looks slightly worn may also be slipping now and then, causing the alternator to cause the electrical part of the siezure( headlughts, wipers .... ). A/C compressor could also be affected by the temp slippage of the belt(explains A/C loss). Water pump may also temporarily stop(hence the increase of heat in the cabin)

However, what I cannot understand is why there should be Engine power loss(like one cylinder less) and hard gear-shift ?

Thanks in advance to your replies.
Josh

AzTumbleweed
12-11-2009, 01:27 PM
It sounds like your voltage is too high which would probably be a bad regulator. I'd get a volt meter with long leads and hook them to the battery and put the meter in the car. When it happens look at the volt reading.

Intuit
12-12-2009, 12:27 AM
For the '94/'95 year you can turn on the dome light, attach a couple of leads and monitor voltage levels from there. More convenient. (found that my alternator sometimes quits charging at idle which leads to rough idle) I assume you the same would apply for other vehicles; as far as monitoring that is.

AzTumbleweed
12-12-2009, 08:45 AM
For the '94/'95 year you can turn on the dome light, attach a couple of leads and monitor voltage levels from there. More convenient. (found that my alternator sometimes quits charging at idle which leads to rough idle) I assume you the same would apply for other vehicles; as far as monitoring that is.
Why didn't I think of that? So much simpler! :uhoh:

Candle-In-The-Wind
12-12-2009, 10:40 AM
AzTumbleweed, Intuit - Guys, thanks for the insight.


Will try the tip at once. Just a mention though....A couple of times, to check the electrical devices' behavior, I drove around with all the electrical stuff switched on - including the dome light... However, I did not notice any significant difference in the dome light's brightness when the problem occurred. So, just to be on the safer side, I'll try out both tips :smile:


In case the culprit turns out to be the Alt-Regulator,I still dont understand why engine power would be affected. Is it possible that the high voltages are playing havoc wih the PCM/ECM,which in turn fails to signal one of the ignition coil and thus one cylinder less power ?
Well, Thanks again. Let u know the status.

Josh

Intuit
12-12-2009, 04:35 PM
I have a 12v light bulb and don't think there is any sort of voltage regulator in the system.

Come to think of it, some vehicles have dimmer and timer circuits driving the interior lights. In those cases, there likely is some sort of power regulation taking place.

Some sensors I believe may return signals to the computer in the form of high/low/variable voltages. TPS for example is probably just a potentiometer. Similar for my fuel gauge system. O2 and MAF sensors I think are examples of sensors that return varying voltages based upon air content and amount.

What I hope is that any high voltages and/or related spikes, didn't or don't damage anything. Even if they did, might not find out until many thousands or tens of thousands of miles down the road.

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