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98 Escort 1.8 GT - Hesitation and not smooth when accelerating

03-06-2010, 07:49 AM
I'm visiting some family in Europe and they are having some issues with their Escort. The car is fine if you give it a little gas but any more and the car starts to hesitate and is jumpy when accelerating.

So far, they replaced the fuel filter and someone checked the spark plugs and wires. I was thinking that it might be a problem with the distributor cap. I had a 89 Mustang that was doing the same thing but worse due to a damaged rotor in the cap. I'm going to take a look at it tomorrow but wanted to get some input on what other things might be causing the problem.

As for the cap, what else should I check for besides cracks and damaged components?

The car is a 98 1.8 GT stick. Thanks.

- VG

03-06-2010, 08:01 AM
Does your check engine light come on? If so, you'll need to get the codes.

03-06-2010, 03:42 PM
You've thought of exactly what I was going to suggest-plugs, wires and dist. cap. This sure sounds like a bad plug wire to me. Go out at night and start it up in the dark. Rev it up and see if you see any arcing from the plug wires.

03-08-2010, 10:42 AM
I have the 1.9L SEFI (manual trans) and is a different animal. But when experienced similar symptoms where it would miss and buck if attempted hard acceleration, it turned-out to be plug wires. (plug re-gap was extremely temporary) The more expensive wires have higher resistances as opposed to the cheapies. After going through several of the more expensive kind in short order, went and intentionally bought THE cheapest wires I found and haven't had a problem since. (wish I never got rid of the OEM wires)

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