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Old 12-26-2003, 09:26 PM   #1
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Problems with 88 Ford Festiva.

Hello all,

I was wondering if I could get some advice about the following: My Festiva, which I've had since '95 and has 130k miles, is basically at the end of its line and I do not want to put too much money into it because I could use it to buy another used car. First off, I'm not a car person and I don't know too much past car basics.
The car would not start at all, so I replaced the battery and Ta-dah!!! It worked, so I was going to take it to a shop to have the alternator tested as well. Never made it, the engine started to pudder along and my top speed was around 40mph and smoke started to come out of the engine, not a lot, just a little bit. The engine would try to start and turn over, but never start. I told the mechanic if it cost too much I'm not going to fix it, just save money for a new car. He said he would give it a quick look see. Well, he said getting new spark plugs would do the trick for a couple of months while I save for a car. It worked for one day. The car started fine and there was no engine trouble. Same problem, the engine will kick over, but not start. There is a little bit of smoke coming out from underneath my car, and I can smell gasoline when I try and start the car. I'm thinking the starter. Is it even worth it? What else could be wrong?
I want to mention that I've had the clutch fixed almost three years ago and had a transmission flush a couple of months ago. I don't think its the transmission, but it might be. Just trying squeeze and save money for this thing. I'm going to take it in Tuesday, but in the meantime, just wanted some opinions. Thanks
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Old 01-12-2004, 11:00 PM   #2
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Smile Let it go...

Wow. My first car was an '88 Festiva. I got made fun of SO much, but it was new and it was my first, and they looked kinda cool and unusual for the first few years.

But...the trouble started quickly. In 1991, the oil leak that I could never seem to fix permanently, then I went through many timing belts, and more leaks, and by 1994 I had it junked and moved on. They're basically toys and the fact that you have put any money in it is really upsetting, I'm sorry to say. Stop wasting your time, worry, and money and let it go. There are PLENTY of really good used cars out there that are MUCH newer and of great quality that will last you a long time and require very little in terms of repair money. Not to insult mechanics (they're just doing their jobs), but if someone brought me an '88 Festiva with all those problems, it wouldn't be ethical for me to tell them to have it repaired, no matter what the cost (cheap or expensive).

Stop saving money for a car and just get a low rate used car loan. Go to a credit union. Wouldn't you rather make low monthly payments, rather than part with a wad of cash? And if you pay more than the minimum payment each month, you'll save yourself a lot of money. You can also make weekly payments and save even more money. Don't be afraid to borrow. It actually helps your credit rating if you borrow for something with value (like a car or a home) and make your payments on time.

Let go of the Festiva and the headaches and buy yourself something new. Good luck.
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Old 10-12-2004, 05:21 PM   #3
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Re: Problems with 88 Ford Festiva.

how does the '88 perform after 190ooo miles or so? Any recurring problems as it nears the 200000 mile mark?
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Old 01-11-2005, 08:12 PM   #4
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My festiva didn't give me any problems. I put 75,000 miles on in 1 year alone and all i did was change the oil when it needed it. i sold it with 340,000 miles and i still see it nearly everyday. anyways, it sounds like yours is done. forget it. its over. just save 50 bucks and get another one.
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Old 05-21-2005, 03:58 PM   #5
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I have an 89 that had the same problem. Turned out to be the ECM, Electronic Control Module. Its about the size of a head unit and is located on the drivers side under the dash. More trouble to take out than replace. Found a jink yard on line that had an exact matching partnumber (VERY IMPORTANT), for $35.00. Put it in and she starts right up and runs fine. Now I notice the valve cover gasket is leaking a little and a little smoke apears now and then as oil runs down the front and drips on the exhaust manifold. But I have a gasket $7.00 at NAPA and that will solve that problem.

Can't beat the mileage and he insurance rate!

Don't junk it fix it!

Ed Crabb
Beavercreek Oregon
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