1998 Ford Escort ZX2 2.0L gas from North America


Great budget car! Should have never been mothballed in favor of the ZX3


Alternator failed at about 100K. Put in a rebuild from C.T. that failed and fried the computer, blew the lights and fused the windshield wiper switch so that it was always on at low or high speed only. Replaced with one from the junk yard.

Replaced the computer - used one from a 1999 car, but the A/C doesn't work with that computer, found a 1998 computer and everything worked.

Bypassed the wiper with an extra switch from the fuse box.

From that point till about 300000km it was a worry free car.

Replaced water pump, brakes, timing and acc. belts, exhaust.

After 300000km of constant pulley failures, all of them from timing idlers to tensioners, the PS pump failed and the pulley went flying onto the highway.

The A/C has developed a leak; everything works, it's just not holding the charge.

Hood pull has failed.

Stick shift bushings are long gone, it's flapping around, but as long as you know where the gears are.

The body is getting tired from the underneath, rockers down.

The accessory lighting and dome lights work when they feel like it.

The little resistor module for the heater fan needs regular attention as condensation rusts it and the fan stops working.

Swapped the drive shafts and constantly changing ball joints (the cheap aftermarket ones are the problem).

Constantly changing the clutch master cylinder (on the fourth one) - again cheap aftermarket stuff - the seals keep failing. Changed the slave once too. However I'm still on the same clutch!!!! Wow.

General Comments:

For a Ford it's been a great car. I use it as a winter beater now.

It's a 17 year old car now, so I don't expect too much, but I must say that the engine and transmission are awesome! It still pulls like it was new and doesn't burn oil.

The body could be a bit better, the radiator is being held in place by wire and I've re-welded the rockers a few times, but the rest of it is still OK and it doesn't look gross. Just an average old car.

It's fairly easy to work on and doesn't leave you stranded. Unless a timing pulley goes. If an accessory pulley breaks, I just keep going; as long as the speed is kept up above 80km/h, it will get you home without overheating and the battery will last for at least 100km if you turn everything else off.

Goal is to get it to 333,333.3 (not long now).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th June, 2015

29th Oct 2015, 12:43

Update on the car. It flew by the 333333km mark and has reached 340000. It doesn't want to die. After losing the tension pulley on the highway, it has not had any other repairs, the junk yard special is working just fine.

It can only be driven in cooler temperatures now as the radiator fan is no longer working. Which is OK because the aircon no longer holds gas anyway. The driver side rocker has almost disappeared and the passenger tie rod started clunking (again). The shift stick has worn, and getting first and second requires you to really force it left. Lights on the dash have started to go out and the interior light is now long gone. The clear coat on the paint started to peel and the plastic headlight lenses are really weathered and hazy. It's starting to be a tired looking car.

I have a feeling it's not long now, maybe 350000? :)

1998 Ford Escort ZX2 2.0 Liter Zetec DOHC from North America


This car should be called the Ford Escort 'RX7' instead of 'ZX2' :^)!


Coolant is leaking from somewhere; have to keep topping it off for the heat to work properly.

"Service engine soon" light comes on sometimes during hard acceleration or when going up/down a hilly road; P0302/P0303 DTCs pop up when this happens.

Horn stays honking unless I pull the fuse; turns out the horn pad's worn out.

General Comments:

I bought this car for $950 from CL: I was looking for a 4 cylinder with manual transmission and chose this one out of many. Although it needs some TLC (it seems the previous owner just left it sitting), the work that it needs is very minor (tires/alignment, new battery terminal,etc). No biggie since I'm a mechanic :^)!

Because it's a Ford 'Escort', I was only expecting it to be an economy car; man was I wrong! The way that this thing handles, man! It reminds of a Mazda RX7 from the late 80s; I believe Mazda had something to do with the chassis tuning if I'm not mistaken. The Zetec engine is pretty cool too; some think it's too loud, but I love it! It feels like it has 150-160 HP, not 'just' 130. Or maybe it's because the car is so small/light, plus I don't have the weighty extras like power windows/locks/mirrors/cruise control... sounds like the perfect tuner car to me :^)!

I would say the only disappointment about this car is that I'm 6ft 3, so the interior is a bit small, but because of the great driving experience, I'm willing to overlook it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th February, 2015