I have just laid to rest two Escorts. Both started misfiring, and then something serious went wrong interior to the engine. My mechanic says the engines are not repairable. We drove them gently and maintained them regularly, but both started misfiring, and then within a day of each other, both died. I consider this a bizarre coincidence, but I had another Escort that did the same thing a few years ago. Other than the untimely death problem, they were very reliable.
My car has around 141000 and no trouble yet. Hopefully it will last a good while longer. Mine is a 1998.
Nope, the valve seat issue is NOT an isolated failure.
Every one will fail right about 150k. If you love your Escort or Focus, get a new or very low mileage head, and replace it before 150k miles. I can't believe this failure is so pervasive, but it is.
I loved my daughter's car, and made sure we got a 5 speed instead of the automatic. With its known low miles (125k) expected life, but the darned valve seats do fall out, right at 150k miles, and there is no way to forestall the inevitable problem, other than to replace the head before it happens.
One last bit of advice: the valve seat failure always, and I do mean always, entails the complete destruction of the block and at least one piston. And the failure almost always happens upon start up, not when cruising down the road. My son had borrowed the car on the night of the failure, he is a night shift manager at a casino in Reno, and the 1st thing I thought of was that he had run it without oil. Upon checking, the oil was at the top of the dipstick, and yet there was a fist sized hole in the side of the block.
This is the best Ford can do? It makes me sick to think that this is the best that Ford can do. Our V8 Explorer is wonderfully reliable, but these small 4 cylinder Ford engines are just too much, in that they can never get above 150k miles. Unbelievable. And if anyone thinks this is an isolated failure, go to any Ford wrecking yard and try to buy a 1.9 or 2.0 engine. They are all spoken for the second they arrive at the wrecking yard. People like the cars, but the engines can't make it over 150k miles. :( Honda, Toyota and Subaru can make 350,000 mile 4 cylinder engines, why can't Ford? Bummer.
I have a 1997 Escort, and the engine just exploded on me as well. Is there some kind of engine defect that causes this?