1998 Ford Ka 2 from UK and Ireland - Comments

9th Nov 2005, 05:52

I have bought a second hand X-reg KA2 that keeps breaking down and overheating- it has been at a Ford dealership for 2 days and it has taken a guy I work with to figure out the problem.

Basically, a faulty heater intake valve causes water to back-flow to the reservoir as it cannot circulate, which then spills out of the overflow in the reservoir. it then boils dry and smoke comes out under the bonnet. Whilst all this is happening, the temperature overheat light on the dash does not come on, does anyone else have this problem?

I have then had to ring the dealership and explain not only what the problem is, but why it would cause the overheat...

I will be taking your article along to see if it was a faulty valve, or air bubble, thank you. I am wondering if this is a problem Ford can rectify without the need for me to spend out on valves constantly, maybe with a new head at one-off cost, or reduced cost if this is a design fault.

I hope for everyones sake this can be rectified soon and cost effectively, I have never had problems with Ford in the past!

I have to say I was very put off and upset by the attitude and treatment by the engineers, but the Service Manager in my case was more of a help.

2nd May 2006, 12:32

I have had many problems with my KA2 (1999). I have owned it now for nearly 2 years and all I have had is trouble! I'm sick of it so much that for the past 3 months I have been driving my boyfriends Clio as mine is so unreliable. The reason I have not sold it is because there is so much wrong with it and Ford have not got a clue what the problem is!

Lately, the exhaust fell off, suspension arms and springs broke, the wheel bearings had to be replaced, it keeps overheating even when I just pop to the shop, the heat sensor broke and this morning my car had almost flooded where rain leaked through the gap of the drivers door!!And don't even go there with the rust!

The main problem is that the battery keeps going flat for no reason, the battery, wires and alternator are all OK, and it also keeps stalling and cutting out whenever I slow down! 3 garages cannot explain what is wrong, and I even paid £300 for a ford service to see if they could find the problem. If anyone has any explanation for this please let me know because I am desperate to get it fixed so I can just get rid of it.

I would definitely never have a Ford again, as in general the staff at the garages are unhelpful and extremely patronising to women drivers. Also all of these problems are common faults, and they are not cheap faults to keep repairing every other month.

The good thing is that it looks good, is really nippy, is cheap to insure and is economical with petrol.

25th May 2006, 16:19

I have a Ford Ka that keeps cutting out when I brake. Does anyone have any idea what the cause is?

26th May 2006, 04:10

My mum has a Ford Ka car and it's brilliant. We havn't had no problems with it so far, and I am hoping that we don't.

3rd Jul 2006, 06:39

To those of you that have posted a problem with your KA stalling, these are findings from my own experience.

I first changed the fuel filter - but this did not cure the stalling problem.

Secondly I changed the Idle Control Valve which sits in plain view on the air intake manifold, but still no cure.

I then went on to the throttle position sensor (on the throttle body which I cleaned out at the same time) but still no change.

Finally, I changed the Oxygen sensor and fitted a new exhaust as black fibreglass was starting to pop out of the exhaust pipe.

This did the trick, the oxygen sensor was the original on this car that had done 80,000 miles and the rear exhaust box seemed to have broken down so that the exhaust gases could not escape properly, possibly causing the car to stall. Your problem may be anyone of these causes, I had to go through quite a few expensive parts before I found the problem.

Good luck with yours.

21st Jul 2006, 00:45

I have a 1997 Ka that also does the stall/cut out thing under braking. The first time it did it on me I was doing 60 off the motorway, rather hair-raising stuff.

I've had a new exhaust back-box fitted, still the same issue. I was talking to a mechanic friend who said it was more than likely clogged up fuel filters. He went on to explain how it was causing a vacuum and cutting the engine out.

Another friend of mine has a Fiesta of the same year (exact same engine) which also did the stalling under braking. He took it back to the garage he bought it from, they changed the filters and he has had no issues since.

Other than that potentially lethal flaw, I'm fairly happy with the car. Handles well, decent fuel consumption and very reliable (although I haven't driven it in winter yet).

4th Oct 2006, 16:41

Hello all, well I am very sad that so many of you appeared to have so many issues with the Ka, I have recently had the use of a brand new Ka as a courtesy car, I so adore it, but then again its only for a couple of weeks and has only got 4k on the clock.

In response to people who keep experiencing stalling when they break in their car, I had a ford escort which had this problem, it took the dealership much to discover the issue and it cost me a fortune for their detective work, all I know is that it has something to do with cylinder 1, which does not hold full capacity when the engine is cold, hence why it usually doesn't happen when you have been driving for a while, it may even cause you to not pass your MOT due to the cylinder causing high emissions, to get this problem fixed would cost an awful lot of money i.e. £8-900 due to the fact that it may have bent a valve or two out of shape as well. hope this helps and good luck.

26th Oct 2006, 04:55

I have been a KA2 owner since 1997 and have covered over 70K miles. Apart from regular servicing and the usual tyres, back boxes and brake discs. The only problems I have had over this time are broken wires in the flexible connection on the drivers door, a new clutch, after the slave cylinder leaked at 56K and the heater not blowing hot air. The latter will be fixed with a new heater control valve. The car still drives and handles as well as the day it left the showroom.

12th Nov 2006, 13:54

My sister has a 1998 example which I maintain for her, and it has racked up 83,000 miles with utter reliability. The thing with the Ka is that you need to keep it regularly serviced and by someone who doesn't treat it like a modern car (i.e. change the oil and ignore everything else). The Ka's olde worlde mechanicals are as reliable as anything more modern, but do require additional fettling at service time. Do this and they reward you by running problem free until the next service. Ignore it, and the engine starts sounding sick, economy drops off, and the car goes downhill rapidly.

There are two tasks that have to be done religiously on the Ka at every service. The first is to unscrew the spark plugs, dab a smear of copper grease on the taper, and retorque them. This stops the tapered seats on the plugs from corroding themselves to the head. If this happens, it is nigh on impossible to remove the plugs without breaking them off, and that ranges from several hours labour to a new cylinder head depending on luck / competence of work. The second "must" is to check and adjust the valve clearances to keep the engine running sweetly and delivering its best economy. This, and oil and filter changes every 6-10,000 miles will give 150k+ of reliable service.

Like I said, this one is 83k up now, on pretty much routine servicing only. Uses about half a litre of oil between services, doesn't rattle at all and returns 42 mpg on her commute. It's also quite peppy around town, very capable on the motorway for such a tiny car, handles brilliantly and is reasonably refined. Of course it's a cheap car, and you can see where Ford saved the pennies. Almost every screw, nut and bolt in the engine bay is the cheapest available and rots / seizes unless carefully greased. Cosmetic finishing is also best described as spartan if you look closely. That said, what do you want for the £800 or so this car would fetch on the secondhand market? In my experience, it is better to drive, more comfortable, more dependable and cheaper to run and maintain over 100,000 miles than a Peugeot 106 or a small engined Clio.