Springfield

The "Ask a Mechanic" Thread

Recommended Posts

Glad I found this thread again. I changed the spark plugs in my '02 Ford Escort ZX2 yesterday and saw that there was a good amount of oil on the threads when I pulled the old ones out. I'm no expert but I kinda knew something wasn't kosher w/that. Isn't that 1 indicator of the valve cover gasket being worn?

Let me give a little bit of history. My serpentine belt(timing belt) broke about a week ago while I was driving. Had the car towed. Guy replaced it. Noticed that the car wasn't running particularly well, some roughness now & then, decided that perhaps I needed a tune up since it hadn't been done since the 30k mark and it's now at 73k. The "service engine now" idiot light is also on and staying on.

How difficult is it to replace the valve cover gasket and could this be anything else? Is this something w/limited knowledge should attempt or should I get someone else to do it? Could you outline the steps needed in order for me to do it?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

giving the engine size usually helps,but I believe that is the 2.0?

Yes sounds like the valve cover gasket.

Not familiar with escorts,but if the plugs do not go through the valve covers and the bolts are accessible and nothing in the way,it is not too difficult.

Simply unbolt it (then rock it to loosen)and carefully scrape/bush clean the surface(taking care to get no debris in the head.

Then use high temp gasket silicone to form a bead on the cover and rebolt(best to allow overnight dying)

You can check at the auto parts store to see if they sell a preformed gasket,but most use sealer.

If they are through the cover, it is a bit more involved.

perhaps someone else more familiar with escorts can help more.

Edited by twa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me give a little bit of history. My serpentine belt(timing belt) broke about a week ago while I was driving. Had the car towed. Guy replaced it. Noticed that the car wasn't running particularly well, some roughness now & then, decided that perhaps I needed a tune up since it hadn't been done since the 30k mark and it's now at 73k. The "service engine now" idiot light is also on and staying on.

Your serpentine belt broke or your timing belt broke? VERY different situations. If the car is running poorly after a broken timing belt then there's a good chance that either the timing belt was installed incorrectly (a few teeth off when putting on the belt) or that 1 more vavles were slightly bent when the belt broke. Not familiar with the Escort motor I'm assuming it's an interference motor, most are nowadays, someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Either way, if you're thinking replacing the VC gasket is going to fix problems with the way the engine is running it's not likely, you'll just be stopping an oil leak. Still a good idea to fix, though, not sure how difficult it would be on that motor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Glad I found this thread again. I changed the spark plugs in my '02 Ford Escort ZX2 yesterday and saw that there was a good amount of oil on the threads when I pulled the old ones out. I'm no expert but I kinda knew something wasn't kosher w/that. Isn't that 1 indicator of the valve cover gasket being worn?

Let me give a little bit of history. My serpentine belt(timing belt) broke about a week ago while I was driving. Had the car towed. Guy replaced it. Noticed that the car wasn't running particularly well, some roughness now & then, decided that perhaps I needed a tune up since it hadn't been done since the 30k mark and it's now at 73k. The "service engine now" idiot light is also on and staying on.

How difficult is it to replace the valve cover gasket and could this be anything else? Is this something w/limited knowledge should attempt or should I get someone else to do it? Could you outline the steps needed in order for me to do it?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks

First, a little info on the Escort ZX2 has an overhead cam engine (possibly double overhead cam) meaning that the camshaft is mounted in the head instead of the block (that would be overhead valve). All modern 4 cylinder engines are SOHC or DOHC (Single or Double Overhead Cam). That means that the spark plugs go into the engine through the valve cover.

As far as your oil leak. Your valve cover gasket, more rather spark plug tube seals are leaking. If you buy a valve cover gasket, the tube seals will usually be included. The oil will leak from the tube seals into the spark plug tube and pool up (think of the spark plug tube as a long hollow cylinder). This can cause misfire problems as the spark plugs and ignition wires (that connect to the plugs) can become oil saturated. If the oil has pooled up far enough to saturate the wires as well, I would replace the valve cover gasket (with tube seals), spark plugs and ignition wires.

As far as your serpentine and/or timing belt problem. I would definitely need to know what broke. The serpentine belt drives all of the accessories (alternator, power steering pump, AC) and can be seen in the engine bay. The serpentine belt is the main drive belt. The timing belt drives all of the timing components (crank gear, cam gear and water pump) and cannot be seen if you look around in the engine bay. The timing belt is covered by a cover and if it breaks is rather difficult to replace. That said, if either belts break your car won't run any longer.

If it was your timing belt that broke, the engine would die immediately. The escort engine is an "interference" engine meaning that if the timing belt breaks the valves could hit the pistons and bend and/or break. This would cause major engine damage that could mean anything from not running well to making noise (ticking from engine) to not running whatsoever. If you timing belt did break, the mechanic working on the vehicle should have informed you of this before he replaced the broken belt. Also, if the belt broke at 70 something K miles, there would usually be a reason that it broke, such as a locked up pulley.

If it was your serpentine belt that broke, the engine would not die immediately but continue running until the batter could not provide any more electrical power. Your car wouldn't have any power steering either, from the point that the belt broke until your batter ran out of power. If the serpentine belt breaks, it's not as big of a deal as if the timing belt breaks. Check all the pulleys and make sure there's no problem, install a new belt and the car is ready to go. No risk of major engine damage with a broken serpentine belt.

Now... as far as your intermittent rough running and CEL (check engine light). When did it come on? Was it before or after your break down? How much time before or after? Do you know what code set the CEL? Having the code would be very helpful. The rough running issue could certainly be the spark plug tube seals leaking oil onto the spark plugs and/or wires. It could also be a bent valve if your timing belt broke and caused damage. I'd always try the easier route first (spark plugs and wires).

As far as replacing the valve cover gasket and tube seals. It isn't terribly difficult on that car. 10 bolts or so and you can pull it off. Make sure you torque the valve cover correctly when putting it back on because an incorrect torque can cause further leaks or warp the cover. Other than that, it isn't too difficult. If you were replacing the gasket, I'd also replace the plugs and wires at the same time as good measure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That would be me. :silly:

Well Fords and service managers do seem to go together,it's only natural:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Springfield, in my experience which is mostly with VW, oil saturation of plugs and wires, contrary to what you would think, does not interfere with getting proper spark to the combustion chamber. VW tells us this, too. Maybe it isn't true on some cars but I don't think VC gaskets leaking can actually cause misfires due to saturated plugs and wires. I can't tell you how many times I've seen cars where all the wires and plugs were literally swimming in oil with no misfires or rough running whatsoever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Springfield, in my experience which is mostly with VW, oil saturation of plugs and wires, contrary to what you would think, does not interfere with getting proper spark to the combustion chamber. VW tells us this, too. Maybe it isn't true on some cars but I don't think VC gaskets leaking can actually cause misfires due to saturated plugs and wires. I can't tell you how many times I've seen cars where all the wires and plugs were literally swimming in oil with no misfires or rough running whatsoever.

I've seen it happen, many times. What I believe the cause would be is really the wires being saturated in oil. The oil will get damn hot sitting in the spark plug tubes and deteriorate the rubber on the wires. The hard rubber will get soft and there will be resistance problems.

I don't think that the plugs will be a problem because they are covered in ceramic which is resistant against heat. I'd still replace them if you suspect the wires are causing the misfire though because a misfire can foul a plug rather quickly.

The VWs (at least most of them) have a metal shield around the ends of the wires where they mount to the plugs. This may counteract the heat that would deteriorate the ends of the wires where oil would pool up. I can't say I've seen tube seal leaks as a common problem on many VWs though. I mostly see it on 4 cylinder Fords and Chryslers. Most (if not all) Fords and Chryslers have rubber ends on their plug wires, terrible shielding and very brittle.

Edited by SpringfieldSkins

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The VWs (at least most of them) have a metal shield around the ends of the wires where they mount to the plugs. This may counteract the heat that would deteriorate the ends of the wires where oil would pool up. I can't say I've seen tube seal leaks as a common problem on many VWs though. I mostly see it on 4 cylinder Fords and Chryslers. Most (if not all) Fords and Chryslers have rubber ends on their plug wires, terrible shielding and very brittle.

Tell me about it, the V6 and 1.8T Passats especially leak all the time.

Edited by DCsportsfan53

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
giving the engine size usually helps,but I believe that is the 2.0?

.

:doh: Sorry..yes it's a 2.0L 4 cyl DOHC Ztek engine...but you explained it well enough so I think I can pull it off...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your serpentine belt broke or your timing belt broke? VERY different situations. If the car is running poorly after a broken timing belt then there's a good chance that either the timing belt was installed incorrectly (a few teeth off when putting on the belt) or that 1 more vavles were slightly bent when the belt broke. Not familiar with the Escort motor I'm assuming it's an interference motor, most are nowadays, someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Either way, if you're thinking replacing the VC gasket is going to fix problems with the way the engine is running it's not likely, you'll just be stopping an oil leak. Still a good idea to fix, though, not sure how difficult it would be on that motor.

OK...I was under the assumption the serpentine belt and timing belt are interchangeable terms in regards to this engine. Maybe I'm not qualified as I was dreaming. The guy who replaced the (what he called timing belt) asked me if I had tuned up the car recently as he heard some "hesitation" while it was running. It feels more like a loss of power while I'm driving. I don't know if it's an interference motor b/c I have no idea what that is..lol. Perhaps I should just get someone else to do this.

Edited by ldysknzfn1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First, a little info on the Escort ZX2 has an overhead cam engine (possibly double overhead cam) meaning that the camshaft is mounted in the head instead of the block (that would be overhead valve). All modern 4 cylinder engines are SOHC or DOHC (Single or Double Overhead Cam). That means that the spark plugs go into the engine through the valve cover.

It is a 2.0L 4 cyl DOHC Ztek engine.

As far as your serpentine and/or timing belt problem. I would definitely need to know what broke. The serpentine belt drives all of the accessories (alternator, power steering pump, AC) and can be seen in the engine bay. The serpentine belt is the main drive belt. The timing belt drives all of the timing components (crank gear, cam gear and water pump) and cannot be seen if you look around in the engine bay. The timing belt is covered by a cover and if it breaks is rather difficult to replace. That said, if either belts break your car won't run any longer.

If it was your timing belt that broke, the engine would die immediately. The escort engine is an "interference" engine meaning that if the timing belt breaks the valves could hit the pistons and bend and/or break. This would cause major engine damage that could mean anything from not running well to making noise (ticking from engine) to not running whatsoever. If you timing belt did break, the mechanic working on the vehicle should have informed you of this before he replaced the broken belt. Also, if the belt broke at 70 something K miles, there would usually be a reason that it broke, such as a locked up pulley.

I was driving to work..I was about 4 blocks from home and the car cut off..at first I thought it wasn't getting fuel for some reason b/c that's what it felt like..a loss of power. I had it towed like I said before. The dude that fixed the car called it my timing belt(my bad for saying serpentine belt..apparently they are 2 different things :doh:). When he had pulled everything off to replace the belt(which cost only $25 btw) he called to tell me that the tension pulley bolts had broken and that's what caused the problem..he replaced the belt, the tension pulley and the bolts for a grand total of $275.00(he agreed to this price prior to working on the car thinking that this was a just a belt replacement..so he stuck it by it...actually he was only going to charge me $225 then came the pulley issue which was an additional $50. It took him longer than he initially thought). Once he had it fixed he called and asked me if the car needed to be tuned up b/c it sounded like it was missing to him..I told him I would take care of that which I did yesterday.

Now... as far as your intermittent rough running and CEL (check engine light). When did it come on? Was it before or after your break down? How much time before or after? Do you know what code set the CEL? Having the code would be very helpful. The rough running issue could certainly be the spark plug tube seals leaking oil onto the spark plugs and/or wires. It could also be a bent valve if your timing belt broke and caused damage. I'd always try the easier route first (spark plugs and wires).

The CEL came on the Tuesday after having the car fixed on Saturday. So the light came on after the belt issue. The light stayed on for about 24 hours and then went off. It then came back on Thursday night. I replaced the plugs and changed the oil and the light went off and then came back on last night. The oil only comes up to the where the threads end on the plugs. It doesn't appear to be on the wires, although there was some oil in the space where the wires lay in the engine (if that makes any sense).

Thanks for all of you guys' help w/this btw. Perhaps I should just let someone else do the gasket thing especially since the bolts have to be torqued..I don't have a torque wrench nor do I know the #'s to use for torqueing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given your descriptions and responses I would have to assume that your problem is caused by the belt breaking or belt replacement. Does the hesitation happen all the time while driving? I can only assume that is intermittent because you say the CEL isn't on all the time.

Also, this hesitation... is it like a vibration when you hit the gas (misfire)? Is it a complete lack of power? Those types of things would be helpful.

It's possible that the technician didn't get the timing marks up correctly when he was installing the new belt. It is also possible that there was a valve bent or damaged when the timing belt broke. I don't think that the valve cover leak (it seems minor by your description) is what is causing your problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Given your descriptions and responses I would have to assume that your problem is caused by the belt breaking or belt replacement. Does the hesitation happen all the time while driving? I can only assume that is intermittent because you say the CEL isn't on all the time.

Also, this hesitation... is it like a vibration when you hit the gas (misfire)? Is it a complete lack of power? Those types of things would be helpful.

It's possible that the technician didn't get the timing marks up correctly when he was installing the new belt. It is also possible that there was a valve bent or damaged when the timing belt broke. I don't think that the valve cover leak (it seems minor by your description) is what is causing your problem.

Since coming back on Saturday nite...the CEL has been on constantly. The hesitation usually occurs upon acceleration..it feels like the car is not getting enough gas or not enough "umph" when you give it gas. It takes a little longer to start up as well. Usually when I hit the ignition it fires right up....over the past few days I've noticed that I have to hit the key 2-3 times before it starts. True about the timing not being set correctly..never thought of that. I do want to get the valve cover issue fixed tho...don't like the oil in there...don't want to cause more problems.

Thanks for your help with this. I appreciate it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CAR FAILURE

Woke up this morning, drove to campus for work, drove back home because I forgot some books for a later class. Went outside to turn on car and it didn't start. Tried jumping it twice but neither times worked. Radio, lights, and windows all work, but the car will not start. All I hear is a click. What is the problem? Is it a problem with the starter? How much am I looking to spend here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could be, or could simply be corrosion on the cables(especially if it is side mounts)

you need yr,model and engine size to give any real prices or detail on repair

If you see corrosion,remove the bolts and clean with battery terminal cleaner or Coke in a pinch.

Edited by twa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you hear a click, it's probably just the battery. Pretty common for a batt to have enough juice to power your electronics but not the starter. All you hear is a clicking noise when you turn it on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
De nada, before ya yank the seat check and see if something got stuffed under it(there is a cable across the two latches)

so when i went to look under the seat, a dime was caught in the track and that was the problem! i'm glad it was something easy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Save the dime,you can put it back for cheap entertainment;)

well i figured i could give it to you for helping me out haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you hear a click, it's probably just the battery. Pretty common for a batt to have enough juice to power your electronics but not the starter. All you hear is a clicking noise when you turn it on.

If that was the case, the lights on the electronics should be faded or flickering. If it is not turning over, it is most likely the starter and depending on the vehicle, it is either really easy or a real pain to replace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so haven't posted in this yet....and really didn't want to read all 374 posts...

My 4 runner is an automatic...making funny noises when I turn. Do I just need to add steerling fluid? Should I be more concerned.?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.