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How to Change an Oxygen Sensor on a Ford Escort

by Cassandra Tribe

The emissions control system of your Ford Escort is designed to keep your engine running at its best, ensuring good gas mileage and reliable performance. Changing the oxygen sensor on a Ford Escort every 5-6000 miles is a part of the regular maintenance you can do yourself, to help keep your engine running smoothly. You may want to consider changing the sensor even if you haven't past the recommended mileage if you begin to notice a difference in the mileage your Ford Escort is getting or the engine begins to run roughly.

Open the hood on your Ford Escort and disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery. Place it to the side of the battery so that it cannot fall and accidentally allow the battery to connect and the engine to start.

Locate the oxygen sensor. On a Ford Escort, the sensor may be found either on the exhaust manifold, where the exhaust pipe enters the engine block, or it is attached directly in the header pipe beneath the exhaust manifold. The oxygen sensor will look like a cylindrical plug sticking out from the manifold or pipe with a #4 wire attached to the very top.

Disconnect the wire by gently pinching it between your fingers as close to the sensor tip as possible and pulling the connection apart.

Crack the sensor loose by putting a 7/8 wrench on the sensor so the wrench is firmly on the nut of the sensor and lightly tapping the handle of the wrench with a hammer until the sensor and the wrench move. The nut of the sensor looks similar to a regular nut but it is molded as part of the sensor body.

Use the wrench to unscrew the sensor and remove the sensor.

Spray a short blast of carburetor cleaner in the sensor hole and follow this with a short burst of air from your can of compressed air to clean out the hole.

Take your new oxygen sensor and insert it into the hold. Hand tighten the sensor with the 7/8 wrench.

Attach the #4 wire to the top of your new sensor.

Reconnect the negative battery cable to the battery and close the hood of the engine.

Tip

  • Place a small dab of electrical conducting gel on the connector of the #4 wire and the tip of the oxygen sensor before attaching the wire to your new sensor.

Warning

  • Do not over tighten the sensor or it will break. Tighten the sensor until you can no longer turn it by hand with the wrench.

Items you will need

About the Author

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.

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Photo Credits

  • Beck-Arnley