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How to Troubleshoot & Repair a Ford Escort ZX2

by David McGuffin

The Ford Escort ZX2 first became available in 1998 as a sportier, coupe version of the popular subcompact car market. The ZX2 remained on the production lines until 2003 as the Ford Focus began to phase in as the main fuel-efficient sub-compact model, which eventually replaced the Escort entirely. According to Edmunds, most owners, with proper maintenance, have reported "trouble-free driving well into the 100,000-mile range," although some drivers have experienced troubles with the automatic transmission.

Plug the scanner into the OBD II (on board diagnostics) port, located underneath the steering wheel toward the driver's side door, and turn on the scanner. Turn the ZX2's ignition key to the accessories position and allow the scanner to read the engine codes from the car's computer. Before replacing any sensors that may come up on the OBD II scanner, remove the sensors and use a multimeter, set to voltage, to check the electrical connection's terminal leading to the sensor from the vehicle's electrical harness. When the key is turned to the accessories position, the terminal should read between 4.0 and 5.0 volts. Replace any sensors that come up on the OBD II scan and whose electrical connection has a positive reading on the voltmeter. Reset the check engine light using the OBD II scanner once the sensor has been replaced.

Service your transmission regularly to prevent potential transmission problems. Remove the dipstick from the transmission tube and wipe it clean. Reinsert the dipstick into the transmission tube and inspect the level, as indicated by the dipstick and the color and odor of the fluid. If the level is too low, use a funnel attached to the dipstick to add more transmission fluid. If the fluid is burnt or has a dark black or brown coloration, then it should be replaced.

Drive the ZX2 up on a set of car ramps to change the transmission fluid and filter. Place a catch pan underneath the vehicle's transmission pan and unscrew the transmission drain bolt. Use a socket wrench to unscrew the transmission pan's mounting bolts and remove the pan, wiping it clean with a rag and automotive solvent cleaner. Wipe the magnets in the ZX2's transmission pan clean. Unscrew the fasteners for the transmission filter and insert a new one. Add 4.1 quarts of F4E-III multi-vehicle automatic transmission fluid.

Check for oil leaks from the ZX2's dipstick tube during cold weather (models 1997 to 1998). A common, easily solved problem during colder weather is to make sure that the dipstick is inserted fully into the tube during times when the temperature reaches below the freezing point.

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About the Author

David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

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