Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
150,344 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. junk it; repair costs more than vehicle's worth! (1 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
1997 Ford Escort engine problems

engine problem

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1997 Ford Escort Owner Comments

problem #2

Dec 222015


  • Manual transmission
  • 179,687 miles


installed used engine from and run good for 6 months and than a valve seat. car went 10k and called on warranty when engine was purchased. was told had 3 year 36k warranty thought it was good deal knowing engine problems. called to start warranty problem only to be told you have no warranty. what a phony misleading money thieves charged extra for motor and won't honor warranty stay away from gotengine they are thieves

- , Prosser, WA, USA

problem #1

Jan 102012

Escort LX 2.0L Spi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

The dreaded #4 valve seat failure. An extremely common, often fatal flaw in the design of Ford's '97-'04 Escorts, Tracers, and any other vehicle powered by this four cylinder, 2.0 SPI engine.

As these cars approach 100k miles, bits and pieces of the steel valve seat slough away from the aluminum cylinder head and drop into the combustion chamber, destroying the piston and other internal parts of the engine. KABOOM, without warning. Like tossing a handful of gravel into your engine oil, or a grenade into your valve cover.

The damage is sometimes preceded by a blinking 'SERVICE ENGINE SOON' idiot light. (Because we were idiots to buy these ticking bomb POS's.)

My wife's car had 121,000 miles on it when it began to momentarily run rough, and then without explanation, smooth out and run fine, sometimes for days on end, until the cycle would repeat. Sometimes the warning light came on, sometimes not. then one night, of course in the middle of freaking NOWHERE, with no cell phone coverage, the goddamm piece of sh*t started clanking and clattering like it was about to explode, as my wife tried to limp it back home from work.

Our local mechanic tested it a few days later, and found zero compression in cylinder #4. He said it had a stuck valve, probably #4 exhaust valve. It ran like total dogshit, but I 'drove' it the 4 blocks to our house. Once home, I removed the valve cover, and for a week I tried soaking the stem of that goddamm stuck valve with KROIL penetrating oil in a futile attempt to un-stick it.

Then I did an internet search, where I discovered and read the MANY accounts of other Escort owners and their identical symptoms and engine failures, and I KNEW we had also fallen victim to Ford's sucky engineering, and their refusal to acknowledge this obvious design flaw and institute a defective product recall. There would be no inexpensive fix to this internal combustion disaster. Our mechanic estimated $1500 to tear apart the engine and do a complete valve job and cylinder head overhaul. The car's barely worth that much when it runs OK !!!

It seems all of this sh*t hits the fan the moment you overheat any of these crapboxes; even driving a well maintained one of these on a 100 degree day can cause the valve seat failure to occur, if you have high enough mileage on your Escort's engine. It afflicts even Escorts that have been meticulously maintained by their owners, because it's not a maintenance issue. It's a poorly designed method of crimping a ferrous valve seat into an aluminum cylinder head; aka FORD DESIGN FLAW.

What a totally unreliable, disposable piece of planned obsolescence. Ford, where Quantity is obviously 'Job One'. Ever wonder why junkyards seem to have an abundant supply of very clean escort bodies in need of an engine? F*ck, they can't even keep any inventory of undamaged Escort 2.0 engines because they all sh*t the bed at 100k miles. Go ahead, try to buy a replacement junker engine for a '97-04 Escort. Good luck with that. Me, I'm buying Honda or Subaru next time. Suck it, Ford.

- , Portland, Ore, USA

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