1996 Ford Escort 1.9L Bad Gas Mileage

Hi everyone, I just purchased a 1996 Ford Escort station wagon with 201,000 miles, it has the 1.9L engine. For some reason it is only getting 18.9 miles per
gallon (I've calculated it 4 times over numerous tanks of gas) which is terrible for these cars as they usually get around 30 mpg. I just had it tuned up (new platinum plugs and wires, new fuel filter, new serpentine belt, new battery, also had the fuel injectors cleaned) hoping that would take care of the problem but it didn't. It runs great and drives great, there are no indicator lights on the dash that are on signaling any problems. Does anyone have any ideas of common problems of Escorts that result in bad gas mileage even when they run great? I called the mechanic who did the tune-up and they had no idea what it could possibly be when it runs great and there are no lights on. His only option was he could do a compression test on the engine to see if the engine is bad but he said when it runs that great he can almost certainly guarantee the engine is good. Could it be the fuel pump, oxygen sensor, or catalytic converter? Everyone loves cars that get good gas mileage and I'd love to hang onto this car if I can get the gas mileage issue fixed. Nobody will buy it when it gets terrible gas mileage and I don't know what else to do so I thought I would post the topic on here and hope that a mechanic who is familiar with Ford Escorts could shine some light on the situation. Thank you.
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I think that car probably is more in the optimal range of 25 mpg city. I have a 90 and the original window sticker which says 30 hwy and 24 city, but I don't think I've ever gotten 30 mpg, and I reset the tripometer at every fill up.
Is you idle above 1000 rpm? If so you could scan the engine for lean codes, 41, 47, etc. At that high mileage you might have some intake air leaks, even when the vacuum lines are all good. The intake could be slightly warped against the head, the throttle body butterfly valve shaft could be worn, etc. A good smoke test would tell you if anything, if you can find a place that does that. Haven't done one myself but I would like to on my car.
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think any unmetered are will signal a lean condition to the computer and it will try to compensate by shooting more fuel into the engine, resulting in poor fuel economy. Matt
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Hi Matt, Thank you for responding. At normal temp idle, it idles smoothly around 500-600 rpm. When I had the tune-up done they had scanned the engine for all codes and had everything fixed so there are currently no codes or lights on. I live out in the middle of nowhere so basically all the driving I do is highway, yet it still only gets under 19 mpg.
Thanks, Cody
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Oh, I just remembered one other thing that might help. I noticed when running my car in the garage that it seems like an abnormal amount of water comes out of the exhaust pipe when the engine is running. It's not a real lot but more than I've seen on any other car I've owned before.
Cody
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Have you verified that the thermostat and temperature sender (the one that gives input to the computer) are working correctly? If the contacts on the temperature sendor are bad it could be telling the car's computer that the engine is cold even when it's warmed up. Similiarly, if the thermostat is stuck open it will run just fine but consume unusually large quantities of gas.
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On Thu, 27 Jan 2005 15:45:32 -0500, "wiguy79"
Look inside the intake filter box..there is a sensor that works in conjunction with the air to fuel sensor entering the carb (yes it's just a glorified carb). These borh need to functioning for correct air to fuel ratio... which would lead to more gas useage. However, this condition is most often shown by missing or loading up. I'd check them anyway..
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Had a '97 Explorer do the same thing. Changed the O2 sensor twice ended up being the Catalytic converter. $180 from Auto Zone self-installed. It might be tough to do a car yourself (very low t the ground) unless you have a lift, of course. Hope it help Jessic
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O2 sensors are the most often change GOOD part. O2 sensors rarely fail at under 150K. If they do it is a result of a problem in the fuel/air ratio controlled system that contaminates the sensor. In your case the converter, but it can be as simple as a defective plug wire that causes it to show up as bad.
mike hunt
gandalfthe_grey wrote:

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