For over a year, I have had a clunking noise when I hit a bump. It doesn't appear to have gotten much worse. I have checked the tie rod ends and ball joints. There is no play when I do the top to bottom and back to front check for play in the joints and ends when the car is jacked up.
Although it hasn't gotten any worse, I am out of my skill league, so I am asking if there are any last things I can check before I take it into the pro. Also, between 40 and 45mph (only), I hear a rubbing noise in the driver side front end. Once again, it hasn't gotten any worse.
I'm told that the springs - rear in particular - are prone to having the bottom of the coil break off and this symptom is then apparent. The problem is slightly hard to spot.
We've had the same thing on "Mom's Baby" '91 Escort with only 33K miles on it. I read of an old service bulletin from '93 about some bushing changes.....now the clunking at every little bump has been replaced with groaning when the wheels are turned. When the car jacked up there is no noise. However there looks like there is a leak of some sort coming to what might be the Rack & P bushing on the drivers' side. More investigation is needed.
It could well be the broken spring that someone mentioned, but I thought that problem was Taurus specific. The thing that bothers me is the rubbing sound you hear. I had a front coil spring break on a 2000 Taurus Wagon, and even though I was aware of the potential for that, and the recall, I didn't notice the broken spring until I was changing brake pads. The springs can pop loose and puncture a tire. Again, I thought the problem was only with the Taurus, but maybe there's a potential that it's also a problem on an older Escort.
If you've checked the ball joints and tie rod ends, I'd look three other places. First, check the motor mounts. It's possible that one's bad and the drivetrain's moving around on bumps. Second, look at the struts. The bushings can get bad and allow movement. Third, look to see if the rack and pinion unit is leaking. It may be that the unit itself has bad bushings and is clunking around.
When I bought this car (about two years ago?) I posted in here asking about things to check. Oh, and I posted asking about the darn rough idle, too :) If you search back here you should find whoever it was that advised checking the springs.
The rough idle is only evident on the AT's the MT's were fine. I think if Ford had tweaked up the idle a bit, you'd be fine.
And, like I said, you may well be right about the springs.
Could well be - mine is auto - however after various tweaking and fiddling as described, I did eventually iron the problem out to my satisfaction (and no I didn't just mess with the throttle cable to fake out a faster idle :).
I think it's an issue with some sensor aging, or a tolerance for (say) vacuum leakage getting worse with time, that puts slop in the feedback loops and renders the ECM unable to sustain whatever the programmed idle speed is. In my case, any and all of these factors made the noisy idle worse:
- high drain electrical accessories being on (headlamps, rear window defroster) - being in gear - a/c being on - car being warmed up.
Sometimes when the A/C compressor would kick in, the car would sound like it was ALMOST going to stall.
Actually, all my efforts were well worth it because I improved the gas mileage by somewhere between 2 and 3mpg altogether. It's a good little car.
You're absolutely right that the problem is due to drags on the engine at idle speed. That's why the AT, with the torque converter drag it ads, makes a difference. I'm glad you got yours idling smoothly.
And, as to the 97 Escort, I bought one new, drove the wheels off of it, and wish I'd never sold it. It was by far the most trouble free car I've ever owned.
I've got a 97 Wagon, 5 spd I bought new. I've replaced the counterbalancer, and the transmission (juck yard) anf I have about 135000 on it. It's still going strong, hoiwever the back coil springs are both broke. I'll be worlik on those this summer.
The problem is common on Escorts as well (especially the rear springs). Both of mine were broken on the bottom loop. You likely won't spot it unless you look for it and feel the spring itself as the break is usually under a plastic sheath
Stephan Mynarkiewicz wrote:
I've seen it happen on a 94' and 95' Escort wagon. The rear springs on both sides were broken on the bottom. You wouldn't know it from the way the car handled. The rubber tube on the bottom of the coil acts as a noise isolator to quiet the spring where it sits in the metal mount. When the coil breaks the new end drops into the mount. Then the spring can make a noise because the rubber tube is no longer connected to the remaining (functioning) part of the coil. Since both of these cars were wagons it makes be wonder if the extra weight in the rear is what breaks the springs on Escorts.