Ford Escort 97 consumes too much gas

I have a Ford Escort 97. It doesn't accelerate fast enough and I think it consumes too much gas. I did the 100,000 km tune up recently (changed spark plugs, wires,
PVC valve, gas filter) but it didn't help too much.
I'm wondering if there are other things that I can do about it.
Some places like Wal-Mart clean the gas system using a chemical which they claim that it'll improve the acceleration and gas consumption. Does anybody has experienced that? Is it useful? Is there any risk of damage by using these type of cleaning?
BTW, the 'Service Engine Soon light' comes on most of the time.
Thanks for your comments and recommendations.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You should go to an auto parts store or mechanic and get the codes read out of the computer to get a clue as to what is happening. Numerous conditions that turn on the CEL will affect your gas mileage. Your car might be in "limp-home" mode which would also explain poor acceleration.
What gas mileage are you getting, BTW? I get about 32mpg highway, 26mpg city on a 98 Escort wagon w/auto trans, 107000 miles.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Make sure the tires are properly inflated, ensure that there is a clean air filter on the car.

The products that places like walmart sells are useful for increasing the consumption of your money.

Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner.
The car should be in wararanty for emissions (if you are measuring milage in kilimeters, you are probably in Canada or Europe, not the US, where emissions warranties are different). In the US, the emissions warranties are good for at least 80,000 mi (about 130,000 km). If it is an emissions problem, it should be fixed for free. If not, you will probably know what the problem is.
Jeff

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Most likely you need a Oxygen sensor. You'll have to get the codes read.
CJB

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I love this... Oxygen sensors seem to be the big cure-all but I haven't replaced more than a handfull in 20 years.....
Makes me wonder where some folks are stealing their gas from 8^).
Seriously, when the CEL is illuminated, we need to know what codes are set.... even better is if we know which code sets first. Next, we need to know if the code is a memory code or an on demand code and we need to decide if the code is causal or symptomatic.
If it was that simple, I'd be frequenting the soup kitchen.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I personally had that very car, and I personally had to replace the second O2 Sensor -- the one after the cat.
CJB

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim Warman opined in

I've been wondering that, too.
I've changed 2 on my cars in 15 years, neither one changed any driving characteristic.. but then, it wasnt because they HAD to be changed.
None of my brothers has ever changed one in their beaters.. All over or at 200,000 miles and owned since new
Nor have any of the three of us ever had a clogged injector.. out of about 10 or 11 cars.
And we all use Speedway gas.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Backyard Mechanic wrote:>

I agree Backyard, I have seen O2 sensors fail but it is no where near common. Most failures have been in the heater, not the sensor itself. In 23 years in the business I've seen a few just up and die, a a few get slow to react (probably from contamination). I could probably count all of them on both hands. Most of the total failures were on fairly new cars under warranty and were probably defective from new.                 Tom Adkins
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks for your comments. The mechanic who did the tune up few months ago read the Code for CEL. He told me that the gas system needs cleaning and recommended me to use supper clean gas for a while to clean up the gas system. I did that in the past few months and CEL was off, but it turned on again last week ! Does anybody has any experience with cleaning the gas system? Does it improve the gas mileage.
Thanks for your comments.
Jim.
wrote in message

neither one changed any driving

because they HAD to be changed.

in their beaters.. All over or at

a clogged injector.. out of about 10

where near common. Most failures have been

years in the business I've seen a few just

(probably from contamination). I could probably

the total failures were on fairly new cars

from new.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim wrote:

If the CEL is on, it's not a dirty fuel system. There is a malfunction that is creating, or has the potential to create, unacceptable exhaust or fuel vapor emissions levels. This will often cause a drivability problem or excessive fuel consumption also. With modern fuel mixtures that contain high levels of detergents and injectors that are inherently self cleaning, fuel systems do not become "dirty" in normal use. It's a different story if you get a large amount of trash from improperly stored fuel, vandalism, etc. Even then these contaminants will clog filters and repair goes beyond fuel additives or cleaners. You need to find a reputable mechanic who can properly diagnose the problem. There is no "band aid in a can" for this. If you would like, take the car to your local parts store, like Auto Zone, Murrays, Pep Boys, etc. and have them pull the codes. Then post the code(s) here. You'll get all the answers you could want. We need the actual fault code, P0171, P0304, ...., in that format, not "they said the xxxxx is bad". You may be able to repair it yourself once you find out what the problem is.                 Tom
Hint: On your Escort, check the hose from the air cleaner to the throttle body. Make sure it is secured tightly at both ends and is not cracked, even a little. That hose and any other things attached to it must be air tight. I used to see a lot of these hoses cracked or pulled slightly away from the throttle body causing air leaks and a CEL.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

detergents and injectors

in normal use.
Are those off-the-shelf gas additives worth anything then? Whenever I take one of my cars to a Ford dealership for an oil change, they always add injector cleaner to the tank (Or at least they add a line item for it, whether they actually do it or no).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@larwe.com wrote:

Weeellllll, how can I explain this? When added to your tank as part of PM, they can be insurance against the possibility of varnish deposits, etc. Kind of an "it's cheap, won't harm anything and it could help" sort of thing. Just like oil additives. Varnish buildup is not the promlem it was 10-15 years ago. It "can" happen if you use a lot of stale or very low quality fuel but is very uncommon.
For example: I once had a 1978 Mustang II with a 2.3L OHC 4 cyl. These motors were famous for tearing up camshafts. I changed the oil about every 10K miles, sometimes less. I always added a can of Wynns Friction Proofing. I beat on this poor motor unmercifully (I was a teenager). At 140K miles the camshaft and followers showed extremely little wear. I sold the car to a fellow who drove the car to way over 200K miles. It was running well when scrapped. Did the Wynns FP help? I have no idea. Would the camshaft have failed without the Wynns? Maybe, maybe not. The motor could have very well reached this mileage without it. There's really no way to tell.
As far as using a fuel system cleaner to help with a driveability problem, It will not likely have any effect at all. There are systems used in shops where the fuel supply is isolated and a cleaner\fuel solution is run through the injector manifold. I have seen this make an improvement in idle quality and off-idle acceleration a few times times, but not often enough to say that it should be done every xxxx miles. It certainly didn't cure any noticeable drivability issues.
Most cars I buy are high (~100K) mileage. I usually toss in some fuel system cleaner for a few tankfuls at first. I don't know if it helps, but it doesn't hurt anything. Did you ever notice how your car seems to run better after a good cleaning, wash and wax,oil change, coolant flush, etc? I've heard this referred to as the "good dog syndrome". In my experience, fuel system additives fall into that category.
                Tom
To further muddy the waters, I'm hearing great things about a product called Seafoam. You can run it through your intake manifold, put it into the crankcase, add it to the fuel tank. I've even heard of it being used in transmissions. I don't know anything about it. Time will tell if it is snake oil or a wonder solvent.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Tom,

I
against the
Interesting discourse, thanks.
It leaves me with just one question though - how does one ascertain gasoline quality? I only buy gas regularly in two places, one near my home, one near work. I don't notice any subjective difference. It all tastes the same ;)

cleaning, wash and
Yep, I don't try to explain it, just enjoy it :) My Escort makes a scrape-y sort of noise when the passenger side front wheel hits a pothole. After it's had an oil change, tire rotation and chassis lube [whatever that includes], for at least the next month that noise is gone.
Our old Taurus used to have a squeaky bearing (oddly enough it was also the front passenger side wheel). After a wash and wax it would go away for a few weeks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@larwe.com wrote:

Excuse me while I wipe the coffee off of my screen......................I'm ok now.
By now companies that sell crappy fuel are gone, cuz, well, they sold crappy fuel and went out of business. I would recommend buying fuel from stations that sell a fairly high volume. The fuel is likely to be "fresh" and of course all of the gunk in their tanks stays stirred up, everybody gets their share.
Ya know that dumpy place on the other side of town with 2 pumps (one is missing the hose), cracked windows, stacks of old tires, a couple of dogs and 2 tons of oil soaked kitty litter in what kinda looks like a service bay? Be afraid, be very afraid! When was the last time you saw a car at their pumps? Ok, so when do you think was the last time they had sold enough gas to need a delivery? Hmm, I wonder how old that gas is and what else is in their tanks? Now,remember the stinky stuff you drained out of your lawn mower gas tank? Yeah, the time you forgot to add stabilizer before winter. It didn't burn too well, did it? (Tastes like crap too, since you brought it up).
Gasoline will get "stale" over time. It seems like it takes much longer these days though. I don't know the actual process but it eventually turns to something like varnish and smelly watery stuff. Thats the technical term, I don't know how to describe it in laymans terms. Oh, and no more swiping gas out of that farmers above ground tank or your neighbors 5 gallon gas can. There can be some pretty nasty stuff in there.
Getting clean fresh gas only takes a bit of common sense. Very little actually, with a Speedway, BP not so mini mart, or other brand on nearly every corner. On the same token, it don't take much to get a pretty good cup of coffee either. As far as quality, they're all about the same. Of course the company I own stock in makes a vastly superior gasoline, which you should buy in copious amounts as often as possible.
Oh, while I'm ranting, don't use Premium in your Escort. Use regular and send me the difference in price (I accept PayPal). Your car might actually run better. Engines are designed to run on fuel with a certain octane rating. A little over or under is ok, but too low and you can get spark knock (preignition or detonation, baaad things) and too high you can get drivability problems. A few years ago GM put out a bulletin addressing hard\no start issues in cold temperatures. The PCM sets the timing to full advance while cranking and looks for a signal from the knock sensor. In cold temps with high octane fuel it was no knock-no start, call the tow truck. Kinda neat huh? Go with what's in the owners manual. Think about it this way, if it made the car run better and they could help their buddies in the petrol industry sell more expensive gas, wouldn't they tell you?

Not much on an Escort, you kind of wave the grease gun under the car and mumble a bit. Have the front struts checked and tell em to shoot some silicone lube on the sway bar bushings and control arm bushings. If that doesnt help,Maybe have somebody retorque the fasteners on the front subframe and suspension.

You just didn't learn the Taurean language, That meant "You better get this crap off of me or I'll start spitting out transmission parts".
            Regards, Tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I just remembered something. It likely doesn't apply to your front end noise (yet)since it goes away and nobody has noticed it. Keep an eye on your coil springs. I saw a lot of broken springs on 90s Escorts, especially on the wagons. I don't recall if they had this problem solved by the 98 model year or not.
            Tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim opined in

I guess we'll start over, get the code(s) read out and tell us what it is.. not what the mechanic or parts guy says it means ...or what you think it means
What is "super clean" gas? i cant find the Code for "gas system needs cleaning".. maybe it's just me, cause I'm not a "per-fessional".
Where do you live? What are your brand options there. I mean the major ones where you always see cars at the pumps
more "all gas is the same" victims! BUT your MAIN problem probably wasnt the gas to begin with
And go somewhere else to get your car worked on.
--
- Yes, I'm a crusty old geezer curmudgeon.. deal with it! -

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.