I have a 1994 Ford Escort LX with the 1.9L I-4 and 136k miles. I was
told that one of the cylinders lost compression so essentially the car
is running on only 3 cylinders. I went to a junkyard and pulled an
identical 1.9L motor out of a '95 Escort with about 70k on it and I
have an engine lift in my garage, but my stepdad and I just haven't
had the time or energy lately to swap the engines. I've been
considering taking it in to a shop and having it done professionally.
What I ultimately want to know is whether or not it would be quicker
and cheaper to have the original motor repaired or take the new motor
in and have them swap the engines. Anyone's help would be greatly
Do you know why there is poor compression in one cylinder? Is there water in
the oil or vice versa? Why did you get the junkyard engine? Was the junkyard
car in a crash or was there another problem with junkyard car?
It seems to me that you need more information before proceeding, like what
is the cause of the problem. If you plan on keeping the car for a few years,
you might best off rebuilding the junkyard engine and switching them. If the
problem is a bad cylinder head, you might be best off refurbishing the
junkyard cylinder head and then switching just the cylinder head. If there
is damage the bottom of the engine (e..g, a lot of gas or water got in the
oil), then you probably want to switch engines.
I think step 1 is finding out the problem, so you know what needs to be
replaced. Then, step 2, given the resources (two engines, some money, and
time) as well as knowledge about how long you are going to keep this
masterpiece of a car going, you can make a better decision.
Unless that professional shop is owned by a buddy of yours, it's hard to
believe that they will want to install an engine that you found in a
junkyard. And even if they do, who knows what are you going to end up with?
Do you know anything about the vehicle from which it came?
As for repairing the old one, it's impossible to tell, based on what you
said. Could be something fairly easy; could be a complete rebuild. Your pro
shop should be able to diagnose that for couple hours of labor. If it need a
complete a rebuild, a remanufactured engine is probably easier and cheaper.
Lots of good input so far, so I'll just add my .02. Who is "them? A Shop?
Being a 94 and losing only 1 cylinder, my guess would be on a dropped valve
the head that has not disintegrated yet. If so, you're lucky. DO NOT start the
again until you find out. The seat could disintegrate the next time the engine
started, trashing that cylinder and it's running mate (material is pulled
intake to another cylinder, blocking the intake valve open causing the piston to
the valve, causing.......
If the 'new' motor is "known good and running", have 'them' swap it and take
chances. If not ,have 'them' pull your old head and find the fault. If the
on your motor is good, 'they' can just swap the head from the 'new' motor AFTER
it reconditioned. Dropped valve seats are very common on this vintage Escort.
People have no business at all going to a wrecking yard and pulling an
out of a car if they cannot then put it into the car they want to fix.
I've done the engine swap from a wrecking yard myself and had great success.
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