The car I am writing about today is my winter beater, which is a 1999 Ford Escort SE sedan which says it has a tick over 155,000 miles. (Pictured above) The problem I’m having with it is it it getting dreadful gas mileage. My average tank is about 19 miles to the gallon (in comparison that is what my twin turbo straight six Volvo gets around town). Over the winter I replaced both of the o2 sensors and got a marginal improvement (about .4 mpg).
And here’s the kicker: the dumb thing runs perfectly. No error codes or anything. Idles smooth and everything (well as far as Escort refinement goes). When I go on the highway (which is fairly often) I can see upward of 21… If I’m lucky. (Read More…)
TTAC Commentator Tree Trunk writes:
I comment on TTAC as Tree Trunk from the frozen tundra in interior Alaska and am looking for advice on how to deal with an out of control repair of an old beater. I have a ’95 Isuzu Rodeo with 130K that until recently had been a pretty low maintenance, reliable ride.
Out of the blue the check engine light came on and the engine stalled. A handy friend checked all obvious things to get it running again without success. It would start up run for a few min before reving wildly and then die. Luckily I thought, it broke down close to a reputable shop (NAPA certified) so we towed it there.
Seven weeks and two thousand dollars, not to mention the rental car cost I am back at square one. First they diagnosed bad PCM, a rebuild unit was in five weeks later, two weeks behind schedule. I made it half a mile down the road before it stalled again.
This time around it was supposedly a slack timing belt hitting the crankshaft sensor causing the engine to stall. Week and another thousand dollars later, after first ordering the wrong parts and then not all the needed parts the engine started up, but wouldn’t you know it stalled again.
In hindsight, I should have scrapped it the moment it broke down. But short of finding a time machine that is not an option.
Now I am waiting the next call from the shop and need advice from you and the best and brightest. It seems obvious that the one or both of the diagnostics were faulty and some third thing is causing the stalling.
What do I do, keep paying with a smile, demand a full repair free of charge or something in-between?
Sajeev answers: (Read More…)