Escort Needs Help

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I just bought a Ford Escort station wagon 1991 with 99,800 miles one week ago and now I have the feeling that it is already falling apart. At the beginning I had the problem that the engine would die when I stop at a traffic light, not always only sometimes. Sometimes I could start the engine again immediatly, sometimes there was no reaction at all when I turned the ignition only the lights at the dashboard went on, no engine activity at all. I went to a garage and they made me pay $60 only to look at it, but anyway, they replaced a part called "idle air control" and know it is working better. The new problem is that there is a knocking in the engine whenever I slow down, can that be a problem caused by bad gas quality or a problem with the fuel injection? Also, they told me at the garage that there are so many things the car should get fixed. I don`t know what I should do first and which work can maybe wait, maybe you can give me some advice.

1.timing belt
2.serpintine belt
3.fuel filter service
4.valve cover gasket renewal of the fuel injection

Well, the idle air control is a little stepper motor that controls how fast the car idles... if this is malfunctioning, the car will not idle very well if at all... but you said that sometimes you would turn the key and nothing... this would be either the starter or the starer solenoid.... as far as your other problems, the timing belt should be changed every 60,000 miles... but that is expensive... the others that would effect you immediately and are a good idea to get done are this...

1- Fuel filter will help the car run a little better and maybe give better fuel economy.
2- Fuel injector service will do the same as above.
3- Valve cover gasket- this way you will not leak any more oil
4- Serpintine belt- this is the belt that drives that alternator and the water pump... three and four could be reversed in order if you like
5- Timing belt- this is the most costly repair of the bunch but is important none the less...

The way I ordered these is not really in most crucial order, but mostly by price... the timing belt and the other belt are probably the most crucial, but the most expensive as well... I'd say do the others first and save some money to get the others done as soon as you can afford to.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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