View Full Version : Ford Escort 1.6 zetec -stall at first stop (when cold)

10-17-2005, 08:19 AM
Hello Two Guys

I have a Ford Escort 1.6 Zetec 16valve (96). In the mornings, every morning, after starting fine first time and driving down the road fine, the car dies at the first stop. It just refuses to idle!

I have had this problem for some time now, but I also had burnt exhaust valves at the same time, so I suspected the low compression was causing the problem. I have, 3 weeks ago, replaced all 8 exhaust valves, and noticed the car runs better, smoother. But when cold, I still have the "stall at first stop" problem.

I have removed and cleaned the idle control valve, and the solenoid seems to be working. It idles perfectly when hot though, so I dont suspect the idle control valve.

Also, I've removed and cleaned the "throttle body" and butterfly. It had quite a bit of carbon buildup, but its clean as a whistle now. TPS seems to be working too. I unplugged it and the car revs very badly without it.

I currently have no lambda sensor at all. Reason being that it was causing the car to run very lean and had a mis. Tried driving the car without it connected, and car drove much better, smoother. Less mising, but its not totally gone :(

Is the lambda sensor necessary? It is quite expensive for a new one. Does it have a major effect on mixture? My car is very heavy on gas around town, but extremely light on the open road.

My model of the 1.6 Zetec has hydraulic lifters. How do I know if they are warn. A few people have suggested that they could be faulty (sticky when cold), but how do I test them?

Local Ford agents have been extremely unhelpful! After plugging in their diagnosis equipment, all they can tell me is that I need to buy a Lambda sensor. I know that is NOT the direct cause of my "cold running" problems, as I have been running without the lambda sensor for over a year now, and the cold running problem only started about 6 months ago.

Also, there is a miss at times when under full throttle and over 3000rpm. It is never at the same rpm range, but it varies. About 2 or 3 splutters in third gear between 3000rpm and 5000rpm. This leads me to suspect faulty injector. Apparently (in one of your other threads) if even 1 injector is faulty or dirty, and so runs lean, the others will be forced to open longer by the computer, and so they run richer. Thus running rich could case the misfire / splutter. And that would also explain the heavy fuel consumption.

Sorry for such a long question. I have been trying to solve this for some time now, so I'm willing to try just about anything now.

Any suggestion very very welcome. (replacing everything one at a time is not an option for me. Tight budget :( )

Thank you all

10-17-2005, 01:28 PM
you need the oxygen sensor for "warm" engine operation. And it's job is to adjust the fuel mixture according to the values it is reading.

Pull the injectors and see if any of them differ in color. This will give you some idea if an injector isn't working.

Have you done a tune up on the car recently. And just check the plugs to see if they are fouled.

10-17-2005, 01:51 PM
It should run RICH with no O2 sensor, it would stay in open loop mode forever and the mileage and emissions will suffer. Running rich all the time would tend to carbon things up. I would check the plugs and the EGR. If you have a bad/missfiring cylinder because of an injector or spark issue, it should show up when you read the codes out of the computer (being an OBDII system). You should put the O2 sensor back in, clear all codes and drive it again to see if you can trip a code.

10-19-2005, 04:30 AM
Thank you for your comments :)

To update you all, I found a fuel leak last night! The "manifold" that holds the injectors is not correctly sealing with the "intake manifold", and there is a fuel leak there somewhere. I will strip it all out tonight. I gues there are o-rings there to replace? Could be a little vacum leak there too.

Running rich when warm does sound right. It does use alot of fuel.

Cant put the O2 sensor back. I destroyed it! :( (stupid I know) Will have to buy a new one, and at a heavy price! Do I need this, is it a possible major cause of the probs? (splutter / mis?)

Injectors are all the same color. I think they fine. (used a cleaning aditive too reciently). Should I remove then and send them for testing / cleaning? (100k miles on clock)

Plugs, oil, filters, all replaced reciently. Plugs look fine (to my untrained eye).

ERG? Exhaust Gas Recirculating Valve? Great, this is new to me. Where do I find that, and how do I test it? Can I disconnect / bypass it?

10-19-2005, 07:07 AM
Maybe you should buy a sevice manual! I assume you do not have to pass emission tests where your at?

10-19-2005, 07:12 AM
You should get your o2 sensor working, your wasting gas. I would price out a o2 sensor at a auto parts store and if it's to expensive get one from a junk yard. Also running to rich can also play a part that the engine won't idle at engine running temp.

01-04-2006, 02:54 AM
Hi all again

My problem is still not solved (see my previous posts for details). (Escort 1.6 16v zetek 1996)

I am now suspecting the fuel pump, or, more likely the fuel pressure regulator.

I have an intermintent problem now. Sometime, for a few minutes, the car runs fine, with full power, and smoothe. But most of the time it runs "wild". The idle is also very rough, hunting between 500rpm and 3000rpm. Also, it "misfires" when driving, but unlike a normal misfire; this car actually misfires more than it fires correctly. (its undrivable!)

After driving it around alot like that, I suspect the car is actualy flooding! There is a very strong smell of fuel, and the car is very heavy on fuel.

Could the pressure be too high? Faulty pressure regulator? Or can an injector be faulty to a point that is sticks open?

Also, the fuel pump seems to make a noise at times. It sounds like a worn bearing / knocking sound. It only makes this noise on rare occasions. Could the fuel pump be packing up?

(btw: when driving the car very very hard, without letup at all, it drives fine, and has no "misfire" at all. Lots of power! and no probs. :) Unfortunately because of traffic, and the cops, I cant drive like that all day long :( )

fyi: Previously tried:
Reconditioned alternator (ignition lights dont come on -intermitent)
Replace exhaust valves (burnt 1 valve, so replaced all, gaskets, etc)
MAS replaced with NEW (mas airflow sensor, no change at all!)
Removed and cleaned ICV (idle control valve) and throttle body.
Taken car to Ford agents, and was told they cant diagnose anything, and that they recomend I sell the car!! (ha ha)

01-04-2006, 03:14 AM
Could be the fuel regulator. Do you have a fuel pressure gauge? If the diaphram was leaking, it could be pulling in fuel directly through the vacuum line from the regulator making it run RICH. Also get a vacuum gauge on it to see what the vacuum at idle is. You may have more than 1 problem, but the pressure regulator seems like a good place to investigate. Take the vacuum line off the regulator and see if the idle speed changes. If you have a handheld vacuum pump, you could try putting it on the regulator and put a small amount of vacuum on it. If it's leaking, you should pull some fuel into the pump. BE CAREFUL-gas+air can = fire, so keep a fire extinguisher or at least some baking soda around in case things get "toasty" while your testing things.

01-04-2006, 09:05 AM
misfiring doesn't sound like timing or electrical? agreed eratic timing sounds like vacuum problem.

01-04-2006, 09:10 AM
Clogged catalytic converter????? try running it without the converter, and see if there's a difference.

01-04-2006, 10:01 AM
The running rich may have toasted the converter, but he needs to figure out if/why it's running rich 1st.

01-04-2006, 10:37 AM
My guess is still the TPS (throttle position sensor). Even though you mentioned a cursory inspection it sounds like the potentiometer in the TPS has breaks in it and is sending spurious signals to the ECM while in the midrange and at idle.