1987 ford escort


Just bought a 1987 escort with 50,000 actual miles. I?ve change oil, belts, hoses, had the breaks checked, new tires, did the recall work that wasn?t done, washed, waxed and shampooed the car. Did I miss anything? Should I replace the breaks? And should I flush the transmission or just leave well enough alone?

Thanks in advance.


Unless there is something wrong with the brakes leave them alone. DO NOT flush the transmission. Drain the fluid and replace it, but don’t let anyone flush it.


Thank you.

That was my thoughs too, drain replace and replace the brakes when they wore out.


Usually when get a new-to-me car, I’ll do a sort of quickie tune-up. I usually change the plugs, cap & rotor and wires if they look like they need it. Check the timing and I’m ready to go!

I especially recommend changing the plugs, since you usually have no idea how long they’ve been there-- you don’t want them getting seized! And even if the previous owner took it in to a shop, you don’t know if the plug gaps are correct or if the timing was set correctly.

Sounds like a nice car I always liked those, and 50K miles is nothing for a 20 year old car!


The timing belt. If I remember correctly, this model has an interference engine and it makes the belt even more critical.
If that’s the original 21 year old belt on there it’s an accident waiting to happen.


This car has the 1.9L GASOLINE engine, doesn’t it? Not the diesel? Gates.com, the timing belt maker, does NOT list this engine as an “interference fit” engine. That means that the valves are NOT likely to “interfere” with the pistons if the timing belt slipped/broke. But, it’s still TIME to change the timing belt — rubber ages and deteriorates.


Forgot about the plugs, it’s running great, but better safe the sorry.


Belt too. On the list.


It’s gas, and a new belt is on the list


Thanks to all who answered, I’m going over my receipts and see what all I had done. I bought the car and took it to the shop. I don’t have the time or space to really work on cars anymore :(.

I told my mechanic to fix what needed fixing, that’s when I found out some of the recalls hadn’d been done. Oh well, gotta love little old ladies.

Again thank you.


Did you replace the coolant?

If you replace the timing belt, you should probably replace the water pump at the same time. This would also be a good time to replace the coolant.

Spray silicone lubricant on all of the door, hatch, and hood seals.

Spray lithium grease on the door, hood, and hatch latches, and on the door hinges.

Treat the dash and other interior vinyl surfaces with 303 or other protectant.

Check the spare. Pressure ok? Excessive sidewall cracking?

I bought a 1985 escort new and drove it for 100K miles. It was an ok car for its day, but I doubt if the design life engineered into it was over 125k miles, if that.

For me, the water pump was a recurring problem. I sold my 1985 in 1992 when I needed a bigger car.

If your goal is cheap reliable transportation, I would have started with something like a 93 - 99 prizm with 125k (or so) miles.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck. I think you are giving yourself the best chance of success by bringing the car current on its maintenance.

If it’s convenient for you, keep us posted on how this car works out for you. I would be interested in
following your story.



The coolant will be changed next week. Already cleaned, polished waxed, etc the inside and out. The car looks great! Then some kids keyed the car. Not too bad, but still, in all they keyed 15 cars and broke out one window.

Most the maintenance is current, no problem with the tires, someone at some time change then and they are in good shape.

So far the only problem I have is a little blue smoke when I start it or drive it hard. I?m thinking valve guides or maybe a stuck oil ring, and a radio that will not drive the speakers on the right side. The compression is great, leading my dad to think it?s the valve guides. Then again if I remember right Ford had a problem with over fueling, who know? I?ll track down the problem.

?If your goal is cheap reliable transportation…?

I didn?t have a goal when I bought it, it was bought for my nephew as a first car from the little old lady, my dad knew her son and she can drive anymore and nobody wanted the car. My dad fixed most of the things wrong with the car, then nice nephew went out and go himself a DUI, and lost the car. (my dad wouldn?t give him the car, good for him!) It was sitting out in his back yard and he said he thought he could get $500 for it and I said sold. So now my nice truck is sitting with a cover on it while I drive this back and forth to work. If the escort breaks down I?ll use the truck while I fix the Escort.

Now I don?t worry about door dings, etc and the Escort should get better gas mileage.