1987 Mercury Lynx - Transmission?


I recently bought a car from a friend who bought it from an old lady who drove it to church and the store once in a while.

So, the thing is in really good condition. 1987 Mercury Lynx (Old Ford Escort) only has 89,000 Miles on it. So, low miles.

I’ve been driving it for about two weeks now… and i have seen it go a little funny.

Just today, it started to hiccup a little while driving.

So, (its a manual 4 speed).
i would start in first gear, and then second, and when i hit third… it would do a little ‘hiccup’ where it does a little jerk AFTER i am in third gear Gear, and maybe a little on other gears…

It just started. otherwise it was just perfect.

Should this concern me?

Thanks Alot. I was hoping this car would last me until i leave for the Navy in June…

Change the oil and filter immediately if you have not already done so.

If not done in the last 3 years, change:

  1. Transmission fluid/gear oil
  2. Coolant
  3. Brake fluid (bleed)
  4. Power steering fluid
  5. Spark plugs and wires
  6. Air filter

If they are older than 8-10 years, change the tires immediately (including the spare)

Pour a bottle of fuel system cleaner in the tank. The car just might make it until June.

I’d start with a basic tune up to see if that cured the problem or not. Another thing you should consider doing to a car of this age is change the timing belt. The recommended change interval on that model Escort/Lynx is 60K miles. The timing belt could have lost a couple teeth allowing the timing to be off, thus run poorly. I can tell you that the 1.9L engine is a non interference engine so at least if the timing belt does break before you’re able to do this the pistons won’t hit the valves and ruin the engine. I’ve had two of them break on mine, I just had it towed home, lined up the timing marks and put a new belt on it. I have two '88 Escorts one with 518K miles and one with 88K miles. I’d also recommend having the tie rod ends and ball joints checked they seem to usually only last approximately 100K miles on these cars. I do my own repairs and maintenance so I’m pretty familiar with these cars. They are pretty dependable cars if you keep them maintained properly.

Check the motor mounts and the rubber plenum from the air filter to the intake.

In essence, this 24 year old car was driven less than 4k miles per year over its lifetime. Despite outward appearances, the car could be a mechanical basket case simply because that type of usage is the absolute worst/hardest type of use to which you can subject a car.

Based on its age, this car should have had its oil changed about 48 times so far, but I would be willing to bet at least a few bucks that probably hasn’t had an oil change more than 10 or 12 times over the years. And, if the oil was ignored that badly, you can be sure that other, more expensive, maintenance procedures were ignored as well.

As has already been suggested, this car needs to have all of its fluids (including the brake fluid!!) changed, along with all filters, its spark plugs and plug wires, the PCV valve, the serpentine belt, and the timing belt. Throwing a can of fuel system cleaner into the tank is a good idea also. The symptoms that you describe are much more likely to be an engine-related driveability problem than a trans problem, although the trans fluid is undoubtedly in need of changing.

Plan on “investing” about…$700-$1,000…on vital maintenance for this car in order to make it run reliably.