97 Ford Escort



I have a 97 Escort with 142k miles. Up to this point it has been a very good car but lately it has been going through antifreeze like crazy. It also seems the engine does not get enough fuel while idling and at times will even stall on me. (It’s an automatic). I took it to a mechanic to get it checked out and a diagnostic said the accelerator placement chip is bad. Could it just be that or something else?


Let me see if I understand you- you took your car to your mechanic and told him it was going through antifreeze like mad,and stalling and he told you "the accelerator placement chip"is bad. Did he mean throttle position sensor ? Did you not share with him about the antifreeze which is the much more serious problem ?


If there is a result from a diagnostic then your check engine light must be on, and that diagnostic resulted in diagnostic codes. The codes are in the format P0123. As the shop for the exact code(s) and post. Alternatively, many auto parts chain stores will read the codes for free.

Unfortunately at the moment I think you need to worry about your head and or intake gaskets. Did the mechanic say anything about the coolant loss? Check your oil - look on the dipstick and under the cap. Does it look “creamy” at all - like a chocolate shake? Other than when the car is cold do you notice any kind of smoke from the exhaust?


The antifreeze problem just started a few weeks ago after I last got the oil changed almost 2 months ago. The engine had been idling poorly for a while, a few months at the least and the mechanic replaced the second spark plug which he said was not good after I just had new plugs and wires done just last May/June time. The car ran just fine for about 2 weeks afterward until it started again.

The idling didn’t bother me so much at first because its an old car with alot of miles and it wasn’t doing anything like stalling on me but it just recently got considerably worse when it started going through excess coolant.


I did have a cracked head gasket replaced about 3 years ago. I was worried it was that again but the oil looks just fine. Just like the oil usually looks 2 months after an oil change, still translucent but a little darker.

There is an excess amount of exhaust and it does smell somewhat sweet so I know it’s burning coolant somewhere, whether its a leak or something else I have no idea.


It may be the head gasket again - it won’t always show up obviously in the oil.

But you may also have an intake gasket leak. Ask the mechanic to check your intake manifold gasket.


That one spark plug is being fouled by antifreeze leaking into that cylinder. Your mechanic can verify this by removing the spark plugs, pressurizing the cooling system, and looking into the cylinders through the spark plug holes.
IF the head gasket is leaking, and IF you decide to repair it, the head needs to be milled true (by an automotive machine shop), before a new head gasket goes on. If this isn’t done, the new head gasket will leak, sooner or sooner.
The cylinder head gasket might (only, might) reseal if the head bolts are loosened and retorqued. Again, might.