Dead escort

We pulled up to a stop light and she died right there. Tried to restart and nothing. any ideas? 1998 ford escort wagon 140,000 miles was running pretty good till the light.

Broken timing belt is one possibility. Has the timing belt ever been replaced?

“Tried to restart and nothing”

Unfortunately, that is not very descriptive. When you turn the ignition key, does the starter turn the engine, but the engine fails to fire up? Or, when you turn the key, do you hear nothing? More details would help immensely if you want an answer with real value.

However, even ithout those vital details, I will take a shot in the dark. Has the timing belt been replaced? If not, it is very possible that the timing belt snapped.

The change interval on that engine is 120k, so it is entirely possible that the belt snapped. And, since this is an “interference” design engine, a snapped timing belt will result in major damage to the engine.

Has the timing belt ever been changed?

I’m going to pretend that you said, "All electrical power was reduced, or lost!"
Such an event did happen to a friend, recently. This time, on this car, it was the corroded battery cable. To find out, disconnect the battery cables, use a round wire brush, or file, to remove the corrosion from the inside of the loops of the battery cables, and clean up the battery posts (or, terminals, if side mount). Apply petroleum jelly to the posts and cable terminals, re-attach. Try to crank.

We Need More Information, Please.

As VDC Driver states, more details would help. It could be a timing belt.

Will it start from a “jump start”?

This can be mechanical or electrical. A battery or alternator going belly up can cause this as can many other things. A timing belt breaking will do it with disasterous results.

Also, for example, I knew of a 98 Escort that did exactly what you have described. A major ground wire under the hood was the culprit. It came from the factory with a ground attached to painted metal and worked for a while. That car was very much newer than yours, but died in an intersection.

There are too many possibilities and too little information.

We pushed it into a parking lot. Tried to start, the engine will turn over. Elec. seems to be fine with lights radio 4 ways flashing. Battery is a year old with freshly cleaned teminals with a protective cleaner. As the engine is turned over it sounds a bit rough. The timeing belt has not been changed to my knowledge. The car was bought used 3.5 years ago. And yeas it has gas.

You need to get a look under the timing belt cover - which isn’t all that easy - there are two (?) easily accessible nuts @ the top and one or a few more down between the passenger side frame @ the cover. You don’t need much, though - just enough to peek in to see if the belt is still there.

This one isn’t an interference engine, so even if it snapped you didn’t necessarily wreck the engine.

Did it make any sort of nasty noise right as it cut out? And/or does it make a bad rattly noise when you try to start it?

When a timing belt breaks the engine may sound like it’s being cranked over much easier by the starter motor. In other words, it may sound like it’s almost freewheeling.

First thing you need to do is determine what is missing; spark or fuel, and they’re interrelated to some extent.

In a worst case sceanrio, have you checked the oil level?

“This one isn’t an interference engine, so even if it snapped you didn’t necessarily wreck the engine.”

cigroller–Just to make sure that my memory isn’t faulty, I just checked the Gates website, and it is unambiguous regarding the '98 Escort engine. There was only one engine available on the '98 Escort, and it IS an interference engine.

VDC - I have a '97, but never broke the belt to find out. When I picked this car up a Ford dealership mechanic friend of my brother’s told me it was non-interference (as I was going to put off the belt for a couple of months if I could - which I did - no problem).

But I also double-checked mine with the Gates guide & then checked again before this post. But now I see that I am using the downloadable guide - but if you look it up by model it gives different info (which must be where you are looking). In the replacement guide it is not indicated as interference. So now I am just confused about it.

Of course, we don’t even know if this problem has anything to do with the timing belt either.

On the Gates homepage, click on the link that says something like “check to see if your engine is an interference engine”. Enter the vehicle information, and then scroll down below the serpentine belt info until you get to the timing belt info. In red, it states, Interference Engine Application.