I have a 1996 Ford Escort wagon, 5 speed, about 90,000 miles, new clutch, brakes, tires, etc., still a pretty good old car. It recently blew a cylinder, so after discussing it with our regular repair guys, we decided to put in a rebuilt engine. Well, after they took 2 weeks to get that done (long story), I finally picked up my car. But, while driving home from the shop, I was nearly killed when I took my foot off the gas pedal to make a left turn and the car didn’t slow down. It was idling so fast that when I turned around and drove back to the repair shop, I didn’t even need to put my foot on the gas. That was now over a week ago. It took them 2 days to figure out what was wrong–they say it needs a ‘solenoid idle control.’ So, they got the part, but it was not the right part. A week later they still do not have the part. (BTW, they also never call to give me updates and haven’t once apologized for leaving me stranded for 3 weeks–I live in Podunk Vermont 4 miles from anything resembling civilization, but that’s another story.) I told them if it’s not fixed by Monday I’ll have it towed to another shop, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I don’t plan to pay them more than what they quoted to replace the engine, as they admitted the new problem was probably caused by them when they put in the new motor…AAAARGH!! I am SO fed up and frustrated, I need to know what to do.

The IAC solenoid in and see if that fixes the problem. It would be a typical cause of your symptoms, so it probably will. If it IS that, they probably didn’t cause the problem, but they sound like thay’re accepting responsibility for not having checked out the installation sufficiently to have found the problem, so I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

Then I wouldn’t go back there.

Thanks for this–I agree with your assessment and will probably agree to pay for the part, but not for all the investigative time. And sadly, I will not go back there.

Now if they can just get the right part!!

Just so you know, figuring this out, getting, and installing the part is really not difficult at all. None of it is difficult. Escort parts are readily available and a dime a dozen. A new IAC valve can be replaced in all of about 20 minutes. Heck - its so easy you could do it yourself.

That said it could also just be a sticky throttle or some kind of vacuum leak. IF you get it back from them and it it still acting loopy perhaps you should stay away from them from now on.

Switching out one engine for another is complicated. There are lots of places to make errors and there is going to be a “debugging” process. Some shops handle this part of the job well, by making few mistakes and doing a good checkout of the car before releasing it to the customer.

Your shop on the other hand is handling the debugging process poorly. When you get the car back before accepting it take it for a good test run and report any addition issues to the shop immediately. I don’t think there is much you can do at this point, but a daily phone call can help them prioritize getting your car back in your hands.

Well, that’s what I have thought all along, as I’m not ignorant about cars–I even went online to find the part myself. At first I thought it was a stuck choke or that they set the idle way too high. But you can understand my dilemma, once they got going on the initial repair I felt stuck.

I have used this shop, as have my friends, with great results up to now, so this whole experience has been baffling and annoying as all get out. Your comments make me feel better, thanks.

Yes, thanks for this. I don’t plan to pay them till I’ve had it running smoothly for a few days. I got sick of calling them and getting the ‘waiting for parts’ reply every time, so I stopped calling for a while. By the third day of hearing nothing I finally sent an email saying if they couldn’t fix it I’d have the car towed to another shop…then they called. Bad bad service, very disappointing.

As UncleTurbo notes, and engine swap is a tricky thing. Perhaps they’ve already run into enough snags (routine things that you wouldn’t know of) that they’re getting to the point where the job has become a thorn in their sides? So then it becomes like me with my bills this morning. The thought of dealing with it gives me a a headache so I just find something - anything - else to do.

Anyway, do you know what about the cylinder blew? Though all sorts of things can happen, I’d guess at a dropped valve seat. In any case, you’d want to find out for sure whether the rebuild of the engine included a reworking of the head including new valve seats. If not, expect a good chance of having the same problem again. Google it. And there’s an informal “poll” going about the problem on this website: http://www.feoa.net/modules.php?name=Forums

BTW, your car does not have a choke. All cars since 1990 or so have been fuel injected, and there is no choke on a FI vehicle. There is also no way to set the idle–it is handled by the engine computer.

I’d call them every day, polite at first, but increasingly firm until they replace the part and give you the car back. Offer to bring them the part if need be. Whether or not this helps, I’d get the car out of there and not go back.

I’d also possibly consider suing them in small-claims court to recoup any rental car expenses and for the ineffectual repair if it does not help.

Didn’t know about the choke, so much for the extent of my car knowledge. They did say the idle problem is caused by the engine computer, which is what has stymied them. This repair is a losing proposition for them, since at least a week ago, so they might be pushing it aside. I did try to find the part online, but didn’t find anything with the exact name they gave me, so that didn’t get me too far. ANY THOUGHTS ON HOW I CAN GET THE RIGHT PART MYSELF? I don’t know what blew the cylinder, will ask them about that, but if we can just get the car back and make it through next summer, I will be happy. Then I can donate it to Cartalk!!