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Hesitating Ford escort

I have a 1993 Ford Escort Wagon, 1.9L Automatic, 253,xxx miles. 2 months ago I replaced the Spark Plugs while changing oil. I gapped to .054 and installed. I did this because I was starting to feel some hesitation in acceleration at lower speeds. Now the hesitation is getting more severe. No check engine lights are on. When I accelerate from a stop I feel hesitation, it doesn’t happen every time but it is more often than not, often the hesitation happens between 1/2 and 1/2 throttle. Once I Punch it to the floor (wide open throttle) it seems to accelerate fine. I have also had this happen while cruising at highway speeds (65-75 mph) Where should I start, No I can not and will not buy a new vehicle. No I can not Spend a ton of money but I do want this thing to last a few more years and operate relatively well. Any Help would be appreciated!!!

How about the fuel filter and air filter? If they are even close to being due, change them. You should also have the fuel pressure tested under load.

I’m also going to say to check out the coil pack. This is just b/c the Escort coil packs did have some problems (though I wouldn’t call it a problem if it made it 253K), and the hesitation you describe at low speeds sounds similar to a problem I had with my Escort that was solved with a new coil pack. Those aren’t very expensive and can be installed in all of about 10 minutes with one 8mm socket driver. I wouldn’t replace it just on a guess but they can be tested.

Cig’s post is excellent. he took the words right out of my harddrive.

Let me suggest that you start by investing $20 in a Haynes manual when you go to pick up new filters…and ignition wires. That’ll help you in checking things like the fuel line pressure and the pressure regulator as well as the coil pack. It’ll be $20 very well spent.

Cig, the fuel filter has about 30k on it and the Air filter has around 9k on it. I will start with the Fuel filter (can’t hurt right). I may try the coil, depends on the price at the auto parts store. I forgot to mention that I am in fact a wrencher but I have dealt with mainly caarbeurated non computerized vehicles up until now. Thanks for the advice.

You mention ignition wires, do you mean spark plug wires? I do have a haynes, and a chiltons for this vehicle. The first thing I do when I acquire a vehicle is find the appropriate book. I was raised on those books. My first car, a 1977 Nova Concours was a real beauty to look at but boy did it run like crap. My dad looked at the car, looked at me and said “Better go get a book”. Any time I had a problem with it he would ask me “what does the book say”? He was willing to help but I had to tell him how it had to be done.

It also wouldn’t hurt to clean the throttle body and MAF (if so equipped). It might be worth it to put a meter on the TPS to make sure you don’t have any dead spots. Those things are cheap and easy.