No compression in cylinder 4

1999 Ford Escort 107,000 miles. It was making a sound like something rubbing against a soft surface that went away after driving for a while longer. A friend suggested I replace the timing belt.

I brought it in and the mechanic replaced the timing belt and water pump.

I drove it for 2 days without a problem - total <100 miles, then had trouble starting, loud noises & loss of power while driving.

Brought it back & mechanic (same guy) said bad cylinder - 180psi on 3, 0 on #4. Broken rod?

Possible he didn’t install the timing belt properly or just a coincidence???


Possible, but of he had it most likely would have run poorly from the moment you picked it up.

This “broken rod?”, is this a guess or something he said? If one cylinder has no ability to hold pressure something is definitely bad, but it sounds more likely t be a bent or broken valve stem.

Good chance of a dropped valve seat. Google it for escorts.

Broken rod was my guess. Sounds like bad guess.

Sounds like the problem. Many hits on Google. Thanks to both for quick reply.

Did he also replace the timing belt tensioner as Ford recommends? I changed the belt on my '98 Escort 2.0 DOHC and did not change the tensioner. It failed about 3 months later causing the belt to jump. Had similar driving symptoms but I didn’t check compression.

Good question. Will ask. Thank you.

A cylinder leakdown test is a quick way to determine if the leak is through the intake valve, the exhaust valve, past the piston rings, or elsewhere. Air pressure is applied through the spark plug hose, and the engine is checked for where the air goes.

Just FYI: since this has happened a lot there are quite a few places you can pick up heads ready to install. If this was, in fact, the problem (since we don’t know yet) it is a pretty easy swap if the chunks didn’t damage the block/pistons/etc. - of course its unfortunately most likely that this did wreck other things.

Thank you Hellokit . We’ll try that test.