I have a 1999 ford escort,2000 vct engine with 132,000 miles,
the other day coming home it just stopped working, pulled over to the side of the road and tryed to restart the
engine and it just sounded strange. I had the fuel filter and pump and coil replaced because I was having a
problem starting it. The problem persisted but the mechanic said he didn't know what it was. The engine
performance was always good, engine service light never came on until the car stopped. I live 80 moles from the
nearest mechanic so I was hoping someone could tell what could be wrong with it. Its already cost me hundreds
just to find out the mechanic was stumped.
If the Check Engine light came on, there is a code stored in the PCM. If you have a scanner you can extract that code and it will point us in the direction of the problem. By VCT are you referring to the Zetec with Variable Cam Timing? Now, in absense of a code, has the timing belt ever been changed on this car? If not, I suspect that it has slipped or broken and that is the problem. It will both make the car quit running and can make strange sounds when valves hit piston tops. Severe damage may have occurred if the belt broke. If it only slipped you might have dodged a bullet. This is easy to diagnose. Remove the spark plugs and valve cover. You'll now be able to visually check if the timing belt is broken. If its there, turn the engine until you feel air pushing through the plug hole. Stick a long scredriver down the hole and turn the engine by hand until the screwdriver stops rising and starts down. Back up to the peak point of screwdriver lift. This is Top Dead Center. Ther are slots in the back of the camshaft that now should be lined up parallel to the gasket surface. If these slots are not lined up together so a straight piece of steel or a ruler can be inserted to lock the cams together, one or both have slipped on the belt. Let us know what you find. Good Luck!
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