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1999 Escort ZX2 pinging


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09-12-02, 07:22 PM   #1  
phillyphil
1999 Escort ZX2 pinging

Hi all,

1999 Ford Escort ZX2, 2.0L Zetec, auto tranny, a/c, 76k miles

My problem is this; this car has always been a pretty good little car, but a problem I've noticed since I bought it used (w/22k miles) involves weird pinging. Let me explain, I've noticed a pinging sound coming from the engine bay anywhere between 55 and 60 mph, especially when cruise control is engaged. It also appears (randomly) upon hard accleration, especially while ramping up to "hard" acceleration from a normal acceleration up to road speed (55-60 mph). The problem doesn't seem too bad when on the interstate (70 mph), but can appear on hard accel, even at that speed. Had it in a Ford dealer about a year ago, they didn't find anything wrong with it (what the heck they did to NOT find anything wrong with it, I don't know). Recently tried Chevron Techron Fuel System cleaner w/full tank of gas; throttle seemed more responsive, but pinging is still there. What do you think? No EGR on this engine (I believe); could it be the 02 sensor? What else? Mileage is still good; around 30 (32 road; down to sometimes 24-25 in town), so I don't know what to think. Should I ignore this problem? Or should I try to fix it myself (I like doing this stuff myself because then I KNOW that the repair was actually performed)? Thanks in advance, and look forward to your ideas.

 
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09-12-02, 07:34 PM   #2  
what grade of gas are you using, if using low octane you might try a couple of tankfulls of higher octane such as 91 and see if it goes away, some models have what is called an octane adjust bar which is nothing but a square plug with a jumper you remove the jumper from it to activate the lower ignition timing curve it only reduces timing by 2 degrees, if it does have an egr, carboned up vacum ports going to egr will also cause pinging but should also cause a check engine light.

 
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09-12-02, 10:32 PM   #3  
knuckles
A dirty Mass Airflow Sensor can cause a lean condition, which would cause a ping. It's pretty common with late model Fords. You can clean the MAF with aerosol electronic parts cleaner.

If the problem persists after cleaning the MAF, see your Ford dealer. Ask them to check for PCM Calibration Updates. A PCM reflash with the latest calibration often cures spark knock on Ford cars.

 
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09-13-02, 07:59 AM   #4  
phillyphil
Thanks for the replies. I'm currently running normal 87 octane gas, and have tried 89 gas to no avail. I'll try cleaning the MAF today with the cleaner mentioned, and let you know what happens. Again thanks.

 
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09-13-02, 03:24 PM   #5  
phillyphil
Well, let's see I think I did this right; first, took off the air cleaner, then unplugged the MAF from its connection outside the air cleaner, and then unplugged the MAF inside the air cleaner. I cleaned the following; all electrical connections, the metal on the piece of the MAF itself, and the inside (dead center) of the MAF, which had what appeared to be four little pintles hanging down from it. First of all, everything was surprisingly clean to begin with, but I hosed them down with electronic parts cleaner anyway. The results? Well, seemingly better throttle response (placebo effect, maybe?), but alas, no cure for the pinging. Knuckles, when you're referring to PCM updates, do I just call the dealer in regards to that, see if they have an update, and then let them perform it? I'm guessing that'll cost in the $200-$300 range, am I right? And does PCM stand for Powertrain Control Module, and is that the computer that runs the whole show?

Thanks,
phillyphil

 
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09-13-02, 07:33 PM   #6  
knuckles
Sounds like you cleaned the MAF correctly.

The PCM is indeed the Powertrain Control Module. The dealer can check for updated PCM calibration if you bring the car in & ask them to hook it up to the WDS diagnostic tool. The WDS will tell them if an update is available. They can then install the update with the WDS. The entire procedure takes about 10 minutes max.

Ford allows .3 hours to reflash (update) a PCM under warranty. Your local dealer is free to set his own rate for non-warranty updates.

 
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10-03-02, 06:08 PM   #7  
phillyphil
AN UPDATE...

Hello all,

Just wanted to thank you for your suggestions; Knuckles, you were right! Took my car in today to the local dealer; they performed the update for my PCM, and now, no pinging! (at least for now) Car seems to be MUCH more responsive as well. And guess what? On top of that, since my car was still under warranty, it didn't cost me a dime! Thanks again...

 
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10-03-02, 09:51 PM   #8  
knuckles
That's great! Thanks for letting us know the outcome.

 
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