For the 1997 model year, Ford chose to redesign the its aging entry-level sedan, the Escort. With this redesign, the Escort took on a rounded look that was more similar to the Contour and Taurus that were positioned above it in Ford’s lineup. The 1999 Escort came in four main trim levels: LX, SE, ZX2 Cool and ZX2 Hot. All three trim levels used a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and Ford recommended changing the fuel filter on the engine every 30,000 miles.
Items you will need
- Memory save
- Six-point, box-end wrench set
- Battery cable puller (optional)
- Small flat-head screwdriver
- Thick shop cloths
- Drain pan
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
Connect a memory saver to the vehicle, using the memory saver's instructions as your guide.
Open the hood. Loosen the pinch bolt on the negative battery cable end, using a six-point, box-end wrench and pull the negative battery cable end from the battery. If the battery cable end is stuck on the battery terminal, do not twist it or pry it off, this can cause damage to the battery. In the instance of a stuck cable end, position the claws of a battery cable puller under the negative battery cable and the center bolt of the battery cable puller in the center of the negative battery terminal. Tighten the center bolt with a ratchet and socket until the cable end is free from the battery. Or, you can use the blade of a large screwdriver to pry open the ends of the clamp, but do not twist or pound on the battery post.
Find the fuel rail – the long metal rail – on the top, rear of the engine, just behind the valve cover. Trace the fuel rail toward the passenger side until you reach the find the fuel rail Schrader valve – the metal valve with a plastic cap – on the far end of the fuel rail. Unscrew the cap from the Schrader valve to open it.
Wrap the tip of a small flat-head screwdriver in a thick shop cloth and drape another thick shop cloth over the top of the Schrader valve to catch the fuel. Insert the tip of the screwdriver into the Schrader valve and press the metal button inside the valve with the screwdriver until the small amount of fuel stops flowing from the valve. This relieves the fuel system pressure.
Find the fuel filter – a short, metal canister – on the rear, driver’s side of the engine compartment, next to the brake master cylinder. Slide a drain pan under the vehicle and position it under the filter. Pry the white, plastic clip outward from the upper fuel filter hose with a small, flat-head screwdriver, then pull the clip out by hand. Pull the upper hose from the fuel filter.
Lift the vehicle with a floor jack and position jack stands under the subframe. Lower the Escort onto the jack stands. Remove the lower white, plastic clip and lower fuel filter hose from the bottom of the filter in the same way you removed them from the top of the filter. Raise the Escort off of the jack stands and remove the stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground.
Loosen the clamp holding the filter in place, using a flat-head screwdriver, then pull the filter from the clamp and out of the engine compartment.
Slide a new fuel filter into the clamp with the flat side of the filter facing up and tighten the hose clamp until the filter is secure. Press the hose onto the upper connector on the fuel filter, then insert the white, plastic clip into the opening in the hose to secure it. Pull upward on the hose to assure it is locked in place.
Lift the vehicle and secure it with jack stands. Press the lower hose onto the connection on the bottom of the fuel filter. Slide the white, plastic clip in to the opening on the end of the hose to lock it in place. Pull downward on the hose to assure it is locked securely.
Raise the vehicle off of the jack stands and remove the stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Tighten the cap onto the Schrader valve. Press the negative battery cable end onto the negative terminal on the battery. Tighten the pinch bolt on the cable end until the cable end is snug on the terminal and unplug the memory saver from the vehicle. Close the hood. Take the old fuel to a used automotive fluid recycler that is certified to take used gasoline.
- Do not smoke or have an open flame near your work area, as gasoline and its vapors are highly flammable.
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