The Ford Escort - Mercury Tracer
Tips and Tricks
All modifications done to your car are at your own dont mess up!
  some mechanical knowledge of cars is needed here...
if you don't know what a spark plug is LEAVE NOW!
Select from the following:
Tip#1 - Kick Down Cable>
Tip#2 - Air Box Silencer Removal
Tip#3 - Cold Air Intake
Tip#4 - Anti Sway bar Adjustment
Tip#5 - Rear Anti Sway Bar for 97+ Escorts
  Tip#6 - Temperature Sensor Mod 
 Tip#7 - Power Trunk Release-Updated
Tip#8 - 105Mph Speed Limit Removal 
Tip#9 - Throttle Body Swap
Tip#10 0.00$ Top Speed Govener Removal !

Tip#1 - Kick Down Cable 
From: Anthony
March 1, 1998
Difficulty: Easy

    For those owners with an Escort or Tracer with an Automatic Transmission, here is a trick for you. When merging into fast moving traffic, the auto trans sometimes does not grab a passing gear until your full throttle.  The Automatic Trans uses on a simple cable to tell it when to shift gears. This cable is connected to a round plate along with the Accelerator cable.  As you press the gas peddle further down the Trans cable determines at which point the trans will downshift.  There is a way you can 'fool' the Trans to think that your calling for a heavy downshift without having your foot to the floor.
    The Trans 'Kick-Down' Cable is held in with One 10 (Ten) MM bolt. This size might vary according to the year of the car.  Loosening the bolt and sliding the cable sleeve to the right will decrease the slack on the kick down cable.  Tighten the 10 MM bolt and your done.  I recommend moving the cable only about 1/4 inch, this will make the trans have harder shifts while keeping it from downshifting too frequently.  The further you move the cable, the harder the shifts and sportier the Trans will feel.  Performance gains are minimal only about .1 to .4 on the 0-60.  This is because of the flat spot that the Transmission had when shifting gears is replaced with a much faster shift.  It's not much but every bit helps!

    I have found in some unmodified 1.9L engines, it is possible to over adjust the trans cable, the transmission cable kick down can make the car hold 2nd gear too long.  The stock engine peak power is at JUST 4400, with the cable over adjusted to its maximum position, the car will hold 2nd until 5000-5500 rpm, if this happens you should reduce the tension on the cable.  This way you will shift gears when the engine is still producing its max power.

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Tip#2 - Air Box Silencer Removal 
From: Anthony
March 11, 1998
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate

    This one is another easy tip, but is a little bit harder that the Kick Down Cable.  Every Escort made has some type of air filter box.  Your exact shape and size will vary but the concept is the same.  On the 97+ Escorts the Air Box has 2 parts.  One is the actual compartment that has the Air Filter in it, and the second is a compartment that is designed to reduce the sound of the engine during a hard acceleration.  This second box, the Silencer, is a useless piece of plastic, that just restricts air flow to the engine. Removing the Silencer Box should take about 1 Hour to complete.
    Start off by loosening the hose clamp that connects the Air Box to the Air Intake Tube.  After that unlatch the clip in the middle of the Air Box, this clip holds tension on the Air Filter.  Next you want to unbolt the Air Box, using a 13mm Socket remove the 3 bolts that hold the Assembly in place.  You should be able now to remove the Air Filter, and the Top part of the Air Box, be careful not to pull to hard when removing because there is an Air Flow Sensor (Very Important) attached to the Top Part of the Air Box.
    Next you need to remove the Lower part of the Air Filter Box,  it is held in place with a rubber gasket, i found it easier to just remove this Gasket and pull the 2 apart outside of the Engine Compartment.  The Gasket is held in by Two 10mm bolts. With the Rubber Gasket and Lower Part of the Air Filter Box removed your 90% Done.
    The Silencer Box now exposed.  Using a 1/2" Socket remove the 2 bolts that hold it in place.  When Pulling the Silencer Box out, you have to rotate it slightly to get it around the sheet metal.  You can take the Silencer Box and use it to hold pennies, or as a paper weight or something.  Assemble the Air Filter box by first installing the rubber Gasket.  Then the Lower section plugs into the Gasket, put the air filter back in and secure the Box and all other bolts and hose clamps.  Make certain not to damage the Top Part of the Air Filter Box with the Air Flow Sensor in it.
    With the Box Removed you should hear a lightly deeper engine sound.  In City Driving, Removing the Silencer Box Gives Minor advantages.  BUT when you get the car out on the Highway There is a big difference in throttle response.  The car feel to pull all the way up to 5700 RPM, not like before with a noticeable flat spot after 4500 RPM.  I have not done a 0-60 test but you can really feel, and hear a difference when hitting 4000+ RPM.

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Tip#3 - Cold Air Intake
From: Anthony
July 26, 98
Difficulty: Moderate

    You have seen the adds for Cold Air Intakes and here is a way to get the same performance but keep your $$ in the bank.  Before you start you must have removed the silencer box, like mentioned in Tip#1.  Remove the air box, and the rubber mount that attaches it to the fender.  Move the Airflow Sensor out of the way.  You should now have a large open area to work with.  Take the air filter box and cut away the end of the pipe ( the flared end ).  Use a Back Saw in a Miter box to get the best results, the plastic is really soft so cutting it should take 2 minutes.
    Next take a 2 Foot section of Flexible Air Duct and run it inside the fender where the old rubber mount used to be.  Run it down behind the wheel liner.  You can remove the plastic wheel well cover to pull it down further.  Position the Duct so that it faces forward this will prevent breathing any water.
    Now take a second section of the Air Duct and run it through the hole again. You can run this down into the wheel well again with some difficulty, so just keep tryin'.  OR you can run it forward until its behind the headlight assembly, for a ram air effect.
    Take the air Filter holder and, using 2 - 2" hose Clamps, attach the 2 Air duct hoses. attach all the necessary bolts and your DONE.
    NOTE - you might have to attach only 2 of the bolts that hold the air box in place to prevent crimping the air duct, 2 bolts are more than enough to hold it in place.

    Depending on the outside Temperature Results are Very Impressive.  I have noticed Huge results when the outside temp is below 50.  Also when its really hot during the day the car will not feel as sluggish.  The total cost for this project is 6 $ or Less!! depending on the type and size of Duct used.  Total time is 1 hour from start to finish.

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Tip#4 - Anti Sway bar Adjustment
From: Robb
July 26, 98
Difficulty: Easy

    This is the Easiest Mod you can do to your car.  Take a 12 MM ratchet and Tighten the Sway Bar end links bolts.  You should not over tighten the bolts because you don't want to split the rubber bushing that the stock suspension uses.
    Total time for this Mod is under 5 Minutes, actually it took more time trying to find my 12MM socket than it took to tighten the bolts!  With the adjustment the rear of the car feels a bit more responsive, this mod will yield better results if you replace the rubber bushings with Poly Bushings, which do not flex compared to the rubber bushings.

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Tip#5 - Rear Anti Sway Bar for 97+ Escorts 
From: Anthony
August 11, 98
Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult
    Sorry Guys but this tip is just for the 97+'s.( The 2nd Gen. Escort has this bar as STOCK Equipment!)  This is a tip will take some mechanical know how, but its well worth it.  The New Escorts rear anti sway bar was changed from the previous generation.  It now has a tiny 1/2 inch Anti sway bar. (Same on the ZX2)  BUT using a sway bar from the 92-96 Escort will give you a 3/4 inch bar.  The swap is an exact match! and NO modification is needed to the end-links or mounts. here it goes...
    Start by unbolting the end-links with a 12mm socket wrench on the lower bolt, and a 1/2 inch open end wrench to hold the top nut from turning.  After unbolting both endlinks (left and right side) take a 14mm socket to the large bolts that hold the bar to the frame, these bolts will be really tight so you can spray some WD-40 on the bolts to help out. Remove the clothes hanger they call an anti-sway bar and your 1/2 done.

    Replace the smaller bar with the new 3/4" bar, making sure to use the larger center bushings.  Start by bolting the Center bushings first, then bolt on each end link.

The Mod takes about 15 minutes, and you will notice a HUGE improvement over the stock bar, Total cost including Poly Bushings should be under 30 $

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Tip#6 - Temperature Sensor Mod 
From: Keman (ZX2 List)
Feb 18, 1999
Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult

This mod is for the hard-core creative types out there. Don't bring your car into the dealer with this mod in place, as they can legally void the warranty on your Computer, Wiring harness, and probably your ENTIRE engine. Run premium fuel only, and if you hear your engine pinging at any time after this mod, use a smaller capacity resister, or eliminate the modification entirely.

As some of you might have noticed, your ZX2 tends to be fairly weather dependent on it's scale of performance. Hotter weather means less dense air, and less fuel can be mixed with the air charge, and less power ensues. This little sensor shown below is an air intake temperature sensor. Now, the pic you see, is what MY sensor looks like. Notice the splice and the resister wired in? What's that? Your grinning wanting to know what I did... alright. =)

    Give the above sensor a good tug and it will slide out of the big black air intake tube. Take a good look at it. If you hook an ohmmeter up to it, you will find that depending on it's temperature, it will read anywhere from 20K ohms (at about 90 degrees) to 35K ohms (at about 60 degrees). It measures the temperature of the air going into the ZX2.
The PROBLEM... is that chances are if you've been running your car for a while- when you go to pull this sensor out, it, and everything else under the hood, will be around 110 degrees, or more. The computer listens to this sensor when determining how much ignition advance you should get. Given that your running 87 fuel. (hey, don't laugh, it's the computers default) it doesn't give a whole lot of advance. And there is plenty of room for advance if your running 92 gas. (Lets take advantage of some of that room) That combined with the overly hot conditions, means a real lacking for ignition advance. No wonder a superchips replacement chip with advanced timing did so well on our engine.
    Pinging, or pre detonation, will occur with too much ignition advance and too little an octane figure. Pinging/Pre detonation, is where the flame-front of the explosion in the cylinder strikes the piston as it's coming up, forcing the piston to compress the entire explosion. This is "bad". It will start out by destroying your piston rings, then bend rods, and finally punch a hole right through the piston, as I've seen when people run nitrous and don't let off when pinging occurs.
    Stick a 5K ohm 1/2 watt, 5% tolerance resister (see: Radio Shack) INLINE with the temp. sensor, and it will force the computer to take into account the fact that the air going into your ZX2 is cooler The car springs to life, throttle response becomes very crisp, and the ZX2 pulls much harder and more reliably... with less atmospheric effects.
    I'm running a 10K ohm resister inline myself for even more ignition advance. So far, no problems. I used a "Two Position terminal block" (available at your local radio shack for $2.19)  to splice in and allow me to put a resistor in and not have to solder anything, and allow me to swap in new resistors very easily. The wiring block is two pieces of metal, each piece has two screws on it. Surrounded by plastic separators. Take off some of the electrical tape going to the sensor, cut one of the wires, strip it, put one wire on each side of the block. And "connect" the two terminals on the other side with the resistor.
     For now, it's just hanging there. When I find that a 10K ohm resistor doesn't give me any problems in a couple weeks I'll remove the block, solder the resistor in-line with the wire, and wrap it back up with electrical tape. Poof, I appear stock, and I bet the dealer would never even notice it even if they looked for it.

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Tip#7 - Power Trunk Release 
Originally From: Pedro
Modified by : Anthony
April 22 1999
Difficulty: Moderate

after some complaints of inaccuracy im going to clear some things up with this tip:

            can't create something that you want if you dont have the existing wiring and trunk solenoid.

            cutting the wire will make the switch on you keyless entry remote not function, just splice the wire that your running for the switch into the existing wire.


First you will need a push-button switch (you can buy it in any electronic store for under $2), some 14 gauge wire and pliers

(1) Remove the floor-panel (the one that goes besides the seat) of the passenger side ( you will need to take the bottom door trim off first)
(2) Remove the front passenger lower panel, its held in by 2 snaps.
(3) Under the panel you will find a WHITE wire harness connected vertically,
(4) disconnect the white wire harness,
(5) Find the GREEN with BLACK STRIPE wire located inside the bunch of wires that the WHITE harness contains.
(6) Splice your switch wire into the GREEN with BLACK STRIPE wire DO NOT CUT THE WIRE!
(7) connect this new wire to one side of your switch
(8) Find any METAL part of your car and attach a ground wire for your new switch.
(9) Attach that GROUND wire to the 2nd terminal of your switch
(10) Press the button, your trunk release will pop open.
(11) Plug the WHITE harness back in and put your car back together.

mount the switch in a location that is convenient for you.

-- I have done this mod and its a real help because you can open the trunk with the key in the Ignition and also you donít have to find your keys to get into the trunk.

Tip#8 - 105Mph Speed Limit Removal 
From: Bill (
May 18 1999
Difficulty: Moderate

So you want to disable your speed limit (AKA Governor)? Pictures coming up soon. Here ya go guys!! Remove your dual cup-holders and locate the wiring harness beneath them. Cut the black plastic piece surrounding the wires. Carefully find the white wire with the BLACK stripe. 'mere is a white wire with a green stripe... make sure thatís not it Cut the white wire with the BLACK stripe. All done!

I added a toggle switch to my governor. For about 3 dollars, you can go to radio shack and buy a small switch. Connect one side of the governor wire to the center terminal, and one to whichever side you want. Drill a small hole in your center console, and mount the switch, I also had to buy a small reel of hook-up wire to lengthen the governor wire.

Your car should have a check engine light pop up after a couple days This is normal, don't worry The switch I use makes it so that my light doesn't come on for the governor. or its creators WILL NOT be held responsible for any damage or financial compensations caused in whole or in part by the information held on this page. If you choose to disable your governor, please be responsible with it. Webmaster

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Tip#9 - Throttle Body Swap 
From: Brad
May 18 1999
Difficulty: Difficult

    You will need to first obtain a 3.8 liter throttle body from a Taurus, Sable, Mustang or any Ford vehicle that has the 3.8 V6. I picked up one from a local junkyard for 15 bucks. Your actual price will vary.
    The bolt pattern on the 3.8 TB (Throttle Body) is the exact pattern of the 1.9 engine. (also for any late model ford!) You must remove the 1.9 TB. Save the gasket (if you have one) when you remove this. The 3.8 TB has the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) and the throttle linkage on the opposite side of the TB from the 1.9L. The 1.9 has the throttle linkage on the left and the TPS on the right. The 3.8 TB has the linkage on right and the TPS on the left. This will pose a problem.
    You will have to cut and splice the TPS wires so it will plug in correctly on the left side of the 3.9 TB. I don't know if this has any adverse effects. It works on my car. The Throttle cable is much more complicated. It's a better idea to bolt up the TB to figure out the placement of everything. It will have to be removed to have the intake manifold ported to match the larger diameter of the new TB. I'll cover that part later.
    The placement of the throttle cable is on the opposite side of the TB and does not have the same type of linkage. The 1.9 TB has a roller type linkage that is has very stiff spring return where the 3.8 has a much different type of linkage that requires a type of clip to hook to it and the spring return is much easier. To connect the 1.9 throttle cable to the 3.8 TB requires some fabrication. I personally used a crimp on eye-ring used for electrical or audio connections. I crimped this onto the throttle cable and hooked it over the shaft that hooked into the TB linkage. This isn't the best way however I have yet to come up with a better way. You might be able to get the off the original car and make it work, I didn't have a chance yet to try this. To keep it from flying off the shaft, I used a smal strap to secure it so it wouldn't be able to come off. You may want to do this next step before the one I just did but it's a matter of how your going to mount the throttle cable adjuster.
    If you notice on the stock setup, there is a metal bracket that bolts to left of the TB that holds the cable adjuster. This must be mounted in a solid place to allow for correct pull on the TB linkage. I removed the bracket and drilled a hole in the middle of it just behind where the cable adjuster snaps in. I then got 2 small metal strips about 4 inches long and an inch wide and drilled a hole in the middle of them. They need to be a heavy gauge to prev from bending. Then I placed the metal bracket on top of one of the first pieces of metal and stuck the bolt through both their holes. Then placed that in the middle of the 2nd and 3rd intake manifold runner. I then placed the remaining piece metal on the underside of the intake runners and put the bolt through it and placed a nut on the end. This will probably require an extra set of hands to hold one end while you tighten the bolt. This will allow the two pieces of metal to sandwich the intake runners between them and once tightened, it will be hard to move. This will allow you a tight mount for the cable adjuster. Then make sure the cable mount is pointed toward the TB and hook everything up. This placement is strictly temporary on car. If your cable then runs across what I believe to be the EGR valve, you'll need to put some tape on it to protect the cable from fraying from rubbing across it.  Once this is done, your pretty much ready to go.
    If you skip the step of port matching intake manifold to the TB, you'll have a flat spot in the power. I took a knife and cut the gasket to the hole size of the new TB. Then placed that in the correct place on the intake manifold and traced how much the hole needed to be enlarged. I then stuffed a rag in the manifold and used a Dremel with a flex shaft and a high speed metal cutting bit to roughly shape it. Then used a sanding stone to smooth it as best it could then smoothed it out with a sanding drum. I don't know if that's a good way to do but it worked. It takes a bit of time but is necessary in order to get a smooth power delivery without flat spots. You only need to port it about an inch and make sure it's smooth. Now you can bolt everything up and make sure the car runs and accelerates properly.
    You will notice the gas pedal is extremely easy to push down now. I hated the feel of that so I found a stiff spring hooked one end to the idle adjustment screw and the other end to the bottom of the linkage. This gave me a slightly harder than stock but I'd rather have it harder than as light as it was. That's it, it should work and give you a nice bit of added power if the porting isn't done, it won't make much difference and will feel even weaker.
    Just a note, I'm planning on fabricating a better cable adjuster mount and attachment of the cable to the linkage once spring comes. I'll update this when I get that done so you can find out how I came up with it. If you have any ideas or questions involving this swap, email me at I'll try to answer any questions or take any comments into thought.

--this is a hard mod but you will have a huge increase in performance

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Tip#10 - 0.00$ Top Speed Govener Removal 
From: Bill
July 12 2002
Difficulty: So easy it makes my head hurt
First things first i DO NOT reccomend this mod if your riding on stock tires! Stock tires are not rated for speeds over 100MPH, DO THIS MOD AT YOUR OWN RISK !!!!

now back to the fun... this guy from the Escort ZX2 list that tod me of this trick, so props to him !
what you need to do is ckick the E-Brake up just untill the LED on the dash goes on. this will shut down the govener, i have no idea how it works, and i have tried it. BUT i have 3 guys that said it works, give that a try.. if it works you can put that light ona switch, its really easy it just goes to ground to turn the light on, and youll b set.. lemme know if this works for you car too.. later anthony
thanx ant.
the e-brake thing really works hit 113 before i backed off.
any way gotta go talk soon

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