Need a little help

I just bought a 1998 escort zx2 5 speed with 160000 miles on it. but the trans has about 60,000 I think. .I am kinda new to the zx2 scene. I am preparing my car for performance and sooner or later going to get in the car shows. My car runs hard it seems while driving it seems as if it is high in the rpms while in fifth. Is there a way to change the gear ratios or something to reduce it. also the vibration is terrible. I am looking for some good motor mounts. I found some motor mount inserts from for about $22.00. I am hoping this will help. If anyone has any tips on any steps I need to take next. I just ordered me a AEM Pulley Kit from for about $52.00. And if anyone has any performance parts of any please let me know.

I am not sure about the AEM pulleys, but be wary of some pulleys as there is a discussion going around that some pulleys may cause crankwalk due to a vast amount of imbalance. The ones tried and tested thus far on most the members here are the Esslinger pulleys, Ford Racing pulleys, etc.

As to the vibration - the ES Motormounts are excellent, decrease wheel hop and you feel them. But it will actually INCREASE your vibration, not decrease it.

If you’re looking for basic upgrades you can redo your intake or go with an iceman intake, upgrade the suspension, do the pulley kit, just to name a few things.

What kind of budget are you looking to upgrade on?

I did some research on the AEM pulleys and it had all good reviews it was highly recomended. I will be putting a cold air intake on it soon. I just feel there are more things i need to replace first. I got to put a new fuel filter on.Since you say the motor mounts will increase the vibration have any ideas what I can install to make the vibration stop. The next thing I think I’m going to replace is the Spark plug wires. Any suggestions on which ones to get. Now I dont have a budget on this car Eventualy I will be going all out. It may take a year or maybe longer but I will have this car ready one day. Thanks for the reply anyone have an intake for sale

If you’re referring to the vibrations caused by the engine at idle that feedback through the steering wheel, there is no way to eliminate this since it is a characteristic of the mounting of the engine in the car vs how the mounts were placed from ford. Aside from putting something other than a zetec with super soft rubber mounts in it, then no.

If, however, the vibration you feel is a shuddering or shaky feeling above idle or on the move you may have other issues. However, the car should feel perfectly smooth above idle, but the idle shake is perfectly normal.

If the AEM pulleys are recommended then go for it. Just be wary of odd brand names that aren’t well known. If you have questions about a part feel free to ask away, we’re here to help :slight_smile:

I don’t personally have an intake for sale but have modified my own using the resonator eliminator mod that was done on the forum from back in the day which has been proven to be almost as powerful and efficient as an aftermarket intake since these intakes are designed so well. you’ll of course squeeze a few more hp with aftermarket, but not a lot. The most approved intakes for hp gain through a shootout were the iceman and hotshot intake if you can find one.

And since i forgot to mention before:

A warm welcome to you from the zx2ms crew! Welcome aboard :slight_smile: always happy to see new faces.

what does the tach say your idle speed is? a low idle speed is frequently the culprit, as is a misaligned motor mount or exhaust pipe.

as for the aem pulleys, they will help a little but i’d recomment a crank udp instead since that slows ALL the engine accessory drives and not just the alternator and power steering.


I settled on the Esslinger under drive pulley after my research. When all the loads are on you can just detect a little bit of light dimming when you hit the brakes at a stop, but a good quality battery and clean grounds will keep it to a minimum. As for the vibration, Ford actually has a TSB that details how to “center” the mountings to minimize idle vibration. Also, making sure your entire exhaust system is properly hung in fresh mounts will help. After a lot of reading and research I decided to “clip” my air cleaner. My next step is to eliminate the intake resonator and put on a smooth elbow for the throttle. Apparently there is little difference between doing this and putting up big money for one of those “pretty” cold air kits. Besides, where I live the water can get deep sometimes and the clipped air cleaner is safer than burying the air filter in the fender for me. I used the empty cavity in the fender to mount my triple note air horns which usually has the 'nards looking for the Jaguar when I light 'em off . . . :slight_smile: . I intend to get a donor trans. to do an auto build on as mine has some intermittent issues due to it’s 150k miles. One of my ideas is to try and figure out how to provide manual gear selection to the auto tranny. Don’t feel bad guys, after many years of swapping gears and cramping my clutch leg, I don’t really need the extra .2 as this does not translate to any extra excitement on the street and riding around with the combat commuters really does demand both hands on the wheel. BTW, if anybody has a solid recommendation on what throttle body to use, I know the zetec will respond to a bigger throttle cheaper than a nightmare intake manifold swap.