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Ford Escort RS1600i (1982 - 1985)

Last updated 16 December 2014


Buying Guide


  • Rust is the main enemy of the Ford Escort RS1600i.
  • Check for rust in the bulkhead, battery tray, rear chassis rails, sills and floorplan.
  • Look behind the front panel, front wings and rear arches for rot, too.
  • Doors and tailgates corrode as well.

Engine and gearbox

  • Noisy tappets are a common complaint.
  • Check for blue exhaust smoke – that means the oil control rings on the pistons are worn.
  • The fuel-injected CVH engine is relatively tough as long as it is regularly serviced.
  • Rough running, misfiring and poor starting are mostly likely down to fault with the twin-coil ignition system.
  • Other culprits can be the ECU, the coils or the gearbox sensor.
  • Fuel pump relays often fail.
  • Rumbling from the gearbox could be caused by collapsed mainshaft bearings.
  • As you move through the gears, check for worn synchromesh.
  • The B5 gearbox in the RS1600i is unique with a shorter fifth gear and revised final drive.
  • Driveshaft seals often leak.

Suspension, steering and brakes

  • If the car wanders, the bushes could need replacing.
  • The ride should be tight – if it’s not, check the springs and dampers for wear.
  • Cars made before May 1983 had a two-bolt top strut fixing, later cars only got one.
  • Despite what the marketing people said, Ford experts say an anti-roll bar was not standard.
  • Weak points of the braking system are warped discs and weeping wheel cylinders.
  • Check for judder under braking and see if the handbrake will hold the car.
  • A spongy pedal can be caused by a worn linkage.

Electrics and trim

  • Check all the electrics work, especially the dash dimmer.
  • Fogs and spotlights are often cracked.
  • Are the seats worn? Good replacement items are hard to find.
  • If the four-spoke steering wheel needs replacing, be aware that they’re expensive and rare.
  • Like many cars of this era, dash tops crack


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