Some 1999 Ford Escorts and Mercury Tracers with 2-liter SPI engines built through Feb. 28, 1999, may leak oil down the side of the engine when the temperature falls below freezing.
One likely cause for the leakage, reports Ford, is a frozen PCV system, which causes crankcase gasses to vent at the dipstick tube. This leads to the dipstick unseating from its base, which then allows oil to travel up the tube and onto the side of the block.
Installing a new PCV Service Kit, Part No. XU2Z-6A603-AA, should restore proper crankcase venting and eradicate the leak immediately.
"Factory Fixes" is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].