The crankshaft position sensor, which is located near the crankshaft pulley, can be testetd with a multimeter. No scan tool needed, and in this article, I'll show you how to do it.
When the crank sensor fails on your Ford Escort (Focus, or Mercury Tracer), the car will crank but not but not start. Along with not starting... you won't see any spark at all from any of the spark plug wires and no fuel injector activation pulses (as checked with a noid light).
Since quite a few things can cause your Ford vehicle to not start (such as a BAD fuel pump, broken timing belt, etc.), it's always a good idea to test the components before replacing them.
Here are the contents of this article at a quick glance:
TIP 1: The crank sensor is located right behind the crankshaft pulley, since the crank sensor's reluctor wheel is behind (and part of) the crank pulley .
TIP 2: The battery in your Ford Escort (Focus, Tracer) must be fully charged. This is important because you'll be measuring the crank sensor's signal while the engine is cranking. A low battery will cause the engine to crank slower than normal and you're not gonna' see a good crank sensor signal result on your multimeter.
TIP 3: You'll need to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the crank sensor. Use a jack stand to hold the car up in the air... do not trust the jack! Use safety glasses also. Think safety all of the time (your safety is your responsibility)
TIP 4: The first thing you should do, before testing the crank sensor is checking for spark at all four spark plug wires (high tension cables). Why? Well if even just one spark plug cable has spark... this tells you that the crank sensor is OK.
In other words, when the crankshaft position sensor goes BAD, you'll get a No Spark- No Start Condition... so, if you're getting spark, even if in just one cylinder, the crank sensor is good and this test will not help you.
TIP 5: This article does not cover any remove and replace instruction for accesing or replacing the crank sensor. You'll need a repair manual for them (or Google).
To help you further confirm that the crank sensor is BAD, here are couple of things that accompany a BAD crank sensor on your Ford 1.9L or 2.0L vehicle:
Symptom 1: Your 1.9L or 2.0L car will crank but not start.
Symptom 2: The PCM (Powertrain Control Module= Fuel Injection Computer) will not pulse any of the 4 fuel injectors.
Symptom 3: No spark coming out of any of the 4 spark plug wires.
Symptom 4: The PCM will not send a switching signal to the coil pack or to all the Coil-on-Plug ignition coils.
Alright... let's turn the page and get this show on the road...
“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living
on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were
suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned
with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd
because on the whole it wasn't the small green
pieces of paper that were unhappy!”
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy