The Mk5 Ford Escort RS2000 2wd  was released in 1991. In efforts by Ford to reduce insurance premiums, the RS2000 was given a familiar appearance almost of that of a ordinary escort of that time. This obviously didn't work as insurance groups maintained there steady mark at group 16. Features included an extensively modified I4 16valve DOHC engine, based on the Sierra DOHC 8v, controlled by the technically brilliant Ford EEC IV Electronic management control system. It came with highly polished 15" x 6" alloy wheels and the distinguishing power bulge bonnet. Other features included, power assisted steering, anti lock brakes, sunroof and a "grey panache" interior with a pair of Recaro sports seats.

During 1992 various changes where made to the Escort range including double action door locks, a visible windscreen VIN plate, lights on warning buzzer and trailing edge door reflectors.

Mk5 A (facelift)

In 1993, the mk5 underwent a facelift (now classified as the mk5a) which mainly included safety/styling features. These included, revised side skirts, reshaped bonnet minus the power bulges, smiley face grill, improved headlamps/indicators, rear hatchback/spoiler and rear light clusters. Structural changes included side impact bars,  heavier gauge A an B pillars and thickened roof rails with bracing behind the centre console to reinforce the structure ahead of the fascia.  The interior was revised, and included contoured Recaro seats trimmed along with the rest of the interior in "Arcadian Velour". For added driver safety, the steering wheel with air bag along with side impact bars was also included. Security was updated with the installation of the Ford safeguard immobiliser. It should be noted that some MK5a`s, over the initial stages of production, where fitted with pre 1993 interior.

MK5 A (facelift) 4x4

The Ford escort RS2000 4x4 was released in 1994 under the mk5a facelift facade. Externally it appeared similar to the 2wd mk5a facelift model. Obvious differences included the rear cast aluminium cross member, transfer box and rear differential as well as a revised fuel tank and the necessity to replace the spare wheel with a space saver type wheel due to the reduced spare wheel depth.



MK6 and Mk6 4x4

In 1995, the escort range including the RS2000 2wd and 4x4 underwent  final updates and modifications. These included mainly external changes to the front of the car which included, new bonnet, honeycomb grill, rounded bumper with integral fog lights and improved headlights. The structure was further stiffened to increase an already impressive rigidity. Mechanical improvements included relocation of various engine ancillaries and improved handling in the form of a 3 point top strut mount as opposed the earlier  2 point. Castor angle was increased/ off set strut springs and gas filled dampers all stiffened up the front end. Wheel style was also revised although if these dull 5 spokes was  a improvement is debatable. The interior style was also completely revised and included white sports dials and "flow raven" trimming throughout. Other features included, completely new fascia/instrument layout, leather trimmed steering wheel, electric windows with one shot lowering on the drivers side, centre mounted courtesy light with reading lights/delayed switch-off and a  Model 5000 RDS EON radio/cassette

Although the RS2000 4x4 provided excellent handling, performance suffered greatly compared with the 2wd version due to the difference in power to weight ratio.



As far as it can be ascertained, production of the RS2000, the last to date RS badged car, was ceased in June 1996. Cars with TK, as there 11th and 12th digit are amongst the last made, lucky old me!!!!.  The main reason Ford ceased production, much like the Escort Cosworth was due to the lack of sales they had expected along with a possible  noise level problem. Could it have been Ford wanted the family/green image. 


Standard Specifications


RS2000 MK5


1991 - 1992

RS2000 MK5a


1993 - 1994

RS2000 MK6


1995 - 1996



1991 - 1996


1994 - 1992


Colour Options and year

Diamond white   1991 - 1996
Radiant Red 1991 - 1996
Black/ash Black 1991 - 1996
Moon Dust Silver  1991 - 1996
Polaris Grey 1991 - 1993
Pacifica Blue 1991 - 1993
Cayman Blue 1993 - 1994
Levante Grey 1994
Nouveau Red 1995 - 1996
Petrol Blue 1995 - 1996
Tourmallard Green 1995 - 1996
Dark Aubergine 1995 - 1996
Auralis Blue 1995 - 1996
State Blue 1995 - 1996


Factory Options List

  • CD Player - Model 2028
  • Premium Audio System - Model 2008
  • Metallic Paint
  • Passengers air bag
  • Air conditioning
  • Metallic paint
  • Passengers air bag
  • Air conditioning
  • Heated windscreen/washer jets
  • Metallic paint
  • Model 7000 RDS EON Radio/cassette
  • Electrically adjustable drivers seat


What to Look for when buying an RS2000

Servicing - Rather than the 'FSH' - especially from the private owner, what one should be looking for are the bills - a service stamp means nothing, but if this is accompanied by worksheets showing a new battery, front radius arms, new clutch, new rear shock absorbers etc, you can see that the work has actually been carried out and indicates that the previous owner has been a responsible one.

The fact that I find the "FSH" meaningless, is for the simple reason that they relate to the servicing schedule of the vehicle - not its mechanical repairs. The Main Dealer will carry out a service and checks everything that shows on the service schedule - but the service ends at checking them. Any repairs, which he finds are required, must be agreed with the owner separately - and the owner can decline to get the item repaired, but the service stamp still goes in the book. The seller wants the purchaser to believe that any repairs found during the service will have been carried out, but there is absolutely no guarantee of this. Quite the reverse, because if a private owner may be told that the car is showing signs of an expensive failure during a service: what will he do? Simple, he will take it straight to a dealer and trade it in for a new one before the fault becomes too apparent or try and sell it himself. Then you buy it! Identity: - VIN numbers are stamped into the floor under the panel between the driver’s seat and the sill, as well as on the slam panel plate. These should be checked against the Registration documents. If things look suspect in anyway, leave well alone. A recommended check would be a HPI check carried out by the AA or RAC. This can confirm the vehicles identity by checking if it’s a write off, stolen or has outstanding finance attached to it.

Using the table below, by taking the 11th and 12th digit of your VIN number, you can identify the precise year/month your car was built.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



The I4 16 valve is a good solid engine with no apparent failings so long as servicing is carried out at the correct intervals. In the early stages of the mk5, cylinder head gasket warranty failures occurred resulting in Ford producing an up rated head gasket to solve the problem. The post 95 engines have a Cam Position Sensor port located in the rocker cover which is blanked off. This is due to the rocker cover been the same as the one used in the 2.3 engine used in the Galaxy which uses the Ford EEC-V, requiring the use of this sensor.

Problems can occur with the Electronic Distribute less Ignition System (EDIS) module that is situated on the inner wing just to the right of the brake servo, wiring faults occur that can produce idle hunting and misfiring. A common fix is to wire a permanent ground direct to the battery. Other usual checks include, removal of the oil cap to look for white sludge indicating a failed head gasket/cylinder head and looking for blue smoke indicating piston ring abuse or valve stem seal failure.


Noisy tappets, the injectors make this a tricky test as they are also noisy but if the tappets are noisy or become noisy when the oil is hot then this could point to a oil pump problem, it's been noted a few times that the oil pressure regulator that's fitted to the oil pump becomes lose and reduces the oil pressure to the engine, the oil pressure warning light is set to 10psi so will not tell you if you have this problem. If the car your looking at has had an after market oil pressure gauge fitted then the oil pressure at cold start should be about 60psi falling to between 30-40 psi when hot. Pressure should not drop to below 25psi when idling. The pump is a fairly easy fix but requires the engine lowering to enable access. If you have a noisy tappet then its an expensive fix as the original design has been replaced so you would have to replace the full set of 16 tappets and springs, This is a head off job so becomes quite expensive.

Oil Leaks, the 2.0 16v DOHC engine is known to leak oil from between the block and the head on the right front of the engine, this can be cured with a revised head gasket but is not really serious and unless its really bad or ignored.

Lambda sensors - The Lambda sensors (as the I4 uses 2) are situated on the manifold just where it bends to go underneath the car. Should they fail the result is poor fuel economy and high emissions (MOT fail) they are costly to replace (Ford Original ones) and cant really be tested by anything apart from special equipment. Universal 4 wire replacements are a cheaper option for replacement of failed items.

CAT - Is situated between the manifold and centre box, When they fail they severely restrict gas flow resulting in very poor performance and an inability to rev higher than 4-5k RPM. It’s common to take the CAT off but is needed for the MOT if your car was registered after 1992. 1991 mk5s can get away without a CAT for the test. If the exhaust has a rattle to it, this could be a sign of cat failure due to the block within becoming insecure/starting to break up.

Idle Speed Control Valve (ISCV) - This is the ECU controlled valve that opens at idle to control the air flow to the engine. It is located on top of the air filter housing. An erratic idle speed can point towards a sticking idle speed control valve/dirty throttle body. This can be Cleaned easily with carburettor cleaner to rectify this. Other checks to rectify a erratic idle can also include dirty multi-plug connections. The engine should start-up from cold without applying any throttle, run at fast idle and then drop to normal idle speed (950rpm) within 5 seconds.

Air pulse - The Pipes on the Manifold are for the Air Injection system; the system injects Air when the engine is cold in order to heat up the Cat quicker! This is all it does and can be removed without any ill effects on vehicle running or mot testing. A quick method sometimes used in removal of this system is just to fit blanking plugs to the ports. This is not recommended as this way, no benefit at all is achieved.

Water pump - These are inexpensive to buy but require the engine to be moved slightly to change!

Timing Chain - The I4 engine uses a Timing chain instead of a belt. This extends the life but the chain can still fail! There is no set target to change the chain and is said to be good for up to 100,000 miles. Best advice is to do it at 60.000 miles! If the chain is worn then it will be very noisy on tick over or when blipping the throttle, to replace the chain is not an easy task but is possible to the DIY.

Gearbox - Check the synchromesh between 2-3rd gears when the box is hot! It’s a common fault to get a crunch when changing gear fast! Also 1st/reverse can be hard to engage when the box is cold. Output seals should be checked for leakage, as this can be expensive to repair.

Transfer box (4x4) - First thing to do if your purchasing a 4X4 is too check you are actually looking at a 4x4. There have been 1 or 2 cases where the transfer box has totally failed, and the cars have been made into 2wd. It’s important to adhere to the guidelines when working on the front suspension or engine bay as abnormal loads can be put on the box and cause it to fail! Only special rolling roads designed for 4x4s should be used. This usually upsets mr MOT station. It should also be noted, the 4x4 should never be towed with one axle suspended. Ford don’t make transfer boxes any more so it's becoming hard to get/find a replacement. It should be noted, transfer box failure is not a common occurrence. Checks should be made to ensure the oil has been changed at the correct intervals (every 10,000 miles).

Differential - The 4x4 rear differential can at times emit a loud click noise which may cause concern to some owners. This usually happens upon taking up the drive. My car has done this from brand new and after investigation, the result is there is nothing to be concerned about. It is purely the sound created when the backlash (free play) is taken up between the crown wheel and pinion.

Clutch - This all depends on the previous drivers habits. Mine is still on the original clutch at 60,000 and still going strong. A check for slip should be carried out by trying to pull away in 2nd/3rd gear, if the RPM increases with no vehicle movement the clutch is slipping. Any whine/rumble at idle speed but then disappears when the clutch is pressed can indicate a failing clutch release bearing.

Power Assisted Steering (PAS) - Nothing apparent falls into this category. The usually checks for leaks, especially at the reservoir outlet and correct function should be carried out. However the pump does get very noisy after time, this has no ill effects on the car other than sounding terrible.

Brakes - Listen for any clicking when applying brakes whilst moving this could indicate warping. Another indication of warped disks can be steering vibration at speed with in extreme cases, a pulsing effect felt on the brake pedal. Rear brake cylinders have been known to leak so check for fluid deposits. 4 Disc Brakes are standard on All Mk5, Mk5a and 4x4 Mk6 Models. Itís only the 2wd Mk6 that has rear drums as this model has 4 wheel ABS sensors instead of just on the front wheels. The Mk6 2wd also does not have the load-apportioning valve. Mk5 rear brakes actually use discs for normal braking and a pair of small shoes for the parking brake. These shoes are inside the hub and can be troublesome, check that the hand brake holds the car with the approximately 3-5 clicks. If there is an irritating squeak from the rear of the car when driving, this can be the return springs of the load-apportioning valves. A de-rust of these springs and a dose of wd40 cures it. Generally, the ABS is reliable; the warning light should come on when the ignition is switched on, and then go out quickly. Check by doing a hard brake test that the ABS is functioning as its possible the warning bulb has been removed. On the mk6 2wd when you pull away and reach 1500rpm in 1st gear, the abs system will do a self-test and you should hear a small 'click' as the valves open and close themselves.

Suspension - Front track control arm bushes can wear (Ford items last approximately 35-40,000 miles) which can result in unevenly worn tyres/unstable steering and knocking. Kerbed alloys may indicate an unloved motor and mean you'll need to get the alignment set up. Shock absorbers last roughly 35-45,000 miles, for normal road use. Dampers and springs differ between Mk5 and Mk6. There are limited aftermarket options for the 4x4 with only one company producing lowering springs. If the car doesn’t sit right, don’t dismiss this as tired suspension; it could be the cars suffered accident damage at one time or other. Cars fitted with 16" or 17" wheels can suffer from inner edge tyre wear if not set up correctly.

Wheel Bearings - check for noise and extra heat on the wheel, a duff bearing will sound like it’s grinding and generate heat. Rear wheel bearings are prone to failure.

Wheels - Mk5 and Mk5a used 15" split 5 spoke polished alloy wheels that were one of the most cursed items on the vehicle due to them been prone to corrosion. However, any good wheel restorer can revive them to there full glory. The Mk6 uses painted 15" 5 spoke wheels also used on the SI and Cabriolet models. It is possible to fit 17" or even 18" wheels to all marks of the RS2000, reduced ride height and wheel arch modifications may be required over 16" though.

Bodywork and Fittings – The RS2000 came with the standard Ford six year anti corrosion warranty from new, but as production of the RS2000 expired in June 1996, all but the odd few cars sold in 1997/98 still have a valid warranty. Rust: Fords best friend! Check everywhere! Mk5 has a bad problem on the rear quarter where the filler cap is, the design lets water settle and cause the panel to rust from the inside! It’s a big job to put right. Mk6 is better protected from rust but still has problem on the tailgate where the wing is bolted to it, some don’t sit right and allow water to penetrate and rot the boot. Any sign of excessive stone chipping to the front of the car, should be repaired before rust can take a hold. Early RS2000`s can suffer from seized Fuel caps due to petrol fume corrosion. This is combated by using special lock lubricate.  The battery tray, front footwell floor pan and along the inner sill where it meets with the floor pans inside the car can also rust badly.  Check too the rear chassis legs as these are prone to severe corrosion. 

Interior - Apart from the standard checks to confirm mileage to actual use, such as seat wear, pedal rubber wear and steering wheel wear, the following should be noted. The mk5 seat frame was prone to cracking, resulting in renewal nessercery as repair or welding is not advised but possible. The drivers 4 way seat adjuster can also become loose and worn which in turn can effect the integrity/safety of the seat belt attachment point. On all models, annoying dash rattles and creaks can be evident, which at times, can prove almost impossible to locate. Any boot dampness which is apparent can be caused by dislocated sunroof drains. These are pipes that run down behind the boot side trim and can sometimes become dislocated from the exit flaps they are located in. Its just a case of re positioning them back into the flaps and securing them with a cable tie, something Ford should have done in the first place.

Security - The standard Ford keys have a tendency to wear. Although this doesn't effect door locks, it does the fuel cap. My personal solution to this was to get a separate key cut for the fuel cap, rather than buy a new chip key for the locks/immobiliser. All models have an Alarm but the Mk6 has PATS (Passive Anti Theft System) which uses a transponder in the key to disarm the immobiliser. Ensure the Red Key is present when buying as its only the Red key that can program new keys to the system.

ECU - Pre 95 models have the 91AB ECU, this can accept the 2 wire tester or Gunson tester to read fault codes, post 95 cars don’t use this method and instead have a multi port in the passenger foot well on the cover for the ECU, you need a specialist device to talk to the ECU you would need a Ford FD2000 unit or a fault code reader the club is developing. Pre95 ECU's cannot be used in a 95 car as the wiring to the multiplug is slightly different and the post 95 cars have a ECU controlled, Ford safeguard electronic immobiliser. The post 95 ECU takes a signal from the transponder reader by the ignition key and if your key transponder is valid, disables the immobiliser, if you use a pre 95 ECU in your car, you wont get any lights or activity at all. The ECU also maintains an engine speed limiter. This is restricted to 6500rpm with an increase to 7000rpm if a Superchip is fitted. The ECU is located behind the trim panel in the left hand foot well. To identify if the car has a Superchip fitted, check for the blue module plugged into the diagnostic port on the upper side of the ECU.

Electrics  - The fuse box is a major problem area on the Mk5; water can get in through the loom and settle on the box! This causes corrosion and eventually dry joints. The car will then have strange electrical problems where things wont work or stops/start working randomly. Its been known for cars to cut out when they go over bumps at the extreme. The solution is to take the fuse box apart and inspect and repair all the defective solder joints, a new fuse box costs about £240. A common fix for people is to hard wire defective circuits, when checking, inspect the fuse box for any sign of extra wires that have been added to cure electrical problems, your looking at major trouble if the box is defective. There have been reports of faults on the dashboard such as fluctuating fuel gauges - but then not many have ever found an Escort without this problem. Electric window motors have also been known to fail. The Alternator has no real failings but renewal can be a pain due to its position. Erratic temperature readings, points to a failed sender and seems to be quite a common problem. Illumination from the headlamps is poor, to say the least. An upgrade with a Morette twin headlight conversion is strongly recommend.

Another check that's worth making is inspecting the quality of the engine bays wiring, its recently been noticed that the older Mk5 and Mk5a models are beginning to suffer from wiring failures. The plastic sheath on the wiring to the coil packs, injectors and other sensors is starting to crack and in some cases short out. This can cause all sorts of engine problems and is a tricky repair

There is no Workshop manual available covering the RS2000 16v, however Ford can supply microfiche for the 91-95 escort range as well as hard copy wiring diagrams. Aspects of the engine are also covered in the Haynes manual for the Ford Scorpio 2.3/Ford sierra 2.0 DOHC. Many other aspects of the car are similar to those described in the Haynes Ford Escort manual for the relevant year of manufacture.

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