i have an escort van 1998 5.5 (typical escort car derived van same engine) normally a great little runner, but doesnt like 2017, replaced alternator 2 weeks ago, now i start my van and withing 5 seconds the engine stalls, a noise came from the engine that i describe as 3 loud clicks all within 1/2 a second. tried to restart but starter just whirrs, tried rocking van in gear no change, so removed starter motor and checked teeth, both sets fine with no damage, checked timing belt and thats in good condition (less than 2 years 10k miles since last change). Put starter motor back into engine and now just clicks doesnt even whirr now. final test i attempted to push start van, didnt even engage engine, barely sounded like any activity occured inside there. sounded like a faint clicking as if sonething was being gently lent on, imagine something rotating and gently letting something lean against it. not quite a click but a very quiet clicking. iam no mechanic and have exhausted all google phrases to find what i may of done to my van, to me it sounds terminal and something very deep inside the engine broken. any advice welcome, for your information, i have full battery power, ignition lights come on normally and everything electrical seems ok. ive read alot about solenoid problems, but have discounted this as engine was running if only breifly and what ever made that noise seems to have broken something inside engine. Many thankx for taking time to read this problem
I don't like the sound of this... Unfortunately I think it maybe more serious than a solenoid issue etc. You'll need to have the van checked over asap. If as you say it's just stalled for no good reason, especially after hearing heavy knocks from the motor. There are many possibilities but one is that the timing gear has failed in some way, or the timing belt has slipped allowing contact between the valves and pistons. And this is the knocking you heard before the engine stopped.
It definitely sounds like the engine has suffered some sort of internal failure here so a professional diagnosis is required. Trying to start it without knowing what has actually happened many only cause further problems.