Yes, the Escort/Tracer, and the Taurus/Sable use a similar looking design, but they are actually totally different.
Your local Best Buy or Circuit City carries the Escort installation kit; it’s $60, but it does include the wiring harness adapter as well, which would be $16 separately.
One the Escorts, the radio itself is an ordinary unit, with all of the compnonents right inside the radio; it’s just a regular rectangle radio grafted onto the oval dash, which you’ll see when you remove it.
You’ll notice four little holes on the front of the radio; these require what are commonly called “Ford keys” to remove. They’re two U-shaped pieces of metal, and are around $5 at Sears or Wal-Mart; they also come included with Blaupunkt radios. (I’ve tried using bent coat hangers as a substitute; it’s very frustrating if it works at all, and you’ll get scratches all over the place… do get the Ford keys.)
The instructions in the kit are very detailed and accurate, but also lengthy and confusing. Even so, follow them to the letter and you shouldn’t have problems. When/if you do this, get in touch with me and I’ll give you some extra tips that you’ll find helpful.
I’m aware of some of the ZX-2s having a premium, upgraded factory sound system, but I’ve never seen one. This would consist of an outboard, higher-powered amplifier, probably in the trunk. People may tell you you’ll need to bypass this amp; you don’t. I’ve done dozens, if not hundreds of aftermarket deck installs in Fords; the factory amps still play fine. And I never use any of the “factory amp interface adapter” pieces on Fords either.
Your aftermarket radio will come with a plug with wires; this fits the radio of course. The install kit will come with another plug with wires; this fits onto the factory Ford plugs in the car. This way, you’ll never have to hack up the car’s factory wiring, since you’ll be using the adapter. You can easily connect these two plugs’ wires together at your kitchen table, making the job easier. There’s a wire in there that will turn on any factory amp; make sure you hook it up.
Tools you’ll also need: Small Torx driver, needed to transfer your heater knobs over to the new kit. Solder/soldering iron/electrical tape or crimpers/butt connectors, depending on how you’d like to connect the two plugs’ wires together… I prefer soldering, but either will work if done right.
For aftermarket radios, avoid the $80 specials; they’re usually very unreliable. Stick with a brand name CD deck in the $130-200 range, like Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine, Sony, Clarion. In my experience, Aiwa decks are underpowered compared to the rest, and they eat CDs a lot.
Time frame, for an inexperience person, but who’s good with his hands: 10-15 minutes getting the factory radio out; 30-40 minutes at the kitchen or workbench, assembling the kit and the wire harness adapter; 10-15 minutes putting the car back together. On the other hand, I’ve worked on a whole bunch of these cars, and I know the kit’s pieces very well; I can do one of these in about 25 minutes.
Let me know if you need any more help, and you also might visit the forums at www.carsound.com.