Lotus Elan

Elan +2 Non Spyder Zetec Conversion ( new photo's added )

PostPost by: RichP » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:21 pm

gerrym wrote:Sean re your thinking out load on the merits of replacing a worn out Twink with a Zetec as a cost saving measure, think it through!

In my opinion, a Zetec installation should be done for other reasons such as increased torque, ease of starting, robustness, ease of servicing or whatever "lights your fire".

As far as costs go, there are a multitude of small costs that pretty much apply to any engine swap but consider; would you be happy with the stock Ford induction and fuelling arrangements, a custom or Spyder manifold/header and exhaust system will be required, there are various compromises and/or costs with the various sumps that can be used, will you fabricate your own engine mounting brackets or use Spyders and what about the 105E rubber mounts (or TTR's race items), custom wiring looms etc etc.

Lastly, the days of getting cheap good condition Silvertop Zetec engines must be numbered. Then you might want to consider a rebuild (not cheap if you want to spec this properly) or fit a Blacktop which complicates the installation (but gets rid of those nasty hydraulic tappets)

Regards

Gerry


Hi Gerry,

You are spot on, this is not a modification to take on if you are looking for a quick and easy task. I did the project to improve the cars performance and take on the Baby Elans on action days, plus I enjoy the mechanical challenge as much as driving the car.

Parts Needed

Zetec Engine
Spyder Radiator
Raceline Inlet Manifold
Raceline ECU + Wiring Loom
Dunnell Lightened Flywheel and Clutch
Sierra Starter
Sump From FWD Escort + Modification
Escort Water Pump ( need to change direction of rotation )
Electric Fuel Pump
New Fuel Line from back to front ( no easy task )
Design and fabricate Engine Mounts ( this takes time and patients using play doug positioned on the from Cam Belt to confirm engine height when bonnet is closed ) initially tried TTR mounts but found them too hard and car vibrated.
Exhaust manifold and system
Plus hours of thinking time.

Rich
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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:29 am

Thanks for that Rich. My twinc should have a few years left in it before I should need to spend money on it, so I'm interested in the zetec conversion as a future project for similar reasons to yourself.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: scottlong1 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:53 pm

Lastly, the days of getting cheap good condition Silvertop Zetec engines must be numbered. Then you might want to consider a rebuild (not cheap if you want to spec this properly) or fit a Blacktop

What is the difference between a blacktop and silvertop?
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PostPost by: gerrym » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:12 am

Blacktops are the later completely re-designed Zetec introduced with the first Ford Focus. Its called a "blacktop" because the cam cover is a black plastic material compared to the alloy "silver" of the earlier engines

The inlet porting is different, cams have mechanical tappets, waterpump & cambelt drive redesigned, different sumps and oil pickups, different oil pumps, different block casting, conrods are "fracture-split" etc etc.

Generally, the silvertops are easier to fit to an Elan. If you buy a "new" crate engine, it will be a Blacktop.

Check out the Burton site for more info.

Regards

Gerry
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:36 am

Thanks for that Gerry,

I've been hoping somebody would explain what a "Black Top Zetec" is. Thanks.
Mine is a "Silver Top" & still retains the hydraulic Tappets.
I chose the hottest cam profile from Dunnell that would run with them purely to retain freedom from maintainance.
However I do remember reading some while ago that Ford had designed their new engines with "Set for Life" Valve clearances, using, I think, some magic Valve material.
Is that the case with the "Black tops" & can you offer any further info' on that subject please?
I did find that using 0W-50 Synthetic Oil that the Oil would leak down if the car stood for more than a couple of weeks & that the Tappets took a little while to stop rattling.
10W-40 Millers Synthetic has cured the problem.

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: pauljones » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:43 pm

Also,i think its worth a mention that the inlet and exhaust are on opposite sides,it has a chain drive on the cams instead of the belt of the early type.It seems Ford messed around with the the bell housing pattern and it wont fit straight onto the early/common gearboxes.It is true that the internals are of good quality and look like race items,but pistons are cast,rods are generaly ok for moderate tuning.The rods are longer than early engines with corrected pistons heights.All in all it has light rotating components,large valves and ports as standard and with not a lot of extras will produce 200 magic ponies.its not bad when you consider the (very) early turbo Ford cosworths were around 204bhp and even the last escorts were 229bhp ish.Now thats development..
Kick the tyres and light them fires...!!!!!!!
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PostPost by: gerrym » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:56 pm

Paul, you may be talking about the Ford Mazda Duratorq engine (what with it's chain drive, opposite porting for inlet and exhaust etc).

The Blacktop Zetec was introduced with the Focus, circa 1998.

Regards

Gerry
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PostPost by: c42 » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:36 am

This thread is very interesting for me as I am currently trying to resurrect a 1971 +2 which I acquired without an engine but with the original gearbox that I would like to retain. I was thinking of getting hold of a Zetec(I assume that will be a silvertop) powered Escort and using the engine with twin 40?s and an aftermarket ignition unit; as an alternative I was wondering about using a large capacity xflow Ford unit for ease of installation, has anyone tried this or am I wasting my time? All comments and ideas are welcome.
Regards
John
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PostPost by: gerrym » Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:57 am

John, hi where do you live?

If in the UK, a silvertop Zetec installation mated to the original "Bullet" gearbox is a tried and tested recipe, should be very straight forward. There's lot of advice and discussion on this website; DJ Pelly has posted a lot of advice and photos of his installation.
My own personal recommendation is to stay away from the Blacktop Zetec if you want minimum of fuss and can source a good Silvertop Zetec.

There's a small amount of fabrication work involved; the front chassis cross member needs a half moon cutout to clear the Zetec crankshaft pulley (take precautions against petrol explosion risk), new engine mounts to match the different block holes, plus you may need to rework a sump depending on how you address the roll bar and exhaust manifold issues.

Regards

Gerry
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:02 am

c42 wrote:This thread is very interesting for me as I am currently trying to resurrect a 1971 +2 which I acquired without an engine but with the original gearbox that I would like to retain. I was thinking of getting hold of a Zetec(I assume that will be a silvertop) powered Escort and using the engine with twin 40?s and an aftermarket ignition unit; as an alternative I was wondering about using a large capacity xflow Ford unit for ease of installation, has anyone tried this or am I wasting my time? All comments and ideas are welcome.
Regards
John

John,

I was typing this and Gerry beat me to it, but I will basically reinforce his advice.

I wouldn't say you were wasting your time ressurecting a +2 with a crossflow engine, it would at least be an interesting alternative especially if you already have a donor engine on the shelf doing nothing, if you don't already have a donor I personally think you would be better off with a zetec engine as you wouldn't necessarily need to spend lots of money tuning it to get reasonable power, although you will need a few parts to make it work longitudinally rather than transverse and there is the modification to the vacuum tank/front crossmember thats needed to clear the crank pulley. For the Zetec There is a good knowledge base to do what you are proposing, at least 2 very active members of this forum have converted to zetec whilst retaining the 4 speed box and using a standard Spyder chassis rather than the dedicated Zetec chassis, so they will be able to tell you the pitfalls.


Good luck, you can never waste time ressurecting a Lotus, no matter what you do to it.
Kindest regards

Alan Thomas
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PostPost by: c42 » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:03 pm

Thanks Gerry and Alan for the information, I think that I will take your advice and continue along the Zetec route and look for a doner car in the near future.

Gerry I live near Rugby, Warwickshire.

Regards
John
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:41 pm

Hi John,

I'd like to mention that fitting a Zetec is not so difficult as practically everything you will need is now available off the shelf.
A decision will have to be made about the condition of the existing Chassis.
Fitting a Spyder one makes most kinds of mechanical work on an Elan or +2 a lot easier.
If you stick with the original then RichP is one of the few if not the only one to have gone down that Route.
It's also worthwhile considering a 2 Liter rather than a 1.8 Liter engine for that bit extra Torque.
However The Escort Engine has a Water pump that runs in the right direction, having the simpler drive triangle (Crank, Water Pump & Alternator Pulleys)
I also understand that the Escort sump can be retained without modification.
To be safe some of the Drive train ought to be beefed up i.e. Diff Output Shafts, Drive shafts & Hub shafts.
Sticking with the Twin Cam G/box is not a problem but if you buy an Exhaust Manifold you should make sure it will fit around the Clutch Slave Cylinder, which is elsewhere on the MT75 Box that they use in their conversions. See also my comments on the Spyder Chassis, this also provides more space for the much fatter Manifold needed.

Cheers
Another John
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:39 pm

Great looking car, Rich. That installation looks like it belongs! What were the ballpark costs for the installation?

Thinking Zetecs, I?m wondering why the ST170 Focus engine isn?t used more often in the conversion (if injection is required). With a very strong bottom end and 170bhp out of the box, it would seem to be an attractive package. My misses has an ST170, and it really is a superb thrashable engine! I guess that the variable inlet valve timing may put some off as the Focus ECU would have to be used, but that sounds like an advantage to me?am I missing something?

The engines are always available on eBay for ?500 ish.

Mark
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PostPost by: RichP » Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:57 pm

Hi Mark,

Thank for the positive remarks about the conversion.

The main reasons for using the Zetec engine is that it will bolt straight up to the existing 4 speed box making everything very straight forward, I dont know if the ST170 Focus engine will do that ? also the Zetec is very similar in size to the original Twin Cam unit. Regarding the fuel injection system, this had to be removed from the Zetec unit because of the big space that it takes up, there is very little room under the +2 bonnet, also tuning is very much more open if aftermarket fuel injection kits complete with specific ECU's are used. Also alot more special components are made to convert the Zetec to rear wheel drive spec such as Water Rails, Sumps,inlet manifolds and flywheel assemblies etc.

Best Regards

Rich
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:39 pm

Rich...the ST170 is a Zetec, which is why I wondered why it wasn't used more as the base lump. It may well be that aftermarket injection / ECUs can't be made to control the valve timing aspect though, and if the std injectors / rails / ECUs can't used due to size, then the ST is pretty much ruled out. I doubt the ST could be used with carbs either.

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