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Thread: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

  1. #121
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Looks well mate should be spot on after a mapping session
    Keep her lit

  2. #122
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Haven’t updated this in a while, lots going on!

    I managed to make it to holfelds (just) after some long evenings, and the engine barely run in but I was not going to miss this event!
    We headed off early morning much to the neighbours delight in the BGT and the escort, bound for Wicklow which was going to turn out to be one of the events of the year.
    It was dry, warm and both cars started on the morning, result!

    we arrived in holfelds after a noisey uncomfortable drive for all parties involved I think.
    I was looking forward to how the new engine would perform , even though I was running with reduced max revs to 5500 as it was running too rich above that.
    It was purely a shake down spin for the new lump and to have a bit of fun throwing it around.
    It definitely didn’t disappoint, and despite a float needle in the carb sticking at one point in the day, it ran flawlessly, I was delighted with it.
    AP paddle clutch was also a great addition, but I don’t think my gearbox agrees.

    No news to report really from the event itself only we had an absoutle ball, one of the best events to date, and both cars drove there and drove home, cant ask for more with two classics being thrashed all day long in sweltering heat.

    All was not rosey though, as the drive home was painfull and I contemplated stopping to buy a set of ear defenders.

    The gearbox was crying enough all the way home, whaling like a banshee, it was never great to start with to be honest, but with 160bhp and over 200nm it had enough.
















    So more fun and games awaits.

    I recently picked up a nice late Granada box off jaws, so I get about stripping it to put in the 2.98 tran-x first gear out of my own box.
    A messy nasty job, so sorry for lack of pics, every part of me was covered in oil.

    Few new bearings and seals and it should be a good one hopefully.

    Il be doing some mods to the box to increase oil supply to certain gears, and hopefully this will last a bit longer.

    Oh I also installed a new racetech tacho into my dash which is pretty cool I think.
    Full compliment of racetech instruments now, just need to save up for the speedo!





  3. #123
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Keep forgetting to update this – little update for anyone interested.

    Since the last event, we visited Holfelds again in June for JJ’s test trial. I had high enough hopes for this event but again I would be plagued with gremlins.
    After the second test the rear brakes started binding badly and seizing to the drums. By the end of the test the drums were red hot and I had to cool them with water to stop them going on fire.
    I had to pull into the pits on two occasions and pry the red hot drums off to re- adjust the shoes back in, but it would keep happening. Finally I had to take the adjusters out and tie the shoes together with welding wire.
    This meant I had no more seizing rear brakes, but I had a foot brake that was going nearly to the floor – I tipped about for the rest of the day for the fun leaving myself plenty of braking distance!
    It took a lot of investigating but it seems the shoes were manufactured incorrectly and the slot that takes the adjuster was machined a few mm in the wrong place.











    So while I was doing work on the rear brakes, I decided to make an upgrade that had been a long time coming, and absolutely essential at this stage – a bias pedal box.
    Up until now I had been running the rod factory master cylinder and its just not up to the task.
    I was going to manufacture my own, but I just didn’t have time so I bought the basic bias box and did my own mods as I needed. I used willwood master cylinders front and rear, tilton bias adjuster and girling reservoirs with earls braided lines.
    There was an incredibly amount of f**king about getting this all to fit under the dash with the electronic power steering, none of that stuff was made to fit up there ! I had to move parts of the power steering, make junctions and joints in the hydraulics to avoid the steering etc – all on my back under the dash. Nightmare.



    Anyway with the that done, I just could believe the difference in the brakes – a rock solid pedal, no sponginess gave real confidence. And of course adjustable bias which is great for winding to the rear for gravel events.
    Being non-servo assisted means you naturally have to stand on the pedal, but once you’re aware of that it great.

    This was the major topic I needed to sort in preparation for the autumn/winter lanes rally calendar which I plan on doing up the north.

    I also needed to make a new exhaust, as the old one was completely rotten and too low to the ground and had been squashed flat. I made a complete new exhaust system 2 1/4” to a rear repack able silencer tucked up under the floor with a 2.5” tailpipe.



    Other small things i did were minor this but which all took time.
    I had recently modified the location of the hydraulic handbrake which was now perfect, but it meant I was now hitting my hand off the long indicator stalk. I decided to cut this off and machine up a nice alloy stub which worked out a treat.
    I also fitted a new springalex steering wheel.




    Other than that im happy with the car now, I could do with a new set of rear leaf springs, and I might go rear disk conversion soon.
    On the engine front I couldn’t be happier, the car runs like a swiss watch and goes like a lunatic, and doesn’t burn a drop of oil.

    Couple of test drive/ tuning pics





    With the brakes and other niggles sorted, we headed for the north for the rathfriland MC targa rally just north of newry.
    We got there early (or what I thought was early!) for scrutiny at 8.30 but it appears as the northies are early risers! trailer park and HQ carpark was full, so I had to abandon ship on the side of the road and unload the car. Went into scrutiny and passed without a hitch.
    We were car 33 so we had plenty of time to wait for our start time.
    We headed off at 10.33 to the first loop of stages around the forestry tracks of scarvagh estate – this place is massive and there were 5 tests in here before we would exit back onto the road.





    I have to say at this point that I have never been more happy with the car – it’s the first time since building the car, it felt “right” and competitive. It was simply fantastic. It danced through the hay bales and around the sweeping forestry tracks screaming at 8000rpm.
    We got to the end and were just grinning from ear to ear, the tests and the car were magic, and it showed were 1 second off the fastest boys through. I finally felt I could perhaps be competitive in the car against far more modern machinery like mx5’s with trick suspension and ECU’s etc.
    Through the next number of stages it went really well, against just off the pace of the top boys, 1/2/3 second but all had done the event before so I was delighted.

    The delight was short lived however as I missed a pylon on a test around a farm yard and failed the test, putting me nearly a minute behind everyone else. I was raging as I really wanted to try and do well. In this type of event where the times are so tight with often the first 5+ cars getting the same times on a lot of tests, 1 minute down is time to pack up and go home. Either wayi was out for the fun, so I pushed on for the rest of the day comparing times getting there or there abouts with the top 5 and getting a joint fastest time of the day on the test I had failed earlier in the day!
    In my haste I also went off after pushing too hard into (in fairness, it was well noted) a very slippy muddy left hander into a ditch on the outside, narrowly missing some trees, and getting stuck for 30 seconds or so.

    A disappointment results wise, but I had one of the best days in the car ive ever had, magic event. Cant wait for the next one which is at the start of September leading into the big one, the autumn lanes at the start of November.
    In the meantime we have another club test trial next weekend which should be great fun as usual.







  4. #124
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    Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Great write up 👍


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  5. #125
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Cars looking good as ever and developing well
    Hexham and District Motorclub

  6. #126
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    Cheers guys, happy with it now, but I'd like to go rear disks next for sure

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Quick update!

    So following on from the last event I had some fairly pressing issues I had to get sorted. I had major issues with my handbrake not working as I would like since the last event in holfelds.
    The handbrake master cylinder failed giving a rock hard handle and seizing on the rear brakes.
    I was unsure of the issue, and through panic repairs at the last event, I had made an elementary mistake and put the leading shoe on as the trailing shoe and vice-versa. Easy mistake in the height of it mid event but I won’t do it again!
    So before the rathfriland rally I had put in the Bias pedal box which was fantastic but now it was time to ort the handbrake.
    I replaced the .625” master cylinder with a wildwood .500” for more power, and the slave cylinders with mk1 3L capri items.
    This transformed the feel of the handbrake and the power so I was happy.
    Eventually I will go with a twin calliper rear disk setup when the budget allows.

    Other development changes before the next event were a new SPAL fan, man that thing can move air! Its frightening the difference between crap cheap parts and quality items.
    After I put in the XE the fan I had wouldn’t fit so in a rush I put in a generic cheapanese item to tie me over. It worked ‘ok’ as the XE’s run very cool anyway, and never had a problem so I kind of put it on the long finger. That was until holflelds test trial on a hot day where it was really struggling.
    As soon as that happened I turfed it in the bin. The SPAL item looks nearly identical in looks and size, but weights about 3 times as much.
    As a good example of the difference in motors, I was running the crap fan off a 10a fuse.
    I installed the Spal, hit the switch – bang. Installed a 15a, bang. 20a bang. 25a it ran once, then blew. The spal item is drawing about 26amps through the fuse, compared to 8 or so for the rubbish one! So worth it for peace of mind.
    Aswell as that I got around to making a roll cage bracket for the brake Bias adjuster which I installed then.

    So with the brakes (hopefully) sorted we headed north again last weekend for the A29 cookstown lanes rally. I was really looking forward to this as I had a great run on the last event but the handbrake issues caused me to fail a stage early on.

    It was an early start, we left Dublin at about 5.45am with the Escort and MG, northbound to Cookstown. We arrived at around 8am and the parc ferme was already jammed! There was a full stacked entry field of 85 cars and a reserve list, showing the popularity of these events.
    We flew through scrutiny (minus me not having a horn) but with that sorted we were ready for the complimentary BBQ breakfast and mark up our notes and maps and put the door numbers on.
    It was dry before the start but we all knew the forecast was bad.
    It started raining during my second test and it never let up all day, luckily my brother had applied both cars with rain-x the day before in advance!
    This didn’t bother me though as I love driving in the wet and the mud so I had a blast!
    I took the first loop cautiously, and this is something I will have to work on. The top guys are beating their first runs by about 1/2/3 seconds, and im beating mine by 8-10 easily, so I need to push harder on the first loop.
    I had a great run through the second and third time through, the car was driving beautifully, plenty of power, brakes were working great, handbrake was spot on and the suspension was working well.
    There are a few tweaks id like to do with springs etc, but im happy with it over all, especially on budget tyres it handles great at high speed on saturated wet mud and gravel.

    With 3 stages to go I was shocked to see I was just off the top ten sitting in 11th sandwiched between Eamonn Byrne and Dermot Carnegie. Unfortunately however that wasn’t to last as I pushed hard on the last two stages, on the second to last test I threw the car to the right on a muddy lane Scandinavian style to get it setup for a square left before the finish but unfortunately the rear wheels got caught down in a gully so the car was stuck facing the opposite way to the corner. I couldn’t fix it in time and ended up missing the corner going straight on into a cattle fence. I had to reverse back in thick mud and get going again.
    To add insult to injury I knocked a chicane post on the next test incurring a 10 second penalty dropping me to 17th overall at the end. I was still delighted with how the car handled and drove for the day and I know its capable of good results, if the driver gets more consistent! I still took the class win by 19 seconds which I was chuffed about.

    I’ve a few developments to do before the Autumn lanes rally on 11th of November, but nothing major. I think im going to go for a slightly softer spring in the front and take out and reaseal my windscreen, which was leaking so much water the floor of the car was like the titanic.

    Some pics as always thanks to Speedy (Peespeed photography) and Adrian hanna

    Before the event polished up nice and shiny and ready for action



    At the lunch halt




    Action pics!










    At the finish



  8. #128
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    So as you can see, the body was in need of some TLC after 4+ years of rough use - gravel, grit and stones peppering the paint, hitting tyre bales and hedges and everything else had left a lot of battle scars on the old girl.
    After completing most of the mechanical things I needed to do before the next event, I decided I had a bit of spare time to turn my attention to the body.

    Since the last event ive rebuilt the front dampers, and upgraded to 200lb 12” front springs.
    I totally rebuild the rear brakes, new shoes, springs, cylinders and machined drums.
    Oil and filter change – engine and diff
    Added new navigator essentials – new map net, pen holders, 12v power source (20a cigarette) for phone chargers and tyre pump etc
    Resealed the windscreen
    Checked carb balancing
    Made new mounting bracket for ecu.
    Bled brakes

    Dare I say it the car is pretty much ready to go, so I had time to do some exterior works.

    The front wings around the lip were badly damaged from a combination of tyres rubbing the unrolled lip in an earlier life, then me having to roll them mid rally with a jack bar and a rock.
    The sills were peppered and dented and various other dinks and scrapes.
    I decided to paint the wings, and just spot repair the rest with the airbrush and some carefully blending with 1500 wet sandpaper.
    Happy with the results!














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    Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    The beauty of white 👍


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  11. #130
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Overdue update!

    So, in response to my very last sentence in my last post above, I didn’t get home in one piece ! perhaps I shouldn’t say that anymore.
    The last event of the year for me was the Ballynahinch Autumn lanes rally in Co. Down on the 11th on November.

    In the run up to this event I had done a lot of work to the car to sort out a lot of things I was unhappy with. I was having awful issues with the hydraulic handbrake not performing the way I wanted it to for quick some time, and finally after the last event I was confident with it.
    The lever was extremely hard with no real force being exerted on the rear brakes, it was so bad I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder/neck area at the last event trying to get the wheels to lock.
    When something like this is not working right, you end up concentrating on that and not the driving.

    With that sorted I was much happier, another job I had on which was annoying me was pedal position I was messing around with to get a comfortable setup for easy heel/toe and left foot braking.
    I made a stainless steel acc pedal with a curved ear on it so it came near the brake but wouldn’t catch my shoe sliding across. I also make a strong throttle stop to prevent throttle cable braking. I think I have it nearly there.

    So with all my main gripes sorted and a new set of tyres I was really hoping for a good result and was confident in the car and (hopefully) my ability to pull a good result.

    Some pre event test driving






    It was another early start heading off at around 5.30 north bound on a freezing cold damp morning. We arrived in Ballynahinch with no drama and headed up to the local golf club for scrutiny. Passed with flying colours and as I was seeded up the field No.7, I didn’t have too long to wait for my off.
    Cars are started at 1 min intervals according to your number, so with a full entry some cars were not due to start over an hour after me.
    My brother Matt in his MGBGT was starting way down the field so he had plenty of time to spare.

    Weather was bright cold and wet so it was going to be hard to get the power down.
    I headed off and arrived at the first test a couple of miles from rally HQ. It was a long moss covered tarmac driveway up to a big stately home with a huge farm yard behind it and a lane out the back to the exit road.
    The test started with a sprint up the driveway to the house around it and out the back to the farmyard.
    I started the test and the car was working beautifully, I know from the first two corners the car was working exactly as I wanted dancing perfectly between the house. It gave me confidence in the car. I got around the house and headed out the back to farm yard where we met two quite close adjacent lanes.

    (photos copyright by leslie mcmullen)









    In the heat of the moment we took the wrong lane and had to go down and spin around and come back up. As I was coming back up the test from the opposite direction I have a very sharp left hand hairpin to make which obviously wasn’t as the test was designed… And for good reason.
    I tipped the handbrake and gave it power sliding just slightly not even full opposite lock which I would be prone to do, and all of a sudden a massive bang threw the car up in the air and all sorts of bad noises began. I knew this was bad news.
    I limped to the end of the stage hoping for the best. I jumped out and had a quick look and the wheel was smashed and tyre ripped so I limped to the next layby.
    In the heat of the moment of trying to get a new wheel on I didn’t actually realise the whole thing had shifted about half a foot back.
    We jumped back in the car and took off up the road quickly to realise that it was curtains on our day before it had begun. The car was crabbing down the road with all sorts of crazy noises. Game over before my brother in the MGBGT had even set off.
    Limped back to the trailer and were packed up for home by 10am. Disaster. I was absolutely devastated after hoping for a good result.

    In the following few days I got at the car to assess the damage. The axle casing had bent back almost a foot bending the half shaft and breaking the wheel bearing. The shaft was so bent I couldn’t get it out of the casing with a massive slide hammer so had to cut the axle casing in half to release the tension to get the shaft out of the diff.



    A new casing and shafts were the order of the day, but this time I decided to strengthen the Axle to GRP2 specification which Boreham used to do on the works cars before they went Atlas.
    While I was doing this It would have been silly not to rebuild the diff and LSD unit, so I got new diff bearings and inspected the clutch packs in the diff, none needed replacing thankfully and also no evidence of damage from the crash.







    With the strengthened axle and rebuild diff back in, I needed to get some miles on it before the next Event in mondello, TDC’s ledgendary multivenue autotest.
    Testing went well, no issues to report so we were ready for mondello.

    I also fitted a new set of clear headlights as my originals were worse than useless







    TDC’s now legendary Multi venue autotest held around mondello at the start of every year is one that everyone looks forward to. The tests, the atmosphere about the place and the spectator friendly setting makes it a great day for everyone.
    The fact that the tests are all in one location and are close together means the craic and banter in mighty throughout the day while queuing for the tests. With approx. 90 entries there was a bit of time for chat between tests.
    I was really looking forward to this event, it’s one of the best of the year and really lets you stretch the legs of the car with fast open tests with tight tricky bits to keep us on our toes.
    This was actually my first time to do this with the current 2L 16v so I was looking forward to having a bit of poke to play with.

    The morning 2 loops started off very wet and greasy, and with standard road tyres on I was struggling to get the power down around the fast sections of the track. It was very fun taking the whole of parabolica from start to finish completely sideways flat in 3rd , but not competitive. Duckhams and tarzan 1+2 was equally slippery, the car just lighting wheels with any decent prod of the loud pedal. As I say, not fast, but bloody hell was it fun!




    After lunch it started to dry up in places and the car really came alive, handling well given the standard budget road tyres but stepping out at will if you get on the gas too early. As it dried the confidence grew in the car and I started to push on.
    On the last loop I managed to get a second faster than Christopher evans in the MRS and just a second slower than our residential expert Piers, so I was really happy with the ability of the car.
    Unfortunately, the joy was short lived and as I started to push harder I started getting very close to a lot of obstacles. On the final run of 3 coming up from tarzan 2 towards the esses I planned on braking as late as possible out wide and diving through the tyre chicane.
    This was going well to a point where the speed I was carrying was too much for the tyres to handle and an unstoppable 4 wheel drift ensued. I had nothing to do but hold on and wait for the bang. I hit the tyres with a fair smack, which threw the car around and lost a good 10 seconds and a penalty but got going again till the end of the test. Nothing hurt but bodywork and pride, - it was bound to happen at some stage.




    It was a bitter sweet end to the day, I still ended up taking the class win, but got a penalty and hitting the car in the process. All in all it was an absolutely fantastic day out, and anyone that has any interest in motorsport for 80 euros, you would be barking mad not to get out for a full days fun driving.

    Next event for me in this car with be the TDC autosolo and the Springfling lanes rally in April
    To the bodyshop!

    Some great pics by Speedy










  12. #131
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Great write up as always.
    What size of tubing and wall thickness did you use on the axle brace,and did it make any noticeable difference??

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Great write up as always.
    What size of tubing and wall thickness did you use on the axle brace,and did it make any noticeable difference??

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Very interesting read and great photos, keep it up it will hopefully encourage others.

  15. #134
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    thanks guys, its inch .120" wall DOM. hard to say if it makes any actual handling differences, but they do tend to bow upwards from rough use, so it should at least keep it true.
    i also added a drain plug which is a gift

  16. #135
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    been a long time since i updated this, lots has happened over the last 8 or 9 months, so competition had to take a temporary back seat.

    following the event in the last update in mondello, i got the damage repaired we headed to avoca river park for the April mutivenue.
    the car is still not handling how i really want, but i know what i want to do when i have the money. we set off at a steady enough pace but as the day went on we were putting in some nice times - its pays off a little to have the car on a competetive pace but unfortunately tyre choice on an escort is absoutely critical, and the rubber i was on was not playing ball. Still though, we were having great fun, and the car is quick, i just need to get it to put it down efficiently.

    In the morning it was damp and very very slippery in places but as the day progressed it dried up almost everywhere.
    I say almost because this is what caught me out.
    due to queue's on some tests, i decieded to do a loop of the back tests before lunch, and do the other tests after lunch.
    this turned out to be a bad plan. As the weather had got nice, i assumed the rest of the tests would be dry like the ones i had been doing, however there was a damp patch covered in wet moss sheltered by a big building out of sight. i came around a tight square left, hit the moss and was headed straight for the building. i was just a passenger. i hit the handbrake to save the front end but i clouted it with the rear. back to the bodyshop :banghead:

    out of the last 3 events, ive hit the car badly 3 times, so hopefully this is the end of that spell.











    damage repaired (again)








    finally last weekend we had a charity navigtion treasure hunt - this is where you have to travel on a navigated route through the dublin and wicklow mountains answering tricky questions at certain points along the route. it was really great craic, and a great opportunity to get old cars out for a good spin.







    with regards development of the car, ive a few plans up my slieve, but just have no time to work on the car at the moment.
    some of the works in the pipeline are a gearbox upgrade, and a rear suspension refresh. down the line im going to develop the engine a bit more over the winter, but at the moment its running like a mouses heart.

    thanks for looking

  17. #136
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Thought you’d gone quiet
    Hopefully your bad luck of hitting things is over now

    What’s the big yellow beast you’re parked next to?
    Hexham and District Motorclub

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    That's a nice tidy Escort you have there, a credit to your preparation.

    What tyres are you running it on in competition? I was wondering if the compound's too hard ,your diff's set to tight or the ramp angles are n't correct for your needs and it's kicking the arse end sideways when the power's applied.

    Keep up the good work, I hope you're getting somewhere with your rear spring set up. It might pay you to trim a little off your bump stops to give the rear suspension a bit more travel.

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    Mechanic onecamohv's Avatar

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Quote Originally Posted by mexicotait View Post
    Thought you’d gone quiet
    Hopefully your bad luck of hitting things is over now

    What’s the big yellow beast you’re parked next to?
    house work has me gone quiet, il be back out alot more next year.
    no idea what it is, im not into vintage stuff !

    Quote Originally Posted by Forest_rallying View Post
    That's a nice tidy Escort you have there, a credit to your preparation.

    What tyres are you running it on in competition? I was wondering if the compound's too hard ,your diff's set to tight or the ramp angles are n't correct for your needs and it's kicking the arse end sideways when the power's applied.

    Keep up the good work, I hope you're getting somewhere with your rear spring set up. It might pay you to trim a little off your bump stops to give the rear suspension a bit more travel.
    Cheers, im using Yokohama A021R (when regs allow) but now that they are not E-marked any more, im still trying to find a 13" tyre that works - ive tried a 185/70/13 uniroyal rainexpert but the sidewalls are super weak and ive burst quite a few.
    yokohama A539's are ok, but in answer to your question im always changing to find something to replace the A021R.

    Diff settings are standard fairly loose gravel settings on a tran-x, so definitely not too tight. 65lbft of preload from memory il have to check my notes.

    il try get a better set of stock springs and see how it goes

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    ​Next update on the car and whats happening lately with the return to some motorsport.
    So as per my last post I had put in a quaife gearbox, however the ratios were not ideal for what I use the car for, more suited to tarmac rallying with a 1st gear that way way too long. Aside from the ear piercing whine which was a great novalty for about 10 mins, I needed to get a final setup on the gearing and close the book on that area once and for all. So I sold the Quaife box, and decided after a lot of working out and planning, I settled on getting a heavy duty helical gearset made with the right ratios that I wanted to best suit the events I do. Luckily I also picked up the perfect donor which are getting thin on the ground. A low mile never opened type-9 gearbox plucked from a crashed sierra and stuck under a bench. It was a peach.

    So I tore that down in prep for the gearkit. I decided on a 2.75, 1.75, 1.26, 1, .84.

    The parts are very well made, with extra lubrication channels over the Ford gears. For the remaining ford parts I made my own lubrication mods, which will prevent the main shaft scoring during heavy use.

    The laygear cluster which is a brand new part due to the different ratios is also modified to run on roller bearings, as opposed to loose needle rollers that a standard type- 9 runs on.

    While everything ware bare, I etch primed and painted everything in enamel, then built up the box.











    Another small thing I wanted to look at was play in the steering rack as I was getting steering wheel shake on the road going around long easy bends. Turns out after a bit of investegation that the bushes in the end of the rack were totally shot, so the rack was moving about inside the casing. I machined up two new Delrin bushes for the rack. Phosphor bronze would have been better but I didn’t have any bar stock left at the time. To be honest this is a poor quality quick rack I bought when budget was tight, I really need to upgrade to a quality item.




    With all that sorted the car was ready for its first event in around 18 months.
    Unfortunately success was short lived – first test went really well, car was on pace despite being very rusty (me not the car) so I was hoping for another decent result. Sadly by the end of test 2 things were about to take a sinister turn. I noticed the oil pressure reading much lower than normal when it was always rock steady in this engine, even after getting really hot. I brought up the revs and the pressure rose a bit, but only about half what it should be. I knocked it off and left things to cool but I knew something was up. Started it again the oil pressure went up and then instantly dropped to zero so I immediately shut it down and towed it back to the trailer. At this point I already had strong suspicions – I took the pressure relielf valve retaining plug off the pump and suspecions confirmed…pressure relief valve was stuck solid in the pump. Game over ball burst. Why, and how much damage was done tbd.

    Next day I stripped the engine to see what damage was done. To my emense joy and surprise, the bearings and crank were pretty much unaffected, purely by luck of catching it at the right time. I pulled the pump off then and all became clear. The pumps on these engines are practically the only known weakness of the XE, but normally for shattering pump gears with much worse results. In this case the gears have started to eat into the housing, throwing alloy swarf into the bore of the relief valve and galling it to the valve. This valve should slide super smoothly in the bore – this valve was so stuck I had to hit it out with a punch.
    Big ends and mains were all 100% fine to use again, but it just feels odd not to replace things this far in, so I threw in a new set of the latest edition KING race bearings.










    Half the issue with this is the OEM OPEL pumps have been discontinued since 2003, and any of the pattern ones are not of good quality, at least and especially for competition use. The pump I have is already reworked by QED motorsport and was brand new when I built the engine, and has still failed in a relatively short time. So short of going dry sump, I had to take some measures to try my best to prevent this happening again.
    A lot of the time you get a scare like this and get away with it, its time to do things you always had on the long finger.

    After a fair bit of research, I found on a lot of german club motorpsort forums there is lots of guys using the oil pump from a newer Astra VXR with the Z20LET engine. It has the same bolt pattern but has a few differences and untimately a much better desinged gear system, modified relief valve, and a much highter volume pickup, resulting in higher pressure stability at higher rpms, and flows 30% more volume. This sounded like the ticket. As the new pumps are about over 500 quid from opel, I decided on trying to locate a low mileage OEM pump rather than a new pattern pump of dubious quality. I managed to pick up a pump out of a low mileage engine that melted a piston in the uk and the corresponding pick up pipe. This would obviously need serious modification as the FWD pickup is nothing like a RWD XE with a manta sump.

    Volume difference XE pickup vs LEH



    This issue was compounded when I soon found out the pickup pipe comes out of the bottom of the sump, rather than at 45deg like the XE one, allowing for the ultra shallow front of the rwd sump. There was no way to possibly make such a dramatic bend into the the pump with such little clearance, so after a bit of head scratching I had no option but to cut a hole in the sump with the plasma and make up a ‘tub’ for the pickup to sit in.








    I took about 1 thou off the OEM valve, and polished it for more clearance and reliability in extreme temps, and honed the bore of the pump





    Worked out well in the end, I used the Z20LET flange and pipe, and the pick up head, and made the middle part from 22mm seamless tube.
    To further compliment the new setup I wanted to make a baffle system that would be up to hard cornerning forces. I got the cosworth viton flaps from a friend that lets the oil through the baffle plate from one side, but wont let it flow back. Simple setup should work well.




    In addition to this, I originally had the auxillary guages in the centre console, and while it looked well, you had to purposely look down to see them. Again after my scare, not ideal so I decieded to make a custom binacle and move all the guages up to the orignal, in addition with another big oil light, and a 95db alarm that will sound at 20PSI. added a few nice little LED’s for indicators, charge, main beam etc and a shift light.





    Started it up over the weekend and we’ve got 70psi at idle which is perfect, im just going to flush two fills of oil and filters through it just to be 100% sure theres no tiny bits in any of the system, then we should be good to go again until the next catastrophe
    Last edited by onecamohv; 17-09-2021 at 08:34.

  21. #140
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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Shame the pictures didn't work - we like pictures of modifications and engineering solutions!

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    i can see the pictures, can you not??

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    Quote Originally Posted by onecamohv View Post
    i can see the pictures, can you not??
    Couldn't earlier - just text and code in a weird font! All back to normal now with full compliment of pic's

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    Re: Mk2 4door road/road rally project

    cool thanks for looking!!

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