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Help all over again on engine rebuild

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  • Help all over again on engine rebuild

    Thanks for everyone's advice so far on my engine rebuild. We've run into a bit of a snag, and I'm rethinking this. It turns out that my zetec is an early one with hydraulic lifters, for which it is more difficult to get the cam I want. And the billet oil gears also don't fit this engine. We can't even figure out the age of the engine, but I know it's pre-1998.

    JBA says they have about $1300 in labor on machine work on the engine, and asked weather we should just go another route, such as a newer Zetec or Duratec, and eat the cost of the machine work, or keep looking for a cam and continue with the older block.

    Any opinions on older vs newer zetecs? I know it's pricey to make the switch to a duratec, but I'm very tempted. Mostly, I'm just frustrated that the car has been in the shop for 2 1/2 months and I just want it back!

    As always, any advice is genuinely appreciated.


  • #2
    Sorry to hear that. But it is a little surprising that the engine builder did not recognize the problem from the get-go. The older engines are distinctly different from the new ones. If you decide to pull the job from JBA I would only pay them for the work required to identify the issue (I know, may be difficult).

    Anyway, seems you got the same engine I have, i.e. a US spec ZX1 Contour engine (used until 4/98) or a European Ford Mondeo Engine (almost identical except the big end bolts). They both have the hydraulic lifters. It is a good engine and there are voices who claim that it is stronger in the block than the focus engine (I don't know the details). Make sure you don't have the ZX2 engine with VCT solenoid (used on Contours from 5/98) because I don't know if that had hydraulic or solid tappets. If your water pump pulley is centered on the engine block and there is no solenoid facility on the valve cover it is probably a ZX1.

    Anyway, it is not that difficult to get the good stuff for a ZX1. Piper, Kentcams, Raceline and Dunnell all offer cams and the other necessary stuff. I opted for Kentcams model FZ2002 (comparable to Focus12). I had PHP Racengines in the Midwest port the head, increase compression to 10.6, install the cams, new followers, valve seats, retainers and springs (kept the valves but they needed re-grooving to accommodate the higher lift). I think the whole thing cost me about $ 2800 but at today's GBP exchange rates it would be more. I only sent the head and re-mounted and adjusted the cams myself. If I start digging I can get you a bill of materials for the change.

    I did that first while still running the Weber carbs. Later I changed to Jenvey TB and injection.

    So, it is a good engine that can be tuned easily but obviously you need to decide if a complete SVT engine (or even a Duratec?) might be the better way to go.

    Last edited by slomove; August 9, 2007, 06:19 PM.


    • #3
      If you decide to go Duratec, I can probably help you to source all the necessary bits and pieces. It will be expensive, though. Give me the desired HP, and I can give you an approximate price that you will end up paying.

      /Magnus F.


      • #4

        I already have the Kent FZ2002's, so maybe I'll just stick with these and have them put it back together that way. I was thinking I needed to change cams to something with good mid-range torque. How does your engine run with the Kents in the lower and mid rpms? I only drove the car for a day before taking it to the shop. I may be overthinking this, and already have the cam I need.




        • #5
          I may be overthinking this, and already have the cam I need.
          Bingo. Get your car back asap and bring it to the track and drive w/ us, and ponder upgrading over the winter after a couple weekends of fun. Believe me, you'll be getting plenty w/ what you've got and there's a lot to learn. And if you've got to eat the cost and get a new engine, well, it'll be the same price, now or later.

          Otherwise, if you really must change engines now, go Duratec. Same power (or more:D), less weight. CC is offering only Duratecs (low power Sigmas notwithstanding) now - the Rover is over.
          Last edited by moosetestbestanden; August 9, 2007, 09:13 PM.
          A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


          • #6
            Originally posted by sdcat

            I already have the Kent FZ2002's, so maybe I'll just stick with these and have them put it back together that way.

            Well, that may be a pretty good option. If the head was not ported so far or if it is still running stock compression there would be something to do.

            Otherwise the FZ2002 is the "fast road" cam from Kentcams. I like it because it is still well drivable on the road. They have hotter cams: FZ2003 (may be still O.K. for the road) and FZ2004 but both require a change to solid lifters and are generally more something for the track. Especially the FZ2004 does probably not like low revs at all and idle like a pig.

            Not sure what you wanted to change but if you *need* something well beyond 200 hp (and money is not an issue) you should look for a Duratec.


            darn, Chris beat me to it.... :)
            Last edited by slomove; August 9, 2007, 09:13 PM.


            • #7
              If you were starting from scratch Duratec would be the only answer. Lighter, bigger valves, big time torque=Rocket like speed.

              The pecking order for zetecs is SVT, ZX3, ZX2, ZX1. Call me tomorrow and I'll dredge up my years of rumination on the subject for you. It will definitely be worth the price: Nothing.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Roll a 7
                The pecking order for zetecs is SVT, ZX3, ZX2, ZX1.

                No, no, no, no, no........ :D

                Actually in terms of performance the ZX1, ZX2 and ZX3 should be quite even. Same displacement and very similar head. The difference in the oil and water pump configuration are probably negligible.

                The ZX2 is somewhat quirky because of the variable cam timing that most people disable but at the end the ZX3 just has become most popular due to availability and US-sources for performance parts. For the ZX1 most of the special parts come from the UK which sometimes sucks. After a professional porting job and with comparable cams and valves they should be all alike.

                Well, just me 2c opinion without any guarantee.

                Last edited by slomove; August 9, 2007, 09:29 PM.


                • #9
                  Personally, I prefer the solid lifters in the later versions. Also, if you can find a motor that actually came from a Focus (not a Mondeo) it is said to have a lighter crankshaft.


                  • #10
                    Decided to just go ahead and put the zx1 back together with the kent cams. They've ported the heads, put bigger valves in, and it will have Jenveys and an Emerald ECU. It will be a decent engine, but I wish now that I would have got a zx3 to rebuild from the start. Or a duratec! I think if I keep this car for a long time, I will eventually move to a more common engine like the duratec, but I hope this lasts a good long time since it's ging to cost at least $8000 for the rebuild with the Jenveys, new ECU, and a dyno tune. I was so nieve to think it would be cheap to do engine work on these, since it's just a little ford 4 cylinder. It costs at least as much as, or more than, building a V8.

                    Thanks again


                    • #11
                      Pretty good choice, methinks. These Duratecs are highly over-rated ;-)

                      Just as a reminder what you can do with such engines, in 2004 Team Birkinsport competed in the NASA Enduro races and won 1st place for the season in a Seven with ZX1 (on carbs!) and 3rd place with a fuel injected ZX3, both pushing a bit above 200 hp as far as I know. If you can do that against pretty professional competition with GT3s and RX7s and the like the engine can not be that bad....obviously you need a good driver, too.

                      Last edited by slomove; August 11, 2007, 10:25 PM.