Fast Ford - - Intro -

Ford nearly built a Mus­tan­gengined Mk2 Capri…

You’ve prob­a­bly heard loads about the one-litre EcoBoost. Its cast-iron cylin­der block will fit onto a sheet of A4 pa­per, and the en­tire unit weighs just 97kg. It’s been tuned to pro­duce 202bhp in a sin­gle-seater For­mula Ford racer wear­ing an ST180 turbo, while neg­a­tive press re­ports have re­named it EcoBoom and EcoBust af­ter a series of cat­a­strophic fail­ures. Bad news? Well no, not re­ally. Mil­lions of EcoBoost units have been pro­duced, and it’s still only a small per­cent­age that have gone bang. The over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity were found in Ford Fo­cuses, which in most cases re­quired com­plete new en­gines from as early as 15,000 miles. Prob­lems seem to cen­tre around the cool­ing sys­tem – in­clud­ing head gas­ket fail­ure – so it’s wise to check the car you’re buy­ing has no ob­vi­ous coolant leaks.

Steer clear of any dash­board warn­ing lights, and an en­gine run­ning rough or in limp mode is to be avoided – as are nasty noises, al­though it’s nor­mal for a 1.0 to sound a bit rat­tly. En­sure the oil level is cor­rect, and you’ll need to see a full ser­vice his­tory, with oil changes ev­ery 12,000 miles. Ford’s war­ranty de­mands un­usual 5W20 oil, al­though AET Mo­tor­sport rec­om­mends 5W40 Millers for mod­i­fied cars - but warm up the en­gine be­fore driv­ing hard. In­ci­den­tally, the cam belt runs in the oil, and needs re­plac­ing at 150,000 miles or ten years.

There’s no ap­par­ent pat­tern to fail­ures – or spe­cific warn­ing signs – but ne­glect could be a fac­tor. Top tuners have taken EcoBoost one-litres to high power out­puts with­out prob­lems – Collins Per­for­mance has a mod­i­fied demon­stra­tor with 40,000 miles, while AET’s own Fi­esta has cov­ered 50,000 miles with stage two and re­mains prob­lem-free.

AET rec­om­mends 98 RON fuel, es­pe­cially on a tuned car – ex­pect to see neg­a­tive ef­fects with poor petrol and/or bad remap­ping. Rep­utable tuners don’t push a 1.0 beyond 175-to-180bhp and 190lb.ft torque – af­ter which there’s a real chance of snap­ping the crank­shaft, and a forged bot­tom end is re­quired.

All en­gines – 100, 125 and 140PS – are me­chan­i­cally iden­ti­cal, al­though the 140 has an up­rated head gas­ket. We’d ad­vise buy­ing a 125 or 140 be­cause they tend to be sportier mod­els.

If you fancy a mod­i­fied Fi­esta, be sure it’s been done prop­erly, with safety fea­tures left in place. The stock in­ter­cooler is on its lim­its in a 140, so be sus­pi­cious if the seller’s claim­ing big power with­out one.

The turbo runs ex­cep­tion­ally hot, and Collins of­fers hy­brid tur­bos through Turbo Tech­nics, where in­ter­nal cracks have been dis­cov­ered at strip-down; ex­pect to find wear on a heav­ily-used ex­am­ple. Pop off the in­duc­tion pipe, re­move the heat shield, and make sure the com­pres­sor wheel isn’t dam­aged; give it a wig­gle to check for play.

Fi­nally, if you’re at all afraid of the EcoBoost, check out what an ex­tended war­ranty can of­fer.

The IB5 gear­box is the Fi­esta’s weak link and doesn’t like loads of torque

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