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TeamEvil
TeamEvil Reader
10/29/13 1:56 p.m.

Can an '88 Ford escort be made to perform really well? My Buddy has one that we're putting a CV into and he's wondering if it might not make a good Autocross car with some aftermarket speed goodies installed.

It's outside of emissions testing, so carb swaps, distributor changes, headers, etc. are all possible.

We both know less than nothing about these little cars, but this one's in good shape and looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Thanks—

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
10/29/13 2:02 p.m.

The overall suspension design and geometry is a bit.... "challenged."

Suppose it depends on your definition of a "good autocross car."

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
10/29/13 2:03 p.m.

Which motor does it have?

If it is SOHC, then it is a Ford CVH and it generally sucks, but you can throw a backyard turbo setup at it until it blows up.

If it is a DOHC, then it is a Mazda BP engine, which is essentially the same as a Miata, 323 and a number of other small Mazda's. So there's lots of mods available for them, including turbo conversions, etc.

Mostly though, I suggest you dump the 4 and put a Mazda KL V6 and enjoy the beautiful noise!

Behold the Escort of Doom courtesy of Swank Force One: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/yeah-yeah-i-need-to-add-this-to-readers-rides/34254/page1/

Powar
Powar SuperDork
10/29/13 2:04 p.m.
turboswede wrote: Which motor does it have? If it is SOHC, then it is a Ford CVH and it generally sucks, but you can throw a backyard turbo setup at it until it blows up. If it is a DOHC, then it is a Mazda BP engine, which is essentially the same as a Miata, 323 and a number of other small Mazda's. So there's lots of mods available for them, including turbo conversions, etc. Mostly though, I suggest you dump the 4 and put a Mazda KL V6 and enjoy the beautiful noise! Behold the Escort of Doom courtesy of Swank Force One: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/yeah-yeah-i-need-to-add-this-to-readers-rides/34254/page1/

The BP was not available in the first generation Escort. It'd either be the Ford 1.9HO or the 1.9CFI.

16vCorey
16vCorey PowerDork
10/29/13 2:05 p.m.

I'm a member of a couple race teams that run them. Right now we've got an '86 with a turbo Zetec and and '86 formally with a N/A Zetec in the front and a Lincoln 4.6L V8 in the back, but the front engine has been removed.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
10/29/13 2:06 p.m.
Powar wrote:
turboswede wrote: Which motor does it have? If it is SOHC, then it is a Ford CVH and it generally sucks, but you can throw a backyard turbo setup at it until it blows up. If it is a DOHC, then it is a Mazda BP engine, which is essentially the same as a Miata, 323 and a number of other small Mazda's. So there's lots of mods available for them, including turbo conversions, etc. Mostly though, I suggest you dump the 4 and put a Mazda KL V6 and enjoy the beautiful noise! Behold the Escort of Doom courtesy of Swank Force One: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/yeah-yeah-i-need-to-add-this-to-readers-rides/34254/page1/
The BP was not available in the first generation Escort. It'd either be the Ford 1.9HO or the 1.9CFI.

What he said. This car shares nothing with the Escort i mess with besides some badging.

RossD
RossD PowerDork
10/29/13 2:07 p.m.

I'm eavesdropping on this thread. There is a absolutely clean '83 Escort GT on craigslist for $1k right now and it's taunting me.

16vCorey
16vCorey PowerDork
10/29/13 2:09 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: The overall suspension design and geometry is a bit.... "challenged." Suppose it depends on your definition of a "good autocross car."

Very true, but with the strut towers hacked to hell and back (for more negative camber), cut Thunderbird springs in front and cut stock springs in the rear they actually handle pretty well on a road course. I never autocrossed it, but I would imagine it wouldn't be terrible there either.

Powar
Powar SuperDork
10/29/13 2:09 p.m.

The short answer is: Swank was right. The car can be tons of fun (as even the stock Escort GT or EXP Sport Coupe was), but it isn't going to be competitive.

I'm currently working on my '85 EXP. It's nearly the same car as your friend's '88. I picked up a set of NOS Ford Motorsport springs for it, and am going with KYB GR2s. I also bought camber plates for the front. You can still buy big swaybars from Addco, and the last I checked, Ground Control offered a coilover setup for the front. These cars share A LOT with the Euro MK3 Escort, which is still a popular tuner car in the UK. You can buy tons of parts for them from there.

If his car isn't a GT, the addition of a stock header from an EXP Sport Coupe or Escort GT would make a slight improvement in power. The CFI won't make power without boost, but that was never really the intention of the car. People do turbocharge these engines. They do hold together alright, but you aren't going to make BP/F2T power levels and keep it together.

If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to help find answers. I've been playing with EXPs since I was 17, and currently have a complete '86 EXP Sport Coupe parts car that might make an excellent 1.9HO/5-spd/GT suspension/GT seat donor if your friend is interested.

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
10/29/13 2:10 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote:
Powar wrote:
turboswede wrote: Which motor does it have? If it is SOHC, then it is a Ford CVH and it generally sucks, but you can throw a backyard turbo setup at it until it blows up. If it is a DOHC, then it is a Mazda BP engine, which is essentially the same as a Miata, 323 and a number of other small Mazda's. So there's lots of mods available for them, including turbo conversions, etc. Mostly though, I suggest you dump the 4 and put a Mazda KL V6 and enjoy the beautiful noise! Behold the Escort of Doom courtesy of Swank Force One: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/yeah-yeah-i-need-to-add-this-to-readers-rides/34254/page1/
The BP was not available in the first generation Escort. It'd either be the Ford 1.9HO or the 1.9CFI.
What he said. This car shares nothing with the Escort i mess with besides some badging.

I stand corrected as I thought the BP came in around late 88 or 89? I know it wasn't in the 1st Gen as the wife had one when we met, it was E36 M3.

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
10/29/13 2:12 p.m.

In reply to 16vCorey:

Ford actually made adjustable strut tops for these cars to correct camber after a crash. They weren't cheap though.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
10/29/13 2:13 p.m.
turboswede wrote:
Swank Force One wrote:
Powar wrote:
turboswede wrote: Which motor does it have? If it is SOHC, then it is a Ford CVH and it generally sucks, but you can throw a backyard turbo setup at it until it blows up. If it is a DOHC, then it is a Mazda BP engine, which is essentially the same as a Miata, 323 and a number of other small Mazda's. So there's lots of mods available for them, including turbo conversions, etc. Mostly though, I suggest you dump the 4 and put a Mazda KL V6 and enjoy the beautiful noise! Behold the Escort of Doom courtesy of Swank Force One: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/yeah-yeah-i-need-to-add-this-to-readers-rides/34254/page1/
The BP was not available in the first generation Escort. It'd either be the Ford 1.9HO or the 1.9CFI.
What he said. This car shares nothing with the Escort i mess with besides some badging.
I stand corrected as I thought the BP came in around late 88 or 89? I know it wasn't in the 1st Gen as the wife had one when we met, it was E36 M3.

91-96 was BP powered, and also the first iteration of Ford using the Mazda BG chassis.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/29/13 3:23 p.m.
Swank Force One wrote: The overall suspension design and geometry is a bit.... "challenged."

Any suspension will work if you don't let it.

iceracer
iceracer UberDork
10/29/13 5:35 p.m.

'88 Escort and performance is sort of an oxymoron. There were GT model with the CVH that had a little more power. This was before the EGT with the BG chassis and the Mazda engine.

The CVH is tough. they use then in spec ford racers.

frenchy
frenchy Reader
10/29/13 5:46 p.m.

I suppose if you start at the top of a big enough hill you could get going pretty fast in one.

Bumboclot
Bumboclot Reader
10/29/13 8:13 p.m.

How about a turbo 2.0 Split Port Induction with an upside-down 1G DSM manifold and a little modification to the head to keep the valve seats in it.

Powar
Powar SuperDork
10/30/13 8:08 a.m.
Bumboclot wrote: How about a turbo 2.0 Split Port Induction with an upside-down 1G DSM manifold and a little modification to the head to keep the valve seats in it.

Here you go.

http://mechdb.com/index.php/Ford_Escort_1st_gen_Zetec_swap

RossD
RossD PowerDork
10/30/13 8:28 a.m.

The couple of 2.3 Lima engines that I've laid my hands on have the same bolt pattern as the Zetec/CVH/SPI/Kent...

It's just that usually the transmission that bolts to the Lima uses two different bolt holes than the Zetec/CHV... but the holes on the Lima block are still there.

Is there a transaxle that can handle a turbo 2.3 lima?

RossD
RossD PowerDork
10/30/13 8:30 a.m.
16vCorey
16vCorey PowerDork
10/30/13 8:39 a.m.
Powar wrote:
Bumboclot wrote: How about a turbo 2.0 Split Port Induction with an upside-down 1G DSM manifold and a little modification to the head to keep the valve seats in it.
Here you go. http://mechdb.com/index.php/Ford_Escort_1st_gen_Zetec_swap

I have first hand experience with this, and if you want to use the stock crank sensor, use the Zetec flywheel and pressure plate with a Stealth/3000gt clutch disc and you can still use the stock 1st gen transmission.

Powar
Powar SuperDork
10/30/13 8:41 a.m.
Bumboclot
Bumboclot Reader
10/30/13 8:45 a.m.
Powar wrote:
Bumboclot wrote: How about a turbo 2.0 Split Port Induction with an upside-down 1G DSM manifold and a little modification to the head to keep the valve seats in it.
Here you go. http://mechdb.com/index.php/Ford_Escort_1st_gen_Zetec_swap

While I have a lot of respect for the Zetec, I have a soft spot for the SPI. I miss my 2000 Focus LX.

16vCorey
16vCorey PowerDork
10/30/13 8:49 a.m.

So to boost the Zetec I used a Focus manifold and welded a home made T3 flange on it.

Here it is in the car with some really crappy makeshift piping. We had about a week from the day it arrived at my house to race day. It was NA before that. We raced it just like that, without a hood.

Here it is with the intercooler re-mounted. Unfortunately I don't have any under the hood pics on my computer, but it looks much better.

TeamEvil
TeamEvil Reader
10/30/13 3:54 p.m.

So . . . there's pretty much nothing at all that can be done to the original Escort engine or suspension to improve things.

Oh well, thanks anyway. The body is in really good condition and runs well, might as well just drive it as a Winter beater and call it done.

Thanks for all of the cool info though !

TC

iceracer
iceracer UberDork
10/30/13 4:50 p.m.

Oh, there are lots of grassroots things you can do. Mill the head. Free up the exhaust and intake. do a little porting. Suspension, cut the springs to lower and stiffen. Rear roll bar. wider wheels and better tires. Advance the timing get creative on ways to get some negative camber. Have fun with it.

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