Thursday, 19 December 2002

Fiesta XR2 Turbo Conversion - Converting the MK2 XR2 to accept the RS Turbo Engine

How to Convert | Wiring it up | FAQ | My build diary

This is an overview of the conversion process for transplanting the Escort RS Turbo engine and running gear into the fiesta MK2 XR2

Donor parts
Strip the bay
Modify the engine bay
Inserting the main components
The fueling system
The Electrics and Wiring
The final touches and testing

Donor Parts
The first thing you'll need is your donor parts this will consist of the following
Engine - block and head one thing to look for is an engine number this may save a lot of explaining to the police at a later date.
Fuel Injection system - including: Inlet manifold including injectors and red pipes to link to the fuel distributor. As for the tank I would suggest you buy the tank from the fiesta center this is design for this very type of conversion. From there I use the Sierra Cosworth type fuel pump mainly because of it's size and convenience as it comes in it's own mounting cradle which also house a nicely sized fuel filter.
Turbo - there's no sure fire way of checking for a knackered one but if grab the compressor shaft there should be very little movement back and forth also look for cracks in the exhaust housing. It is also good if you can get hold of the down pipe this makes a good start for your exhaust.
Wiring - Probably best to grab the hole loom from the escort RS then you'll be sure not to miss anything although you only be using the engine management part.
Gearbox - To limit the spin (as you will get it) you are best searching for the Limited Slip Differential type box, you may get this with the engine again there is no way of checking what condition the box is in, but no whether it is a LSD type from the casing , the easiest way of check if it has the LSD is with the drive shafts removed have a look through the hole if you can see daylight you have he right one if however you can see a bevel this will not be the LSD type diff.


Cooling - for this many say just stick with the XR2 radiator but for proper cooling I use the RS Turbo radiator as this has twice the cooling capacity in addition you will need all associated hoses. As for the intercooler the standard one will attach to the Radiator and look really neat once installed again you will need all the turbo hoses.
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Strip the bay
For best results remove everything, I would suggest removing the calipers from the discs, all coolant piping and connecting wires, cables, fuel lines, exhaust etc. then move to the hubs themselves remove the steering joints tie bar bolts and track control arms then simply put a good jack at the base of the sump and undo the cross member bolts making sure that jack is pumped up enough to take the weight of the block. Next move onto the upper engine mounts remove these also. Finally undo the strut tops and place these to the ground - or you may want to leave these until the engine is lowered slightly to avoid strain on the shafts as you'll be needing these later.
NB. Once the manifold is removed you may want to offer the turbo up in place to mark what will need cutting on the cross member
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Modify the engine bay
Now the engine and components are out it is time to start work on the engine bay itself it may also be a good time to get the pressure hose out and have a good scrub as no doubt you'll be wanting to show this new motor off once fitted.
Firstly, attack the battery tray this will have to be removed as this is where the fuel distributor will be fitted, how you do this is up to you, ideally, you should be able to drill out the spot welds and it should fall off but more often than not you'll have to get out the angle grinder.
Secondly, you will have to move down to the cross member here you will have to enlarge the exhaust exit to accommodate the exhaust from the turbo although you should have already marked this from step one.
Thirdly, you will have to modify the front panel to locate the radiator and intercooler further forward to give clearance to the turbo. I would start by cutting little noggins out from the inner skin where the top of the radiator and intercooler will sit, this should give a good inch or so also for the bottom the best thing would be to place the radiator and intercooler so it fits in the gutter in front of the cross member again this will move it forward. Once they are moved forward far enough to clear the turbo you have to start making allowances the other side for the cooling fan as this sits on the front for an RS Turbo. At this point many fall into the trap of just hacking into the front panel, if you are careful you can fit the fan slightly lower down this will elevate the need to chop a section out of the strip that runs along below you headlights instead you will be able to nibble a little out behind it so the blades of the fan can slip behind and the middle section of the fan will sit just below.
You should now have plenty of room for you fan, radiator and intercooler you will now have to fabricate some brackets, this part is up to you on the three cars I have done I've always found something in the garage that does the job. With the fan you should be able to modify the existing brackets.
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Inserting the main components
This bit is relatively straight forward, fitting the engine and gearbox is as the Haynes manual says "simply a reversal of removal" now at this point you'll be thinking you need a engine crane etc well fear not if you have a good jack and a couple of adjustable axle stands it is possible, this process normally takes me about an hour - obviously the use of a crane would make things easier.
Now if the engine isn't fitted with it inlet manifold I would suggest doing this now, along with fitting you turbo and exhaust manifold this is when you find out if your radiator is moved forward enough. You will also notice a bit stick out on the turbo that doesn't seem to be doing a lot other than looking like it could do potential damage to the radiator, the solution for this is get you angle grinder out, but be careful not to chop off anything important and if in doubt leave it!
Now your engine should be taking shape the next task will be the fuel distributor, this is the thing that has red pipes coming out of it and also what the air filter fits onto it is also known as a vein meter probably because the red pipes resemble archeries in a strange way. My advise would be to connect the red pipes up to the injectors and on the fuel distributor and place the unit on the inner wing it should sit nicely just above the gearbox exactly how it does on the Escort without causing any stress to the red fuel pipes, make sure your pipe from the turbo intake to the fuel meter also fits otherwise it will be difficult to get one that will fit. Once you are happy with it's placement drill two holes through the inner wing that correspond with the holes on the meter then form a bracket for he top rubber mount this will then bolt up where you battery tray was.
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Well now you have all you components in the right place why not put the rest of the parts on like the remaining turbo hoses and plumbing for the radiator. for the water you will have to fit an extra t-piece near the alternator to allow the two systems to work with each other , if you have the rest of the RS Pipes everything should be relatively straight forward.
Don't forget to connect all your vacuums as air leaks count towards a lot of teething problems you may have.
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The fueling system
This part will also apply if you are fitting a non turbo injection to your car - but that's boring so lets get on
Method One - The most simple and straight forward method is to go out and buy a pre-made fuel tank with the swirl pot from the RS Turbo welded inside the tank front of the MK2 fiesta. You'll need a swirl pot as when you corner at speed the fuel will surge to one side of the tank and as the injection pump will be pulling fuel at such a rate there will be a chance it will suck in air bubbles and this is not good as no fuel in a turbo'd engine could have serious consequence besides the pump will require a larger diameter pipe than that of the standard tank.
These type of tanks can be bought for £89 from Norwich Fiesta Centre this is the method I use.
From the tank I prefer to mount the fuel pump somewhere at the rear of the car, ideally the pump should not be mounted above the tank as the pump is gravity fed. I have used the pump from the Sapphire Cosworth the reason one because it was going cheap and two because it sits in it's own cradle along side the fuel filter this makes it look nice and neat and easy to fit.
Method Two - This would be to use a Facet silver top type pump and the standard tank this can be popular if you have just upgraded from using twin 40's although I'd recommend in this case you sell the Facet with your forty's as from the Facet you will need to feed a swirl pot, this will basically take the form of a cylinder with a top and bottom and with four pipes a feed from the facet pump at the top, a return from the injection system, a return to the fuel tank for overflow and a feed at the bottom to the injection pump of your choice. These can be made if you're handy with the welder but bare in mind this has to carry fuel which could be very hazardous if it was to spring a leak in the engine bay!! and to buy a swirl pot you would be looking at a similar price to that of the ready made injection tank.
Note : Always use high pressure hose and good stainless steel jubilee clips. To get your fuel to the front of the car and back again I use the standard bore fuel lines on the XR2 this seems to be up to the job although you could swap these out for larger versions found on the turbo or other injection models or even get some braided hoses made to length but these are quite costly.
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Oh no I hear you shout! fear not for some reason this is made to seem a lot more complicated than it need be.
First up decide where you want to have your battery I know the favorite is to mount this in the rear section either where the spare wheel normally sits or opposite in the other void, this will need to be mounted securely as in the event of an accident you wouldn't like that hitting you round the head at 30mph! - You will also need to find and earthing point, I found that drilling a hole then welding a nut on top produced an excellent earthing point, I would recommend this be welded to the axle tunnel due to it being a good bit of metal!
From the battery you will need a good thick cable from the battery to the starter motor, you will have to get your money out on this one nip down to your local car electronics outlet and buy yourself the appropriate length of auto cable (not stereo) a good source would be midland magneto also buy a couple of connectors whilst you are there. An alternative would to search around the scrap yard and find a car with the battery mounted in the boot I was told Jaguars run this set up although I could be wrong.
You cable from the starter motor to the alternator will remain the same. From the start motor take another live feed to your inner wing hear you'll need to get either a distribution box, heavy duty fuse or just good at soldering as you need to connect you live feed to the existing XR2 electronics after all you'll still need your lights to work.
RS Turbo loom
Click here to see the full guide.
Okay onto the RS Turbo loom - Thanks to Mark Lister AKA Bomber I have based this section of the loom I have recently completed for him. The trick with the loom is just a case of tracing the wires back to there source and pulling/cutting the bits you need from the bits you don't.
If you don't fancy doing this yourself it's best to find someone who has done this before or they'll probably include their research and development in their costs, I have had quotes from £80 to £900 for the wiring alone so be warned. I can strip label and post back for £50 if required.
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Final touches and testing
Okay now is a good time to go over everything check all jubilee clips are fully tightened, wheel bolts are done up etc... it's a good idea to have a friend with you just to double check. Make sure your oil is in your engine and gearbox, brake fluid topped up, water is in and most importantly you have fuel - don't laugh. Okay turn the key until your dash lights come on first you should hear you fuel pump prime up it may be an idea to just go around and check you have no fuel leaks then turn her over a good idea would be to disconnect the fuel just to get you oil pressure flowing around the engine and turbo as it has probably been standing for a little while and dry bearings tend to wear very quickly!
Okay connect your fuel feed and spin that motor.... okay you should have a big grin across your face at this moment, if not don't worry as I have another section for trouble shooting.
Well welcome to the world of turbo'd XR2's you now have the potential to run over 200bhp through your 185/60r13's and take it from me it's big fun !!
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How to Convert | Wiring it up | FAQ | My build diary

1 comment:

CrazzyMk2 said...

WOW man i have been reading some of your work i can only ask the oviouse can you help me do mine xD please

i am now trying to get all the parts atm i have a 1.1 mk2 fiesta and i have found a donna engine with box and wiring from an escort i didnt think that it would be as much work as you are saying as i have seen bigger engine in the same bay like the rs2000
if you see this post please email me i would really like to ask you some questions
thanks dan