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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey, i just acquired a 1988 ford escort gt, the car is to be a project for everyday driving/race car

im new to the ford line of cars and your help would be greatly appreciated

first off what i want to tackle
performance from the engine!!
what power i can get from the engine right now without boosting it right away.

suspension
what suspension can be used for the car to sit on the ground
i saw some polyutherane bushing for the rs turbo same year but i dont know if those control arm bushings can be used. please help

brakes
please feel free to give suggestion

my big question is engine swap
can any japanese engines be used in the gt without any big modification being done.(honda, nissan, toyota)

please let me know what can be done to the car to get good performance out of it pleaseeeeeeeeeee
 

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Welcome to the forum, prepare for a lengthy response....

First off, do some serious reading in the 1st gen section. Just search what you're interested in. The search engine isn't very intuitive, but it will find the info if it exists. I suggest the 1st gen because the rest of this forum is extremely biased toward 2nd and 3rd gen cars.

Second, any aftermarket mods you find are very likely to come from the UK. The RS Turbo was a UK model, although urethane bushings for it will work with our cars. In fact, any suspension stuff will work, although you might have an issue with the swaybar as we had slightly thicker ones. I know swaybar to control arm urethane bushings exist from Moog already (my local Advance sells them).

If you want to lower the car a lot, then prepare to get the more expensive coilover sets (can also be had from the UK), or go air bag. Vdub mentioned possibly doing that to his car...if he wrote a how-to, that would be excellent.

Third, you're going to have to learn to modify what you have, and fabricate. There is very little aftermarket support for these cars in the US. Again, UK has a lot, but it's expensive, and some things just don't fit.

Fourth, and this is sort of a sarcastic question and response. Why would you want to put a Jap engine in the car? The engine under the hood is absolutely just fine. It's detuned like crazy by Ford. Read around, you'll find it's a very reliable design, and the closest design I've ever found to it would be the 2 valve hemi straight 6 engines from BMW; the CVH is like the little brother to that engine..no joke. The UK has tons of stuff for the 1.6, which is smaller, but has been known to make about 180 hp with natural aspiration and high revs. The 1.9 will do a little better than that. Mind you, that is revving around 7.5k with a specially built, blueprinted engine. In this car (usually 2000 pounds average) that will move pretty well. The best option is to build a solid bottom end, modify the head a little, and slap on a huge turbo, people here have gotten over 300 hp out of both 1.6 and 2.0 engines, and the 1.9 has come close, but nobody's busted 300 yet...1low seems to be working on that.

Fifth, "good performance" is a relative term. Sure, the car isn't fast, but it will keep up easily with a stock Corolla GTS from that era (mine does, anyway, and it's an LX). If you're looking for a drag car, look elsewhere. If you want a car to corner, learn to drive this car as it's very different than probably any other car you've dealt with. The rear suspension is primitive, but apparently the magic ingredient. If you want the car to be a drifter, convert it to rear drive (yes they exist), or look elsewhere. Mostly though, just search, and you'll learn way more than I typed here. For parts, check www.burtonpower.com.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for the info
i will try to search and get the info needed
about the jap engine i was just curious ive seen alot of cross breeds being done. so just curious

i checked out the burton power and wow those prices are crazy but ill see what can be done
 

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They're not crazy if you have plenty of Brit Pounds...the US dollar is just poop in comparison, so double any prices you see, then add on about 1/3 for the shipping, and you've got a good base price.

I'm not really fond of Japanese engines. I think they receive far too much credit. I'll admit they last a long time, but really...no better than any other design, especially German ;).

If the search finds nothing, just mention the specific question here, and you'll likely have it answered. Most of us are just trying to keep the cars on the road. Some of us modify them (necessity in my case), but we all seem to admit how fun they are to drive. Not limit breaking, but they will give other compact cars from the same years a serious run as far as corners are concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
UnexplodedCow said:
They're not crazy if you have plenty of Brit Pounds...the US dollar is just poop in comparison, so double any prices you see, then add on about 1/3 for the shipping, and you've got a good base price.

I'm not really fond of Japanese engines. I think they receive far too much credit. I'll admit they last a long time, but really...no better than any other design, especially German ;).

If the search finds nothing, just mention the specific question here, and you'll likely have it answered. Most of us are just trying to keep the cars on the road. Some of us modify them (necessity in my case), but we all seem to admit how fun they are to drive. Not limit breaking, but they will give other compact cars from the same years a serious run as far as corners are concerned.
oh i forgot to say im in jamaica (the british dollar wayyyyyyyyyyy ahead)
1 us - 89Ja
1pound - 124ja
but i can manage the price but i hope its worth it
 

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THe only japanese engine that I could possibly see used would be the mazda gtx engine and transmission. Expect lots of fabrication to make it work.

Like everyone says, there is very little aftermarket performance support here. Europe is another story though.
 

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Yeah, but by then he could just go with a 2.0L Zetec that's an easier fit, and would easily make the same amount of power with forced in duction...

He could also go with an Corolla GTS engine/tranny, but again, he could basically get an identical engine by using a Ford BDA engine from the UK....but it would mount easier, and make the same power. It's really a moot point.

These cars make for a good blank canvas, but you'll be able to find pretty much whatever you need by using Ford engines. If you go with engine swapping, I highly recommend the Zetec from a 3rd gen ZX2...if you can get the head from an SVT, so much the better. I know Ford tuned that engine in the UK to over 200 hp in the Focus RS.
 

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The RS is another beast all together in the focus world.

SVTs are not 100% compatible with base model zetecs. There are some modifications that need to be done to use that head on a non SVT car. Just a FYI.
 

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The pistons would need to be matched for the larger valves..as far as I've seen that's the only combustion chamber issue. The water and oil lines fit up, too. Not much else to go wrong with putting a head from one Zetec on to another...granted I'm leaving out a pulley change or something that doesn't directly relate to the head.
 

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I had the same questions when i started out
1. its tru, one or the other, OR why not get two? one of both!
2. The engines in these cars are actually pretty powerful, why not just get a small turbo and rebuild the top end? You could easily pull more "fun Power" out of it with out making it too racy, but with that comes other worries...

It looks like your already talking about suspension, good. Ur gonna need it.
I would suggest looking at the MK2 in england, they are not only wicked sick,
but like the big brother of the escort... not to mention i think mastrata drove one in the last derby he was in. If you can youtube.. .do it,amazing stuff and you will have a whole new respect for your car. i know i love mine. I know Mckinley does the hill clims and i think i wanna try that, but these car can do everything... so it really depends what you wanna tune it for... huh... well i just went on a tangent....

Any way... if you go to the european sites u can get things pretty reasonable... not escort reasonable..but like dodge viper reasonable maybe...

the mk1 is cool, but the engine, set up, they are rear wheel... is as i understand very different... the mk2 is different, still rear wheel (or better as some people would say) but it has alot of really cool ideas to it, the mods over there are ricer-esk, but if you find the right guys they tune it really well...

I still think that they should just ship the coz right over here and be done with it, but i think jeremy would be happy with that (sorry, to much brit tv)

any way, welcome and good luck!
 

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Don't leave out AWD variants from the UK. And don't forget my several lengthy posts regarding the ability to almost directly swap in a Merkur XR4-Ti rear drivetrain for making the car rear drive ;). It's possible, requires a some modification. I think Jeremy misses his Cosworth, although it did sell for a pretty high dollar.
 
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