Zetec Conversion: Project Background

Zetec Conversion: The Junk Yard Zetec Project Embraces an Aging Formula Continental. Background on Phase Two of the Junk Yard Zetec Project

I finally completed the first phase of the Junk Yard Zetec Project in the Spring of 2017. And my youngest son helped get the report online. It can be accessed at http://www.junkyardzetec.com. And it also comes up on a Google search when Junk Yard Zetec Project is typed into the search box.

The essential focus of Phase One of the project was to try and determine if the original philosophical basis of the early Formula Ford (and the later Formula Continental variant) could be replicated once the Zetec motor was allowed into Formula Continental by the Sports Car Club of America. That original philosophical basis included the possibility that an enthusiast could go out to a junk yard, purchase a salvage motor, and patiently build it up into an SCCA rules-compliant engine. It was understood that the enthusiast would never be able to match the performance of the professional builders but that the enthusiast could, at least, get going. That first phase of the project took a couple of years but ultimately led to engine completion and dynometer survival. And, once again, that saga can be accessed at http://www.junkyardzetec.com (or Google search Junk Yard Zetec Project).

This Phase Two of the project, pertains to whether or not the junk yard Zetec powerplant could be massaged into an older Formula Continental chassis.  A chassis that had been designed around the original single overhead cam Ford 2-liter motor that had been in so many Ford products around the world (including the Capri in Europe and the Pinto in the United States).

The Zetec powerplant had also been in several Ford products around the world. It appeared in the Mondeo in Europe and in the Focus in both the UK and the United States. It was meant to be universal and, consequently, the fasteners are metric.   And, because the Zetec motor was designed to be a universal Ford component, it was meant to bolt up to existing Ford bellhousings and gearboxes. So the Zetec motor was touted as a straightforward alternative to older Ford powerplants. The short answer conclusion to this Phase Two report is that the conversion alternative is real but does require analysis and adaptation. The Zetec alternative is available to the aging Formula Continental but there are complications.

The Zetec conversion in this Phase Two report is based around an RF94 Van Diemen Formula Continental/F2000 chassis. This particular chassis was chosen for three reasons. Reason one is that I had a long term affection for Van Diemen offerings in that my SCCA Novice ticket was earned in an RF78 Formula Ford back in 1981. The second reason was that an RF94 Formula Continental had become available for sale in the San Francisco Region of the SCCA. And the third reason was that, since the goal of the second phase of the project was to develop adaptation solutions for any older Formula Continental chassis, it couldn’t hurt to select a chassis that was probably the most difficult to adapt (what with the early to mid-1990’s Van Diemen superstructure engine bay bracing). The thought was that, if it was possible to develop adaptation solutions for the RF94, then those adaptation solutions could be applied to Reynards, Citations, Crossles, Swifts, Mygales and anything else that might be out there.

As with the report for Phase One, The Junk Yard Zetec Project, there is no assertion here that the approach ultimately followed in Phase Two is the only way to go. This chassis adaptation approach simply reflects what I read, what I saw, who I talked to and who assisted in the adaptation. It is simply the path followed.

One of the primary differences from the first phase of the project was that, while some aspects of the project were categorized by precise item and precise cost, many items here in Phase Two are categorized by the amount of time it took a specific craftsperson or fabricator to complete any given task.  This amount of time is inflated because of the sort-and- development aspect of what was attempted. These developmental aspects should be reduced for any subsequent pursuit of the adaptations.  In addition, of course, the ratio of hourly rate to time to complete any individual task will be affected by whether the local fabricator has a lower or higher hourly rate or a higher or lower skill level or whether the enthusiast has the tools and the skills to complete any specific adaptation task on their own.

Also, as with the Phase One of The Junkyard Zetec Project, many gifted human beings provided advice and counsel. An alphabetical listing appears at the end of this report. Specific tools, tasks, time and costs will be listed as the project report progresses but I’ll summarize those at the end of the report as well.

And finally, this is an informational (rather than commercial) undertaking. Open source as you will. Any input, criticism and/or kind, constructive advice is greatly appreciated.

On to the initial analysis: