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  • Writer's pictureKingsley James

Escort RS2000 Recommission.

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

As a fast Ford man my self, having a genuine RS2000 in the workshop is a dream job.

This one had a been barn stored for quite a few years and the owner decided it was time for a recommission. The bodywork was all in good order thanks to being stored so it was going to be mostly a mechanical recommission.

First impressions of the 40+ year old pinto were that it probably would have started there and then with some fresh fuel if I had wanted it to. This however wouldn't have been a good idea having been left standing for a long period. With an old cam belt, dry bearings and probably solidified coolant it wouldn't have been a good idea.

A look at the fan belt having set in the position of the pulleys is all the evidence I need of how long it was since the cam had ran.

Underneath the car was pretty solid. I always have a good poke around just to be sure. There were one a two holes but nothing disastrous.

The worst of it was the rear inner quarter pannel had a hole on both sides as well as the passenger floor where it joins the inner sill.

Engine and gearbox removed ready for a rebuild

Before ordering any parts or sending things to be machined I need a good idea of what work actually needs to be done. The first thing I notice is a large build up of sludge in the sump and on the oil pick up strainer. Those parts are easy to clean and the sludge is probably just a result of the engine not running for a number of years. With a bit of luck it won't have made its way though the bearings.

A dial guage is set up on the back of the crank shaft to check the end float. These guages are extremely precise and measure fractions of millimetres. The end float tolerance for these engines is between 0.08mm and 0.28mm. The end float measured hear is 0.15mm so spot on.

The cylinder bores look acceptable, no real lip at the top and no scoring however not much of the crosshatch machining marks left to be seen. Crank shaft also looks smooth enough although one or two of the bearings have picked up some grit over the years. Over all the customer and I decided that for the amount of miles the car will do in the future there would be enough life left in the bearings. It wasn't worth spending a fortune on the bottom end at this stage.

Engine tripped down ready for cleaning and rebuild.

Huge selection of new parts going into this build. Brakes, bushes, gaskets, ignition system, service parts, there's all sorts.

The crank is lubricated and refit after its inspection. The timing covers are removed, cleaned and new oil seals are fitted along with a new oil pump. All thread holes are cleaned out as the sump, timing covers and water pump holes tend to get bunged up with sealant preventing the bolts from going in all the way.

The cylinder head has had the usual skim and regrind of the valves as well as a new camshaft, rocker fingers, oil spray bar and oil seal.

Valve clearance is set at 0.010" exhaust and 0.008" inlet.

Engine and its components are stripped of its oil blue, red and black paint and refinished in gloss black engine enamel

On to the brakes and suspension. The rear drums and shoes are finished and will have to be replaced along with most of the braking system.

The axle is removed and stripped of all its brake and suspension components. Bushes are then burned out of the leaf springs and anti rollbars. Standard bushes are refitted where possible as the owner wanted to keep it as standard as possible but a lot of them had to be replaced with more modern polyurethane bushes as that is all that was available.

Up front new wheel bearings and brake disks are fitted to the hubs. Disks are thread locked in place to prevent them coming loose.

New centre bearing is fitted to the prop shaft before being repainted along with the axle.

Axle being fitted back on to the car with new brake shoes, drums, wheel cylinders, brake lines, flexi hose and leaf spring u-bolts.

The gearbox was apparently in good working order when the car was last used so all that was required was an oil change and new oil seals.

The front brake callipers and master cylinder on this occasion were sent away to a specialist to be refurbished. New pistons and seals in both the callipers and master cylinder is the safest option for something that had sat for a long period of time.

The steering rack is another part that must be sent away and refurbished by specialists. There's no shortcuts when it comes to steering and brakes.

The front crossmember and anitroll bar are cleaned up, surface rust is chemically treated and the two are then painted and assembled with new bushes and track control arms.

Engine finally making its way back into the car. In the case of the rs2000, the front crossmember should be dropped down in order to fit and remove the engine. Something I found out the hard way when trying removing the engine with the crossmember in place.

Old and new ignition system. The old system looks to be a point's & condenser type that had been upgraded with a magnetic pick up. The new system however is a purpose built fully electronic system. So hopefully it should be slightly more efficient.

The radiator had definitively seen better days and so was sent away to be re-cored.

The underside is finished with a coat of wax oil as requested by the customer.

The owner had complained that the fan heater had given up some time ago with a puff of smoke and so was kind enough to supply me with a new motor to fit. Not a particularly nice job as the heater housing is a massive pain to get out but it needed to be done and now it works as it should.

A final compression test is done before the car goes back to the owner to confirm that the pistons that we had gambled on re-using earlier were still in good order. As we had hoped there is still plenty of life in them yet.

A final hiccup in the ignition system and instrument cluster ment I had to take the dashboard apart again right at the end of the job for some last minute wiring but after a day of scratching my head I finally found a loose connection in the ignition barrel.

All finished at last!

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