I am considering installing a 2.3L Duratec in my Birkin 7 wide body (similar to a wide body Caterham 7), what are my options for this engine?
The 2.3L engine has now been discontinued by Ford and there are no longer any tuner engines available and the spare components to build a complete engine are virtually non existent. The 2.0L engine is still produced and the 2.5L is also effectively the replacement for the 2.3L. The 2.3 and 2.5 as you have said are taller than the 2.0L but identical in height. There are various changes that need to be done to the 2.3L and 2.5L engines before they can be installed. The 2.5L engine has been evolved again and requires a different intake, due to its enlarged ports. In our opinion the 2.5L requires a lot of work to produce good performance, since it is designed as an engine to go into a truck or similar and simply rely on torque and not bhp. So even if you were to take the standard engine and simply remove the unnecessary components and fit throttle bodies, it would still produce less performance than a 2.0L which is a higher state of tune.
We are currently developing components for the 2.5L engine coming from two directions. One developing a highly tuned version where we will be reducing the stroke, due to the fact the stroke on the 2.5L is so large that it limits the peak rpm. The other direction is to allow the 2.5L to produce some sensible bhp and are developing some upgraded rods and pistons which will increase the compression which is much needed in the standard engine and then some upgraded camshafts so the engine can truly produce the performance that you would expect from a 2.5L engine. But even on the standard engine with the components we are developing to make it surpass that of the 2.0L engine, will add quite a cost to the base engine.
My personal choice would be to use the 2.0L engine, as this requires no additional modifications and you can simply bolt components on and with a correct exhaust produce just over 200bhp. In a light car such a Birkin, it will make a very tractable smooth car and since the engine is in standard form unstressed.
I'm planning to build a de stroked Duratec HE 1600 engine and I have told you are the leading developer of Duratec engines. Have you done any of these 1600cc HE's? What kind of head should I go for? I'm aiming for 230+ bhp, although I've heard rumours there are 260bhp 1.6L engines out there, but as of now I'm not aiming that high. I'm hoping the STD valves can be retained but the head will most probably need some port work done. Please can drop me a line on what you think we can work out and what's the cost.
We have designed a 1800cc version based on the 2.0L Duratec engine. The difficulty with doing this is that the volume of each cylinder is obviously reduced, this dramatically affects the compression ratio and the further you reduce the capacity (e.g. 1600cc), the worse the problem becomes. We have been able to just about achieve the compression ratio we require in order to make an efficient engine using our existing 2.0L slipper pistons.
In order to develop a 1600cc engine, a custom piston would be required as well as a special con-rod and crankshaft. The advantage of running the 2.0L engine block and bore size gives you the ability to run as large a valve size as possible, you then end up with a very short stroke which means your engine will need to rev. Basically this means, the engine will rev much higher than the 2.0L engine, the stock valve is not strong enough to rev high enough and will fail, you will need a very special valve train assembly (as used on our high spec 2.0L Duratec engines) to cope with these revs, even if different cams are used. I would have to consider the valve size to decide which would be optimal, but there would be no point in just putting any piston in the engine to achieve a result, a proper slipper piston, which is careful designed along with matching con-rod and crankshaft to suit. If you do not design the rotating parts as a complete package, the engine simply will not work.
The budget required to do what you are looking to achieve would effectively be the same whether you are looking for 230bhp or 260bhp, even 230bhp would be difficult to achieve. If you do a simple equation based on the capacity of the 2.0L engine and its peak bhp, a 290bhp 2.0L is not a cheaper engine to begin with, so divide 290 by 2 and then multiply by 1.6, this gives you a very crude estimation of the bhp you can expect. There are other factors that come into play, but it will give you a good idea, so consider very carefully your budget before you start such a project as all the components we sell are producing in quantities to reduce costs and although some components are interchangeable, many parts will need to be custom made. Some items such as crankshafts and con-rods will potentially double in cost, where pistons would have to be made in batches of 3 engine sets.
Just one final point, we spend a vast amount of time designing, testing and developing all our products, we occasionally try new manufacturers who promise reduced costs and quantities and so far the results have always been disappointing, particularly on piston design and therefore at this level of performance we only use one manufacturer as we have seen performance losses of more than 30bhp just in the piston design.