This Article from September 2000.



Having just completed this swap, let me say from the start that it is not a simple “one out, one in” change. In fact, all that was left of the original on my car was the radiator and rear axle. Everything including the engine mounting brackets was removed.

 The choice of a Ford 2.0 DOHC with carburettor was influenced by a number of factors, not least of which was the fact that I did not feel that I could stretch my understanding of car engines to a fuel-injection system. I also knew that this was the engine Panther were experimenting with and subsequently used in cars built in Korea, so fit was not a problem, and having a carb, I would not have to cut the wing to accommodate the air filter etc as the factory had done on their earlier cars with fuel injection.

 The removal of the old engine, gearbox and prop shaft was quite easy with the car up on a hoist and the whole assembly lowered out of the car. The old engine mounting brackets could then be cut from the chassis and the new ones welded into place. These were made slotted, and this proved very helpful in moving the new engine/gearbox assembly slightly to line up with the hole in the transmission tunnel.

 The existing gearbox did not fit onto the 2.0 lt. engine and so a Ford MT75 was used. This in itself gave a load of problems since the gearbox was deeper and shorter with a remote lever and when used on the Sierra had a split prop shaft. The gearbox support bracket was modified and the prop shaft drive coupling had either to be changed or a new bracket welded into place to take the immediate bearing. In the event, the drive coupling was changed and a slightly longer-than-normal bespoke prop shaft was obtained from a specialist manufacturer.

 The new gearbox was aluminium cased and much lighter than the old one so the small increase in weight on the engine was counteracted by the loss of weight on the gearbox.

 So far, so good.


 When the new unit was offered up, the alternator fouled the steering column and with the existing hole in the transmission tunnel, it was only possible to get gears 1,3 and 5. Numbers 2, 4 and reverse (which was now opposite 5 with a lifting collar on the gear lever) were unobtainable.

The gear solution was simple - cut a longer hole. The steering column was not.

 After a great deal of experimenting with different alternator brackets, it was decided to re-route the steering column. Even so, I had to modify the alternator bracket and the engine support to get clearance. This was, and still is, the one part of the project that I am not 100% happy with and I am considering alternative solutions.

 The engineering finished, it was time to combine the two wiring looms.

 The Twin-Cam engine had it’s own wiring loom with a management unit even in carburettor form and also required an electric fuel pump since the CVH is mechanical.

 I had carefully removed the loom out of a scrap car myself and had the fuel pump and cooling fan relays. The fuel pump on the Sierra was inside the tank, so an alternative solution had to be found. The first pump was too powerful, but a lower-capacity pump suited perfectly. The temperature gauge was not compatible with the sensor, so I used the old loom wiring and sensor.

 Well, after all that it started first try - and ran terribly, leaking oil from the cam cover and the cooling fan refusing to cut in.


A new cam cover, gasket and sensor switch sorted out those two problems but the miss-fire and rough-running were still there. A specialist with diagnostic equipment pointed to the coil and the inlet manifold gasket. A new coil cured the miss-fire and I needlessly changed the inlet manifold gasket. When I had the manifold off, a split rubber pipe was discovered on the crank case breather.

 All that remained now was the exhaust,

   What I have forgotten to mention was the fact that it was now Tuesday and we had booked a ferry for the previous Sunday to have a leisurely few days on the continent meeting the rest of the Club party at the Hotel Zum Ahrbogen on the Thursday, prior to the annual Classic Show at the Nurburgring

 A piece of flexible exhaust pipe was more errantly attached to the old 1.6 system and the car was quickly packed (including my overalls and tools), washed and off we went.

 The exhaust did not make the ferry, but was replaced with a bespoke system at “Maidstone Exhaust Centre”. The overalls remained packed and the tools untouched.

 The 1500 miles (approx.) round trip was completed without incident at an average of 32.7mpg using unleaded fuel.

 To say the car is transformed is probably an understatement - 3000 revs gives 70 mph in 5th gear, it accelerates from this even on an incline.

 However, the real advantage is the light steering and balance of the 1.6, but with torque and flexibility more akin to a 2.8.

 Tony Hulland