Pros and Cons going from Pinto to Duratec

I’m part way through this migration, and there are many advantages to doing this:

  • serious reduction in unsprung weight (40kg)
  • really tunable up to a specific point – 210BHP; after that the pistons may melt. Ford designed a great lightweight piston, but it’s designed to a specification. Aftermarket pistons and great matched solutions are available from people like SBD Developments, who have a brilliant reputation in this business.
  • great though pintos are, bits are going to start getting expensive
  • you get to have all the bits of the engine on the same sides as before
  • you can keep your carbs if you want to
  • your analogue gauges will still work. If like me, you’ve moved over to mechanical in order to not have them die due to vibrations, then they will still work of course.

However, there are other factors

  • cost – everyone will agree it’s not a cheap solution. Don’t forget you’ll want to change the clutch, replace all cooling hoses, etc.
  • you need spark management even if you keep the ford induction setup – you will still need an ECU- if you’re adding more power, you need different injectors
  • In nearly all installations, the oil filter positioning is right where a chassis member is, so a remote solution is needed
  • Engine mounts are very different, but not hard to weld up at all.
  • assuming you’re going to fuel injection, you will need all the associated fueling (filter, pump, lines, swirl pot, new tank, fuel level sender, etc.)
  • new exhaust
  • cooling is a different kind of circuit
  • you need a new sump
  • for some cars, the footwells may need modifying

But, taking that lot into account, it’s still worth it for the end result – it’s not hard to get 270bhp from these if you add the right bits with little to no machining. I think everyone who’s gone to that route is happy they have.

angled sump design – needs new flap gates

So, following is the photo-record so far for the 10 degree angled duratec sump I’m making for someone out of stainless.

What you can see is the longer side (40mm longer) which has been tacked every inch at 70A. Deep penetration isn’t actually needed here (and you tried you would run the risk of of blowing through the thinner wall or warping the base plate). Stainless is really tricky for warping. I guess there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Here is the front, and again, one inch tacks. It also shows the internal sorted flap gates. These aren’t fully tacked in place yet, just in for positioning.



Here you can see the problem that comes out when adapting the design and not redesigning the flap-slats. Bear in mind this sump is upside down and the flange is sat on the welding plate on the side that goes on to the block. The central flap-slat matrix is designed to mate with the flange and sit snug against the sump bottom (or lid in this orientation).

I don’t think this is going to work because there is a lot of room for oil to flow under the flap gates, and if I cut angled plates to make up the gap then the flap gates will be too high, restricting oil flow and defeating the design of the sump.

Here it is the right way up, and the orange hammer handle shows the gap between the flap-slat plates and what would be the bottom of the sump.



So, next steps are:

  1. remove the flap-slats, which are tacked in, so a little time consuming to get out
  2. get the cad out and recalculate the profile of the gates
  3. whilst 2 is being cut, I can still complete the seam welds and test it for oil-tightness.

This is a little frustrating because it’s the neatest sump i’ve made yet.

I am proud of my dipstick

So, just about the last job to do on the sump is to get the dipstick path routed up the side of the engine. As per flak’s instructions, I bought some 15mmOD stainless tubing to match the hole machined in the side of the sump. My original plan was to route the pipe vertically up the side of the engine and emerge between the throttle bodies. As you can see from the pic below, this isn’t a great route, and runs far too close to many things, including the engine mount bolts, and one of the water pump housing take-offs.


So, I needed to either go for a simple route up, hoping i could get the angles so precise that it missed everything, or find a better way. Digging through the heap of stuff I’d taken off the original engine, I extracted the dipstick tube (just pulls out of the sump – held in with an o-ring) and took a look at the convoluted routing it takes – i found it to be good.
Now that I had a plan to take a route, i needed to plan the take-off from the block. Wrapping some paper around the pipe and using duck tape to make it rigid, i now had a template of the pipe that could be cut with scissors until I had the angle right without risking multiple chops into the steel.


Note that it comes off the sump at a slight angle away from the sump to move the dipstick into the void space there. I’ve kept the template in case i make a sump for anyone else (Furyous is getting one if he likes this design).



Next came the plan to fit the dipstick tube onto the sump take-off pipe. When measured, the tube is about 0.3mm short of half an inch, and the ID of the pipe is about 11.5mm, and i happen to have had my trusty 1/2 inch reamer ready. In order to make the dipstick pipe fit the sump, I reamed out the end of the take-off pipe to 1/2 inch. This was a little tricky, needing to position and clamp the pipe in the drill-vice, and then gently ream down and back (lots of cutting spray) in order to take it out. The end result is that the dipstick tube fits nicely into the end and has a little swivel room.

look at the shiny end of my tubeI also cleaned the end up ready for welding. However, I decided not to weld it straight away for a couple of reasons: firstly, there’s no going back after putting that tack in, especially if it’s routed wrongly, and secondly I’d also be welding stainless to mild. In the end, I decided that the better solution by far would be to fit it all back to the car, make a support bracket for the tube so it hugs the engine nicely, and then epoxy it in. It will be a very strong solution, easier than a weld, and will give me a couple of minutes wriggle time before it goes off.

Here’s the final run up through the void. In the background middle-right you can see the starter motor bolts, and i’m going to fabricate a bracket to go onto this bolt as well – job done – dipstick now properly secure.


Here’s another picture from a slightly different angle showing the take-off from the pipe, because I’m so pleased with it. It’s a good thing when something runs neatly and without fuss – generally simple is always best, and not necessarily the easiest to achieve. Occam’s Razor.



I originally made this post here on the loccost builders sitebut it’s my post, so I’m following my policy of echoing the content to the blog, just as I push most of the blog content to the forum, only fair to share. I think the only copies I have of these photos are on that site, hence being tagged with their logo. I don’t mind.



weld your own gated sump action

So, I’m a good way through the sump build and I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the way.

Having a heavy bolt-to jig helps. Mine’s made of 10mm thick mild steel. The sump is bolted to it at every bolt point to prevent warping and to act as a reasonable heat-sink.I’ve also repeatedly offered it to the block, front cover and ally bellhousing to ensure accurate fits.


For some important steps, I used the engine in situ as a jig and actually tacked in place on the block. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how well everything mates up.



The steel around the bottom of the flap-gates is very thin and prone to warping. This can be helped with a flat-bill welding clamp before you start. It’s a good tool for the job but means positioning all the parts and the job at the same time can be tricky.


Part of the quality of this sump is that it mounts to the front plate as well as the base of the block. However, this means (in my case) that I need to tap stainless steel. Normal taps don’t cut it, so buying a specific, decent stainless tap has helped, as well as good cutting-oil. I don’t need shed-loads of this, so I’ve bought it in spray form rather than liquid. You need cutting oil rather than (say) WD40 because the cutting oil can still lubricate the tool even at the extremes of pressure when cutting stainless, whereas a normal oil blend would break down. It’s funny stuff – like a very light oil but it seems to hang around the job when normal oils would have wiped clean or evaporated. I use acetone to clear it all away before welding. It acts as a solvent as well as evaporating away nice and quickly. It helps to buy it in industrial quantities rather than at the chemists. Also, I like the smell. Oy Vey – always with the complex hydrocarbons.

Here it is, with the gates hanging down and bent into place. I’ve bent this one with a set of clamps and some pressure, but it wasn’t as accurate as I would have wanted. I’ve moved on and now am using a proper parts former. It requires some lining up by eye, but the result is pin sharp and accurate.