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Ford Escort Mk3 & Mk4 Tuning Guide

Ford had quite a big job on their hands in coming up with something to replace the best-selling Escort. Many of their competitors had made the switch to front-wheel drive and so the Mk3 Escort meant that Ford was a bit late in making the switch. Completely new from end-to-end with an all-new CVH engine, the Mk3 was a triumph of production engineering. Not long after launch a sporty model, the XR3, was launched to replace the ‘RS’ models but it wasn’t long before Ford bought it back with the RS1600i which was a fuel injected 1600 CVH and then the RS Turbo which was a turbo charged version of the same engine. As time rolled on the model was refined and upgraded and is still held in high regard by many as it teeters on that fine line of being a classic Ford.

1100cc models utilized a modernisation of the Crossflow known as the Valencia engine, but most other models would find themselves fitted with the allnew CVH engine. The CVH responds well to tuning and in turbo’d format can produce some impressive figures. Turn to our CVH engine tuning guide for more ideas on what you could do with yours. The Zetec 16v is a very popular conversion for the front-wheel drive Escort. It’s not a straightforward bolt-in job, but with some modified engine mounts and the right gearbox you can have a modern engine with serious tuning potential again in aspirated form or turbo-charged if you were to shoehorn a Focus RS engine into the hole. Gearbox choice will obviously depend upon what engine you decide to fit, but a popular choice is the fivespeed Type-BC gearbox for which we can also supply a straight-cut gearset for serious power cars and also a quick-shift kit to significantly improve gear change. Being a front-wheel drive car, if you’re putting a lot of power through the gearbox, a limited slip differential is a wise choice to help get the power to the floor.

If you’re wanting to improve the handling of your frontdrive Escort the first step would be a simple set of lowering springs, from here we would recommend a set of polybushes throughout to really tighten up the feel of the car. From here you could then compliment things with some uprated dampers. For the more serious of set-ups we can supply a fully adjustable coilover kit for the front-drive Escort which will give you complete control over your suspension. We can also supply a high ratio steering rack kit which will reduce the amount of steering turns from lock-to-lock, it will also speed up the steering too.

It’s all very well and good having a car that goes well, but upgrading the brake system is equally (if not more) important. We list a range of direct replacement discs and pads which, when combined with braided hoses, will improve the feel of the middle pedal no-end. If it’s more stopping power you are after we stock a wide range of big brake conversion kits too. We can also supply a rear disc conversion kit for the ultimate set up. Please note that it would then be worth fitting one of our bias assemblies which bolts directly in place of your original servo and will give you the equivalent of a bias pedal box.

Whilst not currently being as popular as it’s older brother, the front-wheel drive Escort can easily be turned into a fun car for road or track and the RS Turbo models can be tuned to give serious grin inducing power - all from one catalogue.