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Ford Duratec HE Tuning Guide

Ford Duratec HE Engine

This is the latest exciting power unit to come from Ford and looks very much like the Zetec - especially when that engine’s badged as such! But there are big differences - the engine has chain-driven cams as opposed to the Zetec’s belt, plus the induction and exhausts are respectively on the opposite sides.

You’ll find this Mazda/Ford designed unit in Mondeos from 2001, plus the current new Focus and Fiesta ST150. Capacities are 1.8, 2 litre plus an American 2.3 litre version, which is available in this country too.

The engine features an alloy block and head plus some clever technology straight from the race track. The crank sits up inside the block and is held in place and braced at the same time, with an aluminium girdle. Oil drain galleries run down the side of the block directing the returning oil away from the crank thus not slowing it down.

The crank is strong but the rods and pistons aren’t necessarily so. They owe their appearance to proper race items but in truth, the ultra-slim skirted pistons are cast rather than forged. The rods are a touch boxy although they’re svelte. The combination though results in a free-revving assembly ideal for controlling emissions - it spins up quickly thus negating the need to use up fuel doing so.

Unlike the Zetec, the head has big ports and very large valves, again adding to its well-breathing/low emissions status.

What this means to us is it doesn’t take much to tune the Duratec to around 200bhp, at which point, you need to switch the rods and pistons to more reliable components. We already stock Forged Accralite pistons and H-section Farndon steel rods for such conversions.

To see increases from standard power however, it is necessary to perform an induction change, preferably to throttle bodies although a manifold is available for DCOE side-draughts. We list the Weber Alpha and Omex throttle body kits as well as Cosworth and Titan throttle body assemblies which should cover most requirements for induction.

The Duratec is currently a very popular choice in kit cars, where it completely transforms the car into a reliable road rocket with the best modern engine combination. In this format though, it needs turning round to rear-wheel drive. Like the components we offer for the Zetec, we also do a full range for this engine too, including re-directing water manifolds, sumps and bellhousings to adapt the engine to a Ford type RWD transmission - in standard form the unit doesn’t comply to the classic Ford bolt pattern.

We can also supply complete Duratecs built by Cosworth on the same assembly line as their Formula 1 race engines. Which kind of speaks for itself in terms of quality! These are available in several levels of tune ranging from a 195bhp full engine to a 300bhp unit.

In addition, the Cosworth range encompasses plenty of parts to get the best from the engine in whatever car it’s fitted to - whether that’s the standard front wheel drive layout, as in the Focus, Fiesta or Mondeo, where a Cosworth d-Power Inlet manifold really makes the best from the standard type induction. Or, you can replace the lot with a roller barrel assembly, suitable for both front and rear wheel drive - it really does depend how much power you want, since there’s loads for the asking.

An enormous Cosworth range is now currently available for this engine, which practically guarantees the power output they quote. With the name to back it all up, you really can’t go wrong.

If you’re looking for a futuristic engine this is it!

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