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New owner in the SF Bay Area


UlfarE
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19 hours ago, sltous said:

@UlfarE I have a 2.3l duratec on the peninsula not too far from Mountain View as well, but mine is the Cosworth spiced up model so there may be relatively little in common.

 

I'd love to see the Cosworth version of the engine.  If it turns out I need to do major engine work, I might as well proactively satisfy some upgrade-itis.  :)

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17 hours ago, JohnCh said:

SBD has very good setup and rebuild instructions for their ITBs here.  Might be a good thing to look over given the rough running.  Obviously a lot of other reasons could be responsible for that behavior, but always good to start with the basics like balancing the intakes, setting correct fuel pressure and initial throttle plate angle, and ensuring no air leaks.

 

-John

Thanks for the link!  That's definitely something I'll have to do.  The ITBs in those docs are newer than the ones I have, though (e.g., mine still use the stock injector locations).  I'll get in touch with SBD to try to find an earlier version if the current guides don't work for me.

 

7 hours ago, John B said:

@UlfarE Congrats! looks like a nice one. A compression would indicate if there is particle induced wear in the valves, rings, and cylinders from running without air filters. Keep an eye on oil consumption and oil pressure as well. Fingers crossed! Paul Hasselgren in Berkely built a Killer 2.45 Duratec/MZR/Cosworth for my '03 SV. If push comes to shove, that's a great option. 

 

My son moved out to the Bay area two years ago and goes to Alice's just about every Saturday, usually in his orange Elise or a Ducati motorcycle though. He's a total car guy and has been badly bitten by the Caterham bug. He's experiencing severe Caterham withdrawal though and would always be game for a drive or ride along. Drop him a line cburke996@gmail.com 

That's a great idea, and probably the easiest way to assess any real damage.  The oil pressure when the engine is fully warmed up is a bit lower than I'd like, which I was thinking of remedying with a heavier-weight oil.  Changing the oil and seeing how quickly it gets dirty would be a tell as well, I guess (or even sending it out for analysis).

 

6 hours ago, sltous said:

@UlfarE I have most of a stock 2.3 duratec head on hand, feel free to shoot me a private message if you find out you need any of it before trying to order parts, or if you want to look at the internals to familiarize yourself

Thanks for the offer!  I may take you up on that, depending on what happens.

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20 hours ago, ashyers said:

Check under the dash for the ECU. I wonder if this is a Woody car.

Found the ECU, which is an MBE 967.  It's pretty far up under the dash, but the wiring all looks very neat.  Seems like the tuning software is still available, which is great.

 

If by Woody, you mean some wood in the frame/dashboard, I'm not spotting any of that so far.

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Thanks all for welcoming me to the community!  I really appreciate the feedback and pointers.  Hope to meet some of you in person soon.

 

I especially appreciate the reception given that I didn't build the Seven myself.  I always wanted to build one, but I never found the time.  I have built some automotive stuff in the past, though, including the Exomotive Exocet pictured below and an electric go-kart for my kid.  At the start of Covid I also started building an electric Austin Mini (and trying to document the build at http://evmini.info), but some life & job changes have progress on that on hold for now.  I'm attaching images of where I stopped, in case somebody is interested in checking it out.

 

I'm looking forward to getting my Seven sweet and smooth, and better than new, with your help.

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UlfarE,

I'm running the same ECU. It's a nice unit and reasonably easy to get the hang of. 

 

The "Woody" reference is to a shop owner who serviced some Caterhams in this area years back.

 

Get in touch when you want to play in the East Bay Hills :) 

 

Andy

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23 hours ago, JohnCh said:

 

@UlfarE I'm curious about the car's history.  You mention above the engine has covered over 20k miles, and the Hillbank ad states the car had just under 500 miles.  When did Hillbank sell the car and was it to the person from whom you purchased it?  Any indication of the original owner's name in the paperwork?  

 

-John

@JohnCh, I got a bit more info from the previous owner.  Looks like I'm only the third owner.  The first owner never really drove it, hence the 500 miles.  It was sold in mid 2018 to my friend the last owner, and he used it as a daily driver and put 32K miles on it.

 

When it was sold in 2018, it already had the Duratec 2.3L.  The bit about Zetec in the Hillbank ad is just pure B.S.  Presumably, the car was built from the start with the Duratec.

Edited by UlfarE
Forgot to add comment about Zetec.
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I dont think this ‘03 Cat came with a Duratec. The engine of choice in 2003 was a stock Zetec and with luck, maybe a SVT Zetec.
 

I think the Duratec was introduced in ‘04, and after,  on the CSR version. It was an upgraded version of the slightly  larger SV Caterham and featured, among other things, IRS and upgraded shocks ( in addition to the Duratec). I don’t think the Duratec became common in standard S3 Cats until ’08 or so?
 

It is a mystery tho. The Hillbank ad linked earlier was from 2018. So maybe this Cat was assembled  after ‘03 and in the Duratec era? It only had 500 miles in ‘18, suggesting that it was built closer to ‘18 than ‘03. It is not unusual for Caterhams to be built long after the kit was first sold. 


A Google search shows that a commenter in ’18 noted it was on tires mfg’d in ‘93!
 

Quite apart from all of that, it’s a great car! There are plenty of us who love the clams and prefer them to cycle fenders. And regardless of its history, the Duratec is a big plus.

Edited by Kitcat
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I agree with @Kitcat the car was very likely a Zetec car to start. You can see the driver rear fender being shorter/raised at the bottom to clear the muffler tail pipe when compared to passenger. I think that side skin also has the hole for the exhaust mounting shown in pictures. Hood could be original and could have been without the cutout for the normal Zetec if original build didn't have ITBs. That leaves the question of the side skin hole for the muffler on driver side. Either it was never cut to begin with or it got patched or replaced. 

 

also the frame has the Zetec notch that I don't believe Duratec cars had. 

 

what's the vin on the car? That could help answer some questions. 

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Good point Vlad, the frame notch was Zetec only. Otherwise the engine would not fit with the stock Zetec intake manifold. This per a recent chat with Nathan Down (the Caterham engineer who designed the SV frame back in the day) about my notch-frame Caterham.

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Back then, couldn't you order a Caterham from a US dealer without the engine and install what you wanted? I believe @scannon did this when he went with a turbo Miata engine for his build.  2003 is when the Duratec started landing in a few cars (I ordered my conversion parts from Raceline in late 2003 from their initial production run) so not out of the realm of possibility that it's the original engine.

 

-John

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My 2005 SV came without an engine or transmission.  At that time all came that way and you had to buy and engine and transmission from a separate business.  There was such a separate business next door to the dealer.  They stocked engines and transmissions and you could arrange to have the dealer assemble your car.

 

This changed recently when it was mandatory to buy the engine and transmission with the car and if you wanted something else you had a spare engine and transmission to sell.  I don't know how they get around this at least in Colorado which requires you to present proof of sale to you from another entity of the engine as well as an MSO for the chassis.

 

When I bought my Caterham I had no knowledge of the Zetec engines and T5 transmissions and I was very comfortable building and turbo charging Miata engines so I borrowed an empty engine and head and set about figuring out how to make the Miata engine and transmission fit in the car.  With the help of an expert machinist and car guy we designed and fabricated the engine mounts.

 

I had a broken Miata 5 speed transmission and it would not fit in the chassis tunnel.  It took 11 install as far as it would go, mark up what was preventing it from going in, pull it out and use a sawzall and die grinder to cut off the offending pieces and try again.  The tail shaft housing was pretty hacked up and I removed it from the transmission and my machinist friend took it and the tail shaft housing from the trans that was to go into the car and created a thing of beauty that I regretted no one but me would see.

 

I also had to shave some excess material off the gear box section but in the end it had about 1.8" clearance in several places.  I used the motor mounts that came with the car and they were stiff enough the engine couldn't torque sideways even with 301 HP at the wheels.  I witnessed this standing beside the engine during the dyno run.

 

From left to right:  unmodified, modified and the hacked up tail shaft housing

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As I said earlier in the post, my '03 SV is very similar to UlfarE's and was built with a 2.3L Duratec from a Ranger. It received cams, rods, pistons, porting, ITB's, MBE967 and a dry sump. I suspect both cars may have been built by William Sours of Autocourse. I'll bet if UlfarE checks his motor mount they are not Caterham parts, but fabricated by the builder. I think Autocourse was using Zetec cars as a basis for Duratec builds early on. Not that any of this really matters, if it runs good who cares :) !

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I agree ir’s irrelevant (but fascinating:)). The Google says Autocourse was putting Duratecs in Caterhams in ‘03. They describe Autocourse as the #1 importer of Caterhams in ‘03. Who knew?

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Did Caterham/Arch notch the chassis, or was that a modification made once kits reached the US?  My recollection is that some of the first, if not the first, Zetec’s were installed in US cars.

 

The lack of a body patch on the right side to cover where the Zetec exhaust would have been confirms to me that this always had a Duratec.

 

Believe the early Duratec cars had the notched left rear fender as that was all Caterham made at that time.

 

This may be a one of one Seven, with the combination of clam shells, Duratec, red interior, wagon wheels, and white piping on the tonneau cover.

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@bball7754  I think you are right.  No body patch tells me it was never a Zetec as redoing the side skin on a painted clam shell car is prohibitively expensive exercise.  The exhaust hole can be ordered with or without to accommodate end user choice.   The notched wrong side rear wing was only phased out only a few years ago as I believe Caterham had a 10 year supply of excess notched wings like that - the rumor was they fat fingered an order once.  

 

The first or second Zetec Caterham is MichaelD's Caterham now owned by @CarlB   That would be one to check to see if it is notched as I believe it was the first one done by Jon at Rocky Mountain Caterham in 1998.  I was always told that SVs did not need the chassis notch, only the narrower S3 chassis.  Edited to add:  Just checked old photos and no Zetec SV I ever owned had a notch.  

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When I got my car Michael told me that my car was the first Zetec. The kit was shipped back to Caterham after the SCCA approved the Zetec for production car racing. Michael even knew the guy who did the modification to install the engine. My car has the notched frame for the stock intake manifold. It didn’t have the brace or frame tube that would be connected between the side of the transmission tunnel and the front right suspension. The front connection is close to the rear upper control arm pickup. My car had the tabs on the frame for the brace. I do not know if other cars had the tabs. 

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I think USA7s member, Norm McDonald, put the first Zetec in a Caterham, anywhere. He was (and likely still is) an avid autocrosser. The rules of his class (E-Mod?) allowed engine swaps, so out went the X-flow. 

 

He did the engineering himself. Apparently, Caterham took it as a proof of concept, and adopted it, for US cars at least.

 

Michael D and Norm are great friends and were fellow autocrossers and my guess is that Michael got the engine idea from Norm?

 

Props to BBall, CarlB,  and Croc for shedding additional light on the somewhat haphazard evolution of these cars. I agree with BBall that this is likely a one of a kind Caterham.

 

Props to UlfarE for stimulating this mostly irrelevant, but nonetheless interesting (to me), topic.

Edited by Kitcat
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1 hour ago, Kitcat said:

Props to UlfarE for stimulating this mostly irrelevant, but nonetheless interesting (to me), topic.

 

Agree with this!  Adding to the irrelevency, I'd pull the valve cover and look over the cams for any markings to determine what's in there.  Even more irrelevency if this is a Will Sours engine; I purchased a used 2.3L head from him in 2006/2007 timeframe that was supposed to have stock cams.  I later discovered it actually had custom ground Web Cams. Providing that company with the number stamped on them revealed they were ground to specs that seemed to mirror those of the Kent DTEC20.  Not sure if this was standard fare for Will (but interesting nonetheless to me :918766748_biggrinjester(1):

 

-John

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