Ford Escort RS Series 1 Tuning Guide

Series 1 RS Turbo Tuning Guide

A guide to tuning the Series 1 Ford Escort RS Turbo. The Series 1 RS Turbo was built for homologation purposes to enable Ford to compete inGroup A Racing. In total Ford made 8604 Series 1 RS Turbos. In 1985 the cost  of the basic RS Turbo was 9250GBP and the optional Custom Pack was 470GBP. The Custom Pack included a glass sunroof,  electric windows and opening rear quarter windows.

Escort Series 1 Tuning Guide

Series 1 RS Turbo Tuning Guide

RS Turbo – Engine Tuning

First steps to modifying the engine are to fit an induction kit from the likes of Pipercross or K&N, a big bore exhaust system, Mongoose & Magnex have a very good reputation, a -31actuator and a remapped chip. These modifications should see power up to 160-170bhp.

After this the focus moves to improving the cylinder head by getting it gas flowed and adding either a Piper Cams 285T2 or Kent Cams CVH 36/7 camshaft and this should boost power by another 20bhp.

The next step is uprating intake cooling with either a water/air chargecooler, or an air/air intercooler. Pace Products make both. At this point the standard turbo will be reaching its maximum so a hybrid turbo should be the next step along with increased fuelling provided by a fifth injector. At this level detonation start to be an issue, to get around get a set of forged pistons with lower compression or if you don’t plan on taking it much further than this 1mm can be machined off the top of standard sized pistons depending on the condition of your engine.

Series 1 RS Turbo Tuning Guide

RS Turbo – Engine Tuning contd..

At this stage you should be looking at around 240bhp and its at this level that you should start looking at steel con-rods and crankshaft, if that is, you want to increase the power further.

Stroker conversions are also available by using a 1900cc CVH crank which can be supplied by specialist engines and Burton Engineering. Zetec bottom ends can also give capacity increase up to 1800cc, 2litres and 2.1litres. The Zetec components are much stronger and better balanced than CVH parts. Bigger capacity will allow for more power, more torque lower in the rev range. A win win situation.

After this Zetec turbo conversions can be made to handle up to 500bhp but the gearbox will definitely need upgrading to handle the power.

RS Turbo – Transmission Upgrades

CTS offer uprated gearboxes for the RS Turbo. Their stage 1 box has a new main shaft, new crown wheel and modification to accept a larger roller bearing. This is enough for most cars. The viscous LSD remains but different grade oil is used to slow down the planetary gears in turning extending service life.

A stage 2 gearbox is also available from CTS, its the same as the stage 1 gearbox but includes full shot peening and super finishing to all the gears.

Stage 2 + features a Quaife ATB limited slip differential.

The stage 2+ will be enough for all but the most hardcore owners but if you need more Quaife offer a dog gearbox with customisable ratios or CTS can build you a synchromesh gearbox with the gear ratios of your choice.

RS Turbo – Suspension Upgrades

Usual story here especially for cars of this age. New bushes all round from the likes of Proflex or Powerflex along with sports dampers from Spax, Bilstein or Koni. Couples with H&R or Eibach springs and the car will be as good as new.

For the next stage fit a set of strut bars, front upper and rear upper bars are available from Wiechers Sport. These will tighten up the chassis noticeably making it a lot more responsive and increasing grip levels. A thorough check of the suspension geometry, like all cars, is essential for maximum performance.

Coil over suspension is also an option and can be found from GAZ and Spax.

If needed, new track control arms can be bought from ZOO Motorsport

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