S2 RS Turbo Buying Guide
The Series 2 Escort RS Turbo was not a motorsport special like the Series 1 so it’s design was developed for road use as opposed to the track. It lost the S1 4.27 final drive and the front tie bar arrangement. The Bosch Motorola engine management received some tweaks, fuel economy was improved, a one piece inlet manifold was used, a water cooled turbo was an improvement as well as an upgraded intercooler and cylinder head. The limited slip diff was softened up so it wasn’t so snatchy. The S2 used the same dampers as found on the XR3i but with uprated springs.
S2 RS Turbo Buying Guide
Braking was a major weak point of the Series 1 , on the S2 XR4i discs were used and larger drums on the rear. Girling ABS was also standard.
Colours available included diamond white Mercury Grey, Black and Radiant Red. The S2 also came with bonnet vents, XR3i colour coded rear spoiler and subtle arch extensions.
Recaros were standard but a sunroof, central locking and electric windows were not and these cost 572GBP as part on the Custom Pack.
S2 RS Turbo – Identity
The VIN can be found on the slam panel under the bonnet as well as under the carpet between the driver seat and the sill. The number should be clear and read WFOBXXGCABKJ followed by the chassis number listed on the V5 log book.
If your looking at a “90”spec S2 it should have heated front windscreen, a rear wing with curved over ends and blue and red fleck trim and also adjustable intermittent wiper speed. It also had a 2 piece centre console and a second courtesy light in the rear headlining.
S2 RS Turbo Buying Guide
S2 RS Turbo – Brakes
260mm discs as standard but they still warp but they are cheap to replace. Worn rear drums can be diagnosed with a slack handbrake. Check the ABS with a hard stop, it should trigger, its not the most subtle but it needs to work or its an MOT failure.
S2 RS Turbo – Engine
Can sound extremely rough but they are a tough engine. If there are running problems a decent service should have it running like well. If not suspect air leaks in the intake system. Low boost pressure can point to collapsed hosesand or a weak wastegate actuator. If its accompanied by a load of bangs on overrun its probably the throttle position sensor.
As always check around the inside of the oil filler cap for white sludge. If you can see it indicates a blow head gasket. Chips of unknown origin are a recipe for an engine rebuild. Too much fuel is also bad as it washes the oil off the cylinder walls reducing lubrication. Not good.
Look out for smoke on full throttle, if its blue then the engine is on its way out.
S2 RS Turbo – Transmission
The S2 came with the B5 gearbox. The main shaft is the weakest point so listen for rumbling. The gear stick will have play in it. If you cant get a gear without forcing it the gear linkage is shot. Try and change gears quickly to check the condition if the syncro, if its grinds a lot then its on its way out. Second to third gear is particularly weak. 170bhp is the limit for the standard clutch and standard gearbox internals.
Given the age of the car there is a good chance the box has been placed. to check jack both front wheels up turn one wheel if the opposite wheels turns in the same direction it has the LSD, if it turns in the opposite direction then it doesn’t have a limited slip diff. Diesel boxes are not stronger then the RS box despite the rumours!
S2 RS Turbo – Electrics
As with every cars check every switch and knob and make sure it works. Let the car idle for a bit and see if theradiatorfans kicks in. Get the fuel pump wiring checked to make sure the fuel pump is getting the full 12volts because if its not than the engine could be running lean.
S2 RS Turbo – Interior
You have to expect some wear in here, the drivers seat bolsters are usually the worst effected. Seats can be found but the retrimming can be expensive and second hand 90 spec Recaros go for over 200GBP. Check the headlining for watermark due to the sunroof leaking also check the carpets for moisture. If they are wet then there is a good chance that the metal underneath will be rotten.
S2 RS Turbo – Bodywork
It’s an old Ford so check everywhere for rust. Sills, bulkhead, around the windscreen, floor, wings, battery tray everywhere. Especially look behind the body kit. The extra additions will trap water and rot everything they are connected to.
Panels can still be bought new but the body kit parts will need to be bought secondhand. Check panel gaps for accident damage and windows for overspray. Check the engine compartment for it’s original sealant and also the boot floor for flatness, if its creased then it will have been rear ended. If you spot any fault take into consideration the age of the car.
S2 RS Turbo – Suspension
Like any car if it feels boaty than the damper are probably shot, if there is knocking from the suspension then thebushesare probably knackered. If anything feels a miss its best to take a closer look. There are many good qualitysuspension kits on the market and uprated replacements bushes. Run our fingers between the wheel arch and the wheel to check that the wheels are sitting in the middle of the arches and that they are the same side to side. If not it points to at worst a twisted chassis and the minimum badly repaired accident damage.
S2 RS Turbo – Where to Find
Rust has claimed many of the 22,108 examples built. They can be found on EBay and in the local newspapers but they are becoming a rarer site. For more selection and a better quality selection its best to check owners clubs forums and websites. The RS Owners Club is a good place to start.
One of the most important checks when buying any car whether its a Ferrari or a FSO is to run a history check. This will check if its been stolen, written off or has outstanding finance. This check is essential. HPI UK is one of the companies that can do this for you.
S2 RS Turbo – How Much to Pay
For spares or abandoned project cars
Tidy cars with a good MOT and some service history
Excellent cars in excellent condition. Low mileage. Expect everything to be perfect as very close to new
You can eat your dinner of the underside concourse, need to wear white cotton cottons gloves to not leave grease stains in the engine compartment jobby. Basically a perfect example that is new, not just looks new. For this money the car should be showroom fresh.
S2 RS Turbo – Specs
Power: 132bhp @ 5750rpm
Torque:134lbs/ft @ 2750rpm
Turbo: Garret T3
Management: Bosch Jet Tronic
Transmission: B5 5 Speed
Diff: Viscous LSD
Ratios: 3.15, 1.91, 1.27, 0.95, 0.76
Final Drive: 3.82
Front Suspension: McPherson Struts
Rear Suspension: Beam, Trailing Arms, Springs
Anti Roll Bar: 24mm Front, 16mm Rear
Steering: Rack and Pinion
Front Discs: 260mm
Rear Drums: 229mm
Top Speed: 128mph
S2 RS Turbo Buying Guide – Insurance
It’s always worth getting an insurance quote before you get the car to avoid any nasty surprises. The links below are to pages on StrikeEngine.com where we list insurance companies specialising in high performance cars.
Ford Escort Owners Club
RS Owners Club