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David mcmaster

Under powered. Any ideas

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I have just purchased a Robin Hood lightweight a very nice car but with a few issues. Firstly. The gearbox whines in 1/2/3/5 do know we need to buy another or purchase a reconditioned one. Secondly the clutch is very harsh. Either the cable needs altering or anyone with suggestions. 

Lastly the car is very under powered. It has been built using a ford Sierra pinto 1600 sohc engine. Won’t accelerate over 2500 rpm. When it does it’s very slow. Top speed is horrendous. Barely gets over 60mph. Not good uphill I would have though power to weight ratio it should fly. At a loss. If anyone has any thoughts on this I would appreciate advise

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Hi. I too have a 1600. Its a lovely revvy engine but will never produce fireworks. Luckily I'm not after that. Mine sounds like it was in exactly the same state as yours when i got it. It had all the usual issues. The main culprit turned out to be a non working second choke. I changed everything in the ignition. I've also put a 2 ltr cam in and now a  weber 32/36 carb. I think I have the most out of the engine without throwing silly money at it. I'll stick with it till it falls apart.

Everyone will tell you to put a 2 ltr in. If you want fireworks then that's your route. 

I also had a transmission whine. It was the differential. It never failed but i have changed to a 3.92 ratio which helped acceleration and got rid of the whine.

Good luck and enjoy it!

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Thank you. We will start with carburettor. What sort is speeds will yours do. I’m not interested in fireworks. Just fun. So as a gauge o-60 or will it accelerate well from mid range to top. Also top speed. Just an idea of what to expect really 

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As for top speed I get to 80 easily . It will do more but that will do me. Many will laugh at the 0-60 but using an app I have just managed sub 10 secs. I don't like to strain engine and clutch too much as i don't fancy replacing either just yet. It may do quicker. Original bhp was about 75. Old engine but with upgraded bits I can't imagine its much more. I'm not a racer so it does me fine for local trips to pubs etc. 

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Ps.. forgot to say mine is a stainless monocoque. I think heavier than a 2b??

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Thought the 2b was heavier but I could be wrong. Go right through ignition system and carburrettor, don't forget it is an old engine and may be worn but your car is a lot lighter than a sierra so you should get a reasonable performance. Once you have got it as it should be then you can decide whether you need to invest in any improvements. 

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Are you sure it’s a lightweight? All aluminium monocoque. 

I suspect it could be a fuel supply problem, check any filters in the line. It could be crap in the tank blocking the outlet. Will the engine rev ok when stationary?

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Yes it revs but dosnt seem to under load. And yes definitely the aluminium bodied. Also lightweight on the v5

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The car starts first turn of the key. Tick over seems a little high. One thing that was said to me is. That it won’t run properly on unleaded. Only on super unleaded ? It has no power beyond about 50/60 it can go up higher but slowly. Revs our at about 2500 then slowly creeps up. Gonna strip carb down this week and check all fuel line filters. Hopefully that will help. 

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One thought is your Pinto engine pre 1989, if so it could be before unleaded petrol and require additive to properly run.

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One thought is your Pinto engine pre 1989, if so it could be before unleaded petrol and require additive to properly run

A 'leaded engine' runs fine on unleaded petrol although the lower octane level will require ignition retarded a couple of degrees but suffers valve seat erosion which of course will eventually cause a compression drop and running problems. It is possible this has happened and if yours doesn't have hardened valve seats then a compression check would be worthwhile. Cylinder heads with valve seats for unleaded were stamped with letters on the exhaust face close to spark-plug number 4. See pic below. Letters for 1.6 are M, MM, N, NN. 1.8 are S, SS. 2.0 are L, R, RR, P, PP.

headstamp.jpg

Edited by Longboarder
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60,000+ miles running on unleaded on an 83 head. I am still waiting for any valve seat erosion.

I decided to just see what would happen ............... nothing.

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The engine is a 1991 so don’t think the unleaded issue should be there. As suggested first port of call carb strip down new filters and strobe and compression test. To be honest I have a comprehensive build folder the engine has been stripped so don’t think that is the issue. But hoping an easy fix 

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I would check the valve clearances.  I had a 1600 that seemed to run well other than was massively under powered and it turned out the valve clearances were a mess.

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