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205 block engine build


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Having got the Exmo on the road at last, my 1800 pinto is proving to be a bit of an anticlimax. 

As a result, I've just bought a 205 block from ebay. 

I'm planning on getting as much HP as possible within a budget of approx £1k, but I have very little experience in this...can anyone advise on best setup?

I am not sure whether a re-bore to 2.1 or 2.2 is worth it? I do have a 2.8 cologne v6 in the garage that could be harvested for pistons.

I would like to do as much of the work myself as possible but don't have tools for re-bore/skim.

I'm also not clear on the right injection, whether I use twin 45s or bike cards or std injection?

If anyone has some advice or could point me in the right direction I would much appreciate. 

Edited by LewisH
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rebore to 2.1 and kent cam bike carbs get the head skimmed and finally accuspark electronic dizzy thats about all you can do i think as for how much power you will gain well not enough a standard 2ltr zetec engine wiil be more powerfull straight away with no tuning dont envy the decisions  you have to make  🤣

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Yeah I've looked at different engine swaps and can't really be arsed with the faff involved. Like the idea of a straight swap and from what I have read the pinto is a great lump, reliable and good hp potential 

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  • 4 months later...

After closer inspection, I have found that the engine I have bought is most likely a low compression version as it has NAT inscribed on the bell housing casting. I believe this means that it is from a transit and therefore has a compression ratio of 8.2:1.

My question is, what is required in order to raise compression up to the standard 9.2:1 or higher? It is a 205 block, unleaded head so is it just a case of fitting HC pistons and rods from the standard 2.0 pinto? Does the head also need bigger valves?

I have a 2.8 cologne engine also sat in the garage, I heard that the pistons from these can be used if I re-bore to 2.1? Can I use these with the standard cologne rods and just bolt onto the pinto crank after re-bore? or do I need to just buy new pistons & rods?  

Thankfully the engine was cheap and came with ZX6R carbs. 

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It should be that fitting new HC pistons as I understand that the rods are the same. When I rebuilt my engine I had it rebored and got given 2 HC pistons and 2 LC pistons and only noticed when fitting😒. I got them exchanged but it took time.

I have not done the 2.8 piston route but understand that most builders skin the block to get the compression back.


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I am your man for info…

I have built 2 x 2.1 Pinto’s one with +2.25 Pinto pistons and one with 93mm V6 pistons machined for circlips using Cosworth rods.

you may know that I have spent months on Penguin motors dyno and my engine is in 5 of his YouTube videos and was in 3 Classic Ford magazine articles.

First, if I was doing it again I wouldn’t  got straight to 2.1, it’s only a 5% increase in capacity.

I would consider forged pistons as you can stop worrying about breaking a cast piston. 

you need to work out what you want from the engine in so much as the cams that give you high power will push the peak torque and power way up the rev range and let’s be honest, it’s a road car.

Even though I had an ex-race head it wasn’t as good as it could have been, not many people can build a good head.

I based my 2.1 build on a very old Classic Ford article where they went full 2.1 with Vulcan engineering finishing it off, it made 166bhp, I made 175bhp but the Vulcan heads are still very good it’s just that Classic Ford didn’t make the best of it.

Cosworth rods are longer (and forged) so the V6 pistons being shorter make the total length the same as a standard rod and piston.

Small Vs big bore exhaust *


36mm 38mm chokes 


Distributor Vs mapped 


Weber Vs Bike carbs


2.1 Bike carb test 


what I would say is that the videos do t paint the full picture and after much fiddling with bike carbs and Megajolt they worked well with the Robin Hood 4-1 manifold and only dropped a few bhp and torques over the Weber’s, that said a 4-2-1 was better.

I am happy to engage in more detail


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Just add that Graham started off by putting his Weber’s and modified distributor on my engine to get a base tune he was confident with, a standard distributor won’t cut it if you want to get the most out of your combination of bits.

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Great info, thanks.

Funnily enough I stumbled across the penguin motors channel earlier this week, went down a bit of a rabbit hole for an evening, very interesting stuff. 

Sounds like my best bet is to go for minimal re-bore, up to 91mm perhaps? allowing me to upgrade to HC pistons, re-use the standard rods and then save the rest of the dosh for a vulcan head? No idea on what they cost though...I'll give them a shout.

Had a quote earlier from my local engine rebuild specialist for re-bore and HC pistons 91mm @ £370. Sound reasonable?

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£370 sounds reasonable you’ll want main and big end bearings, injection rods are better than no-injection rods, you’ll be limited to 7k rpm which means your camshaft choice should reflect this.

on my engines the FR32 was a good street cam but I felt I needed a bit more, the RL31 cam is the most extreme I have tried and the one featured in the Penguin motors videos 

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Paul, I agree about the FR32. My engine had bigger inlet valves, ports reshaped to get rid of the inlet hump, twin 40s with 36mm chokes, and the FR32.

Its probably a good cam for the Sierra's extra weight, but the Hood could easily have sacrificed a bit of torque in favour of BHP, maybe the FR33, although that states 7500 rpm.


Edited by Bob Tucker
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Bob my FR32 cammed engine produces max bhp @ 5600 to 5700 rpm max torque is 4200

my RL31 cammed engine was 173 bhp @ 6600 and 153 ft/lbs @ 4800 so I would expect the FR33 to sit around the middle of my 2 cams.

would have to set the rev limiter to 7k but that said my FR32 engine runs injection rods and standard injection head and see’s 7500 on occasions the RL31 is built for near 8k but rev limit will be at 7500

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The rod with F cast in is a later cast steel rod, Des Hammill’s book says it’s good to 7200 with standard piston and pin but I always use ARP rod bolts as it is cheap insurance against rod bolt breakage

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