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Robinhood Cortina Based S7 Engine Swap Pinto-MX5


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Hope Ive popped this in the right section.
Ive got an S7 that previously had a 2.0 Pinto (was all up and running and road registered) - when I bought it there was no engine and box. It does have a prop and rear axle.
Having given it a good looking over I think the loom is pretty butchered so although the mounts etc are there ready for a replacement pinto I am thinking shall I just bite the bullet and get a Mk2 MX5 1.8 that runs and do an engine/box/loom swap. My questions are -
Am I mad and should I just patch up the loom and get another pinto (I have been offered one with a transit gearbox for £600) or
Get an 1.8 MX 5 and rip it apart - will the engine fit, would I need to modify/swap the the steering column
Or is there another option that I havent considered - I do have a fairly tight budget!

Thanks in advance.

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Personally I think the MX5 engine is a far better engine than the Ford boat anchor, as to fitting it in the S7 can't help really help you. Again only my thoughts would be to buy a whole car rather then just a 'kit' that way you have everything you need, just in case it didn't come with the 'kit' you buy. As for wiring I'd rip the whole lot out & replace with the MX5 wiring harness, if you buy a later 2.5 version then you won't need to run a fuel return as it's built into the fuel pump, assuming you can run that pump, if you can't then you'll have to run a return from the front, or there is a Vauxhall (I think) fuel filter with a pressure regulator built in. 

Big things you will have to consider & I'm sure you have, is engine mounting, but that should be fairly straight forward possibly modifying the MX5 ones, but the fore/aft positioning might be more interesting to get the gearstick in the right place. if it's too far back as it's a long gearbox there is a way to shorten them but no idea how. I spoke to a guy with one in a Moggy Thou van & he'd taken 5" off it's length. You'll obviously need a rear gearbox mount but again can't see that being too difficult, then of course a custom propshaft, MX5 gearbox out to Ford whatever in, then there is the diff ratio to consider, unless it's the Sierra rear & you can swap that for the MX5, but then you're looking at custom driveshafts.

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Yes, I have to agree - Mazda a much better engine and the gearbox is particularly good - far better than the Type 9 or MT75 that Ford's use.

However, it's always going to be tricky on a tight budget and, personally, I would hate to have to start with someone else's half-finished project. I guess suggesting you buy a 2nd hand chassis (often come up on eBay etc) and start from scratch is a non-starter? You could re-use anything decent on the S7 (suspension, brakes etc?) but then you get a modern chassis and you can re-do everything the way you want it?


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https://the-mite.com/mite18.htm Found this if you do fancy shortening the box, you can lose 4" with this method (should you need it)

Just to add if you are in the North Notts/South Yorks area & want to pick a gearbox up to play with to see if you can shorten one I have one here you can have for a donation to the RNLI the next time you see a collection box.

Edited by phaeton
Spilling mustake
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  • 2 weeks later...

Picked up a complete 1.6 MX5 Mk2 today - seems like a good low mileage engine. Im fairly confident on the engine/box mounting (not saying I think its going to be a breeze).
Has anyone fitted the steering column from the MX5. The cortina one is in place and works, theres a bit of play, but I was thinking I could move the stalks ignition etc over from the MX5 and connect up to the cortina rack.

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Never seen it done but the MX5 column one is quite straight forward, alternatively you might be able to mount the MX5 column switchgear on the Sierra column the only issue might be the self cancelling, it would make sense to use the full MX5 electrics

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