Ford Cortina - Ford Pinto Engine - Terry Birse
Hi guys.
Newbie here and have a question about a 2.0 Pinto engine.
I was given the engine as part of a package to build a JBA Falcon, which is a kit car version of a Jaguar SS100. Donor car was a Ford Cortina.
The engine had been stood in a garden on a pallet and under a tarpaulin for about 20 year. Tarp was in bits and the engine doesn’t turn over. It’d need a rebuild because of that, but question I’m looking for an answer/view on, is the probability of the block being cracked (water/ice over the 20 years) and the engine not being serviceable.
Thanks, Terry.
Ford Cortina - Ford Pinto Engine - RT

If the engine has been on a pallet, it will have been disconnected from the radiator and drained of coolant so unlikely to have been cracked by water/ice - but a rebuild will soon identify that.

Ford Cortina - Ford Pinto Engine - Big John

If it was stored on a pallet then it probably won't have been cracked by water as the engine should have been more or less empty of coolant when packed and unless it's filled up via the top hose/thermostat housing i can't think of another way the engine would fill with enough water to freeze. However if stored this way then bores/rings likely to be rusted up with any associated pitting damage. These engines were also prone to cam lubrication issues as the simple cam oil "dribble" bar was prone to blockages. If rebuilt replace the oil pump and horrible hex drive shaft as a matter of course. The other potential issue is any remaining old engine oil which is nasty stuff and can attack metalwork in time.

However It's a really simple engine to strip down. If pistons seized in the bores pouring in diesel and leaving for some time may help.

Edited by Big John on 03/01/2021 at 20:06

Ford Cortina - Ford Pinto Engine - skidpan

I am familiar with the Kit car scene having built and owned 2 Caterhams since 1988.

The Pinto engine (so called because its first home was in the disastrous US market Ford Pinto) was pretty much state of the art in 1971 (50 years ago) when it appeared in the Mk 3 Cortina but times have moved on.

The more modern Zetec (itself introduced almost 30 years ago) and the Duratec are now the engines of choice for may reasons. Both are lighter, more easily available and far cheaper to coax into producing good power.

Take the 2 litre Zetec in my Caterham. I bought it brand new shrink wrapped on a crate in 2008 for £700. It was complete with tubular exhaust manifold, full inlet system including throttle cod and injectors and flywheel/clutch. I sold the parts I did not need for my install on e-bay for about £250 leaving me with a brand new ready to fit engine for about £450. I already had the exhaust of a previous install and the aftermarket inlet/throttle bodies plus a lightweight steel flywheel manufactured to accept off the shelf Ford parts. Once fitted and calibrated it produced about 175 bhp at the flywheel with no internal work. To get that amount out of a Pinto would cost thousands in parts and labour.

Since being fitted about 13 years ago the only work needed has been regular oil and coolant changes and a set of plugs.

As good as the Pinto was its now pretty much dead in the water. The only people who use the are generally classic racers who have to fit origianl engines in their cars or people with older kit cars whose owners like to stay with familiar motors. The last peole I can recal fitting a Pinto to a new build was back in the early 90's and they had changed to 2 litre Red Top Astra and Zetec motors within 5 years, they quickly found that the Pinto was totally outclassed.

My feeling would be to stick it on e-bay as it is (with a reserve you would be happy to accept) and wait and see if there are a number of bidders wanting to fight for it.

Unless you want it for specific reasons for personal use any money spent would probably be money lost.

Ford Cortina - Ford Pinto Engine - mcb100
And I think it’s worth checking out the bolt pattern for the Pinto bellhousing and the later motors. There is some degree in interchangeability, if I remember correctly, so a newer engine may hook up to the gearbox you have.
Ford Cortina - Ford Pinto Engine - skidpan
And I think it’s worth checking out the bolt pattern for the Pinto bellhousing and the later motors. There is some degree in interchangeability, if I remember correctly, so a newer engine may hook up to the gearbox you have.

The Pinto shared the bolt pattern with the pre-crossflow, the crossflow (plus twin cam and BD derivatives) the CVH, the twin can Sierra/Granada motor (also used in the Galaxy 2.3 petrol) and the Mondeo/Focus Zetec - the iron blocked one (not the alloy blocked Yamaha Zetec - now known as the Sigma).

But the matter is complicated by the number of gearboxes used on the Cortina and this was to a certain extent dependent on the engine size.

The easy one is the 2 litre which was the Type E box which is also known as the RS2000 box (since it was also used in the RS2000). This gearbox is still sought after since its lightweight, strong and there are loads of alternative gear sets available which enable the box to cope with approx 250 bhp. The bellhousing is removable and there are many aftermarket alternatives that allow it to be fitted to many different engine types. Still got one under the bench.

The 1600 Pinto used many different gearboxes over the years none of which are as strong or as desirable unless you need a spare for a 1600 Pinto.


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