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Modification Modification
Car: Ford | Fiesta | CX (Mk3) | Ghia | Hatchback
Engine: CFI | 1.3 | Inline 4 | N/A | Petrol

1.3 Ghia to 1.6 16v Si project

The family runabout was a 1993 1300 CFi Ghia. It had done 32,000 miles when we got the car and was in very good condition. The car served us well returning 59MPG at 80MPH from our home in Lincolnshire to Poole on the south coast! We had no problems until 50,000 miles when the engine developed serious valve train noise (not slack valve clearances). My parents had a new cam installed and this cured the problem, or so we thought, the noise returned in less than 1000 miles. We assumed it was an oil starvation problem somewhere, as the inlet lobe and tappet on number 1 cylinder kept wearing seriously. Fixing this problem would mean the engine out to be stripped again, but was it worth refitting the 1.3 engine?

I persuaded my Dad to ditch the old HCS engine and buy a smashed Fiesta Si I had to convert it. He agreed and decided to fit it to give the car a new lease of life.

Engine

The Zetec to be installed was out of an Si I had brought for a potential Fiesta project that never materialised. It is from a 1995 3 door Si. The engine and all associated parts had covered 36,000 miles and were in very good condition. Power steering pump, alternator, starter motor, injection system, exhaust manifold, down pipe and cat came with the engine also.

The engine that was to be removed was in excellent external condition, along with the rest of the car which made stripping it down a less messy job! We put the front of the car on axle stands and proceeded to take off the wheels, suspension, wishbones, drive shafts and disconnect the gear linkage. We hired an engine hoist to lift the old engine out complete with the gearbox, no problems here as the engine is relatively small.

Next step was to clean the engine bay up a bit along with the Zetec with the paraffin spray gun. The Zetec uses all the same engine mounts as any other Fiesta engine with the exception of the front drivers side one. Because the car was not a Zetec shell the holes for this mount had not been tapped, we had to get some extra long bolts and large washers to bolt this mounting securely through the front chassis rail. This was the only modification we made structurally to accommodate the Zetec.

Before fitting the engine it was treated to new gaskets, synthetic oil and filter, and platinum plugs. Put simply the engine was a pain to squeeze in. It is massive in size compared to the 1300 and as we had left the braking system untouched for convenience the master cylinder caused some clearance troubles. The engine/gearbox required some skilled piloting with the engine hoist to get the lump in without damage to the car!

Space everywhere becomes very limited, and tightening hose clamps that were easy on the 1300 become real skinned knuckle jobs. A Zetec radiator/fan and battery leads were fixed in with the engine along with all the ancillaries which were with the engine originally. The air box bracket had to be riveted to the passenger side chassis rail. Once the engine was in we fitted new CV pots and tripods and gearbox oil seals. The drive shaft's were refitted along with the rest of the running gear.

The completed installation

Si Fiestas came with PAS as standard, but we liked the steering as it was. The Zetec engines have a front mounting bracket incorporating the PAS pump, so to keep the auxiliary drive belt as standard the power steering pump was retained. We have plumbed in a closed loop lubrication system for the pump utilising all Ford fittings and the standard fluid reservoir.

The exhaust system is a second hand one from a scrap yard, although it was nearly new. This joins to the end of the Catalytic converter on the front down pipe. The catalytic converter hangs from the suspension cross member via two brackets (The cross member is fitted to Si, XR and RS models only). The exhaust hangs from all the original brackets except the one above the rear beam, the Ghia exhaust hung from a bar on the chassis but the Si uses a small bracket attached to the rear beam. The ID of the system is considerably larger than that of the 1300. See below for a photo of the complete installation.

Suspension

The rear Ghia struts and springs were removed and replaced with Si items which have the Green/Orange colour code. The front was a different matter. The dampers on the Si are dual chamber gas whereas the Ghia has conventional single chamber oil dampers. The Si is a mk3.5 and these modesl had thicker front struts than the mk3 models, effectivly preventing you from interchanging struts without some machining work. Although the Si dampers do taper down at the bottom of the struts I still couldn't manage to fit them into the hubs, no matter how much I opened up the hub. As a compromise the Ghia dampers were retained but with Si springs.

Brakes

Even though the car will not be driven hard, retaining the standard brakes was unfeasible due to the extra weight of the engine. We tried the setup with standard brakes up the road, but soon found that they faded badly after a couple of hard applications at speed. The Si callipers, discs and pads were transferred across, with a marked increase in braking power and much less fade.

Electronics

The loom on post 1994 Fiestas comes with Fords Passive Anti Theft System (PATS) wired in. In order to get the engine started a new lock set would have been required and then the keys programmed to match the immobiliser module. I decided to have a go at cutting out the immobiliser and patch the wires myself to save this cost. This was not a too bad job, as the main wiring is reasonably simple and well colour coded although all the immobiliser wires are all brown!! The immobiliser system cuts starting, ignition and fuel pump circuits and these have to be traced to the immobiliser module and bridged.

Door connector

The second modification was regarding deadlocks and Fords alarm system. Post 1994 Fiestas had different connection patterns in the door circuitry connectors, for the provision of deadlocks and a Ford alarm system. I had to tape the deadlock wires back to the loom and cut the door connectors off the Si loom and replace them with the relevant Ghia ones. This made the loom compatible with the older wiring patterns, the connectors can be seen temporarily patched in the photo (right).

There is an alarm system relay control module that had to be fitted into the drivers side kick panel, this is now redundant on the loom, except for the operation of the remote tailgate release (relay moved from main fuse box to alarm module after 1994). The airbag connectors can be taped back to the loom but the airbag warning light must be removed otherwise it will permanently illuminate.

Also the rev counter was replaced with a Zetec item and any broken connectors were replaced.

Interior

The Ghia interior was in excellent condition but was replaced with the 4 door Si version, which looks much better and the front seats are very supportive. There are no major problems to contend with installing an interior, except a slight model year alteration.

Si's were produced after 1994 when the modified body shell came into production. As a result the seat mounting points are slightly different. To cure the problem the runners have to be swapped from the Ghia seats to the Si seats.

The interior was finished off with some yellow dials, a strange colour but its a break from the usual white ones. Here is a picture of the new interior unfitted and in the car:

Exterior

The exterior was left pretty much standard Ghia. My Dad brought the RS1800 alloys from my brother when he got his Alpines, and we fitted a boot lid spoiler. An incredible stroke of luck meant I had a pair of Si bumpers in the right colour, the match was perfect! The Ghia had colour keyed mirrors as standard and the Ghia crests, badges and side stripes were retained. An Si badge was put before the Ghia badge, as they are both in the matching 'Scroll' typeface. Below is the finished result, which was worth all the hard work!:

© Mark Stewart, Tuesday 15th June 1999
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