Power of Love – Terry Goodenough’s LPG 24v Cosworth Capri
After my collision with a Royal Mail van, conversations with insurance companies and an independent inspection it was decided that the cost of the repairs would make my Capri a write-off. So I decided to buy it back and carry out the required repairs in my own time.
After taking the car to a friend who can do bodywork repairs a list of parts was formulated and the hunt was on to get all them in order to rebuild the nearside frontend. Parts required included:
• nearside front wing (new pattern part CCI)
• Front valence (new Ford eBay)
• Front bumper (new CCI)
• Nearside headlights (second hand eBay)
• Indicators (clear CCI)
Initially we thought the rest of the damage could be pulled out and straightened but once the wing, bonnet and other parts were removed it was clear the damage to the inner wing was too extensive so the hunt was on for some more parts. After speaking to various people and searching the internet I found a guy who had a complete front end from of a 2.0S; he was going to use it as a test bed for a V8 conversion but never got round to it. After a deal was done he trailered it up from the West Country to RAF Marham where he worked.
Whilst the repairs were being undertaken my attentions turned to the 2.8i engine; it had been running hot and I thought the head gasket could be on its last legs so I investigated a replacement. After lots of research and conversations on potential conversions the choice was narrowed down to a Cosworth 16 valve turbo or a Cosworth BOA or BOB; I decided the turbo was too expensive and the BOA was very common, so settled on a BOB.
After an extensive search I found a complete BOB on eBay at a good price; deal done, I borrowed a van from work and picked it up from the South West. I also got a Scorpio Radiator, fan and condenser enabling me to install air conditioning if I wanted to at a later date (yet to be done). Once back at my workshop I gave it a good clean and degrease. I was very surprised to see how good it was given it had been standing outside for over a year with water sitting in the ports and all sorts. The air-con compressor was removed, the engine mounts were replaced with items from one of my old 2.8’s and after a bit of fettling it was ready to be installed once the Capri was back following its bodywork repairs.
Finally the day came to pick up my repaired Capri; it looked good and it was a joy to get behind the wheel again to drive it home after all this time. I immediately carried out the required pre-MOT checks, drove it to a test centre and promptly obtained a new certificate without issue.
It was now time to turn my attentions to the engine conversion – from 12v to 24v Cosworth power!!!
The first issue was the battery and tray; it couldn’t stay on the driver’s side due to the size of the heads and the location of the coil pack and as I already had limited space in the boot due to the LPG tank in the spare wheel boot well I decided to simply move it the other side of the engine bay like the non-injection models. This delivered enough space to get the 24v in and align it with bell housing.
The next issue was the clutch cable; due to the location of the 24v oil cooler and filter I could not access the route needed for the cable, so after some thought and looking at all the parts I had from both the 24v and 2.8 I managed to use the 2.8 cooler combined with the fittings from the 24v. This allowed me to run the cable between the sump and the cooler extension arm, cable-tying it away from the exhaust manifold on that side. Some months later the clutch cable broke and upon inspection whilst replacing it with a new one, I found the original outer sheath was a lot bigger than that of the replacement which had caused a dog-legged kink leading to the break.
The next issue was the starter motor; I didn’t have the 24v item, only that from the 2.8 which had the right tooth size for the fly wheel ring. However, due the alloy sump and the shape of the dipstick the starter motor would not fit square onto the bell housing as it was about 6mm too big, but the holes lined up. So after grinding the starter side wall down and lots of checking, I eventually got it to fit, sorted out the wiring and connected it to the car system.
The next area I worked on was the cooling pipework, reworking it to fit the 24v, which in essence is almost identical at the back and not dissimilar at the front, apart from the expansion bottle which I left until later as it would not fit in its original location.
I then had to relocate the washer bottle due to a lack of space and requiring that area for the new wiring looms to pass through into the interior. I made a new bracket and relocated it on the off side inner wing.
Next came the power steering system; the 24v had a pump fitted to the offside lower front part of the engine. This meant I need a new reservoir; I found a diesel Scorpio in the local breakers yard so I drilled off the fixing bracket and fitted this to the driver’s side inner wing. I then redirected the high pressure pipes from the old pump to the new and plumbed in the new bottle, filled the system and checked for leaks.
So with the water, power steering, petrol, clutch, starter and all mechanical parts and systems fitted it was now for the electronics and sensors. All of the old wiring was removed, a new wiring diagram was drawn and with a new fuse board installed the long, time-consuming task began.
I decided to locate the new ECU above the glovebox so it was protected from heat, moisture and the generally harsh environment of an engine bay.
After studying the wiring diagrams, the connections and loom I started in the engine bay connecting all of the injectors, sensors etc. After finding out the Ford sensors for the air and water gave the wrong readings for the Emerald I acquired the right ones and had an engineering company make up the correctly sized fittings. Once the new boss and sensors were fitted and checked for leaks it was on to the next stage.
I then started with the wiring to the petrol injectors, using high temperature single cables through the wiring channel using heat-shrink and plastic copex to protect them from the heat and to keep the wiring together. The coil pack wiring and connections were very difficult to understand as I could not get the internal wiring configuration for the coil pack. This led to a bit of trial and error but with some logic I eventually got it right. The rest of the sensors were pretty straight forward and included Crank position, water and air temperature, throttle position, choke valve etc.
I then moved to the rev counter as I wanted this to appear standard when driving. This meant a low voltage pulse from the ECU needed to be converted to a voltage that could be used to power the original Ford rev counter which was achieved by another box of tricks from Emerald.
With the engine bay, petrol ECU and electrical work completed attention turned to the exhaust system. This involved making new down pipes to fit the original Cosworth manifolds and the original 2.8i stainless bore system that the Capri has. This needed laser cut 3 and 4 stud flanges to be designed, fabricated and welded onto the new down pipes.
With everything now made, installed, wired and plumbed the engine was ready for its first test run. The ECU was supplied with a basic ‘get you started’ MAP. With a new battery, fuel and all my fingers crossed I turned the key. After couple of turns she fired; what a relief. Everything worked, the engine sounded good and I was overjoyed.
After a very brief test drive it was clear the engine and ECU needed setting up properly so after a call to Emerald I booked it in for a rolling-road tune and remapping session with Dave Walker. The mapping session took seven hours which involved an in-depth pre-check of the oil, water, exhaust, compression and thorough inspection of all relevant systems. Once this was complete, I signed a disclaimer relieving Emerald of any responsibility for damage from the session…
With the computers and test equipment connected the power runs started; it was quite nerve racking to see and hear the engine pull off from about 30 mph in fourth gear, and then with full throttle take it up to the programmed red line which was set to 7000 RPM. Utilising the recorded information the cells on the map were changed to give the correct timing, fuel ratio and optimum performance on Map 1.
After about five hours we tried to run the car on LPG, as the original single point system had been refitted. After about thirty minutes we established it would not work in conjunction with the engine and ECU, as a new multi-point system would be needed.
We continued to tune the engine running on petrol and set up the idle speed and then looked at map 3, tuning it to give the most economic use of fuel for high speed cruising.
With the car running superbly on petrol I started investigating multipoint LPG front end systems. After looking at various manufactures I opted for a Zavoli system which I subsequently purchased and installed. The ECU was mounted on the inner nearside wing and the solenoid valves mounted on top of the inlet manifolds to reduce the gas travel to the cylinders. This was set up and tuned by Simon at Silena Automotive in Setchey, which included a rolling road session.
With the bodywork back in its rightful condition, the Cosworth power plant installed and the LPG conversion working correctly the Capri had turned into a superbly efficient but devastatingly quick car; and did it put a smile on my face! I ran the Capri every day through the summer and normally once a week during the winter months unless the road salt was out. This went on for three years or more and I enjoyed every minute and every mile.
In 2016 I took BOB off the road in order to undertake a body recondition, including the fitment of a body kit. This work will soon be covered under the Projects page so be sure to keep an eye out for that over the coming months.
Not Half Bad – Neil & Ivan Cushion’s Custom Trailer
Amongst our club members we have two extremely competent engineers, Neil & Ivan Cushion, who have created a show-stopping trailer from scrap. Ivan picks up the story…
Our trailer started life as an A registered 2.8i. The car had been left outside for a number of years behind a barn, and was found in a very sorry state. The original idea was to either get it back on the road or make a pick-up truck out of it. However, upon inspection we found that the inner wings, a posts, wings, headlamp bowls, bonnet and front chassis rails were very rotten and beyond repair. The rear half of the car which had been partly sheltered by the barn was in much better condition, so we decided to make a trailer out of it instead.
As with all of these things, it sounded a lot simpler than it actually was.
Having stripped the car, our first job was to cut it in two, so we measured and lined the proposed cut with the door shuts, and cut away. As soon as this was done the roof started to misshape, so we had to strengthen it using some wooden blocks, and then make up a metal frame to fit into the recess, to add further strength. The front panel was then shaped around the roof line and door lips prior to being spot welded in place, with the joints filled.
We then had to make the draw bar and in order to ensure it towed well, went for an A-frame design.
Once the modifications were complete we turned attentions to the body work – the rear wheel arches only needed minor repairs as did the rear valance and sills.
Once the remedial work was completed the trailer was rubbed down and painted in primer. The wiring was made using the cars original rear wiring loom so all the rear lights work, as does the rear washer bottle and wiper, mimicking the towing vehicles operations.
After all the wiring was done the trailer went off for painting. As the trailer was made by two of us, we decided to paint it 50:50 down the middle to match our own Capris.
When the painting was complete we reassembled the trailer with most of the original parts from the car along with a new rear bumper as the original had rusted away, finishing things with matching side stripes and dummy exhaust pipes.
The whole project took about 9 months to complete and has been all over the country since. It tows exceptionally well, and every so often you have to check it’s still there as you barely notice it on the move.