After the successful first run the final stage of the upgrade was to swap the head for the ported item and the Piper 285 Cams that I had bought from a place based in Scotland, which I found on the internet, called Need For Speed. They offered the cams at the maximum discount level that Piper allow, 10%, and have them delivered direct from them. I called them up and they were very helpful in ensuring that I got the correct cams for my engine.
To allow the swapping of the cylinder head I had to collect a few parts which would need replacing, the head gasket, head bolts and thermostat housing gasket.
This meant a visit to my local Ford dealership. Look out – here comes a rant!
Why have parts departments become so amazingly unhelpful? I am sure they are trying to improve things with their computerised systems that link everything back to a chassis or registration number. In fact, if I had an everyday tin-top I would be glad of such a system and its ability to specify the particular part. However, what I really do get annoyed about is their inflexibility when it comes to simple requests for parts when you don’t have a car’s identity to give them.
“What’s the registration, Sir?”
“It won’t help you”
“Well, do you have a VIN number?”
“Yes, thank you, but it won’t help you either”
“I can’t look it up without them”
“I just want the parts for a pre-96 2.0lt Zetec”
“Do you have the engine number?”
“Yes, but it isn’t a Ford number – you don’t mark your new service engines”
“Don’t tell me this is for a kit car?”
“Yes, it is”
“Oh, they are such a pain, always wanting parts for this or that”
“Well excuse me for trying to spend money with you!”

And so it went on. Eventually I managed to persuade the ‘helpful’ staff member to look up the parts I wanted ‘the old fashioned way’ and after accepting the ‘I can’t guarantee they are the right parts’ speech I finally got my parts, although not before I got the comment ‘that comes to quite a lot, you could buy a whole car for that’. I personally found that hard to believe as the total bill was only £60 so I made sure to add the comment ‘not as fast as mine you can’t’ as I walked out. I thought it was only Halfords that were that unhelpful – maybe it’s a job share scheme.

Anyway, that’s my rant over. With new gaskets and head bolts to hand I took the inlet and exhaust manifolds off, drained the water system down and removed the water rail. The cam cover could then be removed and the spark plugs removed. Before I removed the old cams I set the engine to 90 degrees before TDC, so that all the pistons were half way up/down the cylinders. I took the cam belt off and then carefully released each of the cam bearing caps a little at a time. I then used a tool that Brent had kindly lent me for holding the cam pulley still, undid the centre bolts and removed the pulleys. I continued to undo the bearing caps and once they were sufficiently released I lifted the caps off in order and lifted out the cams.
The head bolts were then slackened off gradually and then removed and the head lifted off. I gave the tops of the pistons a clean and then used a dial indication gauge to accurately set Top Dead Centre which could then be used later when setting the lift of the cams. I marked the position on the crank pulley against the pointed provided on the alternator bracket.

After cleaning the top of the block I took two of the old head bolts and cut the head off and then cut a screwdriver slot in the top. These were fitted in a couple of positions so that the new head could be lowered down square to the block. These bolts could then be unscrewed and removed. New bolts were then fitted and torqued down according to the Haynes manual.
I fitted the hydraulic followers from the original head (they had done very few miles after all) and then fitted the new cams, ensuring to get them the correct way around. Before doing this I rotated the engine back to 90 degrees before TDC (to ensure all the pistons were well out of the way of any valves) and the cams had to be liberally coated with cam lube, a special lubricant that prevents the cams being damaged during their initial running, before they bed in. The cam bearing caps that came with the head were then fitted in the correct locations (they are matched to their particular positions). I loosely fitted the pulleys and then rotated the cams so that the initial timing bar could be fitted in the slots in the rear end (this is the same as the standard cam timing method). With the cams approximately timed I rotated the crank forward to the TDC mark I made earlier and fitted a new cam belt and tensioned it. I then set up a DTI with a plunger extension resting on the follower so that it registered the amount of lift generated on the valve by the cam. I had been given the amount of lift at TDC to achieve by Brent, 0.120” inlet and 0.100” for the exhaust. The process was to rotate the cam I was working on to the required amount whilst the engine was at TDC, tighten the pulley and then check the setting by rotating the engine back before bringing it back forward to TDC – once it repeatedly registered the correct amount I was satisfied and moved onto the other cam, which had been at the default setting whilst setting the first cam.


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