Ford Zetec

The Zetec is the name given to a range of current production engines manufactured by Ford. For marketing reasons, they have labelled many different types of engines the 'Zetec' with different suffixes to specify the particular variant. Production has recently started on a new range of 4 cylinder engines called the Duratec and, consequently, Ford have recently started renaming all of their engines the 'Duratec' with different suffixes. A good example of this is the Ford Focus RS. This features a turbocharged engine labelled as the Duratec RS, but the engine is actually an uprated Phase 3 Zetec-E.

This site is primarily aimed at the Zetec-E variant which is available in three capacities, 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 litre and has featured three main development phases. The Zetec-E engines were designed to be mounted transversely in a front wheel drive configuration and all feature a cast iron block and a 16 valve cast aluminium cylinder head. The induction is provided by a plenum based injection system featuring a single throttle body.

The Zetec-E was originally available on the Ford Escort from around 1991 in 1.6 and 1.8 litre capacities. It was then widely adopted in 1992 when the Mondeo replaced the Sierra. This introduced the 2.0 litre engine in addition to the 1.6 and 1.8 litre engines.

There are three main phase variants of the Zetec-E, the Phase 1, 2 and 3 (or Evo 1, 2 and 3). There is very little difference between the Phase 1 and Phase 2 variants, and for our purposes they can be treated as the same. However, the Phase 3 engine is considerably different both internally and externally. The table below shows the major differences.

  Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
Designation Silver Top Black Top
Cam Shaft Cover Aluminium Early: Black Coated Magnesium
Later: Plastic
Label DOHC 16v 16v Zetec 16v Zetec
Sump Single Part Aluminium Two Part Aluminium / Tin
Water Pump Directly Above Crank Offset to Exhaust Side of Crank
Oil Filter Angled Downwards Horizontal
Cam Belt Cover Plastic Plastic / Aluminium
Followers Hydraulic Solid

The Phase 3 engine also has larger inlet valves and better breathing as standard yielding around 5-10 bhp performance increase over the Phase 1/2 engines with the same capacity.

Engine Identification

The Phase 1 and 2 engines can be identified from a three digit code on the block near the engine number. This is usually stamped onto the edge of the bell housing mounting flange on the exhaust side near the crank position sensor. Don't be too worried if the engine you find doesn't have a number stamped here. When engines are replaced with new units from Ford the dealer is supposed to transfer the old engines number onto the new engine prior to sending the old engine back to Ford, this is often not done. I actually had this situation when my brand new Ford Focus needed a new engine after only 1 week and the dealer confirmed with Ford the process. If you are in this situation, then it is important to get the engine number from the engine donor cars V5 log book and have this stamped onto the engine.

The Phase 3 engine may have a 4 digit code stamped onto the block, but also has a label stuck onto the front of the cam belt cover. This will start with a 4 digit code which is the variant identifier.

The table below should help identify which variant you have from the engines code number.

1.6 Litre Engines (1597cc - Phase 1 & 2)

Code Standard Power Standard Torque Vehicle
90 PS @ 5500 134 Nm @ 3000 Escort 1.6
88 PS @ 5250 138 Nm @ 3500 Mondeo 1.6
(To 05/98)

1.6 Litre Engines (1598cc - Phase 3)

Code Standard Power Standard Torque Vehicle
88 PS @ 5250 138 Nm @ 3000 Mondeo 1.6
(05/98 - 05/01)

1.8 Litre Engines (1796cc - Phase 1 & 2)

Code Standard Power Standard Torque Vehicle
RDA 105 PS @ 5500 153 Nm @ 4000 Escort 1.8
RKC 115 PS @ 5500 159 Nm @ 4500 Escort 1.8
RQB 130 PS @ 6250 162 Nm @ 4500 Escort 1.8
XR3i and GTi
112 PS @ 5750 158 Nm @ 3750 Mondeo 1.8
(To 05/98)

1.8 Litre Engines (1796cc - Phase 3)

Code Standard Power Standard Torque Vehicle
115 PS @ 5750 159 Nm @ 4500 Mondeo 1.8
(05/98 On)
115 PS @ 5750 158 Nm @ 3750 Focus 1.8

2.0 Litre Engines (1988cc - Phase 1 & 2)

Code Standard Power Standard Torque Vehicle
NGA 132 PS @ 6000 180 Nm @ 4000 Mondeo 2.0
(To 05/98)

2.0 Litre Engines (1989cc - Phase 3)

Code Standard Power Standard Torque Vehicle
130 PS @ 6000 180 Nm @ 4000 Mondeo 2.0
(05/98 On)
125 PS @ 6000 180 Nm @ 4000 Cougar 2.0
135 PS @ 6000 180 Nm @ 4000 Focus 2.0

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