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The Zetec 16 Valve Engine

Zetec fitted toa Mk2 Fiesta

For the purpose of this article we are discussing the Zetec-E engine as fitted the Ford Mondeo,Escort and Fiesta XR2i, this differs from the Yamaha designed Zetec-S engine fitted to the Ford Puma and MK4/5 Fiesta.

The Zetec-E came in two variations, the earlier 'silvertop' engines were fitted with a unfinished silver aluminium cam cover where as the later 'blacktop' engines came with a black plastic (or magnesium in some cases) cam cover.

The Silvertop Zetec 16V

Available in 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 sizes, the silvertop was a inline 4 cylinder engine fitted in Europe to Ford Escorts (Mk5 onwards), the Mk1 and early Mk2 Mondeo and Fiesta Mk3 XR2i's and RS1800's.

Released in 1991, early engines were called 'Zeta' and were identifiable by having DOHC stamped on the rocker cover, the story goes that Italian car maker Lancia got upset over trademark infringement so the Zetec name was adopted in 1993 and series 2 engines were then stamped with Zetec 16V and featured some minor improvements over the earlier design including a fix for sticking valves if the owner didnt keep up with regular oil changes.

The series 1 and 2 Zetec engines can be identified by a three digit code on the engine block, stamped onto the edge of the gearbox bell housing mounting flange, the number is also close to the engine number.

Code(s) Engine Size Exact CC Power (PS) Torque Fitted to
L1E, L1H, LIJ 1.6 1597 90 @ 5000rpm 134Nm @ 3000rpm Ford Escort
L1F, L1J 1.6 1597 88 @ 5250rpm 138Nm @ 3500rpm Mondeo (to 05/1998)
RDA 1.8 1796 105 @ 5500rpm 153Nm @ 4000rpm Ford Escort
RKC 1.8 1796 115 @ 5500rpm 159Nm @ 4500rpm Ford Escort, Ford Mondeo, Fiesta Mk3 XR2i
RQB 1.8 1796 130 @ 6250rpm 162Nm @ 4500rpm Fiesta Mk3 RS1800, Escort XR3i and GTi
NGA 2.0 1988 132 @ 6000rpm 180Nm @ 4000rpm Mondeo Mk1 and Mk2 (to 05/1998)

The Blacktop 16v Zetec

The Series 3 blacktop Zetec first appeared in late 1998 and was fitted to the later Mk2 and early mk3 Mondeo in both 1.8 and 2.0 variants as well as the Mk1 Ford Focus.

Ford Focus 2.0 Zetec Blacktop Engine

The blacktop had several design improvements including rerouting of the cambelt to provide more contact with the cam pulley on the exhaust cam and mechanical lifters as standard. Unlike the S1 and 2 Zetec's The Series 3 onlt has one style of waterpump, external with the impellor driven by the back of the serpentine belt, this provides a small obstacle to overcome when fitting to a Mk1 or 2 Fiesta. Whilst parts from the Series 1 and 2 Zetec's are interchangeable, the Series 3 is quite different and not many parts are transferable.

Engine Size Approximate BHP Fitted to
1.8 115 Ford Focus Mk1, Ford Mondeo Mk2/3
2.0 135 Ford Focus Mk1, Ford Mondeo Mk2/3

The ST170 'Duratec'

Although badged as a Duratec, the Focus ST170 engine is actually a Zetec, allbeit with a stronger bottom end and variable inlet cam timing (VCT).

Engine Size Approximate BHP Fitted to
2.0 170 Ford Focus ST170 (2002-2004)

Page Last Updated: Monday 18th of June 2018

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