Jump to content

General advice for Escort Van Handling / Performance


Recommended Posts

Hi guys, am fixing up my dear old van . Just spent nearly a week welding it up, it was falling apart & I was determined it wasn't going to die. So I borrowed a welder & tau8ght myself how to weld!! So MOT verdict in a week or so!! I am now  concentrating currently on Colin Chapmans Philosophy at lotus. 

"Simplify, then add lightness", he said.
It was his philosophy, way before 'minimalism' became fashionable.

"Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere", was another of Chapman's premises.


I have a 1.8 diesel van, already mega heavy due the engine block, but I enjoy tinkering and having had some training understand basic engineering principles. I am currently doing some basic mods, seeing how well I can get a terribly handling van to handle!! I have a donor TD motor which I am contemplating installing, but as has been pointed out many times in the past, ain't no point having power if it don't handle or stop (or similar thought!) So these are the important things first!


So just concentrating on handling, stopping, simplifying & of course adding lightness! So any advice on seats, weight saving, etc would be appreciated from you guys out there!!

At the moment I have done the following to it:


Rear axle flipped so lowered by about 100mm at rear. Still playing with rear suspension set up. I tried adding an additional extra thick spring, from another axle which made it too hard & added a lot of extra weight. So went back to original set up with one spring, but is a little bit soft. Currently doesn't have enough damping either with standard spring set up to match my driving style. So looking for some Gaz adjustables that will fit - any ideas, or some rear coilovers or something? Any ideas?


Lightload compensater removed. Added a couple of brake pressure splitters (not sure of proper name) from an estate..seamed to please the MOT man & braided hoses to rear, Works very well now with the massive drums at rear, actually slowing it down at the back.

Front lowered with sport shocks & 50mm spax springs. Shocks produce damping effect... tad soft, may go back to van shocks with the spax springs.

15" wolfrace rims, with 195/45 tyres on front, which are better for acceleration. & make it turning -  handling more responsive with 195/50s at rear, which make it sit level.


Lightweight Bonnet

Sound deadening & carpet removed.


Foam inlet filter with modified air intake.

Fuel Pump maxed out.


looking at adding lightweight flywheel, does anyone know how many bolts the 1.8 diesel crank has & if any other flywheels from other motors will fit??? I gather mine has IB5 box, with a 220mm clutch, but have not seen the crank & not sure how to find out.


Its not fast, but will out handle. & out perform my sons 1.2 astra...JUST!! I havn't got a huge budget, it's just a little hobby to keep me out of trouble!! So would appreciate any advice, tips etc from others who have done similar!!


ANY ADVICE FOR LIGHTWEIGHT SEATS WOULD BE APPRECIATED! I am 6 2/12" with long trunk & shorter arms & legs, probably 18 / 19 stone so need some, bigger, wider seats. Something that tilts would be ideal, but as light as possible too!! Any ideas Guys?

ta Dyl.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Get the td in asap. Get cracking with retro diesel mods


Intercooler. Furl pump wound up. Bleed valve etc


Being and escort. The well known front brake upgrades will fit no hassle at all. You will be limited by the size of the wheels of course


Front suspension may differ between diesel and petrol models. I cant say off the top of my head im afraid.


Stickier tyres will help no end


Replace and upgrade any worn bushes or mounts etc


Front upper and lower strut braces are readily available and far from expensive

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...