Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)





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  1. #1
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    Default Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    So I decided that it's time to properly rebuild the engine in my 1974 Mk3 Ford Cortina. As stated in the title, it's an Essex 3.0 V6. It's not a 4x4, but I know that there are many on this forum that had/have them in their vehicles.

    From reading previous posts on this forum I can tell that there is a wealth of knowledge about the Essex on here. Please feel free to give any advice, tips or recommendations.

    The car will only be used for the occasional Sunday drive. I'm not looking for a street racer, but I am open to minor modifications to up the power a bit (since it's not the original engine I'm not too fussed about keeping it standard).

    Reason for rebuild: Low compression on cylinder 1 & 2, also using a lot of oil.

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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Nice. Are you have sleeves installed or are you using a standard iron block?
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Did ya know that it was first introduced as a 1996cc V4 before it became a 2994cc V6....
    Last edited by Dungbeetle; 2020/05/18 at 10:41 AM.
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dungbeetle View Post
    Did ya know that it was first introduced as a 1996cc V4 before it became a 2994cc V6....
    Didn't know it was the same engine. That V4 had a horrible reputation.

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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Wow this brings back memories of my early childhood.

    My dad's 1973 GT

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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by RoelfleRoux View Post
    Didn't know it was the same engine. That V4 had a horrible reputation.
    yep, horrible thing

    My experience is that some of the blocks were really soft, and low compression and high oil consumption was eventually pretty much a given.

    Don't know how true that is, quite a few guys on the forum with a lot more experience with rebuilding them than me.

    I know I also always had overheating issues and constant head gasket problems.

    Looking back, I reckon that was a combination of several factors:

    - running too lean
    - wrong ignition timing
    - really crappy distributor design
    - really bad quality antifreeze (and often none at all)
    - a really restrictive standard exhaust

    So my advice:
    - get the timing spot on, double check all timing marks using a dial gauge and correct if needed
    - electronic points are mandatory
    - make sure the distributor clamp actually clamps: it often looks tight but make sure the dizzy cannot move
    - top quality cords
    - a PROPER thermostat, radiator and decent antifreeze
    - a proper tuned length set of headers and freeflow pipe: exhaust technology is miles ahead of what we had in the 80s
    - ceramic coating would be my other consideration on the headers
    - if you can find an EFI system, then get one, that Weber will be well stuffed by now and it wasn't an amazing carb anyway and the auto choke gave me constant issues
    - a decent electric fuel pump either way: the mechanical pumps were disastrous and I ended up carrying a spare as I was stranded several times
    - I'd say a proper cam would be an option, but I found the standard cam was reasonably decent
    - match the inlet and outlet ports to the manifolds: another place where the Essex was badly designed
    - a mild flow job on the heads would be the next step

    I reckon with a decent fuel system and ignition system, you could push it up to a 9.5:1 compression ratio. In fact, I think that was the factory spec for the Sapphire?
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by RoelfleRoux View Post
    Didn't know it was the same engine. That V4 had a horrible reputation.
    Nah people spreading hearsay, I had one in my bakkie from a Capri 2,0 GT. Being such a short motor it was a bit shaky on idle hence the balancing shaft that the 3l did not have, otherwise it was the same just two pistons cut off the back.

    My engine idled smoother than a V8 and my bakkie shunted with it. It was given a complete performance oriented rebuild with Maserati pistons and balance before we fitted it to the bakkie. The 34/36 twin stage Weber carb took us 3 months to tune properly and on stage 1 it was economical for a student but if stage 2 was opened it would shunt. Had fantastic times with that baby, my very first "sleeper", from the outside it looked like a std 1600 complete with all the badges but underneath the bonnet was some hectic chocolates.

    Back on topic. The V6 is a donkey alleged to make 110kw in the 3.0S but I think you would be extremely lucky to get 70 - 80 Kw without a lot of work and some expensive go fast groceries.
    Jelo has done this once or twice judging by his comments and I can add that you need to look at those timing gears the fiber one tends to crack and then grenade if not treated with kid gloves.

    The 36 dgaf Weber was actually a great carb for the most of it ....once you have changed the water actuated choke to manual but I agree in changing it to an injected unit with something like a Core efi management that has a self learning ability and something like a set of Jenvy throttle bodies. A good engineering shop will be able to drill the intake manifold to accept injectors and something like a 220 -250cc should be adequate, with a bit of luck you could even match it to a set of Mitsubishi injector rail and injectors.
    Problem with the carb is not so much spares as it is the person installing them and then tuning the carb, most fundis are either retired or at best behind a desk
    Replacing the points set up with a hall sensor can only improve your results as will the port matching on the manifolds. Flowing the heads does add power as the standard ports are just the basic sand casting imprint. Branch manifolds are well worth the expense.

    Probably the most important bit of advice I can give you is once everything is done and you start the engine you need to re torque at 500km not 501 or 550
    Stick to the torque sequence and specs religiously as these engines are super sensitive these engines will pop a new gasket if not re torqued meticulously.

    Oh the fan bearing is also a sensitive baby be very careful when replacing it......you are going to replace it aren't you. New water pump and oil pump is almost a given


    Enjoy the build it is great fun
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Unfortunately you have the blue engine that is not unleaded compatible. Have an engineering works to install hardened valve seats.

    Drill out the rocker studs, tap them to take modified screw in studs. They were press fit and tend to work themselves from the head leading to regular adjustment of valves.
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by grips View Post
    Drill out the rocker studs, tap them to take modified screw in studs. They were press fit and tend to work themselves from the head leading to regular adjustment of valves.
    Oh yes, that reminds me............adjusting tappets every 500kms. Never knew about this fix. And the problem is that a very loose tappet means a loss of performance. And could also cause other issues as effectively your valve duration has changed.

    And yes, the steel valve seat inserts will be mandatory.
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ro55 View Post
    So I decided that it's time to properly rebuild the engine in my 1974 Mk3 Ford Cortina. As stated in the title, it's an Essex 3.0 V6. It's not a 4x4, but I know that there are many on this forum that had/have them in their vehicles.

    From reading previous posts on this forum I can tell that there is a wealth of knowledge about the Essex on here. Please feel free to give any advice, tips or recommendations.

    The car will only be used for the occasional Sunday drive. I'm not looking for a street racer, but I am open to minor modifications to up the power a bit (since it's not the original engine I'm not too fussed about keeping it standard).

    Reason for rebuild: Low compression on cylinder 1 & 2, also using a lot of oil.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Beautiful

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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by hbannink View Post
    Nah people spreading hearsay, I had one in my bakkie from a Capri 2,0 GT. Being such a short motor it was a bit shaky on idle hence the balancing shaft that the 3l did not have, otherwise it was the same just two pistons cut off the back.

    My engine idled smoother than a V8 and my bakkie shunted with it. It was given a complete performance oriented rebuild with Maserati pistons and balance before we fitted it to the bakkie. The 34/36 twin stage Weber carb took us 3 months to tune properly and on stage 1 it was economical for a student but if stage 2 was opened it would shunt. Had fantastic times with that baby, my very first "sleeper", from the outside it looked like a std 1600 complete with all the badges but underneath the bonnet was some hectic chocolates.

    Back on topic. The V6 is a donkey alleged to make 110kw in the 3.0S but I think you would be extremely lucky to get 70 - 80 Kw without a lot of work and some expensive go fast groceries.
    Jelo has done this once or twice judging by his comments and I can add that you need to look at those timing gears the fiber one tends to crack and then grenade if not treated with kid gloves.

    The 36 dgaf Weber was actually a great carb for the most of it ....once you have changed the water actuated choke to manual but I agree in changing it to an injected unit with something like a Core efi management that has a self learning ability and something like a set of Jenvy throttle bodies. A good engineering shop will be able to drill the intake manifold to accept injectors and something like a 220 -250cc should be adequate, with a bit of luck you could even match it to a set of Mitsubishi injector rail and injectors.
    Problem with the carb is not so much spares as it is the person installing them and then tuning the carb, most fundis are either retired or at best behind a desk
    Replacing the points set up with a hall sensor can only improve your results as will the port matching on the manifolds. Flowing the heads does add power as the standard ports are just the basic sand casting imprint. Branch manifolds are well worth the expense.

    Probably the most important bit of advice I can give you is once everything is done and you start the engine you need to re torque at 500km not 501 or 550
    Stick to the torque sequence and specs religiously as these engines are super sensitive these engines will pop a new gasket if not re torqued meticulously.

    Oh the fan bearing is also a sensitive baby be very careful when replacing it......you are going to replace it aren't you. New water pump and oil pump is almost a given


    Enjoy the build it is great fun
    If you replace the timing gears and the large one is fiber it must be soaked in engine oil before fitment, I just cannot remember if it was for 12 or 24 hours. This would mostly prevent it from cracking.
    Last edited by Gee S; 2020/05/18 at 02:50 PM.

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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Thanks for the great advice thus far.

    Re fuel injection, I have a brand new weber 38 DGAS but I will definitely look into EFI.

    I have found a couple of interesting things while stripping down the engine:

    Timing gear damage (will be replaced with an alloy set)
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    Damage to the nr 5 piston, but the cylinder walls are 100%
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    Bent pushrod on no. 1 cylinder, exhaust valve
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    Interesting coloration on the valves
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    The cylinder walls passed the fingernail test, we'll see what the engineers have to say
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    Last edited by Ro55; 2020/05/18 at 08:22 PM.

  19. #13
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by jelo View Post
    Nice. Are you have sleeves installed or are you using a standard iron block?
    Looking at the condition of the cylinder walls, I think it might have been re sleeved already.

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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Why not treat yourself to a Barra conversion. Build a decent sleeper.

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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Oh, how I long for my old 3.0 XLE and 3.0 Ghia.

    MAN!
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Nice Cortina!

    Had an '83 3.0L LDV.

    Bought it in 1986.

    Place in Pta CBD did the branches, with twin free flow exhaust system.

    What a vehicle! Towed 2 bike trailers with 6 scramblers with ease!
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bere View Post
    Why not treat yourself to a Barra conversion. Build a decent sleeper.
    Barra is too long for the engine bay.

    And it is too narrow for a 1UZ DOHC.

    Small block Ford. 350 EFI and an auto box. New Gen Cortina Perana.
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Quote Originally Posted by staalwol View Post
    Wow this brings back memories of my early childhood.

    My dad's 1973 GT

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Loved them , specially the one in picture ( round headlights )
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)

    Might as well do a 3.5 stroker , new crank and con-rods and a lot of extra power
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    Default Re: Ford 3.0 V6 Essex Rebuild (Cortina MK3)



    If I am not wrong that is the rear exhaust valve with the whitish colour. For some reason some of the Essex V6 engines run lean on its rear cylinders.
    What is the carb jet sizes. Is the divider plates still intact on the carb spacer?
    It is not what you buy its what you build.

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