Ford Zetec engines

Ford Zetec engines

The Ford Zetec is a name used on many inline 4 cylinder automobile engines. All are multi-valve DOHC engines, but they are based on three distinctly different designs.

It as used in cars such as Ford Mondeo, 1995-2000 Ford Contour/Mercury Mystique, 1999-2002 Mercury Cougar, 2000-2003 Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute, 2000-2003 Ford Focus and 1998-2003 Ford Escort ZX2. It has been made in 1.25L, 1.4L, 1.6L, 1.7L, 1.8L, 2.0L and 2.3L capacities.

The Zetec is also the basis for the Formula Ford 2000 series from 2003 where it replaces the older Ford Pinto and Ford Kent.

Zetecs for Europe are built in the Bridgend, Wales and Valencia, Spain plants. American engines are built in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico. Asian Zetecs are built in Chung Li, Taiwan. South American Zetecs come from S?o Paulo, Brazil. And more are built in Inonu, Turkey.


Production of the larger Zeta family of Zetec engines lasted from September, 1991 through December, 2004. Displacement ranged from 1.6 L to 2.0 L. It was replaced in most applications by the Mazda MZR-based Duratec 20, though some Zetec-SE engines were used as replacements on the lower end. Ford Power Products sells the Zeta in 1.8 L and 2.0 L versions as the MVH.


The first Zetec engine appeared in 1992, powering the fourth generation of the European Ford Escort and Orion. It was codenamed as the “Zeta” engine before Italian car maker Lancia threatened to sue Ford for trademark infringement as it already owned the name. Ford hurriedly renamed the engine “Zetec”.

Early versions of the engine (prior to mid 1998) came complete with self-adjusting hydraulic valves. This help prevented the notorious valve tapping (on the CVH) but caused other issues. The biggest problem was that a special Ford formulation of oil was required otherwise the valves tended to stick. Similarly, if the engine wasn’t regularly revved above 4000 RPM, the valves tended to stick then too. For these reasons, conventional tappets with shims were introduced in 1998.


The 2.0 L Zetec shared its 84.8 mm (3.339 in) bore and 88 mm (3.465 in) stroke with its predecessor, the 2.0 L 2-valve CVH. A high 10.2:1 compression ratio and larger valves contributed to the SVT version’s much-higher output.


1999 Ford Escort, 130 hp (97 kW) and 127 ft-lb (172 Nm)

2000 Ford Focus, 130 hp (97 kW) and 135 ft-lb (183 Nm)

2002 SVT Focus, 170 hp (127 kW) and 145 ft-lb (197 Nm)


Later versions of the engine are known as the Zetec-E. The main difference is a two piece crankcase which helps damp out noise and vibration.


The advanced Zetec-SE was developed in collaboration of Yamaha under the Sigma codename. It ranges in size from 1.3 L (1250 cc) to 1.7 L (1700 cc). It is extremely different from the Zeta engine – the intake and exhaust are even on opposite sides. It is also sold as a crate engine byFord Power Products as the ZSG.


This is the primary Sigma engine. It is sold under the Sigma name in some regions, while Mazda uses the MZI name.


1.3 L Ford Fiesta

1.7 L Ford Puma


In 2000, the Brazilian Ford developed a cheaper version of the Zetec-SE engine, to compete with the classic VW AP engines. Its 8v SOHC instead of 16v DOHC and its body is made of iron instead of aluminium. Also, its camshaft is driven by a chain instead of a belt. As a result this engine has a more rough behaviour, producing some more vibration and more noise.

On the other hand, it has a superb torque output thanks to the Rocam (Roller finger Camshaft) feature added. It’s also a much smaller engine than the SE version, which allowed it to be then installed on the Ford Ka, replacing the weak Endura-E engine by the time. The engine also featured a new patented process for the aluminium head production, which resulted in a better alloy than those produced in Spain and UK, and at a lower production cost.

In 2002 a supercharged 1.0 litre (featuring 95hp) version was released for the Ford Fiesta, to compete with the 1.0 turbo 16v (featuring 110hp) version of the VW Golf.

In 2003 the Zetec-Rocam engine was introduced in Europe, but labelled as Duratec 8v, for the SportKa and StreetKa models. Later a 1.3 litre was also released as an option for the standard model. But the European versions of the engine are produced in the South Africa plant.

In October/2004 a newer bi-fuel version was introduced labelled “1.6L Flex”, capable of running on both petrol and alcohol, even mixed at any proportion. This version also features “Compound High Turbulence” chambers, as the CHT engine had.

Currently, this engine powers nearly all Brazilian Ford models, except those with 2.0 litre engines, featuring many versions:

65hp 1.0L (Ford Ka)

95hp 1.6L (Ka Action, Ka XR)

69hp 1.0L (Ford Fiesta, Ford Ecosport)

95hp 1.0L Supercharger (Ford Fiesta, Ford Ecosport)

99hp 1.6L (Ford Fiesta, Ford Ecosport)

110hp 1.6L Flex (Ford Fiesta Sedan)

RoFlow Zetec

The Zetec was superseded by the Duratec series of engines, originally called RoFlow Zetec. These are based on the Mazda MZR engines.

Rare 2.0L head

Supposedly a North American Zetec variant, with interesting large runners and no VCT. Still seeking identification.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply