S2 Escort RS Turbo

ESCORT TURBO SERIES 2

Background

The Series 2 RS Turbo appeared in July 1986, six months after the production of the Series 1 had ended. Ford decided that the S1 was a little too hectic and busy for normal road use, so the S2 was toned down and looked a little closer to the lesser XR3i.

Some of the biggest changes were to the gearing, 3.81:1 final drive made for a more relaxed drive over the 4.29:1 of the S1. The bodykit was now "Less in your face" with smaller wheel arch extensions and finally the removal of the tie-bar front suspension from the S2's setup.

The S2 was a more refined drive over the S1, with softer suspension, better brakes and higher gearing, making the car easier to drive fast on the usual uneven roads of the UK.

Ford decided against any major changes to the engine, with a revised intercooler, cylinder head, water cooling bearing case on the same Garret T3 Turbo and a move to a one piece inlet manifold finished off the improvements to the S2.

The interior also underwent a few changes, adding a few more toys to play with ( Custom Pack) , this could be added for £572. The Custom pack later became standard fit in 1987 and by 1990 a minor face lift saw a new design front bumper and rear spoiler along with a revision to the Recaro interior. Most fans prefer the later bodywork revision but earlier interior.

Changes from 1989:

The boot badge became an outline rather than solid text.
Front heated screen was standard fitment.
The trim fabric changed from Daytona to Zolda, which was grey, red and blue.
The roof lining went from dark grey to light grey.

From 1990:

Tilt and Slide Sun Roof, Electric windows and mirrors, Central Locking, Heated Front Screen and Tinted Glass, all fitted as standard.
The only options became the Metallic Grey paint, power amplifier and on board fuel computer.

A basic car would have cost you £10,028, production ceased in April 1991 after 22108 cars had rolled off the line. Although the S2 was never really used in motorsport it was a true RS, affordable performance just waiting to be tuned.

Engine:
The S2 suffers from all the usual CVH gremlins, valve guides, blocked breather pipes, oil leaking into the distributor, overheating in hot weather (due to the fan not coming on) and even slow warmup from cold (due to the crappy thermostats). Most if not all of these problems are caused by poor maintenance, the CVH really does not get on with short journeys or lack of servicing.
Other possible problems can come from the head gaskets, check the oil for white sludge or a bubbling header tank with the car running and warmed up.
Turbo's can wear, accelerate hard in 2nd or 3rd if your mirror is then full of smoke when you lift off or the turbo sounds like a police siren, chances are your going to need a new turbo.
The camshafts are also not a strong point, make sure there's no noise from the top end of the engine and that it pulls strong when coming on boost. Lastly make sure the cambelt is changed at least every 36,000 miles.

Gearbox:
Fwd Escort gearboxes from this time can be a pig to select gears especially reverse, this can normally be solved with new linkages and some time spent adjusting it all afterwards, but don't expect reverse to ever be perfect. To check the condition of the clutch select 4th gear at something around 50mph and give it beans, if the revs go up much faster than the speedo the clutch doesn't have long for this world. To check the LSD find some nice tight corners and make sure it pulls cleanly around and out the otherside.

Bodywork:
Even the newest RST is 11 years old now, so your going need to check everything for rust or bad repairs. Starting at the front, lift the bonnet and take a look at the battery tray, chassis rails, cross member (where the anti roll bar mounts) and the general condition of the front panel behind the bumper and around the headlights. While you here take a look at the fuse box, the ignition relay has been known to melt its self to the fuse box. (not cheap to repair and a ba***rd to do yourself). Open the sunroof and check the gutters and channels for tin worm. Take a close look at the roof panel, normally around the centre of the panel for pin prick size specs of rust, if left untreated you could end up looking for a new roof panel, which isn't going to be a cheap job. Take a carefull look at the rear arches and then chassis rails around the rear suspension. Lastly the boot floor needs some care attention when looking for rust or repaired accedent damage. Damp in the boot can be another problem, the lower part of the petrol cap hole can rust and leaks into the boot.

VIN numbers:
Look for the VIN plate mounted on the slam panel and make sure it says WF0BXXGCABKJ followed by the chassis number. Check for the same number under the flap next to the front seats, and make sure it hasn't been tampered with.