|Track & Race Car
X14XE, C16XE & X16XE engine
Mistakes before you make them
1.Watch for salvage motors.
If you buy a motor from an accident-damaged car then ensure that the
belt covers and pulleys are intact. If not it'll need a new crank pulley,
or at worst, it could have bent the crankshaft.
2.Oil burning can be costly.
Check for oil burning, as this can be a problem, caused not by worn
pistons rings but by glazed bores. Plateau honing is the only cure.
3.Guide problems can cause the valves to stick.
Some early engines suffered sticking valve guides, due to carbon deposits
on the valve stems. Can be cured with a stronger valve spring and cap,
or pistons contact will bend all 16 valves.
4.The cam tensioner is made from chocolate.
The standard cam tensioner pulley is plastic and can be breakdown in
time, throwing the cambelt. You must replace with an uprated alloy version
to be safe.
5.Pistons and rods are weak at high outputs.
If you're building an engine with race pistons, you must replace the
con-rods, otherwise they'll break. Rods and pistons can be a weak point.
oil pump gear and relief valve
Stock inner oil pump gears are sintered steel and can shatter at high
revs and loadings. Combine that with a steel relief valve that can
jam and it's a no-brainer to bin both items for uprated versions.
SB Developments supplies a steel inner pump gear and a nylon oil relief
valve, which cures any potential nasty episodes.
cam belt idlers
THE vital starting point, even on a standard motor, as it gives total
peace of mind at high revs on older engines. Why take the risk of
throwing a cambelt and wreaking the engine when a fix is so cheap?
The standard automatic cambelt tensioner can be overwhelmed when the
motor is revved hard. Happily, SBD supplies a fixed item, but then
the cambelt tension is adjusted via the water pump.
ECU now MBE9A4
SB Developments recommends the MBE 967 ECU as it's easy to remap
and they have lots of base programs to work from. Customers are
supplied with software to allow them to remap the engine themselves
for optimize performance. The price includes £431.22 for
a bespoke wiring harness (it's expensive because it uses built
Price: contact DTA
DTA's popular ECU's are also a good bet with the 1400 and 1600
XE engine. Affordable and with a good user interface, they shouldn't
valve springs, caps and platforms
As the standard valve gear is overwhelmed at higher valve lifts, it
must be beefed up to accommodate more performance orientated camshafts.
Uprated valve springs, caps and platforms are a well-proven, reliable
Best cylinder head
Where: Breaker's yard
Vauxhall has tweaked the cylinder head design several times over the
past 13 years. The early C16XE head (casting number: 90472726) is a
cracker as it uses much larger ports, whereas the later X14XE and X16XE
use smaller and different shaped ports that peg the power back. The
very latest head casting (number: 90400187) uses triangular inlet ports,
which work a lot better, gaining up to 12bp.
The standard cylinder head is very efficient and will flow up to 180bhp
on 1600 and 150bhp on a 1400 before headwork is required. Beyond the
point SB Developments can supply a flowed item with heavily modified
exhaust ports (they weld them up then re-machine them to alter the shape),
new valves and guides to gain up to 20bhp.
CARBS & THROTTLE BODIES
Parallel throttle bodies
A better route if you can afford it, as they offer real driveability
and performance gains over carburettors. These parallel 45mm versions
include the fuel rail and inlet manifold, so all you need then is the
ECU and wiring loom.
Taper throttle bodies
The Taper throttle bodies provide both a 10 bhp performance bonus and
a packaging advantage over the parallels, so they're perfect for use
on Corsas where space is restricted due to bulkhead and servo clearance
problems. The price of £932.84 includes the fuel rail and inlet
manifold. Expect a smooth, torquey 164bhp.
Dblas plenum chamber or Mantzel Powerbox
Where: Regal Autosport/Courtenay Sport
Both the 1400 and 1600cc XE motors are deliberately restricted by one
of the most torturous inlet manifolds ever designed, so this is THE
starting point for any power upgrades. Happily, less restrictive versions
are available from specialist Vauxhall tuners, adding a reliable 15-20bhp.
performance inlet manifold for carbs and throttle bodies
Does what it says on the tin. Allows fitment of either old-school carburettors
or more driveable throttle bodies, which are the key to unlocking the
latent power stored within this remarkable little lump.
forged alloy pistons
The standard piston will tolerate being pocketed to take higher
valve lifts but at higher power outputs (up to 220bhp on the 1600)
switching to forged pistons is a good idea for peace of mid. Omega's
forged alloy items were developed in conjunction with SB Developments
and include rings pins and circlips.
steel H-section con-rods
These go hand in hand with the forged pistons and the combination
makes for an unbreakable setup. How tough? Well, try over 240bhp
at 10,000rpm on SB Developments' top sprint motor
This is a high-specification 2.5-inch diameter tubular exhaust
manifold that requires a decent high-flow system to extract the
best from it. Designed for Corsa/Nova applications, don't overlook
it if you want to optimize your performance. Discontinued August 2012
Front-wheel drive users subjecting the car to high G loading are recommended
to fit a steel wet sump, which runs gates and baffles to eliminate surge
issues. In addition SBD recommends fitting a re-circulating catch tank
with a drain that returns any breathed oil back into the sump - a drawing
is supplied by SBD, as it's a straightforward fabrication job.
For serious users it's recommended to fit a dry sump system in front-wheel
drive applications. The basic systems cost £846.00 and it's also
advisable if the engine is being fitted longitudinally into Caterham
or Westfield application.
degree hi-lift cams
These cams are ground from blanks and are good all-rounders, which can
be used with either carbs or throttle bodies. With over 11mm of valve
lift, the standard pistons will require pocketing (£150.40 per
set) to avoid any potential contact, while the valve gear will require
uprating to suit.
Thankfully the stock crank is bomb-proof, coping with 220bhp on a 1600.
As a good, cast steel unit it'll cope with 9000rpm for rallying and
9500rpm for sprints and hill climbs and is so well balanced it's often
left untouched. The ultimate is a billet steel crank with smaller counterweights,
that'll tolerate stratospheric rev (10,000 rpm plus) with no problems,
but you'll need deep pockets!
Allows for longitudinal fitments of the motor in Caterham/Westfield-style
cars, mated to the popular Ford Sierra Type Nine five-speed gearbox.
drive special clutch plate
Rear-wheel drive applications can utilise the original flywheel and
clutch cover, but a revised drive plate is vital to mate up to the Type
Saves over two kilos compared to the stock generator and is smaller
and easier to package as well.
slotted steel flywheel
The standard flywheel weighs in at eight kilos, whereas this slotted
lightweight flywheel for rear-wheel drive applications weighs just 3.8
kilos, including the ring gear, which will greatly improve throttle
Ideal recipient for a small block XE upgrade! Check out eBay or Autotrader
for a suitable donor car. 1400 XE-engined Novas are currently pace-setting
in a number of rally championships.
Produces a solid 150bhp and 101lb/ft of torque, revving to 8000rpm,
using taper throttle bodies with uprated cams and valve gear.
throttle basic kit
Using the early Corsa GSi cylinder hear motor, this bolt -on package
produces an astonishing 164bhp and 124lb/ft of torque with a great,
smooth power curve.
of the range package
How does 241bhp and 148lb/ft grab you? The specification of this motor
is long, including an MBE9A4 ECU, dry sump, steel crank and eight injectors.
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