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Thread: R500 Duratec valve spring failure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    5

    Default R500 Duratec valve spring failure

    Hello, I have a 2011 R500 (owner for ~4 years) with zero compression in cylinder 4, from a broken valve spring. I understand this is not uncommon from the various threads, and was planning to remove the head (in car) and start the process of inspection and repair (obviously including all new springs).

    However, I知 concerned that the instructions I致e seen reference the tooling bar (and crank pin) to align/time the cam shafts, but my cams have vernier cam chain sprockets, and hence it appears the tooling bar would not fit, due to slightly different angles. Is the vernier installation intended to adjust the timing relative to the crank, or between the two cam shafts (or both) - beginner question, sorry!

    Now I知 not sure if I should attempt the head removal (and loss of settings), or if I知 better to take the engine out (looks tight/tricky?) and send to an expert; perhaps the guys in CO.

    Feedback gratefully received; perhaps the verniers are standard for the R500 and I知 over thinking it?

    I知 based in Charlotte NC, so any local experts, or other recommendation/guidance would be ace.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default

    The tooling bar sets cam timing to stock Ford specifications which differs from aftermarket cam timing, including those used in the R500. You will need a dial indicator to set it correctly. Personally, I would remove the engine. It's not that much harder than removing the head and it is much easier to reassemble and set cam timing with the engine out of the car.

    To get a sense of what's involved when installing the head and setting cam timing, check out the Cosworth CSR260 Build manual here. Note: their cam timing instructions are very specific to their cams and associated timing. This site shows a more generic approach: http://www.dubaipetrolheads.com/biggles/cams.html

    -John
    '95 Westfield SEiW w/2.0L Duratec
    '68 Lotus Elan FHC
    '91 Miata w/Flyin Miata suspension & brakes
    '95 Porsche 993 C2
    '86 Porsche 944 turbo (neglected project car)
    Throttle Steer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    N. California
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    Default

    I agree with John, pull the engine. Unfortunately I suspect you're going to find some ugliness once you dig in and it will be much easier to deal with it when the engine is on the bench. Have you checked the cylinder with a borescope?

  4. #4
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    +1 on pulling the engine. It gives you a chance to look at other items that may need attention such as clutch, motor mounts etc.
    Life happens while you're making other plans
    1995 Caterham Crossflow RHD
    1990 Miata
    2007 GMC Sierra WT
    2013 Mini (Her's)
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    JOHN DEERE D130

  5. #5
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    Sep 2020
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    Default

    Thank you all, appreciate the feedback and advice... engine is now out!! I don’t have a bore scope, so don’t know what mess lies within.

    Time to check clutch and gearbox and motor mounts too; great idea!

    If I don’t want to do the work myself, does anyone know who works on these engines; the few names recommended didn’t know much about the Duratec, and I think the specification is quite specific?

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  6. #6
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    You don't waste any time! I know Beachman Racing (Caterham dealer in WA) partners with a shop that does high-end Duratec builds, and Birkin USA has a shop local to them in CO that does the same. Might be worth a call if you can't find anyone local who gives you confidence and you're willing to ship the engine cross country.

    Are you looking to refresh the engine, or just have the valve spring replaced? If the latter, I'd pull the head now to check the condition of the bores and ensure there is no need to tear apart the short block. If everything else looks fine, then I'd get recommendations for a good local shop that does heads (your local Miata Club chapter might be a good resource given those cars have used the Duratec since 2005) have them give it a once over and replace the springs. Installing the head and timing the cams requires a few specialized tools, but it's not that hard with the engine out.

    -John
    '95 Westfield SEiW w/2.0L Duratec
    '68 Lotus Elan FHC
    '91 Miata w/Flyin Miata suspension & brakes
    '95 Porsche 993 C2
    '86 Porsche 944 turbo (neglected project car)
    Throttle Steer

  7. #7
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    Apr 2018
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    Ft Lauderdale
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    Road and Race West Palm Florida took care of my rebuild
    They specialize in race engines
    Life Can Be Cruel

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
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    Hi guys, thanks for the recommendations; I have been able to find a relatively local company called Focus Power in Belmont just west of Charlotte, who do a lot of Duratec tuning and some engine building. Seemed familiar with Caterham’s on the phone, and suggested fitting a 2.3 head on my 2.0 for improved performance and to enable ~7,500 rpm. I believe the R500 has the 2.3 head already (found in the original receipts), and is allegedly good for 8,500 rpm, which made me wonder if there is a generic R500D engine spec anywhere that I could share with the engine builder to ensure we are on the same page; i.e. what cams, valves, springs, pistons, etc etc.

    Thanks again.

  9. #9
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    The person with whom you spoke clearly isn't familiar with the R500. The engine makes peak power at 8500rpm, so recommending you swap to a 2.3L head to achieve 7500rpm is, um...bollocks. The heads have a casting number above the exhaust ports that can be used to identify which version you have, however, I'm pretty sure Caterham fitted a CNC-ported variant to the R500. Is the plan to do a full rebuild?

    The R500 uses the Kent DTEC35 cams. Rumor has it these are made to specifications developed by Raceline who then supplies them to Caterham. The valve springs should be the Kent VSK31. Pete at Raceline is a really good, helpful guy. If you can't get definitive answers from others, you could give him a call at the workshop number to discuss. They might also supply Caterham with the other engine internals and could get you what you need. https://www.raceline.co.uk/

    -John
    '95 Westfield SEiW w/2.0L Duratec
    '68 Lotus Elan FHC
    '91 Miata w/Flyin Miata suspension & brakes
    '95 Porsche 993 C2
    '86 Porsche 944 turbo (neglected project car)
    Throttle Steer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    NYC
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    I think two people on this forum with Caterhams used that company you talked to in Charlotte. Let me PM them to see if they are willing to offer their input to this thread.
    Mike
    2021 Caterham CSR "CatKong"
    2010 Caterham CSR with Cosworth 2.3 Duratec
    2018 Caterham 420R with 2L Duratec 210hp at Donington UK
    1975 BMW CSL Group 4 (restoration finished - track set up time)
    1977 Holden Torana "A9X" (awaiting restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore SS Group A (suspension restoration)
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    1982 Ferrari 400i (radiator replacement)
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