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Thread: R500 Duratec valve spring failure

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2020


    Good reading above. Thanks KitCat for your message. My project stalled (normal reasons), so need to get back on it. I can confirm that my R500D engine has the double spring set-up... sounds unusual based on the comments above. I was thinking of trying to find the original builder as it was done here in the states. For info, I have never tracked the car (4 years of ownership), but the previous owner did some. I don’t believe I’ve taken it over 8,000rpm, as I was aware of issue. The failure happened low rpm pulling away; the only thing that I did differently on that day was giving it some unloaded revs when static (perhaps 6,000 - 7,000rpm). The Belmont Turner (Tom) has advised he’ll need access to the ECU in order to set up the vernier cam chain pulleys and tune; this is an MBE 39L067A. Does anyone know about this?

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    He'll need access to the ECU if he's making any deviation from the factory configuration: different cams, cam timing, compression ratio, etc that require map alterations, or if he's simply planning to put it on the dyno to optimize the torque curve, idle, or drivability for your specific engine. Dyno tuning is always a good idea, particularly if you have a person who knowns what he's doing. If, however, the shop is only reassembling the head and timing the cams, that's purely mechanical work and doesn't require ECU access. To complicate matters, Caterham generally delivered locked ECUs, so access may not even be an option. Someone here should know the answer for your particular unit.

    '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. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    If Caterham supplied the ECU then it is locked. Some owners sourced unlocked units independently of Caterham. No way to tell until you hook it up and try to chat with it.

    I suspect it is locked - I found it listed on Caterham Japan parts site:

    SBD in the UK sells the bits to talk to the ECU - the proprietary cable/laptop adapter cable plus you can download Easimap software off their website. But then after spending that money you could discover it is locked. SBD will not give out the password to unlock the ECU but you may find someone on here who knows it. Someone on the forum may have the cable to sell/lend for you to test without resorting to SBD.

    SBD will do tuning of Caterham ECUs remotely. So you buy the kit to talk to it, take it to a local dyno place, have the dyno shop guys run the dyno and SBD will then run the software to tune it from the UK. They will want a wideband lamda for that exercise. Has been done by quite a few Caterham owners on here with good results. I think US-based Caterham dealers take the same approach or just sell you a new locked ECU off the shelf - checking with them will confirm.

    The alternative is scrap the existing ECU and go for a new brand ECU of your choosing.
    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)
    1985 Holden Commodore Group A (suspension set up)
    1982 Ferrari 400i (radiator replacement)
    1965 Ford Mustang Fastback "Holman Moody"
    1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC (dyno time)
    1990 Range Rover 2 door Classic

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2020


    To add to what Mike has written above. Caterham's ECUs are encrypted, so technically not locked but the effect is the same as they cannot easily be accessed and remapped. In the UK there are one or two tuners who can remap these encrypted ECUs including Steve Greenhalgh of "two Steve's" fame. Most rolling road operators cannot do this, however, with the common work-around being the sale of a new, open ECU that can be mapped as required. Makes it a costly rolling road/remapping session, unless you have other reasons for wanting to change or upgrade your ECU.

    The SBD/Easimap dongle and connector that Mike referred to will allow you to read certain parameters from MBE ECUs (including Caterham Cars encrypted units) such as lambda, temperatures, rpms, throttle (tps) position, etc etc., in real time. It's a useful tool to help with fault finding and for setting up. But it cannot be used on an encrypted ECU to adjust mapping.


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