Here you can see muscle building of my 3.1V6 Essex engine in 2008 year. Most of these steps were uprated - heads, inlet manifold, cam, lambda sensor, etc. up to present day.

Goal is the increasing power level from the standard 138 HP/240 Nm to the  200 HP/300 Nm (ideally 210 HP/320 Nm).  This engine is building for Fast Road and Track day use. The brakes and suspension upgrade goes at the parallel.

1. Bottom of engine

I bought reconditioned short engine with the new bearings and +60 pistons (standard compression ratio 8.9:1) from UK engine builder. Higher compression 10.1:1 Hepolite Powermax pistons are out of production and sold out for many years. So i decided for lowering pistons and engine block, the resolution is the compression around 10.5:1 and cylinders capacity 3060 ccm.

The next step was modification and polishing of the crankshaft, flywheel lightening and balancing.

Conrods are polished too, every part was equilibrated.

Process of the fitting crankshaft and pistons back to the block.

2. Camshaft and steel cam gear
I used Fast Road cam from Burton Power and lubricated plenty by cam lube before fitting. Steel cam is from Burton too and I decided install new cam bearings to the block.

3. Heads, inlet manifold, carburettor

The cylinder heads are ported and polished with unleaded conversion, valves are stage 4.


Inlet valve

Outlet valve

stage 1: standard Essex 41.00 mm 37.00 mm
stage 3: Essex X-pack 44.50 mm 41.30 mm
stage 4: my Essex 46.25 mm 41.30 mm

OEM Weber carburettor 38DGAS with bigger jets has limit around 170-180 HP level, so I replaced it by Holley 350, later Holley 500 and the final state is the Swaymar 4-bbl inlet manifold with correctly jetted and uprated Holley 390 carburettor.

4. Ignition

Standard Motorcraft distributor is more than tragical and real Achilles heel of the Essex engine, so I decided to replace classic contact breaker by Lumenition Optronic system. For the reach of the quality spark I bought Magnecor 10 mm cables and NGK Iridium spark plugs.


5. Oil pressure and temperature

OEM oil pump was replaced by high-pressure one. Have a Mocal oil radiator with thermoblock, which opens at the 80°C


6. Water temperature

Current water-cooling system was replaced by new radiator from Sierra XR4i (much bigger), new pump and expansion tank.


7. Exhaust manifolds and system

I decided for Janspeed, number one on the market. Systems from Ashley or Sportex seems to be so loud. For decrease of the under-bonnet temperature I wrapped headers by themo-isolation tape from ThermoTec which reduces under-bonnet heat up to 70%. Lower temperature, better fuel economy, higher performance.


8. Electric fuel pump

The classic mechanical pump has limit so I replaced it by Pacet Silver Top cylindrical pump. Pressure regulator from filter King was added. Both are under luggage cover, beside spare wheel.


9. Indicators

Indicators are necessary in case of the tuned engine. Temperatures and pressures must be under  control in high revs (during track day, etc..).


10. Cam Timing

Here you can see the engine's cam being timed. Traditionally, a protractor is used to set the cam to the correct position. The cam manufacturer will recommend a certain number of degrees it needs to be set at - so a special 360º protractor, a wire pointer, and a dti gauge are required, along with a set of offset woodruff keys 1°-5° to allow the adjustment


11. Clutch

The current clutch was in very good condition, but I decided to use new, organic Fast Road clutch from UK company  Techni Clutch.


12. Final procedures

Great helper during assembling is the engine stand. You can work with the engine and rotate with it without labour. The next one is the engine crane. Engine fitting to the engine bay can manage just one person. 

here you can see videos from the first start up

Essex 3.1 - first run

Essex 3.1 - first run vol.2

and video from highway during the engine running-in (0-200 km/h)

Essex 3.1 - running-in