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K-series VHPD rebuild or Duratec swap?

Hello, it's been a while for me because of many things getting in the way of finishing my build. Illness etc but now I'm ready to get on with it.

I have a 2002 chassis, imperial and most of the bits to build a then Superlight R.  That includes a Caterham supplied K-Series VHPD engine.  It's used, from what we can gather did about 5000 road miles but has been sitting in storage box for 15+ years. I'm not sure if it's best to strip it down and sell off the parts that are useful to people (dry sump kit etc) or strip off the cracking pipes and do a head softness test and rebuild it with new gaskets etc (assuming internal inspection checks out).  After so long standing, I think the minimum the engine needs is renewing it's head gasket, belts etc etc...

Trouble is I'm having trouble sourcing info on what bits I would need that are suitable for a VHPD rebuild (anyone can point me in right direction would be appreciated).
So much so that I'm wondering what people think about converting the chassis to hold a Ford engine instead - has anyone done that? Aside from the obvious loom changes what sort of work am I looking at?  I assume engine mounts need changing but is there much other work?

Advice and ideas welcomed and appreciated!


I think you'll be looking at 5 figures for a duratec swap if you use a new engine. You'll need exhaust, sump, bell housing, flywheel, clutch, ecu, throttle bodies - the list goes on...

The VHPD was a good starting point - I'd be inclined to get it stripped and rebuilt by someone like DVA and get the dry sump pump refurbished at pace (I meant Titan as Tom suggested).

Alternatively just service it - belts, plugs oil etc and stick it in!

What specific items are you struggling to get info on?


My advice would be to keep it original and rebuild the SLR. A pucker SLR will always be more special than an SLR with a Duratec. As far as I know, the only parts becoming difficult to get hold of on the VHPD are the main bearings - but others will be better placed to advise.

Does the engine turn over my hand? You could take the sump off and teh end caps for the rods to inspect the bearings which would give you a better idea. It might be worth getting the dry sump scavenge pump overhauled by Titan - about £100. 

If the engines not been opened and been properly sealed, would you need to replace the head gasket? I suppose if you wanted to check the head for hardness you would replace it. 

If you do get rid, I may be interested for a new engine project...

My advice would be to keep it original and rebuild the SLR



Matty7 didn't say he'd got an SLR

Good spot Stu. If its not already an SLR in bits, it wont be an SLR when its finished.  It might be SLR spec, but wont be a proper SLR.  And if that's the case, changing the engine wouldn't be detrimental to keeping the car as 'original'. It would probably cost more to do, but now would be the time to fit the new engine while it all in bits.   

Yes Stu is correct...it's a lot of bits that all together come to primarily a Superlight R spec, though apparently the "Stack" unit and dash was in fact R500 specification, along with a few other carbon fiber bits.  Unfortunately the original owner passed so there is no way of knowing what the plan was for sure but his wife said it was to be a track car for use in Europe as opposed to a road registered UK car. Assuming it was for France (though it may have been Italy) it was to be destined, this sort of spec would have been impossible to get.

Even though I've had the bits for a few years now, I've been kept away from it and have not even done an inventory of parts. I will get on with that soon!

Thanks for the replies, I hadn't really fully considered what would be involved converting for a ford unit. A lot more than perhaps I was opening my eyes too.  Considering I think I have pretty much all the things needed (including an Emerald unit + DVA drivability kit) to drop in the VHPD, the Duratec is starting to look expensive.

I think a proper engine service (gaskets, belts, seals, timing etc) are in order and get it started to see where I'm at.  

Since I can't find anything else out there (please do point me in the right direction if there is) can I assume that torque settings and service parts are going to be the same as any 1800 VVC engine?  

Also, can someone point me at "Titan" as I keep coming up with a company in the USA.


Oh, slightly off topic here but everything apart from the engine is new and unused. Gearbox and all.  
If I do a good job of cleaning up and refreshing the engine, what's peoples opinion of the chances of going for a regular registration rather than a Q plate?  I even inherited several exhausts, one of which is massive and ooks like it could get a jumbo jet through a noise test!



And my mistake assuming you had all the bits for an SLR!


Titan Motorsport http://www.titan.uk.net/ build the Dry Sump kit and other bits of bespoke engineering for Caterham.

Has it been registered in the UK before?  If its done 5000 road miles it must have a registration already, in which case why would it be Q plate? Id have though Caterham or VOSA would be able to help with the chassis number. If its not been road registered you'll have to go through an IVA to register it as you would a new car, in which case wouldn't you get a new plate?  

I think I remember seeing your 'barn find' on here or Pistonheads.  I certainly recall as 'SLR' more or less new and unbuild in a shed.   

Have you got all the Assembly Guides and engine manuals that you need?


It seems it's the engine rather than the chassis that's done 5K miles?

If everything except the engine is new, and the engine is reconditioned to an "as new" standard, I think you should get a non-Q plate, but whether that would be year-related (to the chassis?) or current isn't too clear.  DVLA's guidance (here) says:

Get a current registration number

You can register a kit-built car, motorcycle or tricycle with a current registration number if you can prove it’s all made from new parts supplied by the manufacturer.

You can also get a current registration number for a kit-built car, motorbike or tricycle built with one reconditioned part if:

  • you can show that the part has been reconditioned to an ‘as new’ standard, in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines
  • the part isn’t the chassis, monocoque bodyshell or frame

Your problem might be proving the provenance of the "new" parts.