JBA Falcon Kit Car

The JBA Falcon uses suspension and drivetrain components from a Ford Sierra donor car. A sensible approach, this means spares are easily and cheaply obtained. This example of the Falcon was fitted with a Ford Pinto 2.0 engine.

On the induction side, twin Weber carburettors help to give the Pinto better performance at the top end of the rev-range, and the owner believes an uprated cam has also been fitted. As is usually the case, these improvements at the top-end meant tractability at low speed was adversely affected. As usual with a twin Weber setup, there was nowhere to connect a vacuum advance pipe to on the inlet manifold and therefore the distributor relied on centrifugal advance only. In an attempt to claw back the driveability of the car whilst also maintaining or improving the high-revving abilities, the owner decided to fit a Canems Ignition ECU.

The crankshaft pulley was fitted with a laser cut trigger wheel, secured with a spacer in between the pulley retaining nut and the pulley itself. Sticking with the donor-car principle of the JBA, the owner sourced the crank sensor, coil pack and plug leads from a Ford Ka. The coil pack was fitted in the same location as the original single coil, and therefore the leads emerge at the original location. Although original appearance was not really an issue on this car, it's nice to maintain a factory-fitted standard of appearance.

During initial testing, the distributor was left in place. This is very important on the Pinto, as the distributor drive shaft also rotates the oil pump. Now that the car is fully tested, the owner is hoping to turn down an old distributor body in a lathe to reclaim some space in the otherwise cramped engine bay.

To give the ECU 3D map capability, a throttle position sensor was fitted from a Rover Metro. A simple bracket was fabricated to support the TPS, so that it would rotate with the butterfly spindle on the Weber carbs.

The Pinto engine is one of the most common engines for our ECU conversions and therefore we were confident that the base-map supplied in our ECU would form a great starting point from which to commence fine tuning.

First Impressions

Before the test drive, the spark plugs were opened out to a gap of 0.035". Static timing was also double-checked with a strobe light. The ECU was supplied with a static timing figure for the missing tooth on the trigger wheel, and in this case the strobe showed that the missing tooth was a few degrees out on where it should have been. The static timing was therefore adjusted within the tuning software, so that this error would be taken into consideration by the ECU when firing the plugs.

The first drive confirmed that the original distributor / single coil system was really letting the car down. Idle quality, smoothness through the rev-range and particularly pulling from low speed and on the overrun were all improved.


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