I swapped the Mantis for a Peugeot 307SW

No, I have not gone bonkers… the Pug is a loan car from Jay. (Getting the tram or bus into work while the Mantis is off the road is refreshingly different, but doesn’t help when I need to divert off to collect sproglets etc). Jay trailered it up from East Sussex where he is based. An hour later & after some impressive winching he disappeared off with the Mantis. Gulp! Actually it couldn’t be in better hands as Jay has his own Mantis & also knows mine is my baby!

I only ever see Jay at the odd Marcos rally or over at Le Mans so it was good to catch up with him before he left, & also ‘Talk Marcos’. Of course much of the discussion was around what was happening around the engine swap (which I continue to be very excited about!).

  • I am still minded to have an Engine Start button but have rejected the idea of going fully keyless due to all the bad press around security flaws such as radio jammers & code grabbers; so the conversation was around Engine Start vs Engine Start & Stop. Both are possible it seems, but I still haven’t decided! I quite like the Lexus one right now.
  • We also discussed how best to manage the solenoid lockout on the TR6060 transmission, which is required because 5th & reverse are located right next to each other, & ‘bad things’ would happen if you select reverse instead of 5th at 100mph! Having read up on this on a few US forums, one workaround is wire up the brake light so you can only get reverse while the brake pedal is depressed. Another alternative would be to put a momentary switch into the gearknob under the Marcos badge, but this would mean modifications to the gear shaft etc which seems to be asking for trouble. We’ll go with the brake option.
  • The new exhaust will be based on the one on Jay’s car which is racing spec & in all probability will be quieter than my current one. I’ll certainly miss the sound of the Ford V8 which had the most wonderful, wonderful lope… but my neighbours probably won’t! To be honest, it also killed off using the stereo & grated a bit on very long journeys like Le Mans where you’re driving for hours on end. A gorgeous noise though and… dare I say it… the nicest sounding Mantis out there (a few other Marcos owners have said the same thing though!).
  • Finally I have been looking at Cruise Control which (if you read far back enough in this blog) you will know I considered early on for the Mustang Cobra engine before opting for the Traction Control instead (subsequently uninstalled as it never worked properly). There are a few places in the US who have after-market CC for the LS series engines, & I like the look of the one at HotRodTherapy, however Jay has suggested he ask around more locally before I go ahead & purchase, so waiting to hear back on that one.

Jay texted me when they got back to East Sussex (what a nice chap) so now I just need to wait for the first photos to arrive. Am I nervous? Oh yes! (Especially if it tops 500BHP) But it’s still exciting stuff & fortune favours the brave etc etc!

Heart transplant

So, it’s happening. The King is dead! Long live the King! etc etc. After much agonising, checking current price for a kidney on eBay & pondering life without my Marcos Mantis, this afternoon I confirmed to Jay that we will go ahead with the engine swap to a GM LS3.

This is a huge decision for me, to say the least. May as well get on with it now. Jay is ordering parts from Performance World before the rubbish post-Brexit exchange rate with the dollar pushes all the prices up. Here are the bits we know about;

  • Crate LS3 480bhp engine
  • TR6060 6 speed gearbox
  • Starter motor
  • LS480 Controller kit (Engine Harness, Mass Air Flow Meter & Mounting Boss, Accelerator Pedal Assembley, Oxygen Sensors & Mounting Bosses (2), Engine Specific Programmed ECU)
  • New radiator
  • Clutch
  • Gear lever
  • Flywheel
  • Accessory drive system (Bracket–Air Conditioning Compressor, Compressor–Air Conditioning, Tensioner–Air Conditioning Compressor Belt, Belt–Air Conditioning Compressor (1040mm-Long), Bracket–Power Steering Fluid Reservoir, Bracket–Generator and Power Steering Pump
    Generator, Pump–Power Steering, Pulley–Power Steering Pump, Brace–Power Steering Pump Front, Hose–Power Steering Fluid Reservoir With Clamps
    Reservoir–Power Steering Fluid, Tensioner–Drive Belt, Pulley–Belt Idler,
    Belt–Water Pump/Generator/Power Steering Pump)
  • A/C compressor & bracket
  • Swirl pot
  • Spigot bearing (anyone who knows me will appreciate I have no idea what this is)
  • Rewire from dash onwards
  • Hoses etc

Of course, I still need to get the car trailered back home from the garage in Warrington where they have been investigating the Ford engine. Then sometime in the next month, Jay will pick up the Mantis & take it back to East Sussex for major heart surgery. A few (perhaps rather nervous) weeks later I get it back again. Simples! Now, that would be a nice Christmas present!

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Well this sucks. Garage number two in Warrington has finally managed to pull the nearside head off <insert mandatory “ooh err missus” here> the engine &… pistons worn, cylinders scored blah blah so won’t attempt to rebuild it. Wonderful. Somehow it all sounds very similar to the message when the original engine was pulled apart by TopCats back in… 2006 (maybe?). Faced with the genuine prospect of actually having to replace the engine I leapt onto the internet & commenced lots of searching for ’96 Ford 4.6L Quad Cam blocks but… nothing crated available & very little (i.e. one) used on eBay. So with the garage telling me they need my car moved & the prospect of having the Mantis with no engine (think Flintstones car!) it’s decision time. Meanwhile you can see the LS3 stock 430 BHP specifications from Chevrolet here. Now I need to go away & do serious something thinking!… Wish me luck.

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