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Buying C20Let


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I would make sure the engines cold when you arrive and have the vendor start it whilst you listen to the top end, if its rattling for any more than a second or two it means the oil pumps humped or its the head needing a rebuild.

I know people always say xe's are always tappety but a good one really isn't.

Check the oil doesnt stink of petrol, rub it between ur fingers, if you can feel your fingerprints through the oil from cold it means its washing the bores and putting petrol in the sump.

Oil pumps let theses engines down, in a manta your lucky if you don't get the light on idle revs once warm. Other problems are all of the sensors, afm's, cts, are a showstopper.

My let was in a vectra, i ran the car for a week to make sure it was all good, it was perfect until i put it in my manta. It then decided to be a pain.

They are great engines when working, but a right pain when there not.

I'm not trying to put you off, i love mine but if you have any probs give me a shout as I've seen it all now unfortunately.

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What you have to remember is that these engines are getting on now so a worn oil pump isn't that much of any issue most people either fit an upgraded gear kit from SBD of fit the pump from a z20let/leh which iirc has a higher flow. Another thing worth check is whether the ecu has been "chipped" and if so what phase chips it is running, phase 1/2 is ok for the standard kkk16 turbo but prolonged use on phase 3+ will kill the turbo.

Another thing worth checking is whether the head is coscast or GM as the GM heads are prone to goin porous. Also i wouldn't worry to much about the hydraulic lifter i have seen brand new Gm ones fitted and still tap on the other hand i have seen 100k xe's be silent.

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Thanks for the info guys probably shoudve mentioned the engine isnt in a car so cant here it running but hes asured me its mint a bit of a gamble but its cheap enough an comes with everything and its a gm head thats on it is it a straight swap for a coscast head incase a need one later on?


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If the compression test results are less than prob about 140psi and are uneven then take the timing cover off and check the marks.

Take number 1 spark plug out and put a long screwdriver down the bore until it rests on the piston.

Slowly rotate the crank with a 16mm spanner until the little notches on the cams line up with the little notches on the rocker cover.

If the timing is correct the screwdriver will rise and stop at the same time as the marks line up indicating the engines at top dead centre.

This is practically the only way to be sure as the timing belt pulley could have been put on wrong in the past.

The compression test will signal bent valves, if theres mayonnaise in the oil cap then the blown head gasket isnt helping and I suppose if the heads porous then u may find one cylinder off pressure I suppose. Either way a new head isnt much.

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