How can you tell the difference between a 115Hp,120Hp,135Hp,143Hp and of course the much desired 160Hp Please ? I have absolutely no idea and i cant find anybody that does know with certainty.Thank you.
^^^^ That is certainly the easiest way to determine if the engine is a VVC. To discover whether it is a 143 or a 160 will need a bit deeper digging - probably need to look at the engine number (which is stamped vertically into a flat (machined) strip of the alloy at the gearbox end of the front of the engine casting, slightly lower than that end of the exhaust manifold. It may not be easy to read due to surface oxidation, dirt and its rather awkward position when the engine is in situ making for an oblique angle of view.
I hope that the following will be of some help:
All the 1.8 litre K series engines have an engine code which starts 18K4 (ie. 1.8 litres, K series, 4 valves per cylinder)
Both the 160ps VVC and 143ps VVC will have an engine code which begins 18K4K. I am not sure how to distinguish the 143 from the 160 beyond that. The 143 version was only produced up late spring 2001, when the MGF Trophy 160 was introduced, so that should be a bit of guide if the engine is in the car and hasn't been replaced.
The 135 and 120 have an engine code starting 18K4F, and are visibly different from the VVC engines in not having the second cambelt at the gearbox end of the engine. In situ, and not modified, the 135 has the large inlet plenum as fitted to the VVC engines, whereas the 120 has the standard plastic manifold the same as is fitted to the 1.6 and 1.4 litre versions of the K.
The 115 is a 1.6 litre K series, so has an engine code beginning 16K4.
Having owned a 135 from new, then after a 160 the difference while driving is quite noticeable once you get the revs up over 3000 rpm. The VVC engine really does take over and it feels like the car just revs so much easier and the accelerator pedal seems to edge closer to the floor on its own! At lower rpm there is not so much difference in how the car drives compared to a 135.
Remap a 160 and it gives it a bit more mid range punch.
Downside to a 160 is definitely the VVC mechanism which will more than likely need a bit of refurbishment when the car has passed 80k miles. Mine is now showing signs of the dreaded rattle and whine and with added cam shaft seals starting to weep a little and one of the valve lifters ticking, it will soon be time for a head removal and refurb.
They deleted the 'VVC' designation from the casting of the large inlet plenum when the 135ps version went into service in the TF 135 in 2002 as that version of the engine used the VVC style inlet plenum, but of course didn't have the VVC unit.
They may well have used up any remaining plenums with VVC on them around the time of the TF 135 launch (although I think the VVC marked plenums were probably used up prior to this to avoid confusion on the engine production line, but basically from that point none of the VVC engines had the lettering cast on the plenum.
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