1988 4cyl 5 speed (Compression issues) [Help!]

Golypon

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May 7, 2020
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Alright, I got the turbo coupe motor & trans:
pics:
HaX9qI4.jpg


9gy8x47.jpg


gvF90rh.jpg

Tiny little turbo on it. Measured the separate motor and trans, they're both 42" from motor mount to shifter linkage, should bolt right in, that was an early concern. I don't have the master cylinder for the hydraulic clutch, I suppose I'll have to find one at a junkyard or online. Does it need separate pedals for the hydraulic clutch as well? The wiring is gonna be crazy, I'm gonna have to find some diagrams. I wish the stinger guide was more detailed. I'm assuming the old driveshaft will work? The speedo was mechanical on the mustang trans, and it doesn't appear to be on this so I'm not sure about that one. I'm planning to test the compression next. The alternator mounting bracket got snapped in half on part of it. It's a pretty clean snap, I think jb weld would hold it together any opinions? lol. I plan to put a new radiator in with this swap, I don't want this motor overheating like the last one. Seems to be in much better condition.

My plan is to run it how it is, and when I get it on the road, and the top and body all nice and neat. I can do t3 turbo swap, the heads, head gasket, timing belt, 8.8 diff and brake swap, I would then get new 5 lug wheels, new master brake cylinder, new fuel pump, PiMPx, new VAM??, maybe some subframe stuff for the rear end for the twist, I'll probably do the clutch around then too, a real intercooler, injectors, when my budget permits. Seems expensive, can I get some tips here? Is it worth?

Should exhaust be done when I get it running? I think the exhaust manifold outlet is a lot bigger on this new motor compared to the old one. Not sure what I should do there in terms of this list and the order I should go in in terms of upgrades. First things first my next steps are compression and getting the towers / rail welded.

Any suggestions / feedback? Should I do head gasket, have head checked, timing belt, and oil pan gasket before I put this one in if the compression checks out? Or put it in and do all that when I'm having heads checked / rebuilt later on? Do upgraded gasket at that point too.
If accurate it has 125k miles.

edit: matter of fact, I could pull the alternator bracket from the other motor, I was planning on using that alternator anyway, it didn't come with one. That would save the struggle of trial and error of the JBWeld which may not hold up anyway.
 
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91TwighlightGT

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Tiny little turbo on it. Measured the separate motor and trans, they're both 42" from motor mount to shifter linkage, should bolt right in, that was an early concern. I don't have the master cylinder for the hydraulic clutch, I suppose I'll have to find one at a junkyard or online. Does it need separate pedals for the hydraulic clutch as well? The wiring is gonna be crazy, I'm gonna have to find some diagrams. I wish the stinger guide was more detailed. I'm assuming the old driveshaft will work? The speedo was mechanical on the mustang trans, and it doesn't appear to be on this so I'm not sure about that one. I'm planning to test the compression next. The alternator mounting bracket got snapped in half on part of it. It's a pretty clean snap, I think jb weld would hold it together any opinions? lol. I plan to put a new radiator in with this swap, I don't want this motor overheating like the last one. Seems to be in much better condition.

Couple things...

Your car was originally a 5-speed, so you should be able to re-use your old bellhousing. While you could swap to a hydraulic setup, that is a lot of work and not required. There are slight differences, but they can all be overcome.

Check out this thread...


My plan is to run it how it is, and when I get it on the road, and the top and body all nice and neat. I can do t3 turbo swap, the heads, head gasket, timing belt, 8.8 diff and brake swap, I would then get new 5 lug wheels, new master brake cylinder, new fuel pump, PiMPx, new VAM??, maybe some subframe stuff for the rear end for the twist, I'll probably do the clutch around then too, a real intercooler, injectors, when my budget permits. Seems expensive, can I get some tips here? Is it worth?

Realistically, the vast majority of this stuff is a lot easier to do while it is on the ground. At the very minimum I would change the timing belt (cheap and easy - these are not interference engines, but you are still stranded and towing if it goes) and the oil pan gasket because it's a pain to do it while it's in the car.

If it were mine, I would do the head gasket on the ground and have the head checked for cracks. If the head is cracked they can be repaired by a decent shop by TIG welding. Ideally you would do a full rebuild, but it's not a requirement if you feel like the engine is otherwise healthy. It's still 30 years old, though.

Again, things like the clutch would be easier to do on the ground, and if you have to take the bellhousing off anyway it just makes sense.

The rest (turbo swap, 8.8, etc.) can wait until the car is running. If you end up swapping to the PiMP ECU, then you eliminate the VAM which is a nice benefit. Subframe connectors are ideal.

Quick reality check: You CAN do anything to these cars, but just like everything else automotive it will absolutely get expensive. Have an end goal in mind for power and the purpose of the car and plan a budget out ahead of time, then add 25% at a minimum.

Should exhaust be done when I get it running? I think the exhaust manifold outlet is a lot bigger on this new motor compared to the old one. Not sure what I should do there in terms of this list and the order I should go in in terms of upgrades. First things first my next steps are compression and getting the towers / rail welded.

Any suggestions / feedback? Should I do head gasket, have head checked, timing belt, and oil pan gasket before I put this one in if the compression checks out? Or put it in and do all that when I'm having heads checked / rebuilt later on? Do upgraded gasket at that point too.
If accurate it has 125k miles.

edit: matter of fact, I could pull the alternator bracket from the other motor, I was planning on using that alternator anyway, it didn't come with one. That would save the struggle of trial and error of the JBWeld which may not hold up anyway.

You will probably have to do something with the exhaust. With that said, you don't have to go crazy and you can probably find the entire system for pretty cheap. I was able to buy a Walker Cat back for my N/A car for $125 years ago. The SVO setup is a dual system that has two mufflers (like the 5.0L cars) but you can run a bigger single if you want. It's more of a style decision at that point.

Just to be clear, the 2.3L portion of this forum is not that active. However, the 2.3L Lima community does have a place to go for a lot of your questions, and there are a ton of experienced members who have been down the road before.

Turboford.org

Seriously, if you are building a 2.3L turbo and have a question, it has been answered on those forums. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out.
 

Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
36
3
8
USA
Couple things...

Your car was originally a 5-speed, so you should be able to re-use your old bellhousing. While you could swap to a hydraulic setup, that is a lot of work and not required. There are slight differences, but they can all be overcome.

Check out this thread...




Realistically, the vast majority of this stuff is a lot easier to do while it is on the ground. At the very minimum I would change the timing belt (cheap and easy - these are not interference engines, but you are still stranded and towing if it goes) and the oil pan gasket because it's a pain to do it while it's in the car.

If it were mine, I would do the head gasket on the ground and have the head checked for cracks. If the head is cracked they can be repaired by a decent shop by TIG welding. Ideally you would do a full rebuild, but it's not a requirement if you feel like the engine is otherwise healthy. It's still 30 years old, though.

Again, things like the clutch would be easier to do on the ground, and if you have to take the bellhousing off anyway it just makes sense.

The rest (turbo swap, 8.8, etc.) can wait until the car is running. If you end up swapping to the PiMP ECU, then you eliminate the VAM which is a nice benefit. Subframe connectors are ideal.

Quick reality check: You CAN do anything to these cars, but just like everything else automotive it will absolutely get expensive. Have an end goal in mind for power and the purpose of the car and plan a budget out ahead of time, then add 25% at a minimum.



You will probably have to do something with the exhaust. With that said, you don't have to go crazy and you can probably find the entire system for pretty cheap. I was able to buy a Walker Cat back for my N/A car for $125 years ago. The SVO setup is a dual system that has two mufflers (like the 5.0L cars) but you can run a bigger single if you want. It's more of a style decision at that point.

Just to be clear, the 2.3L portion of this forum is not that active. However, the 2.3L Lima community does have a place to go for a lot of your questions, and there are a ton of experienced members who have been down the road before.

Turboford.org

Seriously, if you are building a 2.3L turbo and have a question, it has been answered on those forums. I HIGHLY recommend checking it out.
Alright I'm looking into the other forum. What's the difference between PiMP and Megasquirt? They're both ECU's right, so it's one or the other? Is one recommended over the other? Is there a difference in tunability and functionality? Megasquirt appears to be cheaper just off first glance. I'm interested in these guys who have the raspberry pi's for on the fly tuning and logging, and just the gauge panel. It's pretty slick. I have a pi 4 sitting around I've been waiting to use for something. I would love to apply it here.

So you're recommending I use the TC WC t5 with the mustang bellhousing so it's World Class but not hydraulic. Is there much of a difference with or without hydraulic? You also think I should do gaskets and such BEFORE I drop the motor in... I see. Probably a good idea. Should I replace with ARP head bolts also?

I'm assuming the tiny little TC turbo doesn't need a wastegate / blow-off valve?

Still confused on VAM, it's like a mechanical method of detecting the air input? So when you switch to, say.. PiMP then it becomes digital?
I'll stick to VAM and stock ECU to begin with, and slowly work my way up. I'm hoping that I can figure the wiring out. You can see wires coming off of everything in those pictures, that should be fun to figure out... I hope the VAM harness is there. I'm still new to all this, bare with me. Haven't really begun inspection yet.
 

91TwighlightGT

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The main difference between PiMP and Megasquirt (at least for us average Joe's) is that for Ford EEC-IV applications PiMP is going to be plug and play. You could do your own DIY Megasquirt system if you are knowledgeable or interested in going down that path. To me the money difference isn't worth the potential headache, but you may feel differently. It will require research on your end to decide what the right path is, ultimately.

The reason to stick with the cable is just that it will be simpler. Your Mustang was designed with a cable. While a hydraulic setup is possible, it is just more work on your end swapping around more components. Again, it is up to you, but the cable is the easiest solution.

The stock Turbo headbolts are good, I would not replace them, especially with your power goals in mind. The wastegate is internal on the stock Turbo.

Here is the Stinger PiMP Information page...

The Stinger Performance Plug-in Microsquirt Powered (PiMP) engine control unit is the most user-friendly and capable plug and play option available for Ford EEC-IV equipped vehicles. Plug and play means you remove the stock ecu, plug in the PiMP, run a vacuum/boost line from the PIMP to the engine, follow a few basic setup steps, plug in a wideband o2 meter, and it’s ready to start up and begin tuning. It also allows you to remove the factory air meter (VAM on 2.3T cars, MAF on V8 cars) and run a filter directly off of your turbo or cold air tube.

Not only does it allow you to remove the factory air meter (which is a huge restriction on 2.3T powered vehicles) but it also features VE Live which is an auto tuning capability build into the tuning software. This powerful feature will tune the engine on it’s own while you do nothing but drive around under varying conditions. This allows the end user to tune the idle and cruising portion of the fuel map to “better than stock” often in less than 30 minutes. Additionally, the PiMP comes with a base tune featuring dyno proven and safe timing maps that can be ran as provided or fine tuned to your particular setup as you see fit. The PiMP also allows for any injector size and type readily available for your application. When upgrading injectors, your new tune for larger injectors is only a few keystrokes away. The rev limit can be changed in seconds and the 2-step launch control feature (for building boost on the line when drag racing) can be configured to any trigger rpm and launch rpm you see fit. An advanced feature known as flat-shift is popular in many forms of racing, the intent of which is to hold boost between shifts to eliminate lag after shifting. It can also be configured to any rpm and timing retard value to tailor it to your car and driving style. Additionally, the PiMP can trigger two stages of Nitrous or Meth/Water Injection as well as switch to different fuel, timing, and target AFR tables when these systems are activated. Table switching can also be triggered via a toggle switch or the factory premium fuel switch so you can have “Race” and “Cruise” tunes or any other combination of tunes you may desire “on the fly”. All of these features are configured to use the factory wiring harness and sensors for activation, though aftermarket switches can be used for Launch Control/Flat Shift activation if desired.

Based on MegaSquirt technology, the PiMP is designed to run the ignition system stock to your vehicle by default. Many different Ford ignition systems are supported including TFI, DIS, EDIS, CDI (MSD style ignition boxes), and via the Internal Expansion Port, Individual Coil Packs with a Crank Trigger. For non-stock ignition systems, additional wiring modifications or additions may be required.

Read here about what a VAM is and does...

 

junkyardwarrior

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Jan 10, 2011
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PiMP isn't too bad. MS, I have used/built in the past for my old SVO. Pimp is basically MS system that stinger has tweaked so that it's mostly plug & play.

That said, it is not a maf or vam system, and thus has it's limitations. It does not do well at measuring incoming airflow to calculate load. It estimates airflow via calculating it. ALL newer cars (even diesels) use a mass air flow sensor. Ask yourself why. But the problem with that is, there was no maf on any of the 2.3 turbo's, they were all VAM (and the vam system sucks) so in order to update the system you have to change the ecu to a v8 computer, change the injectors, and add a modern mass airflow sensor, then tune it. Not too bad to do, but not for the computer illiterate either but at that point neither is pimp or ms.
 

Golypon

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PiMP isn't too bad. MS, I have used/built in the past for my old SVO. Pimp is basically MS system that stinger has tweaked so that it's mostly plug & play.

That said, it is not a maf or vam system, and thus has it's limitations. It does not do well at measuring incoming airflow to calculate load. It estimates airflow via calculating it. ALL newer cars (even diesels) use a mass air flow sensor. Ask yourself why. But the problem with that is, there was no maf on any of the 2.3 turbo's, they were all VAM (and the vam system sucks) so in order to update the system you have to change the ecu to a v8 computer, change the injectors, and add a modern mass airflow sensor, then tune it. Not too bad to do, but not for the computer illiterate either but at that point neither is pimp or ms.
I think I'm pretty aight with software and tech :poo: in general. I've seen the tuner studio and I think I'd be able to work on it. So you're saying it would be configured for a v8, so that the tuning would be tunable for a MAF? Where and how exactly would I add MAF? Where should it be in the loop? Off the airbox?

I'm going to initially start with Turbo Coupe ECU. Then work from there. I'm currently clearing out the wiring so that the towers / rails can get welded on both sides. (driver and passenger)
 

Golypon

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Alright the turbo coupe motor is f**king busted. 60psi compression on cylinders 1-3, 160 on 4.
what do I do? Overhaul? $2,000
help meeee the old motor was more revivable than this...
 

91TwighlightGT

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The yards usually have a 30 day warranty on their motors. You may want to contact them and try to get refunded. If you start tearing into it then they may not want to honor any warranties, so keep that in mind.

If for some reason you feel stuck with it, then I would pull the head and see what you have. If the pistons are broken then it's probably not worth screwing with, if the head gasket is blown then you can consider whether you want to put money into rebuilding it.

It will really depend what shape the current engine is in before you can make any further decision. A proper rebuild could get expensive, it may be worth it to find another used engine if you can return this one.
 

junkyardwarrior

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Jan 10, 2011
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you really need to know what's wrong with it. If the engine has warranty, take it back but if they don't have another TC to yank the engine from, you're out of luck. It'd have to be a TC, XR4Ti or SVO (or cougar, there were a few cougars with 2.3 turbo's). The 87-88 TC had the baby turbo's and were intercooled, XR4Ti's and 86 & earlier TC's were all T3, as were the SVO's (although the SVO had a slightly different T3). If they have any of those, yeah swap 'em.

If they'll let you find out what's wrong with the engine by pulling the head, then by all means pull it and see what's wrong. 90% of them have cracked heads (seriously, turbo 2.3 heads are mostly cracked including the one on my car). If it ain't too awefully bad, it'll run a long time. Or it might swarm the first time you fire it off. Who knows. Could be as simple as sticking valves. Or it could be a burned piston or just plain worn out. I've seen my share of them and I have to remind myself that the last ones were in 1989 in XR4Ti's, so they're over 30 years old now and potentially have been rebuilt who knows how many times and by who knows what kind of rebuilder (parts changer?). One that was in my car was a Ford OEM reman and it was poor quality, .040" bore, so the block is junk as it is well worn, about .045" actually as I recall. Won't hold rings. Tried. But I keep it around for the .040 pistons in case the other block needs them. They'd work for a stock build.

If it needs pistons, you have three choices. CP/Wiseco/Diamond and CP is probably the cheapest, still $600+ by time you get rings. That's for FOUR pistons (not 8). Wiseco doesn't come with rings and they're already high, Diamond comes with but they're higher yet and the quality of the latter two is questionable. The TRW originals have been discontinued for years now, they were like $250 for the set of 4 (plus rings) when they were available, making a turbo 2.3 a budget-minded hotrod engine for someone who didn't need 400hp (although they'll take 400+). Rods? If you have a (or some) bent rod(s), they too are NLA so you have to go aftermarket, again $500+ if you can find them. Crower Sportsman rods were the hot ticket, but they've recently said that they ain't making them no more either so that leaves Carillo and a few others, which are all pretty expensive. Maybe someone will step in, say RPM Racing or whatever, and fill the void. Likely to be offshore. Other option find a set of used rods, large journal (74-90 I think) 2.3's all use the same crankshaft and same rods whether they're turbo or N/A. Dual plug engines (had 8 spark plugs) and 2.5's were all small journal which is fine from a performance standpoint. It is possible to use a dual plug block, pan, and front seal holder with the stock (dual plug) rods, then have a set of turbo pistons pressed onto the rods, drill an oil return into the pan and you can use that--and for that matter if you're going to a PiMP or MS, why not just use a 2.5, aside from needing custom pistons. Oh by the way, OEM replacement rings are long discontinued as well, BUT hastings makes replacements that work fine. Boport might have some too. Turbo pistons have different size rings than the standard N/A pistons did and not all machinests know that; they'll just order a set of 2.3 rings and throw 'em on, and they're "close" but not close enough. Also most machinests will order you a set of hyperutectic pistons which is all that's available for them now (at least inexpensively) and they "say" that they'll work, do not use them. They will break. Exactly noone has had any luck with them in a 2.3L turbo application with stock intercooled boost levels (15 psi) and up. If you were at 4-6 psi maybe, but 4-6 psi on a 2.3 is barely noticeable, no seriously, at 10 you're starting to do something. The head just doesn't flow, and it's only 140 cubic inches to begin with.

You can put a lot of money into them, and make a lot of power if you choose to do so, but they aren't known for reliability with elevated power levels, always something to fiddle with it seems. Keep the jack stands handy. Turboford.org may be a source for some parts if you need some.

The 7.5 rear end will work for a stock and very mild 2.3 turbo, it's what's in mine, has been fine for a few years now. BUT you will definitely want a LSD unit as the open diff SUCKS. One wheel peel when the boost "hits" even in third gear of a T5 with 3.45 gears. First & second are useless. That's why the TC's and SVO's had limited slip diffs, and the 87-88 had 8.8 LSD. Merkurs had IRS and LSD wasn't really needed for those, although it would have been nice. I had one of those too (86 XR4Ti), fun little TURD. Ugly though!! You can swap in a LSD carrier from a bronco II or whatever, but if you have to rebuild the LSD clutch pack, they are a little more expensive than a 8.8 clutch pack rebuild. So if you have access to an 8.8, grab it. I need one too but can't find one locally. I could actually use two of them.
 

Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
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8
USA
you really need to know what's wrong with it. If the engine has warranty, take it back but if they don't have another TC to yank the engine from, you're out of luck. It'd have to be a TC, XR4Ti or SVO (or cougar, there were a few cougars with 2.3 turbo's). The 87-88 TC had the baby turbo's and were intercooled, XR4Ti's and 86 & earlier TC's were all T3, as were the SVO's (although the SVO had a slightly different T3). If they have any of those, yeah swap 'em.

If they'll let you find out what's wrong with the engine by pulling the head, then by all means pull it and see what's wrong. 90% of them have cracked heads (seriously, turbo 2.3 heads are mostly cracked including the one on my car). If it ain't too awefully bad, it'll run a long time. Or it might swarm the first time you fire it off. Who knows. Could be as simple as sticking valves. Or it could be a burned piston or just plain worn out. I've seen my share of them and I have to remind myself that the last ones were in 1989 in XR4Ti's, so they're over 30 years old now and potentially have been rebuilt who knows how many times and by who knows what kind of rebuilder (parts changer?). One that was in my car was a Ford OEM reman and it was poor quality, .040" bore, so the block is junk as it is well worn, about .045" actually as I recall. Won't hold rings. Tried. But I keep it around for the .040 pistons in case the other block needs them. They'd work for a stock build.

If it needs pistons, you have three choices. CP/Wiseco/Diamond and CP is probably the cheapest, still $600+ by time you get rings. That's for FOUR pistons (not 8). Wiseco doesn't come with rings and they're already high, Diamond comes with but they're higher yet and the quality of the latter two is questionable. The TRW originals have been discontinued for years now, they were like $250 for the set of 4 (plus rings) when they were available, making a turbo 2.3 a budget-minded hotrod engine for someone who didn't need 400hp (although they'll take 400+). Rods? If you have a (or some) bent rod(s), they too are NLA so you have to go aftermarket, again $500+ if you can find them. Crower Sportsman rods were the hot ticket, but they've recently said that they ain't making them no more either so that leaves Carillo and a few others, which are all pretty expensive. Maybe someone will step in, say RPM Racing or whatever, and fill the void. Likely to be offshore. Other option find a set of used rods, large journal (74-90 I think) 2.3's all use the same crankshaft and same rods whether they're turbo or N/A. Dual plug engines (had 8 spark plugs) and 2.5's were all small journal which is fine from a performance standpoint. It is possible to use a dual plug block, pan, and front seal holder with the stock (dual plug) rods, then have a set of turbo pistons pressed onto the rods, drill an oil return into the pan and you can use that--and for that matter if you're going to a PiMP or MS, why not just use a 2.5, aside from needing custom pistons. Oh by the way, OEM replacement rings are long discontinued as well, BUT hastings makes replacements that work fine. Boport might have some too. Turbo pistons have different size rings than the standard N/A pistons did and not all machinests know that; they'll just order a set of 2.3 rings and throw 'em on, and they're "close" but not close enough. Also most machinests will order you a set of hyperutectic pistons which is all that's available for them now (at least inexpensively) and they "say" that they'll work, do not use them. They will break. Exactly noone has had any luck with them in a 2.3L turbo application with stock intercooled boost levels (15 psi) and up. If you were at 4-6 psi maybe, but 4-6 psi on a 2.3 is barely noticeable, no seriously, at 10 you're starting to do something. The head just doesn't flow, and it's only 140 cubic inches to begin with.

You can put a lot of money into them, and make a lot of power if you choose to do so, but they aren't known for reliability with elevated power levels, always something to fiddle with it seems. Keep the jack stands handy. Turboford.org may be a source for some parts if you need some.

The 7.5 rear end will work for a stock and very mild 2.3 turbo, it's what's in mine, has been fine for a few years now. BUT you will definitely want a LSD unit as the open diff SUCKS. One wheel peel when the boost "hits" even in third gear of a T5 with 3.45 gears. First & second are useless. That's why the TC's and SVO's had limited slip diffs, and the 87-88 had 8.8 LSD. Merkurs had IRS and LSD wasn't really needed for those, although it would have been nice. I had one of those too (86 XR4Ti), fun little TURD. Ugly though!! You can swap in a LSD carrier from a bronco II or whatever, but if you have to rebuild the LSD clutch pack, they are a little more expensive than a 8.8 clutch pack rebuild. So if you have access to an 8.8, grab it. I need one too but can't find one locally. I could actually use two of them.
A massive wall of text. I read it, but I don't know what my next move should be. I want to get the car on the road by the end of this year, and I don't have a massive budget. I'm just about ready to get the towers welded. A few more weeks. Now I've got engine troubles. If you look in the pics, in terms of rust and such the engine doesn't look too bad. I suppose looks can be deceiving. Would a head gasket explain the compression? Seems a little more legit than the last motor having psi that's too high.

A shop will do the head for like $500, you think the block needs inspection? What's the cheapest I can get this running, driving, reliably. I'm fine with stock HP for now, I just want to get it running and quit sinking money into an abyss. Diff can and will be done once I can get it to move down the street first.

The yard said they'll call me tomorrow about the warranty. Said they would only take and refund the motor. I have to keep trans, intercooler, and ecu.
This motor might be promising. If it's just a gasket it would be an easy fix. but it's never just a gasket is it...

Should I take it in and have it inspected? What should I do to get it in the car and have it be a comfortable driver to go any amount of miles without having to worry about calling AAA. Maybe have it support like 15lbs of boost if possible too while I got it apart and machined.
Pistons, rods, rings? Should I bring parts to machinist to make sure they're not putting anything sketchy in? Would eliminate parts cost from them, ensure quality, then just be labor.

I really don't want to return it, I have hope that it's nothing TOO major and I can make it work safely. Problem is if I return it, I have to go back to hunting a motor down. I don't suppose I'll have the greatest luck with that.
 

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
349
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I have plenty of experience with junkyard stuff (hence the name).

The engine is the likely cause of the car going to the yard, or that's what it sounds like. That or the car was wrecked.

Usually cars sit in a yard for years until they finally get picked clean enough, then they go to crusher.

While they're sitting there, they're subject to, just sitting. Sometimes people will rob a part off of it and leave an open hole so that rain can enter. I saw it all the time someone would pull an upper intake, rob a sensor, and just leave it off, then the engine gets full of water and gets destroyed.

I hate to bear the bad news but the engine you have needs to be torn down. At that point you can find out what's wrong with it. Then you can develop a plan. This kind of stuff isn't something that's going to happen overnight, and it's certainly not going to be cheap. Or you can just try to rig it back together and stuff the engine into the car to get it running. Make sure you have good friends in the towing business because you will need them.

it used to be that 2.3's were a dime a dozen and dirt cheap to rebuild. Not anymore. It's costing about the same to build a 2.3T as it does a mild 5.0 now, or close.
 

Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
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USA
I have plenty of experience with junkyard stuff (hence the name).

The engine is the likely cause of the car going to the yard, or that's what it sounds like. That or the car was wrecked.

Usually cars sit in a yard for years until they finally get picked clean enough, then they go to crusher.

While they're sitting there, they're subject to, just sitting. Sometimes people will rob a part off of it and leave an open hole so that rain can enter. I saw it all the time someone would pull an upper intake, rob a sensor, and just leave it off, then the engine gets full of water and gets destroyed.

I hate to bear the bad news but the engine you have needs to be torn down. At that point you can find out what's wrong with it. Then you can develop a plan. This kind of stuff isn't something that's going to happen overnight, and it's certainly not going to be cheap. Or you can just try to rig it back together and stuff the engine into the car to get it running. Make sure you have good friends in the towing business because you will need them.

it used to be that 2.3's were a dime a dozen and dirt cheap to rebuild. Not anymore. It's costing about the same to build a 2.3T as it does a mild 5.0 now, or close.
The only thing missing on it was alternator. I'm planning to do a leakdown test as suggest by the turbo ford forum. Then hopefully I can pinpoint the culprit. Hopefully just the head needs processed and not the block too...
 

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
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if the head needs work, I bet the rest of the engine does too. As I said, the days of a "cheap" 2.3 turbo swap were gone a decade ago.
 

Golypon

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May 7, 2020
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Alright my plan is as follows as my budget permits:
1st. Get it towed to body shop and have the rails welded
2nd. Do leakdown, if it's inconclusive, take the motor apart and prepare it for machine shop. If worse comes to worse a shop quoted me at $1,700 for a complete overhaul

at this point hopefully the compression is solid and all the gaskets, seals, valves, rings, rods, etc are replaced and whatnot and it will run.
Next piece it back together, (hopefully I can figure out distributor timing, if anyone would weigh in)

The next steps are a bit complicated. As far as I'm aware it didn't come with VAM, so I need to find the large one and the wiring (if anyone has any suggestions)

I'm assuming the original mustang wiring harness on the computer end, can just be swapped out, plug and play (with a few wiring changes obviously) but the adapters.

Swap the bellhousing the the original t5 as I don't have cylinder for hydraulic clutch nor pedals, etc.

oh and put boost gauge on the a-pillar.

At this point I'm just trying to get the car on the road by or before October.

Finally once I figure wiring out, make sure the compression is right, timing is right, and everything is pieced back together. Drop it back in the freshly welded car.

Some final touches will be new glovebox, new front seats, window switches and motors, and eventually... try and diagnose the gas gauge, and a new top. Oh yeah and the driver door is off guide, it needs the bushings replaced because it's a pain in the a**.

I'm open to any and all suggestions / feedback and recommendations. I'm new to this and trying my best here, if anyone with more experience has any tips or tricks I'd love to hear them. Cause at this point I'm $2,700 in the hole and I just want the tires to touch the pavement and make some AMERICAN boost. (prolly why it's been non-functional thus far :rlaugh:)
 
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Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
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Alright I'm taking a gamble here, before I go in on machining of the turbo motor. I've sourced a turbo coupe motor for sale for $200, supposedly "Came out of running car with roughly 80k miles. Has adjustable cam timing gear, Ranger roller cam."
I'm thinking it's worth a shot before I go all in. If the compression on this motor is solid it will save me a lot of time and $, he said he can't do compression test for me because starter mounts to the trans which he doesn't have. It does come with the starter though, I figure I can throw a bellhousing of mine on there and test the compression when I get back. Worst case scenario I'm out $200, and I can try to resell it / mix match with other motor to try and make a functioning motor.

If anyone has a solution to where the compression could be checked before I go out there, I'm down to hear it.
 

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
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A compression test might be worthwhile on the "new" TC engine. But it doesn't tell you the whole story. It may have bottom end problems. With the adjustable cam gear and roller cam, it will have a little less HP than a regular 2.3T (stock turbo slider cam) will. But it makes more grunt from 2500-4500, it just signs off early--and idles a little better. The compression readings will be off a little because of the retarded cam timing, assuming the seller did retard the cam timing and I assume it's 4-6 deg retarded like most of the roller cam 2.3's are. A compression test won't show a cracked head either. It'll just tell you if the cylinders are halfway sealed. Mine would pump 145 psi on all 4 cylinders, but leakdown rate was around 30%. It smoked when you were off the throttle coasting. The cylinders were worn out/tapered/egged and already at .040" overbore, so the block was junk at that point. It was honestly so bad that adding a little oil to the cylinders during a leak down didn't change the leak % that much, IIRC 5% improvement which 25% is still high.

with that said, I prefer to have the head & pan off.

you'll be looking at 140 psi give or take a little assuming the cam is retarded 4-6 degrees. If it's advanced, 150-160.

if it's bad, and complete, you might get some of your money back on the exhaust manifold assuming it's an E6 casting. E3's are worthless, even if it IS uncracked. If it's an IHI turbo, they aren't worth much, most folks swap them for T3's. IF the head's not cracked (and once again almost all of them are), it's worth $200 by itself. BoPort buys them as cores, but you have to pay for a magnaflux before he'll buy it. Square lower intake is worth about $40. Square upper about $50 with EGR valve assembly. Inline intakes are worth a little bit more but not much. Throttle body $25-$40. Stock rods and pistons $50 assuming they're not bent/worn out. Oil drainback fitting is getting about $40 now too. coolant steel lines are worth some money too if they are still on the engine and not rusted through. they might fetch $100. Turbo cam cover=$40-$60. If it is a motorsport cam cover, a LOT more.
 
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Golypon

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May 7, 2020
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A compression test might be worthwhile on the "new" TC engine. But it doesn't tell you the whole story. It may have bottom end problems. With the adjustable cam gear and roller cam, it will have a little less HP than a regular 2.3T (stock turbo slider cam) will. But it makes more grunt from 2500-4500, it just signs off early--and idles a little better. The compression readings will be off a little because of the retarded cam timing, assuming the seller did retard the cam timing and I assume it's 4-6 deg retarded like most of the roller cam 2.3's are. A compression test won't show a cracked head either. It'll just tell you if the cylinders are halfway sealed. Mine would pump 145 psi on all 4 cylinders, but leakdown rate was around 30%. It smoked when you were off the throttle coasting. The cylinders were worn out/tapered/egged and already at .040" overbore, so the block was junk at that point. It was honestly so bad that adding a little oil to the cylinders during a leak down didn't change the leak % that much, IIRC 5% improvement which 25% is still high.

with that said, I prefer to have the head & pan off.

you'll be looking at 140 psi give or take a little assuming the cam is retarded 4-6 degrees. If it's advanced, 150-160.

if it's bad, and complete, you might get some of your money back on the exhaust manifold assuming it's an E6 casting. E3's are worthless, even if it IS uncracked. If it's an IHI turbo, they aren't worth much, most folks swap them for T3's. IF the head's not cracked (and once again almost all of them are), it's worth $200 by itself. BoPort buys them as cores, but you have to pay for a magnaflux before he'll buy it. Square lower intake is worth about $40. Square upper about $50 with EGR valve assembly. Inline intakes are worth a little bit more but not much. Throttle body $25-$40. Stock rods and pistons $50 assuming they're not bent/worn out. Oil drainback fitting is getting about $40 now too. coolant steel lines are worth some money too if they are still on the engine and not rusted through. they might fetch $100. Turbo cam cover=$40-$60. If it is a motorsport cam cover, a LOT more.
I'll post some pictures here soon, compression on the new motor is from front of the motor to the back (I believe that's how the cylinders are numbered)
140, 130, 105, 140
There's always something off about Cylinder #3 it's been like that on both of the previous motors, specifically the one that came in the mustang when I got it.

Should I pull the head and have a valve job done? Do you think the block needs rings? Is it worth taking this motor apart and inspecting everything or should I just drop it in the car? The ECU I have is LA3 off of an '87 so I think it'll cap the boost, and I know the 2nd exhaust is an E6. I also have 2 IHI's I guess I could twin turbo it :rlaugh:

Just joking, I don't think it'd support that much boost lol. Maybe I do the head gasket and ARP head studs at least? This new motor seems to be far more functional than the last one but I'm not for sure yet. I'm planning to put the cable bellhousing on, since I don't have hydraulic stuff. It came with a FMIC, and some piping, should I put a BOV and boost controller on it? Also what size is the regular 2.3 mustang exhaust? You think that needs replaced as well? Maybe with some 3". I need a new trans k member, the one I have is rusted out, so I was gonna get a dual exhaust one, just incase I end up wanting a dual exhaust setup.
I got the WC t5 off the junkyard motor, not sure of it's condition. It appears to have some of the stock bolts switched which I believe is evidence someone was tinkering on it or it had work done. (could be good or bad at this point right?)
This new motor also came with VAM and cone filter which is convenient, since the junkyard didn't give it to me. Crazy how bad the junkyard ripped me off, and this guy really seemed to give me a good deal.

What should my next steps be? Next thing that needs done for the car is now I can at least get the rails done knowing I have a motor to put in (I think)
but I mean in terms of the motor / trans, oh and exhaust.
 

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
349
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#3 is low. #2 is a little low too. Two ways to know what's wrong. (1)-and the easiest is a leakdown test. (2) take it apart and find out what's wrong. Generally when you have low compression and you're sure you've tested it properly, you're gonna have to tear down anyway. But at least with a leakdown, you'll know where the leak is.

you could do a pair of IHI's, it won't double the boost, it'll still only make whatever the wastegates will let them. Probaly around 10 psi. Just potentially doubles the amount of air going into the engine, once spooled that is. it has been done in the past, not worth the effort. IHI's move a good bit of hot air. They are tiny, honestly too small for even a stock 2.3L.

LA3 controls the fuel and timing, but won't really control the boost. Well it does to an extent, in that it actuates the BCS. The stock wastegate only allows 10-12 psi but the BCS allows the engine to make 15 psi by way of re-routing some of the pressurized air in the wastegate hoses. Kinda similar to an aftermarket manual boost controller but it's electronically controlled. I forget how the LA3 increased, seems like it was 10 psi at 3000, and then increases to 15 at 4000, but again I do not remember for sure. Sluggish I do remember that. And the IHI is done on a 2.3 at 10 psi, which is why the TC's had an intercooler....a lot of hot air coming out of the compressor of the IHI.
 
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Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
36
3
8
USA
#3 is low. #2 is a little low too. Two ways to know what's wrong. (1)-and the easiest is a leakdown test. (2) take it apart and find out what's wrong. Generally when you have low compression and you're sure you've tested it properly, you're gonna have to tear down anyway. But at least with a leakdown, you'll know where the leak is.

you could do a pair of IHI's, it won't double the boost, it'll still only make whatever the wastegates will let them. Probaly around 10 psi. Just potentially doubles the amount of air going into the engine, once spooled that is. it has been done in the past, not worth the effort. IHI's move a good bit of hot air. They are tiny, honestly too small for even a stock 2.3L.

LA3 controls the fuel and timing, but won't really control the boost. Well it does to an extent, in that it actuates the BCS. The stock wastegate only allows 10-12 psi but the BCS allows the engine to make 15 psi by way of re-routing some of the pressurized air in the wastegate hoses. Kinda similar to an aftermarket manual boost controller but it's electronically controlled. I forget how the LA3 increased, seems like it was 10 psi at 3000, and then increases to 15 at 4000, but again I do not remember for sure. Sluggish I do remember that. And the IHI is done on a 2.3 at 10 psi, which is why the TC's had an intercooler....a lot of hot air coming out of the compressor of the IHI.
Put oil in and the compression went to 125. Up 20lbs.
I really don't wanna tear it down, the person I'm building it with thinks it'll last long enough until I have more $ to put into it if I put it in the car as is maybe a year or two? What do you think? Also it has front mount intercooler. Do you think it'd support 15lbs of boost off a boost controller? Should I put a BOV on it?
I'm planning to take original 2.3 cable bellhousing, and use the junkyard TC clutch. And the flywheel from the new motor. I'm trying to find a clutch tool to align it right now. Maybe autozone has one? I'm also trying to figure out what I should do for exhaust, 3" straight pipe with a nice muffler of sorts? I need some seats for it to, preferably something comfortable and nice, I'm willing to buy new but preferably not like more than $400 for the pair. Also what size clutch alignment tool should I get, I've been looking for 1-16" 10 spline, but they don't fit. It's a F-150 application. I've been searching all over but can't find anything unless it's in a kit.

For the seats maybe something like these in cloth and scarlet red?