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

junkyardwarrior

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Jan 10, 2011
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spend it now or spend it 2x more later...your choice.

your engine is worn. Rebuild it. Find you a set of used .020 turbo pistons and have the block bored to match them.

you should run a blowoff or bypass valve of some sort and even then, with the vam system, it won't be ideal. If you choose a bov, u need a dual piston so that it don't leak at idle. Stinger has them.

On the clutch how do you know it ain't worn out? Or you could just throw it in, and hope it don't slip. A clutch kit isn't all that expensive. The alignment tool can be rented at the parts store.

exhaust? You're worried about exhaust and the engine doesn't even run? Ok. just run a downpipe, open on the end and leave it. You will be yanking the engine back out soon anyway so there's no sense in doing a full system until the engine is rebuilt.

Seats from a junkyard. Take your pick there's thousands of different kinds and generally the newer they are the better they are. OE seats usually trump the aftermarket new seats. The only aftermarket seats worth getting are Recaro and you'll be spending nicely for those. Find a junkyard Mustang and yank the seats. There's plenty of 99-04 Mustangs in the yards here, hundreds of them. 05+ seats are nicer but you have to use the fox body sliders (easier than trying to use the 05-09 sliders by far). 2010- Mustang seats are even nicer yet but again, have to use the fox sliders on them, which requires some fab work, but easily done. I have 08 base cloth seats in my 93. Total investment into the seats was $70 counting all the materials needed, $35 for the pair at the junkyard and then the rest was buying some square tubing, nuts, bolts, etc. They are easy to yank the covers off of them and throw them in the washing machine, they came out looking brand new. I need new foam in the driver's side though.
 
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Golypon

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Update on this, got the car all apart and it's rusted out with estimated $1,400 in repairs up to $2,000 maybe more depending on the fab work. Found an ideal body that's in much better shape for about the same that should make a good candidate for the swap. Still have the motor, multiple actually will have 4 2.3's with this new fox. Probably sending this one to the junkyard or scrapping it or something... unless something else happens. Need to work on the motor likely. Gonna have it examined at least before I throw it in. Probably should do the same with the trans if I had some trusted shops.
 

Golypon

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Update, actually getting the conv body into the shop for the rust repair, got the tower and partial rail kit, should be alright. Can't wait to get this thing running
 

manicmechanic007

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Probably has a worn ur eaten up exhaust valve. Common on cylinders 3 and 4 on the 2.3. Easy check semi easy fix. Get 3 to TDC and shoot some shop air into the spark plug hole using your compression gauge. You will hear air shooting out the exhaust if it is an exhaust valve. It will shoot out the carburetor if it is a bad intake valve. If it shoots out the valve cover, oil fill or breather it is cracked or worn rings or broken piston. Real common to burn valves not so common to crack pistons or rings. Good thing is a long block for that car is cheap. If you rebuild it yourself pay particular attention to the ring end gap
 

Golypon

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LuvRfoxes" pid="796886" dateline="1630040956 said:
Really want to see how your weld went. In almost every case, the frame rails and strut towers are rotted out and require more than a simple weld. F it... Make sure the points are gapped within .0001 and you use a quality dwell meter for the tunup.

Turns out the frame rails, strut towers, and torque boxes were shot and the body shop needed $5,000 with parts, labor & tax to just get the front-end in decent shape... so, instead I found a rust free convertible in Alabama that I plan to swap that has much better bones

Old Wheels:
USwzrNN.jpg


New Wheels:
I8Hx375.jpg



It has some pretty gnarly storm damage, and the brakes are mostly seized up but I drove it to OH from AL so with the help of some friendly folk there.. haha.
That's how the front hub caps are blown off on the original wheels from the heat I suppose.. they were there when I bought it

So I've got the passenger fender (not pictured) otw that I plan to replace (should be soooo much nicer than the work I've been doing on this other rusty piece of :poo:)
that should be no problem to bolt on because there's not a spec of rust on the car. I need to get a top and shampoo the interior, waiting to get funds for that.

As for the turbo side of things, I have 2 turbo coupe motors waiting, one in seemingly better condition than the other. Hoping to get the head done on the better of the two still, as it has low compression on the middle two cylinders and someone suspected the exhaust valve.
Car runs good though as it sits, 2.3 with 130,000 miles. No exhaust leak or anything doesn't sound too bad tbh, having some radiator issues but it hasn't really overheated on me. Has a new radiator but the fan is being a bitch. I have LA3 CPU, & WC T5 to put in as well. Planning to eventually upgrade to PiMP. Thinking I'm going to need a better rear end / diff but not sure what to get for a good price that's gonna be solid. Wondering how the stock diff is going to hold up initially.
 

manicmechanic007

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Welcome to the club. All or most of all our mustangs have issues too. You are going to love yours. If you be quiet about it no one will even know all the flaws you are pointing out (it looks nice) 'weld er up! I did alignments at two Ford dealers for 20 years. The bodies on those convertibles flex like crazy. They need the under frame supports in place and tight. Not a fan of subframe connectors unless you are going racing (the bodies are supposed to flex) If I had a convertible I would possibly reconsider the connectors (custom fab) and weld the hell out of it underneath.
 

manicmechanic007

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Bought my boss 302 in 78. It had a 302 windsor in it. It had a pro stock snorkel on the hood with a fuel gauge in the back of the scoop. The rev limiter was gone. Somebody had raced the crap out of it, blew it up then sold me the carcass. They traded it in. I bought it at a glitter lot for 1650 bucks. It took me 40 years of searching to find the right motor. It should not take you too long to cherry that one of yours out. I have a old VHS video tape from Ford on adjusting the convertible top on a mustang. Quite the procedure sort of like herding cats
 

Golypon

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Bought my boss 302 in 78. It had a 302 windsor in it. It had a pro stock snorkel on the hood with a fuel gauge in the back of the scoop. The rev limiter was gone. Somebody had raced the crap out of it, blew it up then sold me the carcass. They traded it in. I bought it at a glitter lot for 1650 bucks. It took me 40 years of searching to find the right motor. It should not take you too long to cherry that one of yours out. I have a old VHS video tape from Ford on adjusting the convertible top on a mustang. Quite the procedure sort of like herding cats
Are you referencing the new fox I posted? I would like to figure out what I should do for the flexing, I don't want to tear it in two, you said instead of subframe connectors weld the hell out of the frame, but how exactly? Whatever I do, I will be paying a shop because I do not currently have the ability to weld unless I spent some serious time learning. I'd like to get a different rearend on it with disc brakes (but still 4 lug) once I figure out what is going on with the turbo motor I have and get a new top on it.
 

manicmechanic007

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Weld more custom bent metal to stiffen both ends of the frame where the factory subframe(s) ends (all 4 ends). I used to see a lot of wrecked cars (on the alignment rack) not just Mustangs. When they get bent up I/we would send them to the body shop and tell them which way to pull which strut tower. Then I would press out the lower subframe back onto position with a porta power and a couple of come a long's. I did this with the alignment heads on the wheels. Then fish plated some sheet metal on the bent up area until it was stiff enough
 

manicmechanic007

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On yours, If its been T-boned from the top.. 'Dukes of Hazards style" Lift it with a fork lift from the middle and have ten guys get on the hood and the trunk. That should un flex the body back to straight, Then cram some v shaped metal in the bent A and B pillars and 'weld er up'
 

manicmechanic007

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Always think of it as raced and wrecked. Then when it turns out to be not so bad.. You can rest easy. It was probably not raced or wrecked. Just jumped railroad tracks like in a GT5 video game? or Bronson movie (even cooler)
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
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Find a restoration or race car shop near you, you need subframe connectors installed just because of the inherent flexibility. A strut tower brace is also a good addition and should be a bolt in affair.
there is also a brace under the engine, Fords k member brace is flimsy, get the aftermarket X brace.
No need to get extravagant, shop around.
 
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manicmechanic007

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What to do about the flexing? Live with it or what is left of it after your repairs and do the generals advice. The flex should be acceptable by then. The ones I used to see on the alignment rack were wrecked and usually had severe bent or ripped metal in the subframe connector area. Used to just weld that HSS body metal with coat hangers or braze rod and a oxy acetylene torch. You should be able to pick up a used torch for 3 or 4 hundred. Welding is a blast borderline therapeutic
 
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manicmechanic007

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Today is good. I do not advise anyone to add subframe connectors unless they are going racing. The bodies are supposed to flex. Keeping your mustang stock is your best investment. It is like a jacked up truck with a cranking stereo. The dealer will take all that off to sell the truck for top dollar. Mustangs with subframe connectors would just get whosaled off the lot for cheap
 
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91TwighlightGT

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Today is good. I do not advise anyone to add subframe connectors unless they are going racing. The bodies are supposed to flex. Keeping your mustang stock is your best investment. It is like a jacked up truck with a cranking stereo. The dealer will take all that off to sell the truck for top dollar. Mustangs with subframe connectors would just get whosaled off the lot for cheap

That's ridiculous.

The bodies flex because they were designed with a slide rule in 1975. Connecting the subframes with more than just a floor pan and a roof helps tremendously. Let's not forget the fact that the convertible is a notchback with the roof chopped off by an aftermarket company. You can't compare an old Fox Mustang to a modern truck in terms of a dealer. The only similarity is that they have four wheels.

Let's face some facts here - A 2.3L convertible is probably the WEAKEST Fox body in terms of value. If someone is going to dump money into one, it isn't to make it more valuable, it is because they want to enjoy the car. Subframe connectors go a long way in improving the way a Fox body feels. I know, because I have two hatchbacks and both have MM subframe connectors. Having the front end twisting one way with the rear end twisting another is not good for handling, ride quality, or much of anything else.

If you want to go racing, you don't need subframe connectors because you will have a roll cage.

As far as dealers are concerned - you're dreaming if you think they give a :poo: about an old Fox body with subframe connectors. We aren't talking about a 93 Cobra, or a wrapper 20k mile 5.0 LX or GT, where originality matters. If you have a 100k+ mile Fox body, it's value to the people who care and would buy the cars is not going to be negatively affected by quality subframe connectors - and in fact, it probably goes up.
 
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manicmechanic007

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Money, value, cars... Back to school son. You will have a real hard time convincing me. I worked at a ford dealer every day during the Fox mustang production run. I have only owned 5 fox body Mustangs (favorite was probably 85 GT). I have driven 20,000 or more. I have aligned 10,000 or more. Fixed & welded maybe 1,000 that went off the road. I have been a Ford Chassis master tech since 1998 and that requires all 8 ASE masters first. I cringe when I see subframe connectors on any car. You wont see me putting them on vintage Camaros either. I had them on a 68 RS SS. To each his own Think of the value of a 69 Camaro with and without subframe connectors. Lets say 50 k less if you ruined it by installing subframe connectors. Your Fox bodies not worth a ton yet but wait 40 more years and see if you still feel the same. I have been slowly returning my 69 to stock. Well, Super Stock. It takes 20 years to get Chassis Master from Ford
 
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manicmechanic007

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Certainly the dealer would not give more than 600.00 trade in for an old Fox body Mustang. Saleen Roush, Cobra or SVO maybe a bit more. dealers usually will only mess with cars that have some warranty left. If you trade in any car over three years old or with say 60k miles on it, the car will get wholesaled off the lot. Trucks are different. You may see 10 year old trucks on a dealers lot that they still want 35k for. But, they will take the lift kit and whatever else off it before it hits the lot. Subframe connectors leave marks and drilled holes at best if removable at all. Shoots the :poo: out of the value. Ridiculous!
 

Golypon

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Certainly the dealer would not give more than 600.00 trade in for an old Fox body Mustang. Saleen Roush, Cobra or SVO maybe a bit more. dealers usually will only mess with cars that have some warranty left. If you trade in any car over three years old or with say 60k miles on it, the car will get wholesaled off the lot. Trucks are different. You may see 10 year old trucks on a dealers lot that they still want 35k for. But, they will take the lift kit and whatever else off it before it hits the lot. Subframe connectors leave marks and drilled holes at best if removable at all. Shoots the :poo: out of the value. Ridiculous!
It was quite the experience picking it up. I think it is indeed pretty much stock, supposedly it belonged to a school teacher before the guy I got it off of, who had been holding onto it and got sick I believe or something it was sitting for 6 months or so before a tornado hit his car port and fell on it. Although some of you may believe it was raced and crashed or something (highly doubt with 70hp 4cyl auto ._. lol.)
I drove it 20 miles down the road and was pushing 85+ on the speedo (off of marked digits) on a gradient and it popped and started spewing a giant trail of white smoke behind me and a trail of liquid. Turned out to be trans fluid, the trans fluid line between the radiator broke but I ended up getting hooked up, The tow trick driver down there put me onto his mechanic who serviced his trucks for him who put the line back on for me on a Saturday night for $100. Super cool guy had a stroked out Harley and some other neat cars & odd and ends around the lot. His niche was Heavy Duty Diesels, but he got me together just because the people down there are a different breed and actually lookout for each other (or so it seemed with all the Southern Folk I met while I was down there picking it up.) He also let me get a good inspection of the car on the lift he had where we determined there wasn't much wrong structurally wrong with it except some body damage from the storm. No rust especially!!

I want the car to be unique, and I think if I invest and upgrade wisely it will maintain its value to the right person. Probably not the right mindset but I think it will be more fun with this motor, and if I don't like it I'll pull it and put something else in, that's the nice thing about having an intact and rust free frame. I couldn't even enjoy those perks with my last one. I just want the car to mainly be quick, sharp, and enjoyable for passengers. Hopefully make the 4cyl not sound like :poo: too, I've seen some that seem like they get pretty gnarly. Honestly, the exhaust that is on it isn't too bad, it's nice and quiet & I don't think there are any leaks either (not too badly at least) much better than the other one which I believe was rusted in half lol.

30 years in 2 different states makes a noticeable difference when the cars are sitting next to each other. (for pretty much the same setup, except one is stick)
 
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Golypon

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Still debating on how I should reinforce the frame still with people disagreeing here. I need it to be safe and hook nicely for me on the street. I don't want anything to break or twist in two or anything. Really looking for a balance of reliability and power. I daily a Crown Vic and it basically grasps that but I'm looking for something I can rag on a little harder.
Aftermarket K Member & X Brace under the hood with potential strut tower reinforcement. I'm wondering if I could lower it to get a better look without sacrificing drivability and scraping and just performance in general in daily use. I'd like to do the suspension possibly.
Next thing I'm doing is getting a top put on it (damaged in the storm where his car port fell on it)
Possibly Battle Box Torque Box reinforcement and subframe connectors. Just trying to get it to where it could be comfortable on the road with like 300hp possibly. To where I can cruise it on the highway but also decide to pull on it from a red light. Yanno?
 
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