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

Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
36
3
8
USA
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)
well actually I should reiterate he didn't replace the line, it wasn't the line that was bad it was actually the gasket / seal around where the line went into the trans that was pretty much disintegrated and just kinda blew off when I put it under pressure & basically stress tested it. Luckily happened before I got out of town because I'm not sure I would've gotten back on the road without those kind people. (separate from the people I bought the car off of) Although those people weren't that bad either, different but. Anyways he had his son pick up one from the closest part store (an hour away) and it ended up being the wrong size but he was able to use the internals and fit them into the old one and screw it back on. It ended up not being too bad. We did however determine while it was on the lift that the back brakes do not work. Once we filled it back up with fluid and he had me make sure it would go through the gears on the lift I tested the brakes and it wouldn't stop. Had to let it coast to a stop from the lift, so only the front work it seems for now.
 
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Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
36
3
8
USA
All the information about the AOD though is relatively useless though because I will be hopefully getting the pedals, driveshaft, and other different pieces from the manual fox for the rust free fox to get it swapped over to the WC T5. Although the AOD seems to work pretty good I won't be using it after this swap, maybe I can sell it locally to recoup some money. That would be nice.
 

Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
36
3
8
USA
Right now I'm basically going broke from this car (not that I haven't been previously) and it's pretty much sapping my income and I'm just getting started. Thought I'd share that lol. It's kinda holding up my progress. (and has been)
 

91TwighlightGT

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Sep 8, 2002
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Yours has an A4LD, not an AOD. AOD is for 5.0L cars.

The A4LD is a POS, and no money should be invested in it in any form.

As far as the rest of your build, here is my opinion.

#1 - Subframe connectors will help the car feel more solid and improve the ride quality a bit. A strut tower brace will not help that much, but the Fox Chassis is cardboard flimsy so any stiffening you can get will be an improvement. Just for a data point - the S197 chassis is stiffer than a Fox chassis with a full cage.

#2 - I wouldn't worry about torque boxes unless you have a rust issue. The 2.3L cars are not breaking torque boxes because they simply don't have enough power. Upgrade the torque boxes when you upgrade the rear end because you are making more significant power. Even with a turbocharger though, unless you are launching on drag slicks it is not going to be a big issue because the 2.3L will still not have the low end power that a 5.0L car has.

#3 - Focus on keeping it running and in otherwise good condition. If it doesn't stay useful, it becomes useless.
 

Golypon

Member
May 7, 2020
36
3
8
USA
Yours has an A4LD, not an AOD. AOD is for 5.0L cars.

The A4LD is a POS, and no money should be invested in it in any form.

As far as the rest of your build, here is my opinion.

#1 - Subframe connectors will help the car feel more solid and improve the ride quality a bit. A strut tower brace will not help that much, but the Fox Chassis is cardboard flimsy so any stiffening you can get will be an improvement. Just for a data point - the S197 chassis is stiffer than a Fox chassis with a full cage.

#2 - I wouldn't worry about torque boxes unless you have a rust issue. The 2.3L cars are not breaking torque boxes because they simply don't have enough power. Upgrade the torque boxes when you upgrade the rear end because you are making more significant power. Even with a turbocharger though, unless you are launching on drag slicks it is not going to be a big issue because the 2.3L will still not have the low end power that a 5.0L car has.

#3 - Focus on keeping it running and in otherwise good condition. If it doesn't stay useful, it becomes useless.
Good advice. Subframe connectors will be figured into the build at some point. For now... keeping it running. Drove it around town with the top down and it started making a squealing type noise on the gas. Thought it was the throttle body (which it was) but I didn't realize it was a vacuum leak... pulled the other throttle body I have from my other motor, went into the garage and popped the hood, started unbuttoning it to unbolt it and then on a whim checked the vacuum hose on the bottom and it had split and fallen off. So cut just a tad off the end and fit it back on there and so far so good!
New top on the way and I'll be getting the new fender painted soon. She will be ready to build in no time!
 
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