So you want a 2.3 turbo, huh? Lets start with the basics first. Back in 1974, Ford had decided they needed an economical engine for the soaring gas prices back in the 1970's, so they designed the 2.0/2.3L engine. But as early as 1979 they realized it made insufficient power. So Ford decided to add a turbocharger on it to help boost power. From then on it was known as the "2.3 Turbo."
Ford had done this with a draw-thru carb setup until 1983, when SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) had come into play.At this point they made the 2.3T's fuel injected, and from then on, the 2.3 Turbo Mustang was known as the SVO Mustang and Turbo GT. These Mustangs were in production from 1984-1986 for the SVO and 79-84 for the turbo GT. However the SVO wasn't alone, it had a few cousins; the Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe '83-'88, the Merkur XR4Ti '85-'89, the Mercury Zephyr 79-82, Ford Fairmont 79-82 and the Mercury Cougar XR7 '84-'86 and the Mercury Capri '79-'84. Then, in late 86 SVO had come up with an idea to gain more power from their 87 SVO Mustang. They came up with the idea of a 16V DOHC head to fit on the 2.3. After a few months on their project and their proto-type model, Ford dropped the SVO 2.3T program. It made more power than their V8 5.0 liter Mustangs. The DOHC 2.3 rated at 275hp, while the 5.0s were just hitting the 220hp spot. SVO was then disbanded...but they continued to put the 2.3T's in the Thunderbird until 1988. The production of 2.3Ts had stopped after 1989 with the death of the Merkur XR4Ti...
However people started to realize what these cars were; And could be faster than V8s. People started modifying them for more power. Which leads us to the point of this thread, "You want a 2.3 Turbo huh?"
First off, it's really not a good idea to use N/A 2.3 engines because they have cast pistons and no oil feed for a turbo. This is why people are using Turbo Coupes and Merkurs as donor cars for their 2.3T project. They can be picked up for dirt cheap, and have a plethora of useful parts, such as the block with forged pistons.
Another question I often hear is: "How hard is it, how long will it take, and how do I install it?" Well, this is where Stinger Performance will come in to play. He has a well detailed installation of his 2.3T swap on his website: STINGER
. He is probably one of the most knowledgeable 2.3 people I've met, he also makes a lot of custom stuff for the 2.3T's...
So now you're probably wondering where you can get 2.3T parts right??
Well here's a few; Esslinger Racing
has alot of 2.3 parts, mostly 2.3 N/A's tho, another is Cheap HP and they have a lot of 2.3 stuff as well along with Racer Walsh
and Stinger and Forced 4
and if you need replacement 2.3T wiring, this you rightHere
Not too long ago, a guy found out you can take an early model 16V Volvo 2.3 head and fit it onto Ford's 2.3L with minor modifications to make more power. Now, if you're looking to get into something like that: Click Here
For more info on the Volvo head swap. Also, if you want you can build a custom intake for the 2.3, all you need is to know how to weld.
Now, let's talk about tuning the 2.3T, now if you have crazy plans (over 350 h/p)for the 2.3, its obvious you're not gonna be running the stock EEC, now you gotta start looking in to stand-alone systems like Mega Squirt
and the newest Megasquirt system BAMAFUEL, LLC.
to tune and properly run your bad ass setup, but however they have a harness to make installing Mega Squirt a lot simpler.
Well I think we pretty much covered what it takes to do a turbo 2.3, so if there's anything I made a mistake on, or missed, let me know and I will correct it.
Below is a few links of interest you might want to check out:
Ford 2.3L Forums
Turbo Mustangs/Turbo Forums
Ford Turbo Motorsports
SVO club of america
Ford 4 Engines
Want more?? Just ask