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Old February 20th, 2011, 06:13 PM   #1
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Thunderstang 2.3 Turbo Build and Questions


Have my engine out of a 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe I picked up for a measly 750 dollars. Already pulled the engine and sent the block to machine shop for cleaning and hopefully just honing. The plan for now is to pop the engine back into the T-Bird until I find that absolutely mint fox body convertible to make my own THUNDERSTANG! This is my first four banger and first turbo engine so I am trying to get it right.

I ordered most of the engine components from Summit Racing and found a IHI turbo rebuild kit on eBay for a fair price. Going to keep the stock Forged Pistons and I am replacing the cam with a roller out of a 92 ranger (already have it) I haven't looked at it yet but I believe I have the stock desirable LA3 ECU already in the car. The T-5 in it now is in overall good shape besides a leaking rear seal, and I will most likely keep it stock. Also trying to work out the details on installing a bypass valve to help with the spool time between shifts. I am shooting for a goal of around 300 RWHP and we will see where the torque ends up if i meet that number. Does 300 sound reasonable with my parts?

I found when pulling the engine apart, I have four green top injectors. not lime green like the Ford Racing 42lb injectors, but a more olive drab green which I believe to be 30lb injectors. Any idea why my engine would have those rather than the brown top 35's that should have come stock? I am trying to decide whether to buy 42lb or 35lb injectors to replace them.

I am also going to replace my stock fuel pump with a Walboro 255 pump when the time comes but for now i have not been able to locate the stock one. Anyone know where the pump is on a 1987 turbo? Is it in the tank? Google is no help.

As it sits, the tbird has a 3inch pipe coming from the turbo into a Y pipe with two 2.5 inch dynomax mufflers. I plan to tear that out and replace it with a straight 3inch pipe and a straight through muffler unless someone tells me i should keep the duels.

Last question i have for now. The stock intercooler on my bird is a top mount which is cooled through two hood scoops. I plan to install a FMIC in the fox body, but it will be installed first in the bird. The front bumper cover is one solid piece of plastic with no grille or similar so will that destroy the purpose of a FMIC or am I missing something?

Empty Thunderbird engine bay


The lighting isnt so great, this is a wonderful Ford Corporate Blue


Lotsa parts to go through and clean up


More parts
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Last edited by Phinney; February 25th, 2011 at 06:37 PM.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 06:31 PM   #2
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If your goal is 300 HP, you will need to use the 42 lb injectors and a different turbo. Your injectors are most likely 30#. Your pump is in the tank.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 06:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by OHC230 View Post
If your goal is 300 HP, you will need to use the 42 lb injectors and a different turbo. Your injectors are most likely 30#. Your pump is in the tank.
Very good. Ill go for 42lb injectors but I was told the IHI would be fine to make 300 hp. Was I given wrong information? I have near me a t3/t4 turbo a guy in trying to unload if that would be better. He says it s new and never been used. What should I offer him for it?
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Old February 20th, 2011, 07:07 PM   #4
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Can anyone identify this injector or tell me how to decode the numbers on it? Now It seems this could possibly be a 42lb from what i am reading online

Edit: Figured it out, these are indeed 30lb injectors so now i am looking for 42's

3.86 30 39 2.40 Bosch E3ZE-BA Green 83 2.3 turbo
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Last edited by Phinney; February 20th, 2011 at 08:16 PM.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 09:13 PM   #5
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And yet another. I am looking at my options for tuning this baby after i get everything installed. The only options I have found are the 1/4 horse or the J3 chip. I do not need to do any programming on the fly, so J3 makes more sense for me. Is that right or am I missing something?
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Old February 20th, 2011, 09:28 PM   #6
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According to my calculations, you will need at least 450 CFM to reach 300 HP.
If you examine the compressor map for the IHI, I believe that you will be well past the surge line for that turbo, around 375 CFM and the choke line is just past that. Even if you could stretch that to 450 CFM, you are going to see a significant pressure drop between the discharge end of the turbo and the cylinder, especially with .355” gross valve lift, which is what you will have with the factory roller cam.

I think you are going to need the Q-horse tuner, if you really want your T-Bird to fly. There are just too many variables here and running lean under boost, is a good way to burn things up. Don't worry, there are plenty of supported BIN files for the LA3, including some for MAF converted systems!!! Hint hint!
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Old February 21st, 2011, 07:49 PM   #7
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OHC I have read many of your posts on the Forums and you sound like you really know your stuff and I appreciate your input. If you say 1/4 Horse I will place an order. I am a little confused about the tuning software that it requires. I see some that need about 80 bucks to work and some that are cheaper and some that are free. Will I be able to use the free one to meet my needs?

Oh and yeah, MAF is on the table, but in the future.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 10:19 PM   #8
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Check out Stinger Performance and the ECU system he is testing and building. It's supposed to be a much simpler swap which remove the VAM and work on a MAP sensor included in the ECU package. Give it a look through on his website, there's a long thread where he answere every question that could be asked about it. It's worth the read before you decide on an aftermarker system.

Stinger Performance Forum - Your Soon to Come Plug & Play P.I.M.P. ECU???
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Old February 21st, 2011, 11:13 PM   #9
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I like Stinger, he's a good guy. He used to frequent the turboford forums a few years back, before it became a constant pissing contest, maybe he still does?

I think $600.00 is a bit of cash for some people to fork over. Since Stinger’s system is new, I don’t have much to compare it to. I think it would be foolish to assume that this system will provide a perfect tune on any engine, in any state of modification, without any input and I don’t think that is what he is advertising either, so I would assume there would still be a learning curve. Other than that, it sounds good, especially since computers from the 1980’s are eventually going to burn out. And he’s offering an up to date replacement.

The Moates stuff works best with the $80.00 software package and like any tuning system; it will take a bit of learning to really get a hold of. It’s not rocket science, just some familiarization is needed.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 02:56 AM   #10
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It's supposed to be very user friendly and he will have it set up with a "base" tune to get the end users car idling so they can go ahead and do the tuning themselves.

One pretty neat offering is that you can tune the car using an Android X smart phone. Makes it much easier to have real time info available rather than trying to keep a lap top in place in the passengers seat! At least it seems that would be better.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 08:19 PM   #11
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So I did go ahead and order QuarterHorse this morning. I spent some time today reading about the software to go with it. Looks like Binary Editor is 80 buck and EEC Analyzer is 60.

I have a good understanding of BE and what it does but I am having a hard time trying to understand exactly what EEC Analyzer does. Does it just let you view real time data where BE does not? The real questions is, do I NEED EEC Analyzer or will BE do everything i need?
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Old February 25th, 2011, 06:39 PM   #12
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Quarter Horse arrived today


Heres my cracked E6 manifold... With two cracks. Anyone think it is repairable?
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Old February 25th, 2011, 06:42 PM   #13
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Hah! Need a 5 gallon bucket of degreaser for this nasty POS


These are the paints I picked out today to clean the engine up


Dont think I need any more fluids!
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Old February 25th, 2011, 09:52 PM   #14
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Trying out this wrinkle paint on this Thunderbird valve cover. I am looking for a SVO cover in the future so for now this will have to do. I am not sure I like the wrinkle though. Perhaps I should spray it down with stripper and do something else.
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Old February 26th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #15
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really diggin that valve cover
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Old February 26th, 2011, 11:14 PM   #16
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Phinney, if you haven't all ready, go to this page and just start reading. There is a PDF titled "Getting started" a good place to start.

Click this link-------> EEC Analyzer

On the cracked manifold, it can be welded, but it will require pre-and post heating, after which it must be cooled slowly, or it will just crack again.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 02:22 AM   #17
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Get a professional welder to do it. I have relatives that are welders, and cast is one of the harder materials to weld, and actually have it hold. An easy-ish (Do not listen to me) Way of doing this, is by heating the cast with an oxy-acetylene torch, until red hot, then welding the cracks, (MIG, argon shielding gas, CO2 doesn't work as good i've been told, with mild steel wire) And then reheating the surrounding area + welds, and then wrapping in a thermal blanket, almost like the ones you put in your camper van's windshield to keep the heat out lol. Presto! You've either made a nice hunk of scrap metal, or a usable manifold! Yay!
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Old February 27th, 2011, 09:21 AM   #18
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You could grind down or sand the paint to bare metal on the high spots of that valve cover to get some contrast in it, may look good.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 10:31 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by 03 R Code View Post
You could grind down or sand the paint to bare metal on the high spots of that valve cover to get some contrast in it, may look good.
I like that idea I may well give it a try. My gaskets from Summit Racing are on Back-order and I am going nuts waiting. I did some more painting this morning. i had originally planned on polishing all the metal but I quickly realized this old ass junk wasn't going to buff up. I'm really impressed with how well this 20 year old alternator cleaned up with some paint.

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Old February 28th, 2011, 08:08 PM   #20
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i hate you guys the 2.3t i saved from the scrap yard was just a na with a turbo intake and valvecover....boooo oh well i got an extra dport head and block now
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