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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
2.3 Turbo Swap Overview (UPDATED 5/26/08)

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 or twEECer 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 Ford
Turbo Mustangs/Turbo Forums
4 Banger
Motion Dynamics
Ford Turbo Motorsports
SVO club of america
NATO
Ford 4 Engines
FOURCED

Some persuasion! :D

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Want more?? Just ask
 

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Kewl

I've talked with Stinger and that is an extremely knowledgable 2.3T Person.

I've made a decision on my 2.3T SWAP though.

1. - I like the T-Bird so Im keeping it as is.

2. My 2.3 isnt so bad since I gave him a T5 and he's happy now

3. My 5.0 can keep me occupied so no need for all this extra work.

Personal Disclaimer:

The thoughts stated in this message are of my own thoughts and partially made of my own free will. However my free will has been influenced by the large amount of alcohol and beer I've had this evening. These thoughts are not intended to anger or offend anyone of the Guru or Noob Level on this board. So with that said and done if I have offended anyone please request your Free Offense Free Apology Beer.

Thank You
 

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Crimes against humanity

I just got a call from a friend wo has an 87 Mustang LX. he did a 2.3T SWAP in it and added a 4 Speed tranny behind it. But it failed so he will giving me the car cheap ( failed as in he couldnt make it work )

so I go to take a look and I find out that he ripped the soul right out of a fully functional SVO to do his swap into this abused car ....


My heart goes out to all the SVO owners out there. Never leave an SVO not running.


I'd like to take a moment of silence for the SVO that could have made it.

if anyone is interested I will have the vehicle in a week
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So a buddy of mine who is big on 2.3's just about finished his 2.3 and fuking came out awesome, check it out
 

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That motor is awesome wow that's some majpr money right there and it is done right awesome i would love to drive that thing
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How do I turbo my normally aspirated 2.3?

You can install a turbo on a N/A 2.3 but don't turn the boost up past 5-6 psi. If you do, the pistons will disinegrate! And, even running that low psi, they probably won't last very long anyway! True turbo motors came from the factory with forged pistons. Forged pistons will take the heat and pressure of forced induction. N/A pistons are made of cast metal. They're very brittle and simply can't take the heat and pressure. So, if you're going to rebuild your motor, simply replace the cast pistons with forged units. You'll also need to fabricate some sort of oil drainback for the turbo. Oil is fed into the center section of the turbo from the top, circulates and drains back into the oil pan. 2.3 turbo blocks have a threaded drainback hole thats tapped into the block just above the oil pan to accomplish this task. If you have a bare N/A block, you can drill and tap this boss in the block and acquire the appropriate brass fitting to screw into it. The fitting can be found on any turbo block in the junkyard and occasionally they're for sale on Ebay. Another alternative is to tap into the oil pan, above the oil line and run a hose from the bottom of the center section to the pan. That's it for the actual shortblock. True turbo heads have a different combustion chamber and port configuration than N/A heads along with exhaust valves made from a stronger metal known as Iconel.

Turbo motors use a Vane Air Meter and larger 35# fuel injectors for fuel and air delivery. Both can be found in the junkyard or on Ebay. To provide the appropriate amount of fuel to the injectors along with the correct metering of air, you'll need the right computer. An LA2 or LA3, found in '87-'88 Thunderbird TurboCoupes with 5-speeds is the one you want. An LB2, LB3 and PE will also work. The LB series is for TC's with automatics and the PE, the most aggressive of all computers, is found in the Mustang SVO. The computers themselves are easily swapped. You'll also have to repin the wiring harness computer connector. Most people give up here because it sounds like such a daunting task! It's probably the simplest procedure in the whole swap. There are several websites that give you step by step instructions. To correlate with the new computer, you'll need an Air Charge Temperature (ACT) sensor. It threads into the side of the lower intake manifold. You can swap in a lower intake from an '87-'88 TC or drill and tap your existing manifold to accept the ACT sensor. In addition, you'll need either a factory or aftermarket boost controller to control your boost pressure. A good idea would be to add a 255 lph fuel pump to provide the additional fuel that's needed. Too many turbo applications have died due to lean conditions!

By far the cheapest, most thorough and simplest way to add a turbo to your N/A Mustang is to purchase a donor car and swap everything over. The first choice would be a '87-'88 Thunderbird TurboCoupe. They come with a factory 195 hp turbo'd 2.3, T5 and 8.8 rearend with disc brakes and 3.55:1 gears. All this can be easily swapped into a Mustang. In addition, you'll have everything you need along with a zillion nuts, bolts, fasteners, etc. There are many other parts that can be swapped into a Mustang as well. Interior pieces, suspension pieces, brakes, the list is endless. Here's the kicker. '87-'88 TC's are a dime a dozen, at least on the West Coast. $500 will get you a good running, high mileage TC. And as you know, 2.3's are pretty much bulletproof! The iceing on the cake is, what you don't use on your project, you can resell on Ebay or any of the message boards dedicated to 2.3 turbos. There's a good sized market out there for used TC parts. Your $500 will be recouped in no time!

If you can't find a '87-'88 TC, the next best thing would be a '83-'86 TC, followed by an '85-'89 Merkur XR4ti. There are turbo Cougars out there that are also good candidates. I believe '85-'86 are the years for them. Of course an SVO would be the ultimate! However, they're pretty rare and you probably wouldn't want to part one out. Below is a list of websites of both vendors and just regular Turboforders that offer tons of information. I hope this addressed some of the basic questions of turboing a N/A 2.3. It really isn't a very hard swap. If you have some basic mechanical ability and a good set of handtools, you can easily perform this swap. You'll learn a few things along the way and the sense of accomplishment you'll acquire will make it all worthwhile. Oh, and you'll be amazed at how quick you car is gonna be!

List of websites:
www.stinger-performance.com - wiring conversion
www.flemworld.com - wiring conversion
www.turboford.net - turbo 2.3 website
www.turbotbird.com - TurboCoupe website
www.craigslist.org - if you're looking for a donor car
www.ebay.com - all the used parts you could ever want
www.forced4.com - lots of 2.3 performance parts
www.esslingeracing.com - more 2.3 performance stuff
www.racerwalsh.com - even more 2.3 performance stuff
www.summitracing.com - cheapest forged pistons I've found - P/N - TRW-L2500F
www.rockauto.com - dirt cheap namebrand auto parts
www.boostvalve.com - aftermarket boost valve
 

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TurboLX said:
How do I turbo my normally aspirated 2.3?

You can install a turbo on a N/A 2.3 but don't turn the boost up past 5-6 psi. If you do, the pistons will disinegrate! And, even running that low psi, they probably won't last very long anyway! True turbo motors came from the factory with forged pistons. Forged pistons will take the heat and pressure of forced induction. N/A pistons are made of cast metal. They're very brittle and simply can't take the heat and pressure. So, if you're going to rebuild your motor, simply replace the cast pistons with forged units. You'll also need to fabricate some sort of oil drainback for the turbo. Oil is fed into the center section of the turbo from the top, circulates and drains back into the oil pan. 2.3 turbo blocks have a threaded drainback hole thats tapped into the block just above the oil pan to accomplish this task. If you have a bare N/A block, you can drill and tap this boss in the block and acquire the appropriate brass fitting to screw into it. The fitting can be found on any turbo block in the junkyard and occasionally they're for sale on Ebay. Another alternative is to tap into the oil pan, above the oil line and run a hose from the bottom of the center section to the pan. That's it for the actual shortblock. True turbo heads have a different combustion chamber and port configuration than N/A heads along with exhaust valves made from a stronger metal known as Iconel.

Turbo motors use a Vane Air Meter and larger 35# fuel injectors for fuel and air delivery. Both can be found in the junkyard or on Ebay. To provide the appropriate amount of fuel to the injectors along with the correct metering of air, you'll need the right computer. An LA2 or LA3, found in '87-'88 Thunderbird TurboCoupes with 5-speeds is the one you want. An LB2, LB3 and PE will also work. The LB series is for TC's with automatics and the PE, the most aggressive of all computers, is found in the Mustang SVO. The computers themselves are easily swapped. You'll also have to repin the wiring harness computer connector. Most people give up here because it sounds like such a daunting task! It's probably the simplest procedure in the whole swap. There are several websites that give you step by step instructions. To correlate with the new computer, you'll need an Air Charge Temperature (ACT) sensor. It threads into the side of the lower intake manifold. You can swap in a lower intake from an '87-'88 TC or drill and tap your existing manifold to accept the ACT sensor. In addition, you'll need either a factory or aftermarket boost controller to control your boost pressure. A good idea would be to add a 255 lph fuel pump to provide the additional fuel that's needed. Too many turbo applications have died due to lean conditions!

By far the cheapest, most thorough and simplest way to add a turbo to your N/A Mustang is to purchase a donor car and swap everything over. The first choice would be a '87-'88 Thunderbird TurboCoupe. They come with a factory 195 hp turbo'd 2.3, T5 and 8.8 rearend with disc brakes and 3.55:1 gears. All this can be easily swapped into a Mustang. In addition, you'll have everything you need along with a zillion nuts, bolts, fasteners, etc. There are many other parts that can be swapped into a Mustang as well. Interior pieces, suspension pieces, brakes, the list is endless. Here's the kicker. '87-'88 TC's are a dime a dozen, at least on the West Coast. $500 will get you a good running, high mileage TC. And as you know, 2.3's are pretty much bulletproof! The iceing on the cake is, what you don't use on your project, you can resell on Ebay or any of the message boards dedicated to 2.3 turbos. There's a good sized market out there for used TC parts. Your $500 will be recouped in no time!

If you can't find a '87-'88 TC, the next best thing would be a '83-'86 TC, followed by an '85-'89 Merkur XR4ti. There are turbo Cougars out there that are also good candidates. I believe '85-'86 are the years for them. Of course an SVO would be the ultimate! However, they're pretty rare and you probably wouldn't want to part one out. Below is a list of websites of both vendors and just regular Turboforders that offer tons of information. I hope this addressed some of the basic questions of turboing a N/A 2.3. It really isn't a very hard swap. If you have some basic mechanical ability and a good set of handtools, you can easily perform this swap. You'll learn a few things along the way and the sense of accomplishment you'll acquire will make it all worthwhile. Oh, and you'll be amazed at how quick you car is gonna be!

List of websites:
www.stinger-performance.com - wiring conversion
www.flemworld.com - wiring conversion
www.turboford.net - turbo 2.3 website
www.turbotbird.com - TurboCoupe website
www.craigslist.org - if you're looking for a donor car
www.ebay.com - all the used parts you could ever want
www.forced4.com - lots of 2.3 performance parts
www.esslingeracing.com - more 2.3 performance stuff
www.racerwalsh.com - even more 2.3 performance stuff
www.summitracing.com - cheapest forged pistons I've found - P/N - TRW-L2500F
www.rockauto.com - dirt cheap namebrand auto parts
www.boostvalve.com - aftermarket boost valve
I don't mean to hate but that looks like evintho's write out about the 2.3 N/A to turbo thread over on MF :lmao
 

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Turboing a 1987-1990 2.3 N/A

Ok, many of you have been asking how to turbo a 2.3 N/A without swapping engines. Well I'll tell you how to, but keep in mind that I have not attempted this 'yet' (meaning I will in the future with another mustang)

So, first you have 2 ways to go.

1) Forged Pistons
2) Cast Pistons

1) You replace your current pistons with forged pistons so you can run more boost and feel safer.

Now, you decide if you want to run your stock computer or a turbo computer.

Turbo Computer
Computer (duh!)
Injectors to go with the computer (#30 or #35)
Vam to go with the computer (small - 2.5" large - 3")
Repin your harness

Stock Computer
Injectors (High impediance (sp?) #24 (max 15 PSI) # what ever, the higher the better)
Valve on your BAP sensor (controls the amount of boost that enters)

Once you have decided on what you want to do, time to get to work and make it run!

Basics for doing all of this
- Remove the engine from the car
- Take the engine apart (head, oil pan, etc)
- Take the pistons out (unbolting the main caps and slowly pushing from below)
- Look for any damage to your cylinder head, cylinder walls, crank shaft, etc
- Install new pistons
- Make oil return (tap a hole in the oil pan above the oil)
- Make an oil supply (tap off the oil line by the pressure sensor/sender)
- Put the engine together
- Put the engine back in the engine bay of the car
- Reconnect everything
- Put all the turbo stuff on
- Repin your harness (only if doing the turbo computer)
- Install the bleeding valve on your BAP sensor (only if using stock computer)
- Install your injectors
- Test fire the engine listening for 'ping'
- Make sure your not running lean and every thing is connected before you put any load or boost on the engine
- Start off with very little timing 2* with spout out and knock sensor connected
- get 91 or higher octane gas
- disconnect the knock sensor and play with your timming untill you hear 'pining' then back it off 2* - 4*

All done. Now be careful with the boost on the stock computer. If your running a turbo computer than its just like a 2.3 turbo engine

2) Same as with the forged pistons, only you want to be running a little rich as not to hurt your cast pistons. They will only take 15 PSI MAX and they wont take it for to long before they start to go down hill

It is recomanded that you don't run to long on the cast pistons as they will melt or explode if you lose your tune or run lean, even for only a second
 

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I made it fast a few weeks ago. Tell me what its missing and I'll add it lol
 

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Hmm, now you got me thinking, I still have a complete Turbo system I picked up when I was a teenager in the early 80's in the attic from a 1980 Mustang. I was going to retrofit it to a 76 Pinto back then, But backed off once I did the research and found out I needed better Pistons and valves.

Now I have an old 93 Ranger stepside Splash chasis and engine just begging for some of this Mustang technology.
 
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