2.3l HP squeeze

NXcoupe

Active Member
Dec 3, 2009
75
26
28
Dayton, OH
I did this. I have a 2.3 5 spd car that I had everything to V8 swap it until I spoke with Stinger. I dumped all that and bought an ebay turbo, ebay header, stinger downpipe kit, ebay intercooler and piping kit, and a set of 42 lb injectors. It made 220 hp but felt like a lot more. It was very fun to drive, love the turbo noises too. I made a bunch of stupid rookie mistakes with it at first, which led to a bent rod, which a few months later led to a hole in the block. That engine would have lasted for years on 12 psi and the conservative tune I had on it. After that, I went full retard and built up a purpose built 2.5L and a larger turbo, log header and made some stupid power. Again, rookie mistake, I thought I'd save some money and bought used chinese rods and CP pistons. Rod sheared off and took out the engine. I bought NEW crower rods and will get new CP pistons and will have it back together soon after my pole barn is finished. I'm going to keep it around 430 rwhp on E85. Here's some video, enjoy.
View: https://youtu.be/DEs2n7eOgUA
 
  • Sponsors(?)


7991LXnSHO

Now I want a 10 year badge
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,747
893
174
Kearney, NE
The objection to the project was over cubic bucks vs. cubic inches.
Some of those have a lot of smoke, and it’s not just because they are smokin’ the other car.
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
Mod Dude
Aug 25, 2016
18,795
6,202
193
polk county florida
Economics and longevity, cheap, fast, reliable. You will not have these three together in a 2.3 car. This is a discussion for the ages, I would ask how many are still building 2.3 drag cars? One of those was from 2013?
 

ChillPhatCat

Active Member
Apr 22, 2002
336
26
38
Syracuse, NY
Building a 2.3 Turbo is perfectly valid... I don't think anyone said you can't make power. You can go the engine swap or build what you got route successfully and the block itself can take a ton of power. I believe for most people it's just a matter of pocket depth... you can do 5.0, 4.6, 5.3, Coyote, Turbo Lima... 2JZ whatever it is it's going to take some work... I say do what makes you happy on the budget you got. A rebuilt turbo swap from a TC really isn't that bad, but if you want to take the power to a new level you will have to start sinking Benjamins into it.
 

7991LXnSHO

Now I want a 10 year badge
10 Year Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,747
893
174
Kearney, NE
My folks got a small, turbo motor (probably an eco boost) Ford crossover and it goes surprisingly well. So the OEM’s are still using part of their R&D budgets to do so. But I do not have the budget now to experiment when over twice the displacement is easy to research or or buy in a crate.
But it’s a fun bench racing idea.
 

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
336
83
48
here you go figure this up

stage 3 head (good for probably 400hp). $2300 with the camshaft (and you still are required to send in a good core head)
4 pistons (CP)-$700
4 rods -$600
gaskets/seals/etc-$125
Transmission (T5Z)-$1800?--a stock T5 won't last long
Adapter plate to get T5Z to fit 2.3-$200
flywheel (5.0 clutch to 2.3L) $345
wideband-$300?
wiring/ecu/etc-$1000+ depending on what you are gonna do

right there you're at $7300--remember that's all new stuff, and there is a ton of stuff I left off, bearings, cam belt, etc

You can easily spend $10,000 for 400hp.

You can easily build a SBF 400hp for considerably less but IMO isn't as "fun".
 
  • Like
Reactions: NXcoupe

91TwighlightGT

15 Year Member
Sep 8, 2002
1,060
302
124
38
Missouri
Visit site
There was a period of time where doing a simple turbo swap was pretty economical. The problem now is that the donor cars are all so old and worn out that IMO you HAVE to figure in the cost of a rebuild with your donor engine. When it was take an 89 Mustang 2.3L 5 speed, grab a wrecked Turbo Coupe engine (+Turbo accessories) and ECU and throw it all together with a decent exhaust...

A 2.3L swap is still potentially in the future for my project car, but with the big HP numbers and excellent fuel economy from these modern V8's...

Weight is also a factor. IIRC a 2.3L Lima in full Turbo dress weighs in pretty close to an aluminum headed 302. I don't recall off the top of my head what the Coyote or aluminum LS motors weigh, but the results may be shocking.
 

ChillPhatCat

Active Member
Apr 22, 2002
336
26
38
Syracuse, NY
IIRC a fully dressed LS1 is like 420 lb, similar weights for the LS2 and LS3 IIRC... of course you aren’t finding one of those in a Siverado, those 5.3’s are all iron blocks. But those are only 100 lb more I believe...
 

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
336
83
48
I weighed one once, IIRC 389 lb with the manifold, turbo, lines, oil in the pan, and power steerin pump. no a/c compressor and I can't remember if the alternator was on it or not.

You can feel the weight difference when you swap in an aluminum head 5.0. I did the swap on a 88 turbocoupe (2.3--->5.0) and the difference was pretty significant just by the butt-o-meter. The car felt totally different.

However if you could find an aluminum head for the 2.3, I bet you'd shaft off 40 lbs. That head is heavy for a little 4 cyl! Plus....you also change the center of gravity, moves it down a little which is a good thing.
 

90sickfox

Wasn't a pretty sight...and I've got big hands
SN Certified Technician
Mar 2, 2015
5,680
4,817
203
43
here you go figure this up

stage 3 head (good for probably 400hp). $2300 with the camshaft (and you still are required to send in a good core head)
4 pistons (CP)-$700
4 rods -$600
gaskets/seals/etc-$125
Transmission (T5Z)-$1800?--a stock T5 won't last long
Adapter plate to get T5Z to fit 2.3-$200
flywheel (5.0 clutch to 2.3L) $345
wideband-$300?
wiring/ecu/etc-$1000+ depending on what you are gonna do

right there you're at $7300--remember that's all new stuff, and there is a ton of stuff I left off, bearings, cam belt, etc

You can easily spend $10,000 for 400hp.

You can easily build a SBF 400hp for considerably less but IMO isn't as "fun".

All you need is the input for the t5 turned down to the 4 cylinder pilot bearing size. Very easy to remove from a t5. You could also use the factory 5 speed 2.3 bell housing. That would save 545 bucks over your quote. The t5z is a joke...trust me I have one on the shelf that I had to rebuild from the little abuse my 306 dealt it. A regular t5 gave up the ghost first. Surprisingly, a 4 cylinder t5 with a Ford Ranger 202 pilot bearing has survived over 12 years behind the 306, 347, and now my turbo 331. Shifts perfect every time. I'm upgrading to a tko600 because I need a stronger clutch than this thing will handle.

Whatever happened to people stripping the turbo Volvo 2.3 for its head and using the Ranger 2.5 stroke ? Years ago folks used to port those heads and use Saab turbos. Can't remember if the turbo Volvo pistons worked with the 2.5 rods. They can make decent power cheap...the SVO was just a hair behind the 5.0 in hp but the weight saving helped. They also handled a little better without the added nose weight. A stock 5.0 only had 225hp...the SVO had 205hp stock. Just a ball valve on a vacuum line quickly raised that number. ( increased boost ).

Now, power for dollar I believe the 5.0 still out shines an NA 2.3. The old 5.0s are getting more and more worn out as time goes by. I'd rather rebuild a 4 banger than 8 gready cylinders and 16 valves....but then again that 4 banger has 8 plugs. The days of throwing a JY 5.0 straight in with just a camshaft swap and a carburetor are beginning to fade away fast. Might be about even.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NXcoupe

Foxslider

im not that much of a idiot
Oct 25, 2019
504
145
53
33
Houston, TX
Do it! As stated, block is good for 350hp easily, safely. This build has crossed my mind b/c of the weight reduction. If goal is only 350-400hp.

Need to throw car on scales and see what weight distribution im at if it would be the right move.

Im totally geekin on the idea right now honestly. Lol. That might be my go to next. Pimp e.c.u or somn. Pistons/rods stock crank, send it.

Edit: hmmm.. I do have a LA2 ECU laying around from a past build i did'nt execute on. lol.
 
Last edited:

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
336
83
48
not many folks doing volvo heads. 90% of them of yesteryear never went anywhere either for whatever reason. Similar to everyone's turbo V8 projects, great ideas but a bunch of them never get finished. I'm one of those too.

with BoPort's head, no more need for the volvo stuff, bolt a stock style head on that'll make 400hp and go with it. Even use the stock manifold, they'll support good power with porting.

and a 4 cylinder T5 is going to need a lot of work. Aluminum bellhousing won't pass tech if there is any tech; and I value my feet. The real problem with the stock bellhousing is that you can't get a really good 9" clutch that will hold any appreciable power, which is why a lot of guys run the adapter. Yeah you can turn down a V8 input shaft to fit the pilot, but you also grind through the case hardening. I have one in my car, only got a few thousand miles on it and so far so good, but I don't expect it to last forever. Had Tony at Astro do it for me if it matters, and he said same thing-it won't last most likely. 3.35 V6 box (almost same as a V8 fox box).
 
  • Like
Reactions: NXcoupe

65ShelbyClone

Founding Member
Sep 9, 2000
4,651
33
119
Antelope Valley, SoCal
This thread went way out in the weeds.

The first reply nailed it: the 2.3 is not easy to get power out of without boost. Amateurs can make the head flow better, professionals can make it flow well. They still remain a not-exactly-cutting-edge-for-1973 iron two-valve engine that makes less power per psi of boost and isn't as strong as newer, lighter engines. The 2.3/auto Mustang makes about 70rwhp on a good day.

Whatever happened to people stripping the turbo Volvo 2.3 for its head

It was only sold here for two years. They weren't common even 15 years ago, not to mention the huge undertaking of making it fit on a Ford.

and using the Ranger 2.5 stroke ?

That crank has small mains and has to be used in '89+ blocks. The 2.5 was also used for only three model years, the most recent being 20 years ago.

A stock 5.0 only had 225hp...the SVO had 205hp stock. Just a ball valve on a vacuum line quickly raised that number. ( increased boost ).

You're referring to '87-93 5.0 HOs that were 225hp, but the SVO was out of production by then and didn't matter. It mattered a lot the year prior...

For 1985.5 the SVO was rated at 205hp and for '86 it was derated to 200hp on paper so it wouldn't make the new 200hp 1986 Mustang GT look bad. There's a lot to the SVO's story for such a short production run and marketing was a big part of it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 90sickfox

rockyracoon

10 Year Member
Nov 23, 2005
809
22
39
margate NJ
Dunno know if ur interested but there's a complete 87 turbocoupe 2.3T motor in a local junkyard near me. I've seen it there for around 6 months or so.it even still has the stock intercooler.
 

austin86

New Member
Jan 14, 2021
16
1
1
31
ohio
I know most go for boost with a 2.3l but something different I don't think many had tried in a mustang is bike carbs, danst over in the uk makes manifolds for the pinto motors witch should fit a 2.3l out of a stang.
I know its not going to do much on a 2.3 auto, but with a trans swap the 2 would be a grate start if you don't like messing with EFI or boost.

Food for thought, the 110hp 1.9l escort motors see about 15-20HP boost with well tuned bike carbs over the stock EFI.

The 2.3/auto Mustang makes about 70rwhp on a good day.
I knew the 2.3 auto were turds, but dang that is less then a 2.3l tempo.
 
Last edited:

junkyardwarrior

Active Member
Jan 10, 2011
336
83
48
bike carbs only work on a couple 2.3 heads. Most of the n/a heads made in the 80's and early 90's won't work, the 2 outer ports are angled--and that also is one (of many) reasons they don't flow very well. You'd have to use an early oval port 2.3 head, OR a later dual plug (91+ mustang/ranger), and with no porting the dual plug head sucks in a n/a application. I'd use an oval port head if I were doing it but they are harder to find and then you have to make a way to adapt the brackets to it since they don't have all the right bolt holes for serpentine applications. Fun stuff. The local mini stock guys love the oval port heads. Rare (if even existent) to find one in a junkyard. Rarer to find one that's not cracked, similar to most any 2.3 head-they all crack. Yes the 80's heads were also sometimes called oval port but if you look at them they are not "oval" they are "D" ports, with the 2 outer intake ports being angled-severely. The mini stock guys mill about .150" off of the head, to where the lower intake bolt holes barely hold a thread, pumps the compression up, unshrouds the valves, helps them flow dramatically. But on a turbo application like mine (street car) that's not what you want.

on the D port heads there are basically two versions. Turbo and N/A. They are the same EXCEPT the chambers. The N/A head has a heart shaped chamber and the turbo head has a D shaped chamber. The chambers are almost the same with the exception of the heart. Actually you can grind the heart out and make it a d shape, done correctly helps flow. Done incorrectly destroys the head (for the most part). An uncracked turbo head is as scarce as frog's teeth. Some cracked turbo heads can be fixed but not many.

so on a n/a application with only 140 cubic inches, you have two ways to make power. Shove the air into it, or spin the daylights out of it. Mini-stock guys that are really serious are pushing these things over 10,000 rpm now, making maybe 250hp. I have raced one for about a half season. TO say that they have no torque down low is an understatement. Well it has no torque anywhere but it makes up for it with rpm. Sorta like a sportbike. Not a lot of power, but the engine speed helps make up for lack of power. You just hammer the throttle and wait.
 

Rcdgl

Active Member
Feb 19, 2018
145
42
38
68
I wish I had more time....

I have both a 5.0 and a Turbo Coupe donor sitting in my back yard.... 82 5.0 is next project after the Chevelle floors, then the Capri update is due.

So far my effing house had taken all of the non rainy days since I retired....