89 2.3l To Turbo

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by LilBerx, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. What is the difference between the 2.3 engine and 2.3 trunk engine? Does it have different Rods pistons and heads?
    Is it possible for me to slap a svo turbo setup on a 89 2.3?
  2. Your car has cast pistons that are not boost friendly. You will want to get a hold of a turbo engine, they have forged pistons and better parts. You could slap the SVO turbo and such on, but you would be limited to very low boost and probably still do damage.
  3. Possible, yes. Practical, no. That's why a whole turbo engine swap is the preferred path to boosting a 2.3.
  4. Isn't an '89 an 8 plug head. If thats the case, you are best of getting a 2.3L turbo motor and swapping your pistons over to your existing motor. The rods and crank are the same between turbo and non-turbo motors of the era. Turbo motors also have better valves and larger injectors (either #30 or #36 depending on year and donor). A common area of problems is the heads themselves, more specifically the exhaust seats. Since you have to tear the motor apart to swap pistons, and the head will be off anyway, check it for worn out exhaust seats (they will be worn out in all likelihood) and possible hairline cracks extending from the exhaust seats. If there are cracks, but they are within the seat area, the head can still be fixed. The only real solution is to have a machine shop bore the seats out and replace them with better ones. This not only prevents worn seats and warped valves in the future, it also prevents the head from cracking in the future. The 4 plug N/A head is not compatible with the turbo setup, the shape of the chamber is wrong. The 8 plug head from that period however is more open shaped and works just fine. All the cast 2.3L heads are prone to cracking, so don't assume the turbo one is better, in fact finding good used 2.3L turbo heads is hard.

    You could swap the whole turbo motor, but if you do so, you will need to repin the harness and you are better off using the turbo computer. As a general rule, on the 8 plug engines, it is usually preferred to just swap the turbo internals. There are other problems with swapping the entire turbo motor, namely the brackets for the accessories are different, and are often not compatible with the engine compartment of a Ranger (depending on year). If you use the forged pistons, and other good turbo parts in the N/A motor, you effective convert it into a turbo motor, and it won't have the fitment issues that are possible with the motor swap. The ignition system on the 8 plug setup, while often intimidating, is still technically superior to the cap and rotor design, its components are more reliable and last longer.

    Your boost would still be limited with just an internals swap, and the turbo computer is not compatible with an 8 plug N/A motor, while the Ranger computer is not compatible with the #30 or #36 injectors, so you need a larger MAF, and a way to retune the computer. If you retune the computer and use the larger injectors, the Ranger motor can take pretty much as much boost as the turbo motors can.
  5. 8-plug head started in '91.
  6. Not trying to disagree with you, it is true the Mustang didn't get the 8 plug head till 1991, but the Ranger had it in 1989. So if your dealing with a genuine never been swapped or modified 1989 Ranger 2.3L, it should have the dual plug head.
  7. Yep, rangers got it in 89, mustangs in 91. I'm about to do a turbo install on a 93 2.3 mustang 5 speed. I know it has cast pistons, but so do 4.6's and they have powdered metal rods as well, and people still boost them. I'm going to just toss the turbo on, get a maf from ProM for a blow thru setup, and tune the computer with an SCT chip. I'll be starting a build thread on here and some other sites as well once I get started.
    These engines are fairly low compression, so boost shouldn't be an issue.
  8. There is a big difference between cast pistons and hypereutics.
  9. And there's a big difference between 8:1 and 9:1 with turbocharging.
  10. Oh yeah? care to elaborate on the differences?
  11. Agreed, a 2.3 is around 8.5 or so and a modular is close to 9.5
  12. A 2.3T has 8:1. 2.3 Turbo pistons and an NA head will push it up to 8.5:1. 2.3NAs have 9:1. The turbo engines can be cranky even with 8.5:1 as some people find out after putting an NA head on their turbo engine(uncracked turbo heads are always in short supply it seems).
  13. I'll have to take your word on that one. I won't know what this actually has till it fails and I pull it apart and cc chambers and pistons, etc. then I can come up with an exact compression rato. I will just assume 9:1 is the compression ratio and adjust timing accordingly in the tune. I really want to get on this soon, but 100+ degree temps are making me consider the a/c convesion as a first step, lol.
  14. Actually the nail was missed again.

    On the N/A 4 plug heads, they have a heart shaped chamber, which raises the compression to about 8.5:1 if you use it on a turbo motor. But if you use the '89 - '94 8 plug head, they use an open chamber that is more similar in design to a turbo head, i.e. it uses an open chamber with dual plugs in each cylinder. The 8 plug head with dished turbo pistons gives you a compression ratio of around 8:1.
  15. I think some confusion lies in the OP of this thread having an '89 single-plug engine and the discussion derailing onto a later dual-plug car. I was talking about single-plug engines....:gtfo:
  16. Right you are, but since the OP is asking about a Ranger (truck) engine, you have to cover the bases, since '89 Ranger engines are dual plug.

    If you have a later year dual plug car, you are better off keeping the dual plug setup and just swapping in the forged turbo internals. If you want to swap in a single plug engine, then you need to swap not just the engine, but the entire wire harness and computer as well. If the engine is going into a car, this can work well. If the setup is going into a Ranger, some years of the turbo motors don't fit into the Ranger on account of the accessories being different and creating clearance problems.

    Yes, if you drop a N/A single plug head onto a turbo motor, it is a good idea to grind away at the divider to make the shape and volume of the chamber more similar to a turbo chamber to prevent problems with increased compression. Either that or you have to pull timing and limit boost.