'92 LX Notch ideas

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by 01PonyGT, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. Hi all, never posted on 2.3L forums before....always been on the 4.6L Forums.
    I just picked up a 1992 2.3L LX Notchback with automatic trans. It has about 175,000 miles on the original engine. The transmission needs to be replaced/rebuilt....1st and 2nd gears are gone and it sounds like something is winding/spinning near the shifter when you first try to move it. As for the engine, I think only 2 of the 4 cylinders are firing, but I really haven't looked at it yet. There's no rust on the body and, aside from needing a new front bumper cover, everything is straight and true. The interior is beat up a bit, too. All in all, not bad for only $200.
    I plan on restoring it as a daily commuter car and am looking at my options.
    Here's what I'm considering:
    1. Just rebuild what I have and stay with the 2.3L N/A with auto -- I drove one for 2 years...what a dog on the highway.
    2. Stay with 2.3L N/A, but swap in a T-5 -- Still a dog, but a little more zip
    3. Swap in a 2.3Turbo with a T-5 -- sounds like fun, but a little intimidating to do the swap considering the wiring nightmare. Also, finding all the parts may prove challenging.
    4. Swap in a 5.0L with a T-5 -- probably the best option as far as HP goes, but a lot of parts would be needed.

    Any ideas/suggestions? I'm looking for a fun car for daily commuting that gets decent gas mileage. No looking for balls-out performance (that's what the 2001 GT is for), just a fun unique daily driver. I commute 80 miles per day so I'm thinking the 2.3 is the way to go over a 5.0 swap. Does the 2.3Turbo get decent mileage? what grade of fuel is needed for the Turbo??

    Thanks in advance for any info you have.

  2. i was getting about 15 with my 2.3t but it was running pretty bad and what not. I hear of guys getting up in the 20's. You can use pump 87 octane if you like, just keep the boost down. as far as HP for the money a 2.3t is a lot better than the 5.0. I should be somewhere up around 300 at the crank i am thinking and i will have about $1500 into the engine including the engine and swap. Pretty sweet deal. Remember, that is 300 hp out of a four cylinder. If you decide to go with a 2.3 theres all kinds of help here, 2.3t turbo theres all kind of help here and at turboford.org and if 5.0 then GET OUT!!! lol..just playing...sounds like a deal ya got though.... good luck

  3. My vote goes for the 2.3T+T5 swap, but I'm biased. *lol* Don't let the wiring deter you from doing it, you should only need very minor changes to your engine harness to make it work. I only had to re-pin my harness to match the turbo computer and make minor mods to the underhood wiring to get my 90 Notch swap running. My 87 TC used to get mid 20's mpg on the highway with a T-5/3.73 gears and it's a much heavier car. As long as you can keep your foot out of boost you'll get pretty darn good gas milage.

    Turbo that sucker and have some fun. :)
  4. Going with the Turbo, but have Questions....

    Thanks for the replies. I'm definately leaning towards the Turbo swap and see that there's a lot more info and parts available than I thought. The more I think about it the more I want the turbo. Unfortunately, I won't be able to start the swap for a few months. The wife made me promise not to spend any "recreational" money on my GT (or any car, for that matter) until we renovate the bathroom. She wasn't too thrilled with the purchase of the 2.3L Notchback, but for only $200 she dealt with it. Those of you that are married and whipped like me will understand.
    So I'll be looking at starting the 2.3L Turbo swap towards the end of the summer, which brings me to a couple questions:
    What's the best doner car? Are all the 2.3L Turbo blocks the same? Any years to stay away from? I saw a complete running 1985 Merkur XR4TI sell on ebay for $365 a few weeks ago. Is that what I should be looking for? I actually considered buying it, but didn't because it was in Pittsburgh (8 hour drive from NJ).

    Thanks again,
  5. id get a 5.0 just for the aftermarket of it, and theres nothing like a v8 rumble.
  6. The blocks, and engine internals are all the same on all the cars. The best donor car to get would be a 87-88 5-speed Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, as these cars have the bigger VAM and are intercooled. The Turbo Coupes also have the 8.8 rear axle with disc brakes that you can swap into your 2.3. (your car has the 7.5 rear end in there now, your gonna wanna get rid of that if your going to go turbo)

    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
  7. He's already got a V-8!!

    Don't waste your $$ on the auto trans. Stick a 5 speed in it and you can decide if you want to drop a turbo motor in there(You will !) Slap some gt bars on it while you're at it!
  8. Lol, once you get addicted to boost you'll park that GT.

    My turbo gets 28mpg on the hwy when not boosting and at least 22 around town.
    I can beat most stock V-8's easy. (this is why the SVO was cancelled)
    If I race and lose to a modded 8, all I do is open the hood and show em the 4 banger.
    I get respect either way, win or lose.
  9. OMG I'm not the only one who goes through this lol I had to promise to get a new Tahoe and wall paper the kitchen just to buy my SVO :) Now I'm on no spending hold just like you untill we reach another agreement :rolleyes: If she only new about my head I got in the shop waiting to be installed this summer I would be a dead man :(

    As for a parts car look for a COMPLETE 87-88' TC. Before you buy it check around with us or someone and make sure its got the right motor etc for that year(s). Look to spend between 100-600 for the car. Also make sure its a T-5 car and not a A4LD. Now this is for two reasons; 1) the T-5 is faster alsmot like a 30 shot nitrous once swaped in to a auto car :) 2) the T-5 87-88 'TC 's EEC is pretty much the best easiest EEC to get and use without buying a aftermarket set up.
  10. There are more parts for a 5.0, but it will most likely cost you more to get a 5.0 into lets say...the low 13's than a 2.3 turbo. Most the parts needed to get a 2.3 turbo down that low can be easily made and found at junkyards (porting and polishing head, exhaust manifold, lower intake manifold and gut the upper intake manifold, volvo or saab front mounted intercooler etc.)Here is a little rundown of the different things to look for on a donor car.

    87-88 TC-probably the best
    + large VAM, #35 brown top injectors, Intercooler (very poorly placedw/ a stcok hood though)
    -IHI turbo doesn't like to make higher boost

    All the others are still a good engine to start out with, and vary from 145 hp to like 180 hp stock. The good part is, the large VAM, brown top injectors etc. can usually be found for cheap at j-yards or turboford.org and bolt right up. Check out this site... http://www.angelfire.com/wa3/fastest4d/faq.html

    I personally bought my engine out of an 88 TC with the computer for $175, and it ran great! these engine can be found pretty cheap!

    Good luck!


    PS theres all kinds of info on that sticky thread at the top of the forum as well, and of course turboford.org
  11. turbo 4 cylinders are for hondas :p, na, i like anything thats fast, id just much rather have a v8 and i wouldnt have to worry about running too much boost etc...
  12. Too much boost isn't a problem. Run a low boost setting on the street (~12psi), and crank it on the track with higher-octane gas (~19+).
  13. What came first the Chicken or the Egg ???

    I wonder who really started the high powered 4 and 6 cyl cars? The big three was making turbo 4-6 cyl cars back in the early 80's. Dodge/crysl had the Lasrer/Daytona's, Ford had the SVO/GT/TC tubos, and GM with the GN/GNX's. :flag: GM also had the SYclones and Tyhpoons but those where in 91- 92'. Was America to fair a head of the game that it screwed its chances of dominating the small engine cars, or was it to late :shrug:
  14. Thanks again for all the replies. OK, now I'm completely sold on tearing out that old 2.3 and auto trans and swapping in the 2.3Turbo and T-5. I guess I'll start searching for an 87-88 T-Birb Turbo Coupe this summer.
    Just out of curiosity....what would happen if you put a Turbo and all the appropriate accesories on the stock 2.3L ?? Does the Turbo Block come with all forged internals? Will the stock block just grenade with boost?? I'll have to check the sticky at the top of the forum when I get a chance, so forgive me if these questions are already answered in there.

  15. I've been a V8 nut for years, hated 4cyl's. My V8 truck was using $60 bucks in gas a week just to get to and from work so I bought a 2.3l 85 Mustang for the hell of it. I did a 2.3t swap and since then all the money I was getting ready to dump into my v8 car went into the 2.3T. I totally lost interest in my V8 car. The sucker is so fun to drive it almost makes me bust a nut... and my V8 car is tub-ed with 12" slicks. Granted the 2.3t is not as fast as my V8 car but it's by far much funner to drive on the street and costs a whole lot less in gas and performance parts.

    And of course we can't forget about the look on another V8 car owners face when you wip his %[email protected]# with a 2.3l. It's priceless. :D
  16. the turbo engines do have forged and dished pistons, it is not advisable to turbo a 2.3 na.

    The US had turbo/supercharged airplane engines in WWII, not exactly small engine performance, but it shows that we did boost things way back when.

    as far as people saying to swap a v8, he wants a good daily commuter. I have read posts on turboford where people with a TC got mid 30 mpg numbers by driving very reasonably (shifts under 2500 rpm), besides he already has a v8 car.
  17. History is my game :)

    Germans was using Nitrous in the planes in WWII :) while America was using water injection in the P-51's ( Mustangs). Now Germany was the first to use a Jet fighter in WWII also, which by the way barely out ran a mustang, but couldn't out dive a mustang :) Just goes to show you a Mustang rules in general :flag:
  18. Umm, the ME 262 had an easy 100mph gain over the P51 in level flight, maxing at 540mph to the P51's 437mph. Nothing the allies had could match the 262 for speed until the British introduced the Gloster Meteor that the allies had an operational jet fighter, and an aircraft capable of keeping pace with the 262.
  19. Hehehe I am a history major.

    The first US plane to break the sound barrier was the P-38(in a dive). Planes kept tearing apart from the shock until they put airbrakes on it that opened on a dive.

    I did not know that germans used N20 in their planes, Is the water injection thing just a version of the alcohol/water injection I read about in a techboard here.

    How big a gain could we see from it on the 2.3T?
  20. Well if ya' wanna get technical about it, it's not that planes tore themsleves apart because of the excessive speed. When the straight-winged fighters of WWII would encounter the 'sound barrier', or the dynamic forces that act upon the aerodynamics of the wing approaching the speed of sound, the wing's control surfaces would cease to function properly because they weren't designed to function under those dynamic conditions, thus the pilot would lose control of the aircraft.

    It's all about fluid dynamics baby. :flag: