Anyone Ever Build A Turbo Set Up From Scratch?

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by cadams155, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. Hey everyone, I am wanting to add some power to my 2.3 and I don't necessarily want to take the common way out and drop in a V8. Beeen looking around and a factory turbo motor is pretty difficult to find. My question is, has anyone taken a factory 8 plug 2.3 and made it into a turbo? I plan to rebuild the motor at some point regardless, so swapping to forged internals isn't a big deal. I've tried to contact stinger performance to see what and how they recommend I do it, but they were less than helpful. The only answer I got was to find a factory turbo coup motor and do a swap. Any help is appreciated. Thanks
  2. I'm afraid you may get a similar answer on this board as well. Dollar and time wise, it's simply not worth the work. Is it possible? Sure, but you'll also be looking at a stand alone management system as well as the gorged internals and head work needed. I'm running a turbo swap in my '89 right now and love it. If you're set on doing it the hard way, you've got your work cut out for you. That being said, it would be unique. Either way, turbos rock!
    tealtiger93 likes this.
  3. There really isn't much difference between the turbo engine and the N/A engine. Pistons are forged in the Turbo and the engine is lower compression. You could rebuild the N/A engine to support a turbo, but it isn't really recommended because it will be more costly.

    Keep looking and find an old turbo coupe. Having a running car to pull parts out of makes it much easier because you don't get nickel and dimed for the odds and ends.
    tealtiger93 likes this.
  4. It's been done, it's just more difficult to do it that way.

    The only REAL difference between a turbo engine and n/a, is the turbo engine has dished forged pistons, and a tapped return in the block for the turbo oil drain.

    What's sad is that I have two turbo engines (one mostly complete, one just a long block, both need rebuilt) sitting at my grandma's house that I tried to practically give away for 2 years and nobody would take them. Now they're just sitting there until one of my brothers gets them to take in for scrap.
  5. Wow. Scrapping those would be terrible. Wish I could come get them from you. Running out of funds on my current build though. I am thinking about doing a simple port, polish, and custom cam on my stock motor for now. Turbo build will have to wait until later. Waiting to hear back from shops for prices though. We shall see.
  6. I don't want to scrap them, but my grandma doesn't want them at her house. Problem is that they're 45 minutes away from where I live, I have nothing to haul them in, nowhere to keep them at my house, I'd have to get my brother to help me load them even if somebody did buy them, and I'd have to coordinate everything to make a sale happen. I've had two different people tell me they were definitely coming to get them and never did, so I gave up.
  7. If only you weren't on the opposite side of the country. :confused: I just got a '72 Pinto with the intent to do a 2.3 swap.

    Yes, people have turbocharged DP 2.3s. Put 2.3T pistons and super alloy exhaust valves in one and you essentially have a 2.3 long block minus the cracked head.

    Would it be more expensive than a 2.3T swap? I think it's debatable and dependent on what parts either engine needs to be replaced. A totally complete and good running 2.3T will be cheaper, but IMO, not so much one that needs a rebuild.
  8. I didn't know you still had those motors! The one was in good running order and the other was built, no?
  9. This really depends on the motor. If you have an older 4 plug head, then you have to modify the combustion chamber shape from its heart shape to more like a D shape like the turbo heads. Then you use the proper forged pistons. The rods may already be forged depending on the year, must '94 and older motors will have forged rods. If the motor does not have forged rods, you need to obtain some. Once you have the proper pistons, and the right shape combustion chamber, you have to decide how you are gonna tune it. you are also going to want to use the turbo sized injectors, either #30 or #36 or larger.

    You have several available options, which vary by year. If you have a '95 or older, you can either swap in a stock turbo computer, and turbo wiring harness or repine your stock harness. You need to install the VAM that matches the computer you choose. Or you can retune the stock computer using something like a quarterhorse. This is not a user friendly option to those that are unacquainted with tuning. Or you can use a plug and play aftermarket computer like PIMP. I personally like the PIMP option because it eliminates the restrictive stock VAM and opens up a lot of custom modding options, and it is easier to tune in my opinion. Of you have an OBD-II system, they are easier to retune and can be done with something like an Xcal3. You need a larger MAF because the stock one won't handle boost well. The Lightning MAF is a good option. You can still use an aftermarket computer, but they are not (yet) plug and play, but instead have to either be spliced to the the stock harness, use a custom harness, or use some kind of adapter board. But again, I think they are easier to tune, and they can support some features a reprogrammed stock computer can't do. You can use Megasquirt or AEM, and there are other options too. I like Megasquirt because of the community support and relatively low cost.

    Is it worth it as opposed to swapping in a turbo motor? Depends on what you have to start with. On a DP (8 plug) setup, you can use the stock head unmodified, use a turbo computer and a VAM. the turbo injectors, and do some minor rewiring, and it supposedly works well. But the whole motor swap is pretty easy too, and if one is readily available, I think is probably both cheaper and less involved. If you had a Ranger, it may be a different story though. The Ranger uses different accessory placement, and there are interference issues with a whole motor swap, so many Ranger enthusiast encourage swapping internals instead of swapping motors.
  10. Where are you located? I am referring to the2.3 motors you have?
  11. Northern WV.