Camshaft selection for 2.3L NA in lightweight car

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by CoryM, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. Hey guys,

    Doing a little research here and 4 cyl fords are not where my experience is.
    My next project is going to use a 2.3L NA from a 88 mustang. The car its going into is going to be under 1500lbs and used for street driving and autoX. T5 from 90 mustang and 3.73gears (rear is from a 85 automatic). All stock except will have headers/exhaust and a custom intake (to fit under-hood). The intake will either be stock lower runners with a plenum aimed forwards (simpler), or a custom short runner/large plenum intake (more flow/lighter).

    Anyhow, I have zero experience with 4cyl so looking at cams they either seem stock, or bloody huge for a 4cyl. Im guessing mostly dirt track or turbo cams??
    What do you guys figure a good sized cams for my needs is? Id guess with headers/intake I would go for a little more duration, but I don't want to bleed off any compression. I don't think torque is a concern with 3:73s and low weight. I can handle a pretty rough idle, but only if its needed to gain more power. Any ideas as to approx hp? Good redline for a box stock 2.3L?
    At some point I will want to add a few lbs of boost, but not until the car is built/setup.

    There are better/lighter engines out there but I have had a fleet of these things as beaters so I know they are tough, and it looks like a reasonable aftermarket.
    Thanks for any help guys.

    This is pretty close to what the car will look like btw:
  2. Welcome has some na and turbo cams. Or you could use a roller cam from a ford ranger. I assume Lotus kit car. I am into british cars putting 2.3 turbo in MGB and have the same in wife's Mustang. As far which cam better for your application some others may give better advice. There may be other sources of cam I just don't know. Are you going fuel injection? Think about a turbo motor now with forged pistons I'm running 10psi boost but other are running a lot more.Best wishes keep us updated.
  3. How are you going to get it down to 1500 lbs?
  4. Thanks MGman.
    Yes, based on the Lotus Seven. Not using a kit though, building almost everything myself, more as a fabrication lesson than anything.
    Staying EFI for sure. For now I am just going to use the engine that is currently in my daily driver(the 88 2.3L). Just poke a cam and maybe a light flywheel in and run it. Once I am used to the car and sort the bugs out I will consider rebuilding the 85 or the 90 with forged pistons and add some boost. For now the boost is added weight, space and cost that I don't want to deal with.

    All I want to start is a cam to get a little more punch so I can drive it around. Looks like stock 2.3L make 88rwhp, if I can get that to about 100rwhp I will have the same power/weight as a stock 5.0L. Not exciting, but good enough for now and seems a reasonable goal.

    Shawn, if you click the link I posted you will see the car isn't much more than an oversized go-cart. 1500lbs is HEAVY for one of these and if I hit that I would be dissapointed, even allowing for the heavy engine. Some of the guys with bike-powered cars are under 1000lbs. Im expecting 1300-1400lbs.

    Thanks for any further help.
  5. FYI, you'll need to port the head to really see much of a gain from a cam swap, the factory head is the big bottleneck on these engines.
  6. I am running a camcraft cam now
    Take a look under the 'ranger and bronco' cam section.

    I have the 220-220. It is a good match for a fairly stock engine, giving good mid range torque still, and extended rpms. I'd say it's good to about 6000 rpm. Makes a nice difference from the stocker though :)
  7. I seen a Lotus Seven at Louisvlle KY British car shop. These cars are that light . Notice no doors you step in .The one I seen had no provision for top. When you are in this car you are on the ground. In picture height of van bumper to car height that is not trick photograph. Essinger catalogue has a Lotus Seven on the back cover. Good luck with project let us know
  8. Sorry about that man, I either missed that info/link or you just put it in. Looks like a sweet project, good luck!
  9. Actually, that is 88 bhp, not rwhp. You need about 106bhp to hit 88rwhp with a 17% driveline loss.
  10. Any ideas on the tightest LSA I can run before the stock ECU gets confused? Im going to guess 110LSA is a little too much. You know, Ive actually never looked.... do these things have a knock sensor? I see ford racing has some cams, but don't give much info on their site. Anyone have more info?

    Really? Thats pretty sad :D I figured anything from 88 would be done in rwhp numbers. Ok, well in that case I'd still only have to add about 12 bhp (SAE NET) to have the same power/weight of a stock 5.0L (according to whatever website I looked that up at).
  11. I've run the A234 on my 88 mustang. The computer did just fine with it. The real limitation in cam selection with a stock computer is overlap (one of the factors of overlap is LSA) and the rev limiter.

    The camcraft cam I gave you the link to is a very very similar grind to the A233, but with more lift. I've run this cam, and the A234 both on NA engines. I would not recommend the A234/A237 grind without more compression. It has a substantial loss of low end torque and driveablity, even compared to the A233. Yeah, this was in a full weight automatic mustang, so if your little lotus is a manual it should work ok, but would still benifit a lot from more compression.

    I've run 3-4 different cams in my 2.3, so I may know what I'm talking about.
    I wouldn't run the A234/A237 unless you have some other work done to the engine... such as milling the head for more compression, port work, and a better exhaust system. If you arn't doing some or all of these, the cam will be a poor match, and leave you disapointed.

    On a stock engine, or mildly modded (maybe 1 or 2 of the mods above) then I'd recommend that A233 grind or that camcraft I posted above. This is what I'd highly recommend going with.

  12. It's VERY sad. The saving grace is that they make a fair bit of torque and are durable. The power ratings for the turbos aren't that impressive, but the torque is.
  13. I am using presently a c o m p Cams 268H. Put it in this summer under the advice of our engine builder at work.

    According to my super scientifically accurate Butt Dyno 9000, I sacrificed a bit of low end grunt for some significant gains in the mid and upper range of RPMs. No more brick wall feeling at 5200rpms.
  14. I'm running an A237 in my Thunderbird and I really like it, but people with stock unported heads that run it just **** about it having no low end torque and not really making power until 3000 RPM. I personally don't think it feels any worse down low than a stock cam (even straight up) but it pulls MUCH harder on the top end.
  15. Thanks guys,
    Just have to remember this is a stock NA 2.3L :D
    Looks to me like the A233 maybe the best bet. The light weight, manual trans and 3.73 gears, it could probably handle the A234 but Im not sure it will make any more power. The Camcraft 205/205 looks interesting, but the LSA of 118 makes me shy away.
    Either the A233 and S234 are simple bolt in cams right? Not going to be any clearance issues?
  16. thanks for the advice,iam also looking for a cam upgrade on a non turbo 89 2.3 mustang i starting taking the head off a 94 ranger at the local junkyard,its the 8plug head,,will this roller cam work on my 89 2.3 4 plug?,,,,thanks
  17. Either Ford racing cam will work without any clearance issues. I'm really not sure what use that camcraft would be though. It is so mild that it is nearly stock, and yeah, that LSA is goofy.