My 2.3L N/A Project

Discussion in '2.3L (N/A & Turbo) Tech' started by 4cMadness, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Hey everybody, I've got a 1988 Mustang LX hatchback with a 2.3L, suffering from the usual "no power" issues. Like a lot of people with these cars, I want to build the engine to put out more horsepower, but here's the kicker; I want to STAY WITH THE N/A ENGINE !!!

    I do not want to swap to turbo, I do not want to put in a V8, so if those are your only responses, please don't bother. Now here's a list of the ideas I have so far:

    1.Port and polish intake manifold and head

    2.Multi angle valve job

    3.Either a custom header or the stock ranger one

    4.Ram air intake somehow connected to a functional hood scoop

    5.Bore out the cylinders and put in larger pistons

    6.A bigger (roller) cam

    7.Underdrive pulleys

    8.Entirely upgrade the ignition system, coil, dist., etc.

    9.I'm not sure if it's possible with the stock ECC-IV system, but reprogramming it (or replacing the stock computer altogether) to handle bigger injectors, bigger cam, etc.

    10.Advancing the timing

    So with that all said, how much horsepower do you think can be squeezed out of this engine by doing the above mentioned things and possibly more. Give any suggestions you can think of, and money isn't really a big deal because this project isn't under any time limit. And remember I DO NOT WANT TO GO TURBO OR V8 !!! This is strictly to see how much power can be pulled out of the existing motor without "doing what everybody else is doing".
  2. #1, Good luck.

    #2, the purpose of boring an engine is not to increase displacement; and

    #3 I'll give you....ehhh, 150 hp.

    Don't forget to mill the crap out of the head to bump the compression up around 11:1 or 12:1, you'll need that kinda compression to make any power.
  3. About #2: As I understand it the purpose of boring out the cylinders is to increase displacement. I believe that both bore size and stroke distance are factors of determining displacement, therefore by having a bigger cylinder (and therefore a bigger piston), and/or a longer stroke, you will indeed have increased displacement. If there's something I'm missing here, please elaborate, this is my first project so I'm looking for plenty of help.
  4. Boring an engine to the max, at best (on a big block V8) will get you ~10 cubic inches more of displacement.

    On a 2.3L, boring the engine might get you 4 more cubic inches, and that's boring it to the max (i.e. the block would be un-rebuildable beyond that point if it needed bored out).

    Anyway, the purpose of boring an engine is to create a new surface for the rings to seal against, if the old cylinder is out of round, deeply scored, etc. Much of the time, unless there is damage to the cylinder walls, 2.3L engines do not need bored, you can usually get away with a hone job and a set of rings.

    The only real way to increase displacement is to stroke the engine. Stroker kits for the 2.3L are disgustingly expensive (read $3000-4000 range), with some factory parts you could make it a 2.5L but honestly, why bother?
  5. YUP Red_LX is 100% correct on this. Your max output will be 150 tops and that sucks. You are either looking at a 2.3T swap or going larger in the engine bay.

    I am sitting with my 2.3L in a holding pattern because it is being used as a DD and cant be down at this time. So your project while it looks fun is only really good on paper if you dont add the numbers up and then its not too good anymore.

    If you like the 2.3L start looking for a swap engine because all the work you are planning to do will make a sweap 10x more fun.
  6. Well that sucks. :bang:

    But it seems like EVERYBODY who does a swap on a 2.3L does either the turbo swap, or the V8 swap. I want to go with something different. Maybe a straight 6? Or a straight 8? Are there any good straight 6's or 8's that will fit my car? I know I'll have to swap the tranny, driveshaft, rear, etc. I wouldn't mind retrofitting it to a carburated setup either, I'd actually prefer it just for the oldschool hotrod appeal.

    Another idea I think would be pretty cool, but probably really really hard to do, would be a 4 cylinder diesel engine. Talk about a conversation piece eh?
  7. I had the same idea and looked into the Straight 6 and then looked at the bolt on's that are out there and they are crap. Yes a lot of guys swap the 2.3 for the 2.3t but how many in your area havve done it? How many do you see as daily drivers in your town? here you have a base of knowlege and not much guess work. There have been more than enough that have paved the way for you and have ran into the issues enough to help guys like us out when we run into them.

    Odds are that if you go for the 2.3T and make a nice clean install, you will be different than everyone else. Add an intercooler and a Stinger Header and your on the way to 300 rwhp. Yes the V8's will still contend and pull away if they are modded, but the V6 and the other 4packs will be seeing your brake lights. If you are looking to be different, drop a Volvo engine into the car and see how different the reactions you get....

    My 93 is getting set up for a V8 so it will handle the SVO engine I plan to put in it.
  8. Straight 6 or straight 8?

    Well there aren't many straight sixes worth a crap that fit in the engine bay...and how many straight 8's are there in existence aside from those ancient Buick or Cadillac ones from the 40's or 50's?:shrug: Regardless, they wouldn't fit either.

    Anyway. There are guys that make 300 hp with 2.3L n/a's...these are the guys that run them on the dirt tracks and invest several thousand dollars into the engine. And they're unstreetable because they make this power at about 7000-8000 RPM (and they're carbed too).

    If you were to get a turbo 2.3L and put the work into it that you described, you could easily have near 300 hp. Aftermarket engine management, bigger injectors, and more boost would easily get you quite a bit more. I have $1200 into the rebuild in my bird and that includes most of the go-fast goodies I got like a log "header," rebuilt turbo, intercooler, etc. I figure I'm making 250-275 hp on a near-stock boost level (I need a bigger fuel pump).

    If you really want to be different, put in an supercharged 3.8 or something, though that is a chore in itself...
  9. Just buy an Esslinger n/a crate engine...full race, 240hp (270hp in 2.5L form), and only about 7 grand...ouch.
  10. After spending all that money you still have an undesirable, underpowered 4 cyl Mustang.

    If its nice looking and runs nice. keep it s a DD and sink your money into a SVO or a V8 car.
  11. Your nutts lol, 3,000 for a stroker kit? I have seen them run for less than 600. But I could be miss understanding your post.
  12. Well, if you're referring to a 2.5L stroker kit, it probably uses mostly factory parts so it's cheap. Esslinger's stroker kits (like their 2.8L kit) are in the $3-4K range.
  13. An old source for 2.3 hotrodding is Racer Walsh. I'm not sure of their status but google them and see what's available. I have a 2.3 turbo engine from a 79 pacecar mustang laying around I have thought about building but am willing to part with. Have you thought of a mild V6 build? Not at all hard to do.
  14. Esslinger does a 2.8L kit? At any rate their 2.5L kits are like 625 bucks, and I have seen good quality kits sell on ebay for 300.

    Hey listen man if you want to do a N/A project, do IT! You will beat most things on the road, have something different and you said money didn't matter. I myself will be doing an N/A 2.3L but I have an ace up my sleave when it comes down to the cost and power, that will put the turbo boys in shock and awww, then I will later turbo charge it and become one of those turbo boys!:nice: So you go ahead and do what you wanna do, so here is a link that might help ya out.
  15. look of fknbdfkr if he is still around and get the skinny on the volvo DOHC swap. even on a N/A engine I am sure you will pump out quite a bit more than 150hp.add a shot of the giggle juice and you will shock the hell out most of the other cars out there.
  16. Yes, they have a 2.5L kit. If it's $625 that's probably because it's rods and pistons only. Also, if it's on ebay how do you know it's "good quality?"

    As for the beating most things on the road comment....uhhh sure, whatever, as long as you're racing Geo Metros, base model Escorts, Civics with non-vtec SOHC 1.5L engines, etc.

    Who the hell are you anyway? :scratch:
  17. I have bought plenty of things from ebay that are in good shape, besides the kits included everything and were new. Too bad they don't have any kits on there at the moment. No doubt stroker kits sell for 3 to 4k but hey they also sell for less and that was the point I was trying to make. Also N/A 2.3L are cool, you see too many stock or turbo 2.3L

    I see it as a matter of opinion. You estimated he would bost about 150 (I estimated a lil more), well the echotec engines produce that and I have seen Calvaliers eat honda civics for breakfest and make geo metros cry. If he does the N/A up right he will beat alot of things on the road plus have something that not a whole lot of people do, he just has to decide if is is willing to spend that kind of cash

    Uhhhh the wizard of oz.
  18. I didn't say that nothing on ebay is good. I just said that I would question the quality of something like that on ebay for that cheap.

    And, you don't see any modified n/a 2.3's because it's not COST EFFECTIVE. For all the money you'd have to throw at an n/a 2.3L to make 150 hp, you could make double that with half the cash (or less) with a turbo 2.3L.

    I dunno about you, but when I spend money on engine work I like to see worthwhile results.
  19. Neh I wouldn't.

    I have seen a couple. Sure it isn't cost effective, but he said money didn't matter and even if it isn't cost effective it still is neat because much isn't around.
  20. I have currently a 1991 Mustang LX convertible. I didnt need another Mustang project but I like convertibles and got a chance to own my first ever Mustang convertible so I jumped on it.

    Its a 2.3L EFI DIS, 5 spd, and 3.73 geared 7.5" rear.

    I dont feel I have the technical skill to rewire the car to do the EFI turbo swap (but have access to a 84,87,and 88 EFI turbos...go figure).

    You can do a N/A 2.3L but your biggest problem is the crappy cylinder head. Used to be the only way to hit over 200hp with a n/a 2.3L was to spend lots of money on a full port and polish job or buy a Weber sidedraft carb setup.

    If your gonna spend money on the motor, put it in the right places. Best single improvement would be to find one of the 2.3L aluminum NASH heads that Esslinger was producing. Not sure if they still are and they werent cheap but it was the single easiest way to make power and it gets rid of the 2.3L's biggest problem with making power.

    While 150hp may seem wimpy your car will be much more fun to drive with roughly 50% more power. Wont be a road rocket but it should put a smile on your face when driving it.

    If your not worried about good driving characteristics then you could push the edge farther and hit 200hp but dont expect good manners from it as a daily driver.

    My dad used to have a 75 Pinto runabout with a 2.3L that had fully ported and polished head with big valves, 11.6:1CR (had to run water injection with alcohol), a big .500"lift solid stabilizer cam, a adjustable cam sprocket (that slipped all the time), reworked 500cfm Holley 2bbl, and a long tube header. All his parts came from Racer Walsh. The Pinto was a beast. It had good highway manners but when leaving a stoplight my dad said it was either bark the tires or stall it. But when he got in the throttle the car would scoot like a rocket. When not in the throttle it got good gas mileage too. My dad had one of those in car computers that showed gas mileage, distance to cities, estimated time, etc.

    Me, I am the odd one in the crowd

    I am doing a 200 CID ( 3.3L) I6 swap into my convertible.

    I have a I6 K-member and a 1980 I6 motor. I also have found a I6 manual trans bellhousing and a T5 to bellhousing adapter.

    I am working on building a exhaust manifold and J-pipe to mount a T3 turbo to my 3.3L I6 motor and have it blow through the carb.

    If I have enough money I will be buying a Classic Inlines aluminum head which is a dyno verified 100hp bolt on improvement. If I cant afford the ehad I have a ported and polished 3.3L head ready to go on.

    For those that think there are no bolt on parts for the 3.3L check here.

    I understand this is a 2.3L forum and Im not trying to steer you away from the 2.3L. In your case I would still build a naturally aspirated engine. Ported and polished head, big roller cam, long tube headers, ported E6 lower intake with the Racer Walsh 2bbl carb adapter, ram air, and a very good super high energy ignition

    The I6 works for me because I have a 1980 and a 1981 Mustang with I6's and the parts to do the conversion on my 91LX already in my greedy little paws.

    I can tell you from my past experience that going from a 90hp motor to a 150hp motor in a Mustang sized vehicle was a noticeable improvement and while not considered fast was definately fun to drive. Add suspnsion mods and you may just like it.