Please Help! Ideas/Tips on how to make my '93 2.3l (NA) Convertible Faster.

Realblaxxican

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Hello! My name is Malik, I bought my '93 Convertible Foxbody about a year ago. This is my first car, I love everything about the car. But frankly... Its really slow haha. I love the idea of having a 2.3l Mustang, but I have no idea what to do to make it a bit faster. When I bought this car, it was in really bad shape. I would love to also replace my stock exhaust but I have not been able to successfully find a after market exhaust for my Stang. If anyone has any tips or suggestions for me, I would truly appreciate it. Also, I was possibly thinking of doing a motor swap. I'm really indecisive right now, especially since I'm on a budget. Again! Any suggestions would be great, Thanks!
 
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91TwighlightGT

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Okay, here is the deal...

#1 - Nothing you do is going to be particularly cheap. While these cars have always been known for cheap speed, IMO prices on everything have gone up and they are getting to the point where you will need to seriously consider whether that car can cost effectively meet your goals. I have to bring this up because if you are on a budget, it will almost certainly be busted and you can buy newer Mustang convertible that will easily blow your Fox out of the water from the factory.

#2 - This brings us to the second point, which is what is your motivation for owning and modifying this particular car? There are always intangibles that are unknown to the rest of us on the internet. If your dream car has always been a Fox Mustang and you are just in love with the body style, then fair enough - that is probably most of the Fox owners on this site. In that case...

#3 - Okay, the meat and potatoes of this post. First, your 2.3L Mustang Convertible is probably the least desirable Fox Mustang they made, only made worse if it is equipped with the A4LD Automatic. Consider that you could likely sell your car and buy a better Fox Body for less money than you will spend on that one, and it will likely have better resale value down the road.

With that said, if you are dead set on making this Mustang into something, I would start with an end goal in mind. Is this supposed to be a mild cruiser? Decide what you want out of the car, then plan your build accordingly. In my opinion, there are basically only two options set for you to consider...

#1 - A 2.3L Turbo swap. If you go this route, your best bet would be to source a Turbo Engine out of an 87-88 Thunderbird. If your car is an Automatic, I would highly recommend swapping to a T-5 5-speed Transmission as well as the automatic is not reliable under stock conditions, much less under boost. You also have to source the ECU from the donor car to run the Engine and then rewire your harness to make it work. IMO this is not the best way to go as there are aftermarket ECU options such as the PiMP ECU that are plug and play for Turbo swaps, but they are a bit pricier. Still, better driveability and plug and play functionality can't be beat in my book.

It has been brought up before that the stock 2.3L engine can be rebuilt to accept a Turbo by changing Pistons and adding an oil drainback. This is true and can be done, however it is the more difficult route to go which is why the Turbo engine swap itself is more common. Realize, as one of our members who is doing this swap just experienced, that these engines are 30 years old now and you will likely still have to overhaul a Turbo engine if you buy one out of a salvage yard. I would not attempt to simply drop one in without going through it beforehand.

#2 - The other option is to swap to a 302. In this case, it is almost imperative that you have a donor car to swap all of the pieces that you need because you will be nickel and dimed to death trying to chase down random bits and pieces needed to make the swap work. This swap is well documented and is fairly straightforward, and is probably the most recommended thing to do at this point. While your car will still always have less value than a factory 5.0L car, having a 302 is always going to be a selling point over a 2.3L Mustang.

Lastly, if you are thinking just mild bolt on's for your Normally Aspirated 2.3L... forget it. These engines are pretty stout and can be fairly reliable, but they have a ridiculously restrictive cylinder head that kills any possibility of Normally Aspirated performance. There are basically zero aftermarket cylinder head options, and the ones that are available are designed with the Turbo engines in mind and have similar architecture to the stock engines. While people have done some cylinder head swaps with a Volvo Four cylinder, the reality is that it is heavy on fabrication and not cost effective to pursue.

PS: There are tons of exhaust systems available for Mustangs, even 2.3L cars. It really depends what you are trying to do before any recommendation can be made.
 
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Realblaxxican

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Okay, here is the deal...

#1 - Nothing you do is going to be particularly cheap. While these cars have always been known for cheap speed, IMO prices on everything have gone up and they are getting to the point where you will need to seriously consider whether that car can cost effectively meet your goals. I have to bring this up because if you are on a budget, it will almost certainly be busted and you can buy newer Mustang convertible that will easily blow your Fox out of the water from the factory.

#2 - This brings us to the second point, which is what is your motivation for owning and modifying this particular car? There are always intangibles that are unknown to the rest of us on the internet. If your dream car has always been a Fox Mustang and you are just in love with the body style, then fair enough - that is probably most of the Fox owners on this site. In that case...

#3 - Okay, the meat and potatoes of this post. First, your 2.3L Mustang Convertible is probably the least desirable Fox Mustang they made, only made worse if it is equipped with the A4LD Automatic. Consider that you could likely sell your car and buy a better Fox Body for less money than you will spend on that one, and it will likely have better resale value down the road.

With that said, if you are dead set on making this Mustang into something, I would start with an end goal in mind. Is this supposed to be a mild cruiser? Decide what you want out of the car, then plan your build accordingly. In my opinion, there are basically only two options set for you to consider...

#1 - A 2.3L Turbo swap. If you go this route, your best bet would be to source a Turbo Engine out of an 87-88 Thunderbird. If your car is an Automatic, I would highly recommend swapping to a T-5 5-speed Transmission as well as the automatic is not reliable under stock conditions, much less under boost. You also have to source the ECU from the donor car to run the Engine and then rewire your harness to make it work. IMO this is not the best way to go as there are aftermarket ECU options such as the PiMP ECU that are plug and play for Turbo swaps, but they are a bit pricier. Still, better driveability and plug and play functionality can't be beat in my book.

It has been brought up before that the stock 2.3L engine can be rebuilt to accept a Turbo by changing Pistons and adding an oil drainback. This is true and can be done, however it is the more difficult route to go which is why the Turbo engine swap itself is more common. Realize, as one of our members who is doing this swap just experienced, that these engines are 30 years old now and you will likely still have to overhaul a Turbo engine if you buy one out of a salvage yard. I would not attempt to simply drop one in without going through it beforehand.

#2 - The other option is to swap to a 302. In this case, it is almost imperative that you have a donor car to swap all of the pieces that you need because you will be nickel and dimed to death trying to chase down random bits and pieces needed to make the swap work. This swap is well documented and is fairly straightforward, and is probably the most recommended thing to do at this point. While your car will still always have less value than a factory 5.0L car, having a 302 is always going to be a selling point over a 2.3L Mustang.

Lastly, if you are thinking just mild bolt on's for your Normally Aspirated 2.3L... forget it. These engines are pretty stout and can be fairly reliable, but they have a ridiculously restrictive cylinder head that kills any possibility of Normally Aspirated performance. There are basically zero aftermarket cylinder head options, and the ones that are available are designed with the Turbo engines in mind and have similar architecture to the stock engines. While people have done some cylinder head swaps with a Volvo Four cylinder, the reality is that it is heavy on fabrication and not cost effective to pursue.

PS: There are tons of exhaust systems available for Mustangs, even 2.3L cars. It really depends what you are trying to do before any recommendation can be made.
Okay, here is the deal...

#1 - Nothing you do is going to be particularly cheap. While these cars have always been known for cheap speed, IMO prices on everything have gone up and they are getting to the point where you will need to seriously consider whether that car can cost effectively meet your goals. I have to bring this up because if you are on a budget, it will almost certainly be busted and you can buy newer Mustang convertible that will easily blow your Fox out of the water from the factory.

#2 - This brings us to the second point, which is what is your motivation for owning and modifying this particular car? There are always intangibles that are unknown to the rest of us on the internet. If your dream car has always been a Fox Mustang and you are just in love with the body style, then fair enough - that is probably most of the Fox owners on this site. In that case...

#3 - Okay, the meat and potatoes of this post. First, your 2.3L Mustang Convertible is probably the least desirable Fox Mustang they made, only made worse if it is equipped with the A4LD Automatic. Consider that you could likely sell your car and buy a better Fox Body for less money than you will spend on that one, and it will likely have better resale value down the road.

With that said, if you are dead set on making this Mustang into something, I would start with an end goal in mind. Is this supposed to be a mild cruiser? Decide what you want out of the car, then plan your build accordingly. In my opinion, there are basically only two options set for you to consider...

#1 - A 2.3L Turbo swap. If you go this route, your best bet would be to source a Turbo Engine out of an 87-88 Thunderbird. If your car is an Automatic, I would highly recommend swapping to a T-5 5-speed Transmission as well as the automatic is not reliable under stock conditions, much less under boost. You also have to source the ECU from the donor car to run the Engine and then rewire your harness to make it work. IMO this is not the best way to go as there are aftermarket ECU options such as the PiMP ECU that are plug and play for Turbo swaps, but they are a bit pricier. Still, better driveability and plug and play functionality can't be beat in my book.

It has been brought up before that the stock 2.3L engine can be rebuilt to accept a Turbo by changing Pistons and adding an oil drainback. This is true and can be done, however it is the more difficult route to go which is why the Turbo engine swap itself is more common. Realize, as one of our members who is doing this swap just experienced, that these engines are 30 years old now and you will likely still have to overhaul a Turbo engine if you buy one out of a salvage yard. I would not attempt to simply drop one in without going through it beforehand.

#2 - The other option is to swap to a 302. In this case, it is almost imperative that you have a donor car to swap all of the pieces that you need because you will be nickel and dimed to death trying to chase down random bits and pieces needed to make the swap work. This swap is well documented and is fairly straightforward, and is probably the most recommended thing to do at this point. While your car will still always have less value than a factory 5.0L car, having a 302 is always going to be a selling point over a 2.3L Mustang.

Lastly, if you are thinking just mild bolt on's for your Normally Aspirated 2.3L... forget it. These engines are pretty stout and can be fairly reliable, but they have a ridiculously restrictive cylinder head that kills any possibility of Normally Aspirated performance. There are basically zero aftermarket cylinder head options, and the ones that are available are designed with the Turbo engines in mind and have similar architecture to the stock engines. While people have done some cylinder head swaps with a Volvo Four cylinder, the reality is that it is heavy on fabrication and not cost effective to pursue.

PS: There are tons of exhaust systems available for Mustangs, even 2.3L cars. It really depends what you are trying to do before any recommendation can be made.
Thank you so much for all the information. I bought the car because I really love the body of the car, my dream was to own a Fox. But I will start saving for a 5.0, I only bought this 2.3 because the previous owner was selling it for $900. But I started loving the car more, I will definitely keep this Fox stock then. My end goal for this car is to make it a really nice daily. Thank you for your time!
 

General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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Here is some advice from an old guy (I think I am not old but people tell me I am so I must be)
you have a pretty nice convertible there, if the engine is in good working order, the trans shifts ok and crap ain't falling off drive it, keep up the maintenance while learning how an automobile works. You are young (judging by the age you show on your signature) and people will tell you this and that, and if you are not careful that nice car can become an un driveable crap pile, learn for yourself, and the members here will not steer you wrong.
What are your skills? (Automotive skills)
budget
working conditions
Think better not just faster.
 
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junkyardwarrior

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Jan 10, 2011
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Leave the 2.3 in it, leave it alone if it runs.

Very seldom to see a 2.3 fox body anymore. For that matter, all fox body Mustangs are hidden in this area;, there about 3 of them that I know of. maybe a couple more that I "think" I might know of, all are V8 and the first three are original 4 cylinder cars that were converted (and one of them is a 5.3 GM engine).

The 2.3 Mustang is basically worthless. Convertible? Takes it to negative value. You have to pay people to take them. I have an 89 2.3 convertible, really a nice car but it has zero value to anyone. So I am going to pull the engine/trans, give the bay a good cleaning and stick a roller cam in it and reinstall, then drive it as-is until it won't drive anymore. It's so slow that it's just funny to drive. Throw a set of gears in it, that helps. I was thinking about doing a 4.10 in mine. Won't go any faster but it'll get to speed quicker. Then focus on fixing the interior since you have to plant your butt in the seat(s). If the interior is trashed, you don't really have much motivation to do anything with the car, much less drive it, being a 4 cylinder. Many swap the engine and leave the interior alone, on mine I fixed the interior (wasn't too bad, but needed lots of cleaning) and honestly I like driving it more than my 92 GT which has a 427" small block and manual transmission. Oh and if the a/c don't work, fix that too. It's amazing how much nicer the car is to drive when you are sitting in a nice interior with working a/c. I ain't suggesting make a show car out of it, but if you clean it up and make it nice enough, it's a lot more enjoyable--even if it is slow.

2.3T swap is not worth the trouble, IMO. Lots of headaches, and lots of money. It's about as much money, time, frustration to swap a 5.0 into it from a donor car. I have a 93 coupe that's 2.3T swapped (from a Merkur XR4Ti) and it does have a little more "pep" but it's still slow. Those engines, with a good intercooler and the boost turned up to about 18 psi still only make about 240 wheel horsepower, at the most, in cool air. Sure that's more than twice as much as the stock 2.3 but they're still slow and still a headache. They aren't known for reliability. Think about it-the last 2.3T rolled off the line in 1988 (and a few were leftover for the 89 Merkur's) so that makes them over 30 years old, no telling how many times your donor's been rebuilt/fixed and how 'well" it was done. In my case, not very well. .040" overbore (beyond maximum for a turbo 2.3 Lima) and very loose at that, just worn out junk. Total rebuild including the turbo, set me back about $2500. Pistons and rods alone were roughly $1000. Then the transmission, rear end, intercooler, exhaust, wiring, and all of the other periphals that you need to swap it. It just ain't worth it. Way back "when", in the days when the old stock turbo pistons (TRW) were available for under $200 for the set, it was a cheap rebuild and cheap swap, but not anymore. Then figure the rods. Stock rods are many times bent. Aftermarket rods cost as much as a set of 8 302 rods. Pistons are all aftermarket now, $450+. The head? The head is extremely restrictive, to open it up & make some decent power is going to set you back $1500-$2800. That's ONE head-assuming your core head is not cracked (and most of them are). At that point the VAM EFI system is beyond over-taxed, as is the turbo, so add another couple grand for those upgrades. You'll spend $5K quick on one of these little turds, to make 400hp, and then fiddle with it every single day trying to keep it running. Keep the jackstands handy and keep the wrecker service on your contacts list.
 
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General karthief

wonder how much it would cost to ship you a pair
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I am growing, ah, lets say 'sad' about the ' 4 cyl cars are worthless and even worse if it's a convertible ' rhetoric.
Yeah, they are at the bottom of the list of desirable mustangs and the convertible, well there ain't nothing better than cruising around on a summer evening with the top down along the coast.
Who cares what it's worth, it ain't an investment like a stocks or bonds, if it runs good and looks good drive that thing!
 

91TwighlightGT

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I am growing, ah, lets say 'sad' about the ' 4 cyl cars are worthless and even worse if it's a convertible ' rhetoric.
Yeah, they are at the bottom of the list of desirable mustangs and the convertible, well there ain't nothing better than cruising around on a summer evening with the top down along the coast.
Who cares what it's worth, it ain't an investment like a stocks or bonds, if it runs good and looks good drive that thing!


To me the 2.3L cars are basically just like any other old car. Drive it and enjoy it, but be careful about spending too much money into it if you really want something else. The main issue with dumping a lot of money into them is that they just will never hold resale like an original 5.0L car will, so you really have to question whether or not you are spending your money in the right places.

I'm speaking from experience, too. I have a '93 that I've got every bit of $7,500 invested... but if I sold it today I think I would be hard pressed to get even half of it back. It's fine for me because I want to drive it and enjoy it as a 2.3L, and I also still have the '91 GT as my fun car. For people who are new into the hobby, it's just hard to recommend putting money into a 2.3L convertible because they are unfortunately just so undesirable.

If he was rocking a notchback it is a bit easier to put money into because someone will want to 5.0 swap that car at some point. Even a hatchback is fine if it's particularly rust free... but convertibles just aren't the hot ticket in the Fox market like they are in the classic stuff.
 
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rockyracoon

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It's a shame this wasn't 12-to 15 years in the past. I've built a few 2.3 T cars always used 87-88 turbocoupes (which were plentiful) as the donor cars. I would buy wrecks for under 500 bucks, have em towed home and get to work. I built one in a 93 mustang and another in an 87 ranger. Ran upwards of 27 pounds of boost and never even blew a hg.
Very simple swap if u have everything from the turbocoupes including the computer.
Wire in barn door meter, repin 4 or5 wires at ecu and few other odds and ends map to bap sensor etc. Used to love the sound when you let off the gas, when the throttle plate closed . Until I started using a bov but that was just another cool sound. Back then I even ran a wideband from 14.7-1 .com . Come to think of it there's an 87 turbocoupe in a local u-pull it if ur interested and as of 3 or 4 months ago the motor was still there. Even had the top mount intercooler.
 
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junkyardwarrior

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If one is to consider a 2.3T swap from a turbocoupe, one should seriously consider rebuilding the TC engine. Over the last ~20 some years I've bought several 2.3t cars (merkurs, t-birds, svo's, one cougar). Each and every one of them needed or ended up getting an overhaul. My current Mustang is 2.3t swapped, and has been mostly reliable (almost unheard of for a Lima 2.3 turbo), BUT I also had to put a significant amount of money into the engine overhaul, and when I say overhaul, I mean bore/hone, crank machining, bearings, aux, everything. Don't halfway do it, always rewarded with having to do it again later on (from experience). This where a big issue comes in. Factory replacement (TRW) turbo pistons are NLA and have been for a good 15 years or so. So that leaves you with two options: Used factory stuff, typically $150-$200, or new aftermarket stuff such as wiseco, CP, etc. and those are gonna run you $500 or more for only FOUR pistons. It wasn't long ago you could buy 8 of them for the same price, for a 5.0. Still can if you shop. Then the stock 2.3 rods, they aren't the strongest, ok for sub 5500 RPM and sub 300hp. Once you start making more power and rpm, you need rods. Another $500 for only FOUR rods (Carillo, and I think SCAT makes a set now, Crower used to but they stopped). Then you're looking at gaskets, seals, aux shaft, distributor, bearings, and a crank kit. $500. If you want more than 300 engine hp, you must get a ported head, or do it yourself but you have to know what you're doing because the bowls have water all around them and it's very very easy to bust through. Up to $2500 for a ported iron head, but they work GREAT (BoPort racing heads). Factory turbo "slider" (similar to flat tappet) cams are all worn out with a ditch in the lobes, so you will very likely need a camshaft. Aftermarket, $400. Same price as a V8 cam with half as many lobes. Or a Ranger/Mustang (91-93) 2.3 cam, which is a roller....also have to replace the followers obviously, BUT the problem with the factory roller is that you will make LESS horsepower with it than you would've with the factory turbo slider, but you'll have a better idle and low speed running 2.3 with the roller. I did this swap and retarded the cam 5 degrees to get 'some' of the top end back but it's still significantly down on power from 5000 rpm+.

Then you gotta do other mods, intercooler, tubing, exhaust, wiring, computer, injectors, intakes, vane meter, etc. It all adds up, you'll have $4000 or so into it once you figure it all in. At that point, you can pick up a wrecked 5.0 and rob the 5.0 specific stuff and swap it in, for a lot less $$$.

But a 2.3T is fun, as is mine. Surprisingly fun. Just not cost conscious and certainly not as reliable as a stock 5.0 is. 2.3t's are known for being on jackstands often ;)

2.3t is also not known for fuel mileage. Mine is a 93 coupe and typically averages 25 mpg mixed city/highway. All highway I can sometimes see 30. All city, typically 20. And now that it's running/driving, it's STILL a 4 cylinder Fox body, which exactly nobody wants, it's only saving grace is that it's a coupe and that it's a 5 speed. Tried to sell it a dozen times but again, nobody wants a 4 cylinder, turbo or not. This car has other mods, rack/shaft, brakes/spindles/wheels, interior, lighting, cluster, all tasteful and useful but not ugly, you'd think somebody'd want it but nope...that pesky 4 cylinder kills it's value.

I bought a Fairmont the other day and might consider taking the 2.3 out of the Mustang and putting it into the fairmont, then selling the coupe. Dunno yet. I'm not all that attached to it.
 
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65ShelbyClone

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You guys have to remember that the OP is in CA. Smog laws prevent swapping in an engine that is older than the car so that rules out a 2.3T. No smog ref would ever sign off on the swap even if it passed the sniffer and a smog tech would fail it as soon as the hood was opened.

Leave the 2.3 in it, leave it alone if it runs.

Very seldom to see a 2.3 fox body anymore. For that matter, all fox body Mustangs are hidden in this area;, there about 3 of them that I know of. maybe a couple more that I "think" I might know of, all are V8 and the first three are original 4 cylinder cars that were converted (and one of them is a 5.3 GM engine).

The 2.3 Mustang is basically worthless. Convertible? Takes it to negative value. You have to pay people to take them. I have an 89 2.3 convertible, really a nice car but it has zero value to anyone. So I am going to pull the engine/trans, give the bay a good cleaning and stick a roller cam in it and reinstall, then drive it as-is until it won't drive anymore. It's so slow that it's just funny to drive. Throw a set of gears in it, that helps. I was thinking about doing a 4.10 in mine. Won't go any faster but it'll get to speed quicker. Then focus on fixing the interior since you have to plant your butt in the seat(s). If the interior is trashed, you don't really have much motivation to do anything with the car, much less drive it, being a 4 cylinder. Many swap the engine and leave the interior alone, on mine I fixed the interior (wasn't too bad, but needed lots of cleaning) and honestly I like driving it more than my 92 GT which has a 427" small block and manual transmission. Oh and if the a/c don't work, fix that too. It's amazing how much nicer the car is to drive when you are sitting in a nice interior with working a/c. I ain't suggesting make a show car out of it, but if you clean it up and make it nice enough, it's a lot more enjoyable--even if it is slow.

That is probably the best advice for this situation. Clean up the car, make it decent, and enjoy it for what it is, the way it is.

They aren't known for reliability.

I can't speak to your personal experiences, but that's probably the first time I've heard someone say that. What's been unreliable for you?

2.3t is also not known for fuel mileage. Mine is a 93 coupe and typically averages 25 mpg mixed city/highway. All highway I can sometimes see 30. All city, typically 20.

Part of that is aerodynamics, but you know that's good economy, right? It's in line with what the '87-88 Turbo Coupes could do with the long slick shape. SVOs and Merks always got worse mileage than the TCs. I have an '04 Tacoma 2.4 2WD 5-spd. The engine is vastly more modern and the aero probably not much worse than a Fox3, yet the best it can do is 23mpg mostly highway. I had a '94 2.4 5-spd before that and it would do 27-28 easily. Newer does not necessarily mean better.
 
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junkyardwarrior

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48
I can't speak to your personal experiences, but that's probably the first time I've heard someone say that. What's been unreliable for you?
I've owned 5 or 6 turbo Lima 4's. All but one have had some sort of failure or in one case, multiple failures at different times. #2 or #3 rod just exits the block cruising the highway at 55mph, just under 2000 RPM, bang. No warrning no knocking nothing. That happened twice. One was #2 rod the other was #3 rod. First was an 86 Merkur XR4Ti the second an 84 TC. Neither intercooled, both bone stock. Both had about 100k miles. Then I had an 84 SVO. SVO's are neat for their day but nowadays you can buy a 2.3 ecoboost that handles better is more comfortable quieter smoother riding, etc. Anyway on the SVO, the wiring harness was a nightmare. The insulation would just crumble and fall off and then you have bare wires touching each other resulting in (usually) a breakdown of some sort. I carried electrical tape with me wherever I went, when it'd die, I'd get out, jumper the EEC connector with a test light and find out where the problem was, then fix that wire--on the side of the road. Several times, drive a little further just to have it happen again. I finally replaced the entire harness with one from an early 85 SVO and that seemed to solve it. One day I'm enjoying the car, and it just dies, on the long freeway bridge across the river. I coasted as far as it would go and had to get out on the bridge to figure out what was wrong. Distributor rotor was not turning. This was on a fresh rebuild 2.3t. Found out later after having it towed to the house that the aux gear and distributor gear ate themselves, and sent metal through the entire engine which also destroyed the rods, mains, aux, and cam bearings. Total rebuild--again. Used a billet aux gear and the correct dist gear. After that it went a couple years without issue, drove it maybe once a month or so. Maybe twice a month in the summer. One afternoon I got rear ended, bent up the OE exhaust and cracked one of the OE tail light lenses. I fixed those and put the car on the market for $1800, 5 months later a collector purchased it and parted it out. They are still 4 cylinder Mustangs and still carry no value to speak of, even with the specific SVO parts (K member, rear, brakes, trans, everything). Afterwards I bought a really nice 86 SVO and was bone stock, red. Interior was perfect. Exterior was 9/10. I actually showed it some and won a couple trophies with it. On the way back from a show about an hour from the house, it just dies. No warning. Looked down, no oil pressure. Pulled the cap off and found that the rotor was not turning. Once again, failed aux shaft & gear. Pulled the motor and got all the metal out, threw some rings and all new bearings in it and drove it another year or so until the TFI died. Replaced that on the side of the road. Didn't drive it much for about a year, then decided to take it to the drag races (just to watch). On the way there it died in the middle of town. I was able to start it but it had zero power. Suspected cam belt and wasn't wrong. Replaced it in an O'Reilly's parking lot. I ended up going to the races and while there was offered a trade. Trade my 86 SVO for a 84 GT AND an 85 Mustang 5.0 (LX?) hatchback. So I traded on the spot and drove the 84 home. Lot more torque, noise, etc. Typical dumped exhaust. I put some tailpipes on it and drove it for, gosh, 7 or 8 years without a single problem. Finally just wore the engine out and tossed in another mildly built 5.0 and did some carb tuning, got 27 mpg on the highways out of a 5.0! The other car was really a parts car but it ran & drove, but it was AOD and I hated the way it shifted. Sold that one for what I had in the 84, so the 84 was basically free; and it was a nice car inside and out. Continued to drive it until I finished up my big block swapped reg cab 83 F100, then sold the GT and drove the truck for about 5 years or so until the guy I traded the 84 and 85 with, offered me to trade for yet another 84 SVO which was a lot nicer than the one I had before. Traded. Sold the SVO a month later, and bought an 03 Lightning which I drove for 11 years, moved to a different place, bought an enclosed trailer, and traded the lightning straight up for a 2003 F250 CCSB 4x4 Lariat, which I use to pull the trailer.

So yea my experience with the 2.3T hasn't been great.

Current one (93 coupe swapped) has been decent as far as reliable but isn't real powerful. I reckon I could do a lot of work to it and probably double the power but with that, reliability goes way down, so I leave it alone and enjoy it as a daily driver. In the winter time, when the turbo "hits" at about 2500 RPM, it's kinda fun but in the summertime the air is a lot less dense, the engine runs a little rich and it just isn't much fun--always in boost because it doesn't make enough power off boost to pull itself. Remember, it's a little hilly here, or at least where I drive it is. Flat ground it's ok but there's not much flat ground. You're either going up a hill or down a hill. 900' hill going home every day, up one side coast down the other. Then once you're down the other side, you go up another 430', down the other. By time I get home the elevation is actually lower than it is at work but getting there and back requires some climbing. The little coupe is mostly fun to drive but it isn't fast by any means. It's about the same as a stock GT 5.0 fox body but a little more fun and less reliable.