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2.3 turbo swap questions

2195 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  mg man 75
could anyone tell me if a 86 turbo coupe would be a good swap in to a 88 2.3 mustang?
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Sell it and get a 87-93 coupe(chp body style) and then do a 5.0 conversion if necessary! no reason to swap into a newer 2.3L engine cause those motors stress out and blow out lol
I am putting an 85 TC motor in mine, once I get the suspension completed. 2.3s live forever if maintenanced soomewhat regularly.
Could anyone tell me if a 86 turbo coupe would be a good swap in to a 88 2.3 mustang?

Any of the "fuel injected" turbo motors, make good donors for a turbo swap and internally they are the same, with the exception of cam profiles, which vary slightly between models. Bin files are available for both "P" and "L" series ECU's, so with the addition of a tuner device such as the Moates 1/4 horse, you can get a decent tune off of a variety of ECU's, not just the LA3, found in the later turbo coupes. As these cars get older, 87-88 turbo coupes are becoming harder to find and most likely parts will get swapped out of any motor you buy, as you tune and modify your car, so as long as you find an engine in reasonable shape for a good price, I wouldn't hesitate with the purchase. It doesn't take much to get one of these engines to a reliable 300 HP level and even if you drive it around in stock form, it will give you a lot more punch than your current engine.

Sell it and get a 87-93 coupe(chp body style) and then do a 5.0 conversion if necessary! no reason to swap into a newer 2.3L engine cause those motors stress out and blow out lol

Pretty funny Dee...:D but I would ditch the CHP car for the swat team van instead, but I'd at least add a gun turret to the top, maybe some rocket pods on the side, probably throw in a F110-GE-129 Engine from an F-16, might have to cut a hole in the back door for the exhaust :yup: I'd show those 5.0 Mustangs a thing or two.
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**edited because two other ppl type faster than i do.

to do a basic swap, ie a street car to have some fun in, you'd need to swap the computer, wiring harness, engine of course :winks, and possibly your bellhousing/torque converter (i am uncertain if the bolt patterns are different). if you want to build a racer, then you should also plan on getting front and rear sway bars, upgrading the front brakes to drum or going full antilock all the way around, personally i would get a traction lok rear axle, a nice aluminum driveshaft, a world class t5 (manual) tranny if you dont already have one, a beefier fuel pump, a 140mph speedo, and several weight saving deletes.

if you have the complete turbocoupe, then you should have everything you need to do a basic swap no problem. but i strongly recommend that you either rip the engine apart yourself and give it a VERY thorough inspection, or take it to a good shop and have them do it for you. compression and leakdown test at the minimum, and remove and inspect the head. those engines are driven hard and its common for there to be problems with them unless theyre rebuilt. cracked heads, thrown rods, and blown and scorched cylinders are all fairly common. i'd hate for you to do a swap only to find out that the engine needed an overhaul after the fact.
same goes for the trans in the turbocoupe, unless you can/are planning on keeping your current mustang trans. if the previous owner of the turbocoupe habitually dumped the clutch, ground the gears, ect then the trans would need a rebuild as well.

any more questions, let us know and we will help you out.:)
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Thanks everyone for the input! So i will have a complete 86 tc and i will be doing a trans and motor swap. Should i also do the rear axle as well or is it the same? Also i will be going from the a4ld to the t5. Any heads up on that?
I’m in agreement with everything that Phoenix said, except for the wiring harness bit. I think is easier to just add a few wires to the stock harness and re-pin the ECU plug, but having said that I would grab the TC under-hood harness, since you would need the VAM plug from it and you never know when you’ll need a spare plug for something under the hood.

The stock rear end on your Mustang is more than strong enough for a slightly modified street driven car, so unless you are planning on using this as a drag car or abusing it continually, I personally wouldn’t want to carry the extra weight of the 8.8 rear.

Years ago, some of the guys at my shop used a package scale to weigh a 7.5” axle without traction lock. It weighed in at 121 lb. The 8.8 with traction lock weighed 188 lb. The traction-loc diff for the 7.5 adds another 11 lb. If your only criteria for measuring performance is the ¼ mile, then your difference just relates to forward acceleration, but if you like to make turns, this can be more of an issue.

Here is a link to an ET calculator--> ET-MPH-HP Calculator that you can play around with. The calculator is based on a vehicle with ideal traction and gearing. Diver weight is part of the calculation, so you probably want to weigh yourself before you get your hopes up. Just so you know, I weighed myself before posting this. 179lb. I could stand to loose 4 lb. and be at an ideal weight :laughlittand I would improve my ET by .02 secs.:gringreen

Here’s what the extra 56 lb weight difference looks like down the ¼. (These are just estimates)

ET / MPH computed from your vehicle weight of 2900 pounds and HP of 300 is 12.41seconds and MPH of 107.98 MPH.

ET / MPH computed from your vehicle weight of 2956 pounds and HP of 300 is 12.49seconds and MPH of 107.29 MPH.
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the thunderbird rear end is actually a 7.5 trac loc , but it is wider than a stang, it fits perfectly, but if you ever want to upgrage to hardened axles or swap to 5 bolt, you cant use stang axles, i would say keep the 7.5 trac loc carrier and do the swap, you may want to change the gear ratio in your stang if it's a 3:23 or 3:08, the tbird should have 3:55's. back to the engine keep everything untill the swap is done, and before you even turn a wrench order a 155lph walbro ( or larger) fuel pump to replace yor stock one a 155lph is used in the grand national so it's large enough to flow fuel ( thats whats in my car) a 255lph pump will flow enough fuel for a 500hp supercharged v8 so it's a bit overkill but will work. once that's in your hands start the swap, cause as soon as the swaps done your gonna wanna drive it, and the stock pump will NOT keep up to boost. and the tbird pump wont fit plus i think they had the inline pusher pump which are junk.
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sorry too many numbers in my head i have a 190lph walbro 155 is stock 5.0 and wont work.
I agree. Use the motor. It was the first motor in my car. The only reason it is not in there now. I intercooled, lot of mods, Etc etc. Running 20 psi with too small injectors and still ran 2 years and beat on and still ran with noise.
Like already pointed out rewire your Mustang easier than trying the turbocoupe wiring. You can use the 86 turbocoupe computer needs differant wiring done than normal. The vam wiring is wired differant. If want to go this way PM me and I inform.
Use the rearend, limited slip, larger brakes but is 3/4" longer on each side. I have a 85 in mine now. Old picture of a 86 in my car. Maurice
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