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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everybody I am new to this forum but not to hot rodding. I built my first rod in the mid 70's. My problem is this I have a 27 C cab T pick up I am building. My first choice for a engine was a 4BT cummins. For many reasons. 1. I have been a heavy equipment mechanic for 35 years and a huge diesel engine fan. 2. To have something differnt than everything else out there. 3. Fuel milage and reliability. But I just can't seem to make the frame and front end hold up to that kind of weight and torque. Not to mention what it does to the handling on a car like this. So I have rethought this and because the car is so small it would to me be a natural for a 4 cylinder engine. And I want to use a ford engine in a ford so I figured the 2.3L would be the best choice for this. I want spirited performance so I will hop it up somewhat. If I could get about 140hp out of it I would think that it would be plenty in a light car like this. But the biggest reason for building this car is just for fun. I think I would have to use a automatic as pedal room is limited in the cab. My question to anyone who has done something close to this kind of build is this a realistic combo that will give me good performance. And any other hints or tips would be very welcome. Or if you just want to tell me I'm nuts thats fine too. Thanks Bill
 

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Good choice. The 2.3 is a good engine .
Over they years of its use it went from a pinto motor to a ranger engine. The early ones were carbed, the later ones EFI. you can convert a newer EFI back to carb if desired. There is also a dual plugged version that you can use. Parts from all years seem to interchange. I have used carb intakes on EFI motors.
I would do some reading on the dual plug version to be sure how much stuff actually interchanges. I used an early EFI engine (single plug version) in an older ranger and had to do some parts swapping, but with both engines at my disposal I had everything I needed. It ran pretty good.
IIRC the dual plug version had roller cam setup in it.
A turbo ed one from an 88 super coupe would be sweet.
 

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With these combos you can turn the boost up alot since its so low compression if its the computer controlled version. Get the turbo short block with forged pistons and use a 2 plug ranger head with roller followers. Do not use the ford motorsport cam its not for boosted apps.

The stock cam is good but some are better.

Welcome to Esslinger Engineering

Stock head works as well. A little more compression is no issue so might want to try to up it a little. They are very low cr until the boost hits. But stock they willusally take 20 plus psi of boost. And make north of 300 hp with ported manifold and open exhuast. Injectora are good fuel pump will need to be strong and look for a svo PE computer off ebay. I might be able to find you one fi you get disperate. Also source the largest vane air meeter. My brother has a merkur that will scare the life out of you. Mostly because it never stocks spinning the tires
roller rockers are a good idea, but the 2 plug heads can be thinner so be careful. Port out the stock exhaust manifold, put on a good t3/t4 type turbo sized for about 400hp, upgrade the injectors and go with an MS controller. Serious cheap fun and it'll keep up with most street hot rods.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
2.3 in rod

I like the idea of buying a turbo engine out of a wreck, but man they are hard to find. I might go with building a 2.3 with turbo as I think that would be the easy way to build what I want. I built the chassis very stout as I was going to put the 4BT in there. The rails are 2"x4" 1/8th wall with inside fishplates welded on in the stress areas. Like the front end and rear kick up. I am using a behind the axle spring in the front with a four bar. And have a four bar in the rear with coilovers. And anti swaybars front and rear. It will sit real low and has wide tires front and rear. What I didn't mention was I am a old dirt track racer and any car I build has to handle well. Now the good parts I have enough vintage tin and a vin. number so I can title it as a 27 here in the state of Oklahoma. even though the C cab part I am building from scratch and the bed. The bed will only be about 4 foot long so this will be a small light car. What I am really looking for is some one that has built a small car (sprint T or T bucket) that they put a 2.3L in to get some kind of idea as to what it will run like, when finished. I am not expecting it to run in the 12's or something like that. I just don't want to be passed by a smart car.:D I do have lots of sheet metal and chassis experiance. Having built many dirt cars and about 6 rods now. And as I said before this car is just for fun. And as a shop truck. I think I have added some pict's of my car when I was test fitting the 4bt to the chassis and a pict of my wife's tryke I built from a 883 sportster. Thanks Bill
 

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You can also turbo the 2.3 ranger motor as long as its the right year. But will have to pull the boost back. Be sure not to use the newer block with low tension piston rings. They will have masive blow by under boost.

Also be aware the engine is tall and not as narrow as it would seem. They will take up about the same amount of room as the v8.
the oil pan does, the top side is pretty narrow.

and I have one in my 78 Bobcat, which is about 2600 lbs. Even in NA form it'll scoot, but it needs high rpm with the work I've done to it. They're durable as hell too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
2.3 in rod

Yes the are about the size of a small V8 and tall. But I sized the engine bay for a 4BT Cummins and that is way bigger so I don't think that will be a problem. Thanks again Bill
 

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2.3 with 300 HP

Take a look at the Pinto motors that are being used at the race tracks across the country NOW.
They are useing Esslinger intake with Holly 390 or the two BB 500 Holley, and there several exhaust headers to use. Speedway Motors has a header at $129.00.
MOST OF ALL take a look at Speedway's stroker kit for the 2.3.....wanna hear the results before hand ? go to Utube and load 2.3 race engine...wow !
I have a 25 Ford TT truck and I was going to use the Pinto engine BUT I just found a 50 Merc flathead with a 3 speed overdrive tranny....both aint cheap to build.....good luck
 

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Take a look at the Pinto motors that are being used at the race tracks across the country NOW.
They are useing Esslinger intake with Holly 390 or the two BB 500 Holley, and there several exhaust headers to use. Speedway Motors has a header at $129.00.
MOST OF ALL take a look at Speedway's stroker kit for the 2.3.....wanna hear the results before hand ? go to Utube and load 2.3 race engine...wow !
I have a 25 Ford TT truck and I was going to use the Pinto engine BUT I just found a 50 Merc flathead with a 3 speed overdrive tranny....both aint cheap to build.....good luck
I went the NA route on my 2.3l... its about the same cost as a turbo build and half the power. my mistake.
 

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2.3 with 300 HP

Oh and Speedway also has a book on building 2.3s for speed......Man O man they sound good......anyone remember the Pontiac " Iron Duke" 4 bangers that powered many dirt track midgets ?
Ckeck out SCAT Performance's site too they make a balanced chank & stroker kit that is for sell through Speedway, their site has all of the data on HP ect.
 

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With the turbo setup and full factory intercooler the top end takes up alot of room with the efi manifold going over the valve cover. Cool thing is the turbo outlet point right at the throttle body opening. And lots of ford intercoolers out there that fit in between for nice short charge length the same is a motor without an intercooler.

Head gaskets are weak. They will always pop first if its stock gasket go in after it. And use ranger head bolts they are ne time use so buy new from ford or arp. Do not try to boost with pinto head bolts they will stretch easily. Pinto, mustangs, capris, rangers, merkur, cougar, tbird, and some others im sure all had tje same 2.3 block all the turbo blocks use forged pistons and usally have good bores.

Injectors are found in gm tbi in 53 pound not sure which ones but have seen them used many times.

You can also hog the entire top plentum out of the intake bottom one can be worked over as well. Use a standard trans to keep the cost down uless you drive alot of highway driving. The autos are just to fun on the highway.
the bottom half needs to be opened up some too, and for injectors just get aftermarket 60#'s. And you're right about the intercooler piping, methanol injection may be something to consider there... or just run E85 fuel...
 

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THere were a number of 4 clyinder turbo cars in the mid to late 80's that people drove to highschool. They were NOT fast in any sense of the word. Like the sunbird gt, merkur xr4ti , lebaron gt, probe gt, dodge daytona , hyundai scoop, and were some major flops.

Not sure what you are thinking that made them fast. They could not even pull a 9 sec 0-60 . Todays honda civic would smoke them.
 

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2.3 ford

The 8 spark plug head engine is hard to work on, also there were a few years that Ford did not drill out the squirter hole in the connecting rod, the bump was still there just no hole. It could scuff the pistons in cold weather . after ford realized the problem they started drilling the squirter again. Cat location problems. Ford had a few engines that had a burn off Cat in front of the turbo. A hard blast in a cold engine could crack ithe elements in the cat and the pieces would ruin a turbo. Also after a hard run with the turbo you should let the engine run at idle or light load to let the turbo cool down so you don't coke up the oil in the turbo. The Factory Turbo engines used stronger parts internally .
 

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THere were a number of 4 clyinder turbo cars in the mid to late 80's that people drove to highschool. They were NOT fast in any sense of the word. Like the sunbird gt, merkur xr4ti , lebaron gt, probe gt, dodge daytona , hyundai scoop, and were some major flops.

Not sure what you are thinking that made them fast. They could not even pull a 9 sec 0-60 . Todays honda civic would smoke them.
the dodge daytona and xr4ti can flat out haul *** when properly modified. Turbo, ECU, injectors, exhaust, and methanol/intercooling being most of what it needs.

those cars can easily hit 400hp on pump fuel and when you cut a little of the extra weight you end up with something pretty quick.
 

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I drove to high school in these vehicles catching rides with friends. They were Not fast. I have no idea what you are smoking. The Xr4ti was 5 speed and could barely squeak the tires. The daytona/laser turbo was junk , i dont think it made 140 hp.

Do you have any video of them from the 80's . Like a car and driver road test.

Not into these racing videos. They dont show hardware.

Faster car in the junior/ senior parking lot was a grand national.

the t bird made 142hp in 86

the svo made 175 hp in 86 and could barely make 7.5 secound in 0-60

If you said 1000hp, im out. You are a dreamer.
 

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Well dunno for sure on this but I do know that several of the Model A guys have installed the 2.3 in their cars to get a late model engine trans into the stock A to give some reasonable street performance. O fcourse those guys were not looking ot shred tires but to get down the road and keep up wiht trafic which they do..

Sam
 

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Post 22 corrections.

Svo should read - Xr4ti made 175hp. No highschool kid is going to throw aftermarket parts on their parents new car voiding its warranty.

Never drove/rode in a svo.
 
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