4 Cylinder NA and TurboThis section is for questions pertaining to stock or modified 4 cylinders, including the performance 2.3L applications
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Thanks for sharing this with us. I am impressed with you knowledge and research. You have a great information. Even you told very pretty way. I feel like i am doing all of that when I am reading your article. I searching about it from many days. Finally I got it. Thanks again man.
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I just recently bought my 91 lx and I've been on the fence on what to do with it, turbo or the 5.0, then this last weekend while my friends were cruising we met this old guy that had turbo'd his 87 notchback, he let me go for a ride and I was convinced to turbo mine. Now I just need to find me a turbo coupe so I can start, thanks alot for this information.
Ok so the original post has VERY good information. But i am very dissapointed in the information i have seen people putting on here who obviously have no idea what they are talking about (I created this account to help straiten out the issues).
First issues i want to address is that the 2.3 did NOT come with cast iron pistons.... Who ever told you that needs to read more. The 2.3 NA stock pistons are cast aluminum.
Second, 20 PSI is outrageous to ever even try to throw at stock NA pistons. 5-6 PSI is acceptable, but they still wont last long there.
The stock fuel pump is going to need replaced for any HP above 150.
Now for the questions that need answers...
The 2.3 cranks are ALL the same. The only 2 differences are the 2.5 crank in the rangers have a longer stroke, and every 8 plug motor uses small main journals. All 4 plug cranks were the same, carbed, FI, SVO turbo, and Turbo Coupe. Also for a bit extra, the 95 and up ranger blocks are different and can not have a distributor installed in them.
MAF will work, but you need a tuner, you really should buy a tuner when you do anything to the engine. Moates has the QuarterHorse that works very well. You also have to get a larger MAF sensor.
MAF doesnt respond better to changes, it more acurately tells the amount of air coming into the engine. Speed density calculates the amount of air based off pressure (vacuum) and engine speed, combined with a programmed efficiency coefficient in the stock tune for the stock motor. These change when changes are made.
The cams out of all 2.3s are the same journal size, so in short yes you can swap them.
Just putting forged pistons in a 2.3 engine will make it ready for the boost people are talking about either. The common and cheaper to find are flat top forged pistons designed for NA. They CAN work for a turbo application, but boost is limited. You need forged turbo pistons that are dished to handle high boost.
If you plan on making any more that 120 HP the first thing you have to do is upgrade your fuel injection, or carb if youre willing to try it (ford did in 82 and 83, they scrapped it). You will need bigger injectors, and a way better fuel pump.
And for the BIG question, how much can they take? The simple answer is, with a stock 2.3 crank you can put out about 400-450 HP before the crank starts to flex. With about $4K in aftermarket mods, including a billet crank, good rods, pistons, and billet main caps, these engines have seen over 800 HP on several occasions. I cant give boost numbers, but i do know the HP capabilities.
I strongly suggest looking at ModdedMustangs.com if you want to learn more, i cant explain it all myself but we have a few VERY knowledgeable guys on there that know 50x more than i do about the 2.3's. One of them is an engineer. He has had many projects that have impressed me, including a mild stroked to 2.7L NA motor that put down 250 HP and almost 300 ft lbs of torque. And he currently has that same motor running supercharged making over 400 hp and over 500 ft lbs.
And for anyone who questions my knowledge, I am currently building a motor that will be running 10:1 compression, and low boost turboed. The stock turbo motors have 8:1 and stock NA motors have 8.9:1 And the T-C ECU and harness, running a quarter horse. I have been racing these motors since 2005, I know a bit about them.
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