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1985 Mustang (Maybe) 2.3 Turbo Build
#1

    I've had this 85 GT for about 14 years.  Back in the early 90's I bought an 83 Regal with a 3.8 NA V6 for a daily driver.  My brother convinced me to drop a stock dingle ball hone rebuilt 455 with a switch pitch TH400 would be a lot more fun to drive.

Cliff Notes:  The Regal got stolen and stripped.  Over the next few years we went from just gutted, to back halved, to a 650hp methanol injected 455 full race car.  By the end of the 90's my brother bought the company he worked for.  No more time to race, so we got rid of everything.

Forward to the mid 2000's and I was divorced and bored.  Didn't have the money to go back full boogie racing.  So I looked around and said get a Fox Body.  With all of the web forums around there are plenty of used parts for cheap to build a fun toy.  I found this 85 GT in Knoxville and drove it home to Memphis.  The body was pretty straight, but paint shot.  The only real bad spot is the area around the sunroof.  It ran pretty well, but leaked from several areas.

I yanked the engine, reringed, rebearinged, and bought some cheap aluminum heads and a TFS Stage 2 cam.  It was a lot of fun, but the wiring started showing it's age.  So 4 years ago, I decided to completely rewire underhood with a more modern fuse/relay center to replace the old wiring, fusible links and hide most of the harness.

I bought a 351W to swap, but just never felt like doing it.  My brother sold the company long ago, got divorced as well and remarried.  He finally said one day, we should build another Buick.  Grandiose dreams of a light weight full tube car.  But we both have klds in college.  I said that has to wait.  He said, well if you want to do something with the Mustang count me out if it's a SBF.  However, if you want to do something different like a 2.3 turbo count me in.  We had both watch YouTube videos of the Hubers and knew what these are capable of.

So, while trying not to break the bank, I set off on this 2.3T journey.  Originally it was to see how much power for as a little money as possible.  Then Black Friday came around and I bought a Bo-Port Stage 3 head.  While it was a great discount, the dirt cheap HP is out the window.  I've also ordered a BP Stage 3 cam and valve train, so the head has had some money invested in it.

Back to the 85.  I still wasn't feeling it on the car, but felt now, I've gone down the rabbit hole hotrod projects seem to go.  The car is still a nice example of an 85GT but I've done so much to it, it will either not sell or not sell for anything worthwhile.   Then suddenly out of the blue, the guy I bought it from over on FourEyedPride reached out.  His friend is the 2nd owner of it.  The friend's late father bought it for him in HS and he was wondering if I would sell it.  Why yes I would.  He also is interested in a possible trade for a 79 Fairmont.  Even better.  I wouldn't think twice about cutting up and putting a cage in that.  He's building a house, so no trade immediately imminent, plus this whole pandemic you know.  

I want to build a 10 second capable, street legal car, whether it is the Fairmont or the Mustang or even something else.

I'll post up some pictures of the journey so far and the next steps.

   
           

About 8 years ago, I converted it from carb to Holley C950 TBI EFI. Works pretty well. I came across a great deal on a used Holley Avenger TBI setup. Same low pressure (think GM TBI) TBI setup, but with a HP ECU. I always meant to swap to the HP when I rewired the car, but now that I am planning on a 2.3 swap, I am going to go with a ECU Master Gold Box MS3. My header has EGT bungs, so in the future I could add a 8x8 extender and thermocouples and do individual cylinder trims.

So far, I have bought a used 87 Tbird 2.3T. Pretty complete and in pretty good shape. The cylinder bores have very little wear. I have started to buy all the parts needed to put it back together with a dingle ball hone job and all new bearings. I bought a set of Crower Sportsman rods and new pistons. I've got a gutted and 90 rotated upper on the way. I gave up on making a lower to 4150 adapter. I just don't have access to tools needed and the gutted upper fits.

I've also used some Moroso block fill and filled the block to the height of the temp sensor hole. NO, I'm not boring the block. I spent my wad on the head, so no new pistons or machine work. YES, I know it's not ideal, but I am about to go measure the bores after the concrete has set up for a week.

I joked on another site that I avoided working in the cool months of winter, so I could get started in June when the heat and humidity hit Memphis. Looks pretty true.
Building (notso) cheap turbo Lima power!  450 HP or bust!
Cordova,TN
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#2

Lots of stuff going on, so it may be a little helter skelter when it comes to pics.  My wife is enjoying a quiet Mother's Day reading out on the patio with some margaritas.  Going to grill steaks in a bit so why not use this time to rebuild the HX35.  I got this thing cheap and it looks like it was hardly run.  It was supposed to have come out of a classroom environment.  But the bearings are trashed...so much so that the compressor wheel has hit the housing and damaged it.  So I ordered a stock style 7 blade replacement.  But I got it apart, cleaned up and replaced the journal bearings and thrust bearing, plus the o-rings, oil deflector, etc.  As soon as the compressor wheel comes in, I'll finish reassembly.


   
Building (notso) cheap turbo Lima power!  450 HP or bust!
Cordova,TN
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#3

Does anyone know anything about a HX35 that uses 2 rings on the turbine seals?  I bought a kit from TurboLab America and it only had one.  I emailed them and they sold and shipped me a second ring for $8 which seems super reasonable.  Except the turbine will NOT go in.  After monkeying with it far too long, I took the rings off and they are too big.  They are the gapless kind and they butt up and won't go in.  I emailed TLA several times and he is stumped.  Said I should order a new center housing.  Well, that's too easy, so I have spent countless hours Googling and came up with some Holset manuals that show HX35 turbine with 2 rings...although it looks like the vast majority have only 1.  I searched and xref'd all kinds of stuff and came up with a HX50W rebuild kit for $22 that has 2 turbine seals in it.  Everything I've found says they are the same for 2 ring HX35, HX40 and HX50 turbines.  We'll see in a few days. 

In the meantime my latest splurge from BoPort showed up.  Stage 3 cam, roller rockers, and HLAs.  Man, my shortblock is going to hate me one day!

           
Building (notso) cheap turbo Lima power!  450 HP or bust!
Cordova,TN
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#4

This oddball turbo saga continues. So getting 2 stepped gap (gapless) turbine seals are too big. The ends butt up in the seal bore. I looked and HX50 uses 2 rings. I ordered a cheap rebuild kit. The seal rings at first glance seem the same as the old ones. BUT installing them is another story. They are too small. They have an end gap of about .012. The old rings actually look good and have an end gap of .004. So going back with them. Probably will need or want a newer turbo by the time it needs rebuilding next time, so the rings will really be a non-player.

So, I went to put the compressor wheel on so I could put everything together and bag the turbo up. Hmm, when I got to tightening it, it stopped turning. What's going on? The wheel is obviously bigger than the old damaged one. What the hell? A quick glance tells me, wait this new one is an 8 blade and I have a 7 blade. Oh crap, I got the wrong one shipped to me. I get on Amazon and NO, I ordered the 8 blade. Why???? I need a 7 blade. I thought I ordered a 7 blade. I looked at the 7 blade and am not sure how I ordered the 8 blade. Oh well, tomorrow I get the 7 blade.

I also have ordered a MS3 EFI Source GoldBox, a CAS from Stinger, and a gutted/rotated upper. I probably will get it running on the distributor first, but eventually hook up the CAS and go sequential. My header has egt probes, and with an 8x8 extender could get 4 thermocouples and log egt's and do individual cylinder trim. I've spent too much money at the moment. I need to find out if the previous owner of my 85 is serious about wanting it back. Or else, I am going to pull and sell the 5.0 and start putting the 2.3 in.
Building (notso) cheap turbo Lima power!  450 HP or bust!
Cordova,TN
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#5

Man, I have spent some money this year on this car.  Or another Fox Body.  I have a K member, coil overs, Stange struts, Strange shocks, Team Z stock location drag springs, Baseline upper relocation, BoPort Stage 3 head, Stage 3 Cam, beehive spring upgrade, roller rockers, HLA's, ported lower, gutted and rotated upper, Stinger Fuel rail and regulator, CAS, all bearings, rings, Sportsman rods, new pistons, water pump, oil pump, header, HX35, 38mm WG, Gold Box MS3, motor mounts, engine accessory mounts, and a whole smorgasbord of other little stuff.

The only big ticket items needed are injectors, a throttle body, and fuel line components.

Oh, and a helmet.  Speedway had a closeout or garage sale and I got a new full face helmet for $129. 

My nephew has a 93 or 94 F350 crew cab long bed with the 7.3 IDI.  It's down a hole..probably a broken piston or ring.  We went and picked up another engine a few weeks ago.  He's going to rebuild it.  I may throw my block in the truck and head over in a bit to help him knock the cam bearings out and wash and hone the block,  It looks extremely low miles since a rebuild, but it has a cracked head.  From all the signs, they were trying to figure out why it was over heating.  New water pump, no thermostats, and it looks like they replaced one head gasket..it's different than the other.  But that is the head that is cracked.  So since he has a cam bearing install tool, I will get him to knock out the Aux bearings, replace and hone the block.  Then give it a good wash and WD40 it down.  Maybe build the long block next weekend.

I bought me one of those fancy gimbal mounts for a phone.  Maybe shoot some video.  I've always said my brother and I were 20 years too soon before YouTube.  If we had had YouTube in 93, we would be Gas Monkey or at least Vice Grip Garage.  We were stupidly funny and would argue all the time.  I doubt anyone wants to see two fat guys in their 50s trying to relive the glory days, but I'm at least going to start filming some of it.


       
Building (notso) cheap turbo Lima power!  450 HP or bust!
Cordova,TN
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