Forum > It's all about the Turbo...

2.3 Turbo nearly as heavy as a V8?? And other questions.

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Is that really true?

I was just talking to someone about the 2.3 swap into my '73 Runabout. Runs great now, but thinking about the future. Kind of, what if?

I've always wanted a small block Ford under the hood, but lots of folks say it's too heavy, makes the car handle worse, etc. So, in the fantasy, maybe the 2.3 became a good alternative.

But, is it really that heavy? That doesn't seem to bode well, except for maybe it's an easier install(?)

I also understand that some of the early 2.3s were carb'd, with a blow through carb no less...? Were they crazy at Ford back then? I can't imagine even finding one of those carbs. That means the float bowls are pressurized, too? Otherwise, the fuel wouldn't flow correctly under boost.

I remember driving a new 80 Mustang Turbo 2.3, with I believe the carbureted 2.3. I wanted that car so bad! But, turns out it was okay fast, even then, but nothing special. Hopefully it's better in the Pinto.

Sounds like the '86 and '87 motors are the ones to go for, with the smaller IHI turbo that spools up faster, less max power but more responsive for the street.

Does that sound correct?

Well, you asked a man who has "been there, done that" with a 1973 Wagon.  I wrote up a "So you want to build a Turbo Pinto" a while back. Here is the link .

There is a "Part 2"

To your initial question; it does not seem accurate that the 2.3 would be nearly as heavy as a small block V-8.  You have the additional weight of the extra head, exhaust and (larger) intake manifolds. The extra pistons and rods.  You have the support structure in the block etc.  That said, the iron block and head of the 2.3 likely makes it one of the heavier 4 cylinders.  I'm sure there are weights available for both engine out there on the internet.  I'll just take a guess and say the 2.3 is 75 to 125 pounds lighter than the V-8.


OK you have a 73 so getting a v8 in it takes a BIG shoe horn, the 2.3 didn't arrive till 74 so motor mounts and such all have to be changed to work as well.   the bottom end of a lima is built like a shick brithouse, yes it's really that heavy, especially after you hang a turbo and accessories on it, compared to the v8 it uses a comparable amount of iron, has a balance shaft, crank weight is pretty much a wash so the only real savings is one head and thats chewed up in turbo and cast exhaust manifold vs tube steel headers.

74 and up cars are commonly 2.3 powered so the pressurized version pretty much falls in the hole.  install a wiring harness and "adjust " the passenger inner fenderwell and its esentially job done. Yes some 70s and early 80's cars where blown, Draw through not blow.  Blow thru,,, well blows...Stupid hats or sealed boxes, collapsed floats and usually slobbering rich off the boost, the only real advantage to blow thru is you can intercool the turbo before the hat,   almost as dumb an idea as converting the vam to blow through on the efi versions to force more air through it. ( i could write another paragraph on why its a foolish solution but i digress...) draw thru generally runs better throughout the range but because the fuel is in the mix as its pressurized you can't intercool or the fuel drops out of suspension and pools, fuel pooling is common (especially when cold) in the early carb setups too where the carb tends to be low on the motor. the 20 different ways to skin the efi cat pretty much take the whole carb option out of consideration on any new build except for the stubborn or stupid.  there is a reason the last production carb rolled off the line in '86ish.

87 and 88 bird motors are the shizod, best efi processors and hardened seats but the ihi stinks. the t3 will make more power every time and if you want it to spool hard get one from an auto with a.48ar vs the .60 in a stick.  early turbos are not water cooled and none of them have a bov or recirc making compressor surge the main culprit when it comes to causing failure.   Turbos are not really the black magic they seem.  anyone competent and confident can do bearings and seals in one for about 40 bucks assuming the blades haven't contacted the housing.
I wouldn't worry about the spool speed, the pinto is light compared to the bird and a .60 will make more top end power,   plus again the car is light and if you go 5 speed 1st is steep it'll get up and move plenty fast either way. And if it's not spooling, downshift...

Now the other good option might be to drop in some forged slugs and turbo the current engine if you happen to have a 2.0.  there is an exhaust manifold for doing it, add megasquirt in either the maf or speed density flavour and get a local speed shop to put some injector bosses in a good 2.0 intake, pair it up to a 65mm tb and some 45-52 lb injectors  'n away you go.  If you really want to you can make it look very vintage ak miller-ish yet have all the goodness of injection.  also if your car currently happens to be a stick start looking for a t9 tranny out of a merkur, its basically the pinto hummer with overdrive tacked on so it will bolt to the original 2.0 4 speed bell and also neatly falls in the hole

Well, interesting enough, these numbers are from the site:

ENGINE                          WEIGHT
Ford 289/302 V8            460

Ford 2.3 Lima/Pinto L4    418    
Ford 2.3 Lima/Pinto L4    450    (turbo)

So, surprisingly it seems the answer to the question of the post is, "Yes," they do appear quite similar in weight.  Good thing I said "I'll guess."

Interesting from the 60's, the Chevy II 4 cylinder is listed as 350 pounds but the 4 cylinder used in the Pontiac Tempest (8 cylinder engine with a bank whacked off) tipped the scales at 470 pounds. I guess GM wasn't sharing parts as readily back then.

That's what I saw, too, which kind of blows the weight issue out of the water.

Also, to be honest, seems like the 2.3 Turbo in any stock form is getting a bit long in the tooth. Seems like there are other significantly more sophisticated setups that are lighter and more efficient/powerful.

A small block Ford V8 remains, however, a small block V8.

In my case, the fantasy may be a hotter, normally aspirated 2.0. With maybe a T-9 backing it up? (thanks for the tip, below). Just reading the thread about the bellhousings and what fits, and what doesn't.

Like I said, it's a fantasy right now. But I like to have stuff in the pipeline so I know what I might want to do next.


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