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Author Topic: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it  (Read 7248 times)

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Offline dpetrie

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put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« on: June 28, 2014, 12:16:34 PM »

I have a 78 wagon 2.3 liter. I just put in a 84 2.3 liter
engine from a Mustang 2. I have the two barrel Weber carb off the78 tengine. A friend came over last night and said he has a turbo available for this engine. how hard is it to add the turbo this eng

Offline amc49

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 01:36:45 PM »
If just a turbo by itself and not the complete system that came on these, then much harder than you think......... ........most go the easiest route and use a whole entire system with all associated parts.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 03:36:16 PM »
I mean this politely even if it doesn't come across as such, "If you have to ask..., you shouldn't go there."  A turbo by itself means very little.   As AMC 49 says most all of us purchased (or in my case already owned) a complete donor car of factory turbo origin. Just for reference here a a few things that are different.
Block - provisions for the turbo oil drain back
Pistons - Forged, not cast
Head - Larger combustion chambers to offset turbo boost
Exhaust manifold - Different to bolt turbo on and properly locate it under the hood.
Intake manifold/system - While a carburetor with a turbo is not impossible, it is not advisable. An injected system is far more appropriate.  This includes the proper intake manifold, injectors, fuel lines and high pressure electric fuel pump.
Engine control/wire harness - Your Pinto currently has no electric computer control ( it seems..., I assume you are running the Weber???).  You would need an turbo motor computer and wire harness.

Trying to acquire all that stuff onesy-twosy is difficult, time consuming and can get expensive.  This is a link to a 2 part write up I did on my turbo conversion.  While the 71-73 has a few more difficulties I had the advantage of owning the whole '88 Turbo Coupe donor car.  When I state most people think it is a 2 on a scale of 1-10, but the reality is that it is a hard 7 - believe me.
http://www.fordpinto.com/general-pinto-talk/so-you-want-to-build-a-turbo-pinto-part-1/
http://www.fordpinto.com/general-pinto-talk/so-you-want-to-build-a-turbo-pinto-part-2/msg76894/#msg76894

Offline dpetrie

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2014, 06:44:12 PM »
Thank you very much for your insight and experienced explanation. I was able to swap out the engine but that was as far, asmy mechanical ability goes. No turbo for this wagon. And thanks also toAMC49.

Offline amc49

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 08:56:08 PM »
'I mean this politely even if it doesn't come across as such, "If you have to ask..., you shouldn't go there." '

I thought to say something like that as well but often I am not tactful enough and it comes across wrong due to my delivery. He's right though, either you know how to do turbo motors whereupon nothing is much of a problem or you don't and then trying to cobble up your own complete setup is an exercise in futile disaster. Why most go to the complete engine setups where most of the tuning and part fit issues are already solved, there are a BUNCH of them and usually the motor gets fried trying to sort running issues out.

Offline A Alves

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 08:11:43 AM »
Not to mention cooling issues
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Offline 65ShelbyClone

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2014, 08:05:37 PM »
No turbo swap will be easy. The least difficult would possibly be using the parts from a '79-82 carbureted 2.3 turbo. No need for a high pressure fuel system and no need for major wiring, but it comes with all the idiosyncrasies of the original system and cannot be intercooled.

You could piece together a custom setup, but the results usually reflect what goes into the project. Cheap/Fast/Reliable; pick two.
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Offline arkyt

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2014, 08:39:09 PM »
Well, my two cents.  If you have to ask...you shouldn't go there!!!  WOW, no electricity, no first V8 Pinto, no radio, no first turbo Pinto, no fire?  Never do anything that you have done before? Never try something new? No first paint job?  No first carpet? How about, if the info is there learn all that you can.  Then DO IT!   
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Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2014, 09:32:14 PM »
How about, if the info is there learn all that you can.  Then DO IT!   
Right on the money there..
Art
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Offline russosborne

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2014, 11:06:25 PM »
True. You have to be willing to learn. But you also have to be willing to make a LOT of mistakes along the way and spend a LOT of money. And keep at it. That last is my weakness.  :-[
This applies to almost everything that someone wants to do but has never done before.
Russ
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RIP Casey, Mallory, Abby, and Sadie. We miss you.

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Offline 74 PintoWagon

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 07:59:32 AM »
At least today you have the internet and able to ask questions, 35 years ago whole different story, wish I had the money I spent turning stuff into junk learning stuff.  ::) ;D
Art
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Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2014, 09:10:33 AM »
I'm surprised the obvious was missed. Putting a turbo on an N/A engine as the OP was asking is not wise due to the lack of forged pistons in that block & the wrong combustion chamber in the head.
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Offline 65ShelbyClone

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2014, 12:07:41 PM »
You're right, I know I missed that.

The biggest problem is cast pistons followed by the compression ratio. 2.3T forged dish pistons will drop it to about 8.5:1. combine that with a turbo head and the CR comes down to 8:1.

The non-turbo head is not a deal breaker when used with turbo pistons, but 9:1 with cast pistons and a turbo kind of is. The engine won't tolerate much boost and even the slightest pinging will probably crack a ring land.

Factory 2.3T cars have knock sensors that the ECU uses to agressively pull timing in order to preserve the engine and their pistons are practically indestructible by comparison.

This is why the answer to your question is usually "find a 2.3T instead."
'72 Runabout - 2.3T, T5, MegaSquirt-II, 8", 5-lugs, big brakes.
'68 Mustang - Built roller 302, Toploader, 9", etc.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2014, 02:03:23 PM »
Well, my two cents.  If you have to ask...you shouldn't go there!!!  WOW, no electricity, no first V8 Pinto, no radio, no first turbo Pinto, no fire?  Never do anything that you have done before? Never try something new? No first paint job?  No first carpet? How about, if the info is there learn all that you can.  Then DO IT!   

The question asked regarded "a turbo", singular as in the only item. Here is the full post:
 " I have a 78 wagon 2.3 liter. I just put in a 84 2.3 liter engine from a Mustang 2. I have the two barrel Weber carb off the78 tengine. A friend came over last night and said he has a turbo available for this engine. how hard is it to add the turbo this eng"

There was no mention of any proper exhaust manifold for the turbo, nor blow through or draw through method of using the carburetor (which is not recommended). For that matter there was no mention of posing the highly desirable fuel injection as an option. Thus his posing of the question left me to feel he was rather naive of the process and when you read his reply, he admits to being so. Here is his reply:
"Thank you very much for your insight and experienced explanation. I was able to swap out the engine but that was as far, as my mechanical ability goes. No turbo for this wagon. And thanks also toAMC49."

I was actually trying to save him the grief of thinking the process was easy. Myself and others pointed out the important aspects regarding turbo charging the 2.3 engine.  It was not meant to discourage him, but to point him in the right direction.  And seeing what it REALLY took he promptly dropped the idea.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2014, 03:24:32 PM »
I agree wholeheartedly  :)  I spent a year reading & researching turbo swaps before buying a single part. I went the crazy persons route however & started rounding up pieces & parts rather than buying a running donor car. It will make my road tougher but I ended up with a stack of parts that should yield 3 complete running engines plus tons of spare parts for about the cost of a decent running car to strip.
 
By far the "smart" approach to this swap is to use a running car to gut. My experience level gives me an advantage going the pieces parts route even though I've never had a 2.3T in my life.
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Offline amc49

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2014, 06:56:18 PM »
You go wittsend, we did the guy a favor and no telling how much money saved there. The obvious was NOT missed, or the singular thinking of the unlearned that turbo was possibly as easy as changing plugs. It oozed off that OP. I have wallowed through that stuff thirty feet deep, the ideas out there are often quite silly and you just have to try to set people straight. Many refuse to go there though, why so many good cars end up in the yards, owner too stupid to do the simple work needed to keep it going. Yet they still want to go turbo. Heartless but sometimes it needs to be said.

This?

'WOW, no electricity, no first V8 Pinto, no radio, no first turbo Pinto, no fire?  Never do anything that you have done before? Never try something new? No first paint job?  No first carpet?.......'

Someone missing the obvious there, that those who do things like that SUCCESSFULLY generally are not equipped mentally like the OP seemed to be, they make their own rules (AND crucially they will be intelligent, not witless rubes) and are smart enough to have already brought enough learning to the table to realize when they must do even more, the critical thing to success there. Those people generally do not ask anybody much of anything, they just do it, working it out as they go, not being the type who have to be lead like children.

Offline Wittsend

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2014, 12:06:48 PM »
I don't fault the original poster for asking the question.  So he needs to be credited for at least not just diving in to the project.  And, when those of us replied he was accepting and polite about our cautions. What caused me to respond the way I did was the way he stated the question, sounding like is was a causal conversation amongst his friend. And that clued me to believe there was limited knowledge of everything involved.

A few years back I wrote up the posts "So, you want to build a Turbo Pinto Part 1 and Part 2."  I did so because I wanted to relate my own experience.  I'm not a professional mechanic.  I guess if I had to put a label on myself I'd be an "Advanced Backyard Mechanic."  I've rebuilt engines, transmissions, swapped major components, replaced body panel etc.. But, a lot of these tasks I've only done a handful of times, sometimes only once.  I also have a fair complement of tools (60 gallon compressor, MIG welder,significant power tools and a multitude of hand tools).

  Regardless, when I wrote my Turbo Pinto posting I stated, "On paper it looks like 2 on a scale of 10. In reality it is a hard 7."  And I said that coming from the experience of having owned the Turbo Coupe donor car for 10 years as my daily driver. I still hold to that today.

 So, yes, sometimes I think we have to be a bit blunt to capture the perspective builders attention regarding just what it is they are proposing to get into.  And, again, I thank the original poster for accepting my statement, "I mean this politely even if it doesn't come across as such, "If you have to ask..., you shouldn't go there" at its face value that I was not trying to insult, but rather caution him.  And, he seemed intelligent enough to know his own limitations.

Offline 65ShelbyClone

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2014, 12:54:06 PM »
Regardless, when I wrote my Turbo Pinto posting I stated, "On paper it looks like 2 on a scale of 10. In reality it is a hard 7."

I think that is the biggest caveat of a neatly-packaged 2.3T swap coming from a complete donor car. It seems like it should be a simple matter of dropping the engine in and stringing a harness and plumbing a pump, but that's only 30-40% of the work involved.

I had already committed to my swap before I fully understood that. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't start with anything but a factory 2.3 or V6 model. If it was a V6 model, I would probably simplify by using a newer Cologne V6 out of a Ranger or Explorer.
'72 Runabout - 2.3T, T5, MegaSquirt-II, 8", 5-lugs, big brakes.
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Offline Srt

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2014, 04:07:27 AM »
"..... but 9:1 with cast pistons and a turbo kind of is. The engine won't tolerate much boost and even the slightest pinging will probably crack a ring land..."


definite possibility.  careful tuning and knowing what the motor will tolerate is also a key to longevity.
i drove a 71 (O.E. 9.0CI) with a head milled .060", 2.0 with a turbo with stock OEM Ford pistons for over 70,000 miles with no piston failures running over 20#'s boost.

i must say that prior to that accomplishment i did have several piston failures that were eventually traced to fuel distribution & high combustion chamber temperatures at high boost levels & heavy loads.

as with  anything else that you may do to improve upon your ride, you will learn by experience and it is wise of you to thoroughly investigate ALL your options.  my options were few & far between when i was fighting my way through my 'learning curve'.

you have a multitude of options that through the blood, sweat & tears of others on this site have proven to be well thought out & reliable.

dig through the responses you get, hash 'em out, seek out & talk to the guys here. you are not going to get anything less than an honest opinion from any of us.
the only substitute for cubic inches is BOOST!!!

Offline amc49

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2014, 08:05:45 AM »
That last post can be taken both ways.......... ....it both confirms and refutes.

Offline Pinto5.0

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2014, 10:46:59 AM »
That last post can be taken both ways.......... ....it both confirms and refutes.

He did say "tuned" & we all know very few people get it right
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Offline 65ShelbyClone

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2014, 11:22:19 AM »
The 2.0 is a different engine though. The bores are smaller, the chambers are smaller, and it makes power at higher revs, all of which make it a more forgiving candidate for forced induction. The 2.0's willingness to rev also contributes to it making power comparable to a 2.3 with less peak torque.

2.3s are often called tractor engines and it's not just because they sound the part. Hang a turbo on the D-port 2.3 and it makes peak torque in the high 3000s and peak power at mid 4000. Boost onset is the most critical time because cylinder pressure begins rising sharply at a relatively low engine speed. That is why all the 2.3Ts were equipped with knock sensors that triggered aggressive timing retard strategies. They also were all fitted with computer-managed boost controllers that didn't allow full pressure until after 4000rpm, even in vehicles that didn't have octane switches. This was allegedly done to reduce strain on the gearbox, but it doubly functioned to make the engine less prone to knock.
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Offline Srt

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2014, 03:03:17 AM »
At least today you have the internet and able to ask questions, 35 years ago whole different story, wish I had the money I spent turning stuff into junk learning stuff.  ::) ;D

43 years ago for me. the only resources available were "trial & error"

Al Gore had yet to 'invent' the internet!  ;D
AMEN
the only substitute for cubic inches is BOOST!!!

Offline amc49

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2014, 03:47:41 AM »
That may well be why we had success at the hot rod garage. Early on we learned that you cut your learning window of opportunity like 60% when you either turbo or nitrous, therefore we didn't mess with it a whole lot other than on pretty much preset and ironed out setups. We didn't melt down hardly anything as a result, of course it took more work to get the same amount of 'fast' there. That seemed to be no problem though, we could always make things faster and faster. Only limit seemed to be the customer's pocket.

That same limitation in tuning ability was why we were able to every single time blow away street racers with either turbo or nitrous cars with a regular NAed car. If those guys had been any good at tuning at all they would've blown us into the weeds. We did LOTS of street racing back then. Intelligence is the great equalizer, too many just hyped the 'turbo' but had not a clue how to tune one out correctly. At times it was downright embarrassing.

Offline biggrgivens

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2014, 10:03:24 PM »
I just finished my swap and I think it came out nice. I took a complete svo engine , merkur harness, PE (SVO)computer, asnd Large VAM and swapped it into a 72 pinto. Its wasnt all that hard. I got all my parts rtogether first and then went for it.

parts list
2.3 Pinto motor mounts
SVO, turbotbird, merkur  engine and "matching" VAM
PE ECU
Merkur harness
190 inline walbro pump
2000 ford mustnag fuel filter
merkur throtte cable
battery relocation kit to the rear
pinto oil pan
Merkur dipstick
machine the trans crossmember holes back 1"
C4 driveshaft
mustang II rear end

reuse
speedo cable
tap tank for relief


I probably left a bfew things out but my car took about a month to finish. Could have been soon but, I work during the week.

Offline D.R.Ball

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2014, 08:19:42 PM »
Hey biggrgivens, what are the details on how you installed the inline pump and do you have any issues with slope, hill or letting the gas level go below 1/4 tank...

Offline 65ShelbyClone

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Re: put a turbo on my 78 wagon 2.3 liter how difficult is it
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2014, 08:39:25 PM »
I recommend posting a link to the video of it running. It sounds awesome.  8)
'72 Runabout - 2.3T, T5, MegaSquirt-II, 8", 5-lugs, big brakes.
'68 Mustang - Built roller 302, Toploader, 9", etc.