North American Turbocoupe Organization



1988 TC Amateur Resto
Alec Offline
Junior Member
#1
Hey guys, I never really introduced myself. I'm Alec, living here in South GA. This is the 8th Fox I've ever owned, all previous were 87-93 Mustangs. I've always had something for the Fox chassis, and hopefully one day I can get into a Fairmont Wagon!

I picked up this Thunderbird after seeing it behind a neighbor's house on an afternoon walk. So there's something my girlfriend talked me into that led to a fun project! Saw the front end poking out behind a shed, and eventually drove over and talked to the guy when I saw him in his yard. Easiest offer and buy I've ever experienced. I had a thought in my head that the guy wouldn't sell the car for anything realistic, and was going to watch it rot in his backyard. I've got a soft spot for any Fox and couldn't let that happen.

The car was given to him by a friend, and the friend said it used to run, but just quit one day. So I asked if he'd sell it. He said yes, and asked me what I was thinking on price. I told him I didn't want to insult him, but I was thinking $500. He said sure, and I really couldn't believe it. So I towed it to my house with my ATV, him steering, and started on it.

Tried to attach a few files, hopefully they load...


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Alec Offline
Junior Member
#2
So once I got her home, I started tearing into everything. My goal is to get the car running again, and have an extra toy to drive. I put water in the car and it immediately started running out of a freeze plug behind the turbo. The water was BROWN. Cooling system was horrific. Everything was corroded. So I knew it was time to pull the motor and look a little closer, and clean up the engine bay.

Cylinder one and two had corrosion inside... Previous owner said the car quit... Freeze plug leaked and cooling system was dry. It was starting to make sense. I was about 99% sure I'd find a head gasket failure from overheating the car. sure enough, I removed the head to find the dead gasket. I figured the head was also probably warped (first car was an 87 notchback with a 2.3L and it warped a head). Sure enough it was, and the machinist took off around twelve thousands if I recall correctly.

Anyone notice something wrong with the cam in the pic without the valve cover? PO installed roller lifters with the stock cam LOLOLOL. :embarrassed:
So I bought the appropriate cam and put that in. I have the motor all back together. Didn't bother painting anything besides the valve cover, hopefully the paint doesn't go to crap. Needing the coolant lines and some other odds and ends...


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Alec Offline
Junior Member
#3
If anyone sees an error with anything I'm posting, PLEASE call me out on it. This is the first time I've attempted this sort of thing, and I hope I'm not screwing up royally. I've searched this site and it has helped me several times over. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I also appreciate the older guys on this forum and how helpful everyone seems to be, without a bunch of ass jumping and name calling. I really appreciate the admin and everyone that keeps the site running!!!
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Alec Offline
Junior Member
#4
Got a case of the Impulse Buy and had to pick up some wheels. I was thinking of 10th anniv cobra wheels initially. But then I leaned more towards drag lites... Well, I don't necessarily have drag lite money right now. Sooo I saw some wheels online that were on sale, and I bought them. I remember seeing them several months ago and thinking, "DAMN THOSE ARE HIDEOUS." But the more I looked at them, the more they grew on me, so I bought them. Hopefully some of you guys like them, because I'm trying to step outside the box a bit. As you all know, it's hard to be different in the hobby of owning a Fox chassis. Everything has been done at least once. The fronts are 15x4 and the rears are 15x10 aka TOO DAMN WIDE. But I know a few things about wheel fitment and a bolt on spacer will fix the rear. Don't worry, it won't poke out 3", you gotta trust me on this one.

This week I finished what I needed to at least get the engine/trans back in the car. New flywheel and clutch assy, and the awesome experience of remove/install of a pilot bearing. A little trick I used, because the bread trick is a load of BS IMO. I shaved down two sides of a nut, slid it through sideways and behind the bearing. Threaded a bolt in and it backed right out. The engine is finally in and you all are caught up to today. Hopefully you've enjoyed my thread so far. There's a few steps/pics I left out, so if you want to know/see anything else about the car just ask.


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Not B Anymore Offline
Administrator
#5
Hi Alec - good to have you here. Looks like you're making good progress on the car. One question about the head, though. Did you have it checked for cracks and/or pressure tested? These heads have a tendency to crack around the exhaust seats and being overheated will significantly increase that risk. This is one of mine that I had issues with recently. Of course, this is an extreme example (through to the water jacket), but it's not uncommon to have some cracking.
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I like tour solution to the pilot bearing problem. I must be in the minority because I haven't had a problem using the trusty slide hammer with the pilot bearing puller attachment. I had to modify the puller a little bit, but it works like a charm.

Keep updating this post. I'd like to see this car come back to life.
Brian Leavitt
'86 TC 5-Speed -- MS2x w/COP | 83 lb. injectors | T3/T4 50 Trim Stage 3 .63AR | Full 3" Exhaust - No Cat | Motorsport FMIC | Ranger Roller | Ported E6 | Walbro 255HP | Kirban | 20psi | 120-amp 3G | 8.8" 3.55 rear | '03 Cobra Wheels
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Alec Offline
Junior Member
#6
Yeah Brian I had them check it for cracks as well. Thank you for the suggestion! I looked at my stock exhaust manifold for cracks and I didn't see any. My day job is HH60 phase, so I'd like to think I'm fairly good at finding extremely small cracks. But the magnet and powder tool at the machine shop would be the only definite answer. As far as the pilot bearing goes, the slide hammer was my first thought but I didn't want to make a trip to the parts store. Also, they usually want big money to rent tools, and I didn't want to buy one if I could get away with not doing so. Although I've got just about every other dang tool, I should probably just go ahead and get one.

Was working on her today and just getting some odds and ends sorted out. I gotta order those short high temp coolant lines this week. I'll probably go with the Ford diesel fuel lines everyone has suggested.
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Alec Offline
Junior Member
#7
Had the fuel tank dropped for around a month now. Replaced the pickup screen and put it back in yesterday. Did a questionable repair to one of the two nylon? fuel lines that lead to the fuel injector rail. If it doesn't hold I have another fuel line to go in its place, I just have to rent the crimp/removal tool. Still need to order the rubber high temp coolant lines... Probably going to install a few coolant hoses tonight after work. Lower intake manifold coolant fitting was destroyed, so I removed it which took an act of God. Tried to put a new one on and somehow stripped it; the threads were filthy anyway. Tap/died a new fitting on, we'll see if it is threaded enough. If not, I have another intake I can clean up and install. It really SUCKS to put a lower intake on when the engine is in, because the torque sequence is a pita.

Still chipping away at it though!
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boosted chicken Offline
Senior Member
#8
Ah yes, the lower intake bolt access, lol! This is why I pull and install the head with the lower attached every time although I understand why you had to pull it after the fact.
Great job saving the bird. Other than some surface rust, it looked like a pretty solid project to start with.
88 TC#1 Boport stg 3 alum dport head, PT6466, Boport header, CP pistons, Crower rods, MS2xtra
88 TC#2 drag car project(someday)
88 TC#3 parts car (just needed the header panel...bought the whole car, lol)
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Alec Offline
Junior Member
#9
Thank you Boosted! I couldn't let it just sit there. Hopefully I can get it started today! It's mostly put together. I'd upload a pic but I'm on my phone. I'll let you all know if it blows up or not!
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Alec Offline
Junior Member
#10
Well, attempted to do a first start with little luck. Nothing at first, adjusted distributor and got it to run for 2 or 3 seconds (1200rpm or so, steady and sounds normal). Car will not hold idle. Haven't tried the timing light yet, had to leave the house and didn't have time to try it. Was curious if there's anything I should look for, I'm sure there's a million possibilities. The previous owner had quite a few open vacuum lines so I assume the idle adjustment areas on the motor have been "manipulated" so the car would run. I've got everything as close to stock as I can, thanks to you guys and this forum. There is one wire/connector that appears to be the same length and location as the air idle control connector, but I can't for the life of me find where it plugs in. It appears to be a similar two prong connector. I took several pictures during tear down and I have nothing for it. This is the one and only open wire connection left on the car! If you guys have any ideas, throw them my way. If not I'll keep searching when I get time!
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