North American Turbocoupe Organization

At last! Via long overdue (re)union
goingincirclez Offline
Junior Member
Big Grin 
Hi all,

So after drafting this in Wordpad... oops.  Sorry for the ramble.   But I'm excited to finally get to join here!  It's been a lonnnnnng time coming, if almost an unintentional accident. 

My first car was an '88 Twilight Blue V6 that was nearly fully loaded; bought for $3750 witk 72K miles in Chicago in 1999.  By 2001 it had over 144K miles and despite its many faults and stumbles along the way including drving to and through over 20 states including a move to KY, it never left me truly stranded.  When the inevitable head gasket failure and creeping (but still seemingly typical and minor) rust dictated a replacement, I acquired a late-build 97 Sport that served me well.  But I never parted with the 88, even as meager finances, marriage, kids, life conflicts and lack of any useful working space or a garage relegated it to a yard planter Sad

In 2016 we finally moved to a house with a garage and my dear derelict '88 made the move: one of the first things in fact.   In 2018 my oldest daughter (then 14) and I began tearing it down to prep for restoring...  Whereupon we discovered that the strut towers - and almost the entire front rails - were not just "rusted like all Fox bodies" but in fact, aught but a vestigial memory of oxide mist.  Seriously, the K-member was virtually attached to nothing and everyone who has seen the carcass of this car can't believe it rested on its own four wheels AND supported the motor thru all that time *heartbroken shock*

Faced with this, my daughter took Welding in high school and we purchased a welder with noble intent.  I figured I could adapt an LMR frame kit and fabircate the rest, and the project or resurrecting this car - even if it took years - would be a lifetime story in itself.  I mean it had survived this long right?  My two girls had never ever seen another on the road.  Unfortunately life's relentless pace and unexpected curveball distractions meant this challenge would ultimately prove daunting to even start attempting.  The past 5 years have been a struggle of sense and reality against sentiment and someday.

So now it's just a few weeks ago: my eldest is 18 and back home having graduated from a residential STEM academy before starting real college this fall.  My younger is 15.  We've had more unexpected life challenges and circumstances but I've saved enough seed money set aside to declare "put up or shut up" time.  I've been in "car mode" again from attending our inherited '75 Lincoln Mark IV for summer show season, and actively randomly searching for parts and such as they come to mind.  Over the years I'd looked for donor Fox Birds and/or complete cars but never found anything with a reasonable combo of price, features, condition, and distance.

But then mere minutes before I commit to finally buying the LMR kit, searchtempest shows a hit for an 87 Turbo Coupe.  Manual.  Running, with every option including dual power leather and sunroof.  Not perfect, but very serviceable looking.  For under $5K.  In Milwaukee.  Same interior color and en exterior color that was really cool and related.   OMG!

After scrambling schedules (there is ALWAYS something going on!!!) because we literally only the upcoming weekend as our sole chance, we managed to coordinate a family adventure to drive up and see the car and it was a miracle: a filthy imperfect one but arguably better than expected with miraculously "no rust" even accounting for the typical Wisconsin-scale asterisk on that term!  I mean there's some oxidation of course, but mostly minor surface crust on the chassis, no rot, and one of the strut towers even looks pristine!    The other stuff is easily addressable.

The sellers were honest and disclosed the major issues (most worryingly to them, a nonworking ebrake with a MT car) but despite those, it drove all the way from Milwaukee to our home in Frankfort KY without issue.  Even the weather could not have been better for taking the calculated risk!  Incredibly at 94K miles the PRC still works (though you call it's soft) and so does the ABS.  The Turbo is mad fun to hear spool up Wink

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Since getting it home I've cleaned it up a bit (not 100% done or even waxed but good enough for quick pics above), fixed the headlights (grounding issue), fixed the cooling fans (PO had installed an ignition-on relay to ensure they ran; I've since got them running as normal); fixed the fuel gauge (PO had attempted but was led astray by a wiring issue); almost have the brakes sorted out (more to come there); and fixed the sunroof thanks to tips posted here at NATO.  Current issues are the A/C doesn't work; the harness for the Ford Premium Sound / EQ was hacked up for an early-90's CD install; the brakes aren't 100% fixed, and I seem to have introduced a high/unsteady idle issue after cleaning the filthy engine bay including removing the upper intake, etc.   Oh, and the locking lug key was not included or found, and there is still one locking nut I can't seem to remove (the 12pt socket and heat trick worked on the others).

We're super stoked to have this car... it's amazingly comfortable and feels like coming home to an embrace from a dear old friend.  Speaking of which, we need to make arrangements for my old 88 to free the garage space for this new one, after claiming all its usable parts first.  It's so bittersweet. 

Anyway, sorry for the ramble.  I'm usually very short on time but am actually on a long-overdue vacation for a couple weeks with some down time to kill.  So any other future posts will probably be thankfully short.

As for the brakes:  unsurprisingly the ebrake cables were crusty as were their pivot brackets on the calipers.  Before leaving on vacation I replaced the calipers, rotors, pads, and both rear cables - not nearly as straightforward as I expected.  The ebrakes finally work properly and the regular brakes do work also BUT the ABS and Brake warning lights stay on.  For some reason, despite using the copper crush washers on both sides of the brake line fitting, I suspect fluid is still weeping from there.  Could that cause the warning lights, or do I still not have enough release slack in the system?  I barely had an hour worth of test driving / checking before having to leave.

As for the idle, I followed the guide about setting timing and adjusting the TPS but it still won't hold steady.   I found another thread here that suggested the TPS should have an o-ring and... I'm not sure mine did, or maybe it fell off and I had no clue.  Also not sure I keyed it in properly upon reinstallation so I will check that first when I get home.

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Mikey97D likes this post

Jeff K Offline
Brake and ABS lights are probably on due to an issue with the ABS system. See the tech articles for info on diagnosing issues with the ABS system.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
11 Crown Vic Interceptor
14 Toyota Camry (wifes car)
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized

Mikey97D Offline
Senior Member
Congrats on the find!!!!

I went through 3 rear driver side rebuilt calipers that all leaked (Autozone) before going to NAPA that did not leak. Wanted to mention this since you mentioned weeping.
1988 TC, 5 spd, Stinger 3" Exhaust, Schneider Roller Cam, -4° Cam Pulley, Cone Filter, Gilles Boost Control Valve set at 17 psi, Walbro 255 lph, CHE Rear Lower and Upper Control Arms, Braided Brake Lines, Hawk HPS 5.0 Front and HPS (F) Rear, CRES Inserts in front calipers, and '93 Cobra Wheels with General 235/50R17 Tires.   

goingincirclez Offline
Junior Member
Thanks for the tips, gents. I think I posted in another thread a while ago about my misadevntures with the brakes. The TLDR is: I fully rebuilt the rears (cables, rotors, calipers, pads, fluid) and after finally deburring a fitment issue with the line-to-caliper alignment, all is good! Brakes have been working great.

The only lurking issue therein, is the Teves PWS switch. It's not fully failed, but not 100% reliable. Sometimes it doesn't kick on when pressure is low. But it seems to *most* of the time, since I can go through many dozens/hundreds/enough-to-not-and-lose-count brake cycles before the warning lights come on to a hard pedal. So I've rigged a momentary toggle switch to use when this happens: hold it down till the pressure builds and lights turn off and I'm good to go til whenever "next time" is.

Call me insane but I'd love to keep this early bleeding-edge ABS system, as it's part of the TC's historic significance. So, I hope to find a proper PWS switch in the future. Long ask, I know. But unless/until it gets intolerably worse, I'll put up with this switch before ditching the system entirely.

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