North American Turbocoupe Organization

New turbo not wanting to spool / smoke from IC
DRADIS Offline
Junior Member
Hey guys! It's been a while since i've posted and i've been having this dilemma over the course of a few months.

I have an 87 TC with the cone K&M Filter mod and the Gillis Valve, otherwise stock. My TC had a turbo go out shortly after i got it. Previous owner had ran some stop leak thru the coolant and figure it was due to coolant leaking into exhaust or possibly HG issues. Either way, when the turbo went out, i was getting a ton of white smoke out the tailpipes. I bought a used IHI here on the boards, and finally got the new turbo bolted up last weekend.

Heres what i did: Flushed the coolant system to try to remove the stop leak, and so far no leaks. As suggested i pulled the coil wire and turned it over for about half a minute in sessions prior to starting after i got the turbo on, to feed coolant and oil into the turbo. After that, the car fired right up. Also, no smoke was coming out of the exhaust at idle, a huge improvement from the old turbo as it had always smoked a little, especially after it started failing.

I let the car idle for about 30 min as suggested by a mechanic friend, then i revved the engine to about 3300 rpm to engage the turbo and see if it spooled up. At first, the white smoke returns when the turbo was engaged. I turned off the car and tightened up my clamps / bolts / etc just to be sure, and readjusted my gillis valve to max boost around 8psi. Restarted and no longer get white smoke out of the exhaust. I now get white smoke spraying out the top of the IC when i rev up to 3500 rpm. I thought this would go away, but over several days of me checking the car and letting it run, it will hit 3500 rpm, bog down and running rough with RPM quickly dropping, and white smoke spraying out of the IC.

I have 3 kids and we're a single income family so i'm pretty much left to do this myself... A trip to the shop will net way more than i can afford and not many around here seem to know anything about the 2.3 / IHI. I'm hoping someone here has some insight, and i appreciate your time for reading.

Boost on!
1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe

Pete D Offline
1. Generally, the turbo will not actually produce any significant amount of boost under free rev conditions. It requires load to generate the through flow to produce boost. In other words you have to drive it to see what it will do.

2. Unless the car has an after market Waste Gate Actuator, the boost cannot be set for less than about 9.5 psi. The boost gauges are not noted for accuracy.

As for the smoke out the top of the IC, have you tried looking underneath the IC when this happens to see if it is originating below the IC?. Also check the radiator looking through the fill cap hole and see if there are any bubbles in the coolant??
Pete Dunham


RDOG Offline
Posting Freak
Intercolers dont puff, and if they do it either has a hole in it somewhere which is an issue, or you havent looked under the IC which could be a leaking coolant line going into the turbo. Check your water lines. start it in the morning when its cold and look at the water lines for drips. Its hard to catch whe=once the car is hot because it will look like steam or evaporate before you can find leaking area.
1986 Turbo Coupe. Boport StageIII head, Boport 2.1, Performance Techniques 50 trim hybird, StageII.63, stinger 3" exhaust, Phenolic spacer, Boglog header,NPR FMIC intercooler setup, kirban fpr, bigrmotorsports fuel rail, diablo water meth kit, CAI, remote mount TFI, CHE rear adj control arms, MAC girdle, 8.8 rear disc, aluminum drive shaft, H&R lowerings springs Tbird Turbo Specific, y MAS!!

DRADIS Offline
Junior Member
Thanks for the info guys!

I have looked at the three lines running into the turbo, and i did notice that i have some water/coolant bubbling out of the middle line. I tightened the clamp a little more and that went away. Other than that, no real leaks that i can see. Obviously i can't look under the IC while i put a load on the car. It only smokes when i rev the motor enough to hear air being sucked in thru the cone filter and can hear the turbo start to spool.

Hopefully a little warmer weather tomorrow will allow me to take a little more time with it.
1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe

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