North American Turbocoupe Organization

Remote TFI Mounting
andrewjs18 Offline
By John Olds (evintho)

This article was originally posted at

I remotely mounted the TFI on my '86 Turbo Coupe and documented the procedure because I've never seen a decent write-up on it. So here it is!

If you're driving along on a warm summer day and your 2.3T suddenly dies for no apparent reason, the problem is more than likely an overheated TFI. If you're reading this write-up, you already know the basics and the reasons why. If you don't, the following article may help.

Click OVERHEATED TFI INFO - Stalling Fords - TFI Module Class Action article from

Some people mount their TFI on the outside of the front radiator support. I didn't see a need to go that far. You just want to get away from the heat source (hot engine block). I mounted mine on the left side shock tower. I also fabricated a small heat shield to aid in reflecting/dissipating the heat.


It's not necessary but makes it a lot easier if you remove the distributor. This is also an excellent time to replace the PIP as the two work in conjunction with each other. The PIP replacement how-to article is on page 52.

I obtained my heat sink off a wrecked '94 Aerostar van. They're mounted on the right front inner fender under the hood. I've heard most '90's Aerostars, some F-150's and even '90's T-Birds and Cougars have them also, although I can't confirm that. The above mentioned remote mount TFI's are different than ours. Their PIP wires are integrated into the wiring harness. I suppose you could splice into the harness if you had the appropriate wiring diagrams, but I chose to fashion my own harness and connect directly to the 2.3 TFI.

Using a 1/4" die grinder and some single fluted carbide bits, I ground down 5 of the fins to provide access for the 3 TFI prongs that'll connect to my homemade harness.


Since the remote mount is still inside the engine compartment, I decided to fab a small heat shield to help reflect some of the engine heat. I simply cut a small piece of scrap 3/16" stainless steel I had laying around, bent it at a 90* angle, cut a slot for the TFI connector and drilled 2 mounting holes. The mounting holes correspond with 2 threaded holes already in the heat sink.


I purchased a new Motorcraft TFI through ROCK AUTO for $98 shipped to my door. Using the appropriate heat sink grease (purchased at Radio Shack for $2)

I smeared an even film of it approximately 1/32" thick on the base of the TFI and mounted the TFI to the heat sink. I then mounted the combination to the left shock tower, directly in front of the master cylinder. This was about the only area that was available and had good ventilation. I had to bend the coil mounting bracket just slightly to provide clearance. The heat sink was attached with two #10x3/4" sheet metal screws.



Next up was fabricating the wiring harness. I used 3 lengths of 18 gauge wire (if 18ga was good enough for Ford, it's good enough for me)! The spade connectors are your standard 18ga connectors. The males are, however, too wide for the female PIP terminals in the distributor. I simply filed the sides down with a fine file until they fit snugly. Here's a comparison.


The female connectors fit the TFI fine, although I did squeeze them together slightly with needle nose pliers. I removed the red plastic insulation boots from the connectors and proceeded to crimp and solder the connections and followed that by using heat shrink tubing. Use only heat shrink tubing made with 'Polyolefin'. It's the best!

Next, I went to the junkyard and snipped a couple of feet of Fox TFI wiring harness and salvaged the foil wrap that Ford used. Strip the insulation off a length of 10-12ga? wire and interweave it among the foil, leaving it unattached towards the TFI end and grounding the other end to a suitable ground point.   I installed number tags to both ends of each wire. I then wrapped my new harness with the salvaged foil. As a finishing touch, I installed new 1/4" wire loom. Don't use the cheap plastic parts store loom. It'll become brittle in no time! I used nylon conduit purchased from MAD ELECTRICAL. It's good stuff!



With the old TFI missing from the distributor body, a rather large opening was left that would allow moisture/contaminants to enter. I remedied this by fabbing a small block off plate out of scrap sheet metal. I drilled mounting holes that corresponded to the old TFI mounting holes and opened up a slot for the wiring to pass through.



I inserted the numbered wires into their terminals and slathered a liberal amount of dielectric grease on the connection. I then reinstalled the distributor.


I then numbered the TFI terminals and installed the numbered wires. CAUTION! At this point the TFI is turned around 180* from it's normal mounting position. Be very careful and make sure that the #1 wire is connected to the #1 PIP terminal AND the other end of the #1 wire is connected to the #1 TFI terminal! Same procedure with #2 and #3! It's very easy to get turned around here!


I reinstalled the heat shield, fired it up and double checked the timing. Presto! Relocated TFI!


I know I got quite elaborate with this procedure. Others may choose to forego the heat shield and block off plate. I chose to go a little overboard and document everything in the hopes of maybe helping someone else and answering questions that may arise. Hope this helps!
85turbopoop and Arthur washington like this post

Arthur washington Offline
Junior Member
Thank you

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