North American Turbocoupe Organization



Wanting back in the game!!!
Haws Offline
Junior Member
#1
I’ve owned 2 Turbo coupes over the years.
An 1986 5spd
The other one 1988 5spd

Went to look at an 1988 auto today.
Don’t know anything about the auto trans what should I look out for?


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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#2
(06-28-2020, 10:55 PM)Haws Wrote: I’ve owned 2 Turbo coupes over the years.
An 1986 5spd
The other one 1988 5spd

Went to look at an 1988 auto today.
Don’t know anything about the auto trans what should I look out for?

Where do you people FIND these cars?

I live in a state that has no rust because we don’t have snow in the geographically lower areas, but it has been YEARS since I have seen another Turbo Coupe of ANY year on the road.

As to your question: Like any automatic transmission, check the fluid CAREFULLY. There is a great and valuable trip I was taught years ago: how to “read” motor oil. That is—smell, texture, appearance. It will tell you much about the state of the engine. The same is true for tranny fluid. Does it stink? Some odor is okay, and actually important should you develop an unseen leak. What’s the color? Slight amber color is okay, but anything verging on brown or black is very suspect. Of course, is it low? Overfilled (just as bad if not worse)? How is the shifting—smooth or jerky? Does it seem to struggle to meet the shift points? Noise? Does it properly downshift when you stomp on the gas?

Automatics are too much trouble for me. Can’t really be DIY’d and are expensive to fix, when (If) they break down.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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Haws Offline
Junior Member
#3
Thanks for the info.
How big of a job to switch to 5spd?
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boboli Offline
Member
#4
I also haven't seen another turbocoupe in years.
The a4ld Auto transmission isn't good for any kind of performance upgrades. That's why the 87/88 auto cars had way lower hp than the 5 spds. You can easily convert to 5 spd.
1988 turbo tbird, 5spd, 140k, all stock except boost control valve.
1986 dodge omni glh turbo, 111k, my money pit.
1989 mustang Lx 5.0 convertible, tropical yellow/ tan interior, 1of only 144 made, 164k, aod, all stock including overheating TFI!
89 Jaguar XJS convertible, LT1 conversion, now fighting the prince of darkness (aka Lucas electronics)
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#5
To be honest, The A4LD (the LD stands for LIGHT DUTY) is a total POS. It has several critical design flaws. Even with max engine power reduced to 150 HP due to lower max boost, failure is still quite common. In later years, the A4LD evolved into the 5R55 5 speed used in Explorers and Rangers, but it was still a POS with failures common.

Converting to a 5 speed is fairly straight forward as noted above, and a 5 speed is infinitely more fun to drive.

I havent seen a TC or even any 83-88 Tbird on the road around here in SE WI in probably 10 years.
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.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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t c mike Offline
Junior Member
#6
(06-29-2020, 12:37 PM)Jeff K Wrote: To be honest, The A4LD (the LD stands for LIGHT DUTY) is a total POS. It has several critical design flaws. Even with max engine power reduced to 150 HP due to lower max boost, failure is still quite common.  In later years, the A4LD evolved into the 5R55 5 speed used in Explorers and Rangers, but it was still a POS with failures common.

Converting to a 5 speed is fairly straight forward as noted above, and a 5 speed is infinitely more fun to drive.

I havent seen a TC or even any 83-88 Tbird on the road around here in SE WI in probably 10 years.
Well, i had an 87 T C auto trans in the early 90's. A friend switched some vac hoses around & it would peg the boost gauge. Respectfully drove it for 3 years , no problem. The guy who bought it from me drove it for ?????
Dual exhaust gives a crisp increase in performance. I just got an 88 auto with 47,700 miles. A low mile car, unabused , should be fine; just don't "run it too hard & put it away wet". If you buy it right.......
My .02 cents.  
mike
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ABird Offline
Junior Member
#7
I agree, if it's a nice car, it should be fine. At least you'll have a car to drive and enjoy.
AES
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84TBirdTurbo42 Offline
Senior Member
#8
agreed, my dad is a former Senior Master Cert, Ford Trans Tech. from the c3 all the way to 5r55, they were just barely adequate for the job.
Chris Perry
1984 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Dead, NY rot killed her
1986 Thunderbird shell, swapping parts from the 84.
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#9
(06-29-2020, 01:28 AM)Haws Wrote: Thanks for the info.
How big of a job to switch to 5spd?

If you search through the Forums I’m sure you can find others who have done the same.

Well there’s the obvious: T5OD (5 speed Overdrive)—make certain it is a World Class one. Most if not all after 1986 I think were. The difference is reliability and performance: better bearings, fiber synchro rings instead of brass, and overall better construction.

You’ll need a bellhousing, flywheel (auto tranny has a rudimentary one), clutch assembly (driven plate, pressure plate), Clutch master and slave cylinders and associated hardware, different driveshaft (longer I would think), the chassis mounting hardware for a T5OD...and it would help, although not required, to have a steering column WITHOUT the Auto’s shift lever and linkage. You’ll also need the appropriate trim parts for the console.

Those are just the parts off the top of my head, so to speak.

Years ago it would have been far easier to collect all these things. Nowadays it’s difficult to say how available all of it is.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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Mikey97D Offline
Member
#10
Here's a link to the old FAQ for the conversion from auto to T5
https://turbotbird.com/old/faqs/#Change%...%205%20spd
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