Best 2.3 to build?


TheRacer02

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I have been looking into building an engine for my 98. I have been searching from all over hell and back to find a 2.3t long block coming up with zero at the moment. Found a few on ebay on the wrong coast and people wont ship. So my next option would be run down to the pick and pay for a complete NA 2.3 long block. I understand stock rods are good and pistons are needed.. is there any difference in 2.3 though out the years. Or is a 2.3 a 2.3? Also i can not believe how similar these engines are to the volvo b230ft (current build I am doing for my volvo truck is next)
 


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alwaysFlOoReD

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Pretty sure there is an article on 2.3 engines in the tech section or the TRS magazine.

I vaguely remember a Volvo head swap onto a 2.3, or it might have been a different ford engine.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Correct with a volvo head swap. It's doable.

If you want to build a 2.3, and have the cash, no way to go but Eslinger from the ground up. Or at least an eslinger head.

2.3s are wildly different over the years. There are some experts floating around the board.
 

TheRacer02

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Do I want to build a 2.3 no not really was really hoping to refresh a 2.3t but seeing how I can not find a single one I have started to look into building one dont think I want to spend top dollar on anther engine build (volvos are not the most common thing to build parts are scarce and when made custom cost) and not looking to see if a volvo head fits I know they do...I come from the volvo world lmao
 

scotts90ranger

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Doesn't really matter year wise, there was a rumor a long time ago that the turbo blocks had higher nickel content but that was debunked at one point... in '86 the rear main seal was changed to a one piece which is nice, in '88 I think the main bearings shrunk which provides for less drag and less parasitic loss without a compromise in strength, '88 was also the first year (in Rangers) for a roller cam, '89 was the first year of the dual plug setup in Rangers ('91 in Mustangs) which is supposed to flow a little better, around '94-95 the oil pump moved from in the pan to behind the aux pulley and the distributor hole went away, and the valve stems shrunk a little then '98 was the first year of the 2.5L... That covers most of the mechanical side, pretty sure all 2.3L's had the same rods, 2.5L rods and pistons are weaker (powdered metal rods and hyperutectic pistons).

As far as trying for a turbo engine from the start it really isn't necessary, the only thing you gain is all the parts from the start... the only difference in the block is the oil return hole drilled and tapped on the passenger side... Apparently for making power you want a small journal block, I personally don't strive to own anything with a distributor so I'm not even running one. The rest of the stuff is just add on stuff anyway, the oil supply for the turbo was on a street tee at the oil pressure sender for the dash...

In short, pistons are the only real problem to find, last time I looked it was over $400 for a set of forged pistons and they weren't even recommended for forced induction! circle track parts... I have a spare '80's engine now so after I get a shop built I'll do it up better than what I'm running now...
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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Do I want to build a 2.3 no not really was really hoping to refresh a 2.3t but seeing how I can not find a single one I have started to look into building one dont think I want to spend top dollar on anther engine build (volvos are not the most common thing to build parts are scarce and when made custom cost) and not looking to see if a volvo head fits I know they do...I come from the volvo world lmao
You're in good company. My Ranger is part Volvo; great cars, wish they would build a pickup.

Low boost 2.3 turbo is an easy one to build; just strap a 13t in from a XC70 and drive it. They don't mind low pressure.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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I was driving a Volvo when I went over the side of a mountain when I was 16. Anything else I probably wouldn't be writing this.
 

PetroleumJunkie412

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I was driving a Volvo when I went over the side of a mountain when I was 16. Anything else I probably wouldn't be writing this.
I can believe it.

I completely gutted an XC70 at the JY when I was after the turbo. I completely disassembled the whole front clip; pulled the engine, and disassembled as much as I could.

Tangent: i frequently do this at the JY. I'll pick something I've never worked on or even driven before, and disassemble every single nut and bolt to figure out how manufacturers do stuff. It's where my appreciation for Mercedes, BMW, and Volvo came from.

If you're interested, BMW builds ok vehicles post-2002, and amazing ones pre-1996, Mercedes and Volvo? Never 'seen a bad one.

I was amazed by the architecture of the XC70. The level of craftsmanship and engineering in the frame alone was a modern marvel. It could readily fool you for a coach-built car. The frame was frame-ception. Twin wall aluminum, a frame within a frame with literally flawless tig welds. 17 anchor points locking the front diff and somehow still transom mount I5 to the body and frame.

That was a weird day. Volvo was a head on into a pole. Non lethal. Driver looked unharmed, no blood stains on the seats or airbags. Bumper could still be unbolt (couldn't remove, inner bumper tig welded to inner frame, outers bolted through inner and everything sandwiched together.

Next car I went to after the Volvo was the double fatality Pontiac I fount part of the passenger's still bloody skull plate in. Front impact into a pole. Same spot the Volvo was hit. Three engine mounts, engine in dash, transmission in seats.
Oh. And the airbags didn't deploy.
They got halfway out and failed to inflate.

F*ck you general motors. They were kids.
 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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My Volvo was a 74 IIRC.
 

bobbywalter

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still ecoboost. best 2.3 is in the current ranger.....
 

TheRacer02

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Doesn't really matter year wise, there was a rumor a long time ago that the turbo blocks had higher nickel content but that was debunked at one point... in '86 the rear main seal was changed to a one piece which is nice, in '88 I think the main bearings shrunk which provides for less drag and less parasitic loss without a compromise in strength, '88 was also the first year (in Rangers) for a roller cam, '89 was the first year of the dual plug setup in Rangers ('91 in Mustangs) which is supposed to flow a little better, around '94-95 the oil pump moved from in the pan to behind the aux pulley and the distributor hole went away, and the valve stems shrunk a little then '98 was the first year of the 2.5L... That covers most of the mechanical side, pretty sure all 2.3L's had the same rods, 2.5L rods and pistons are weaker (powdered metal rods and hyperutectic pistons).

As far as trying for a turbo engine from the start it really isn't necessary, the only thing you gain is all the parts from the start... the only difference in the block is the oil return hole drilled and tapped on the passenger side... Apparently for making power you want a small journal block, I personally don't strive to own anything with a distributor so I'm not even running one. The rest of the stuff is just add on stuff anyway, the oil supply for the turbo was on a street tee at the oil pressure sender for the dash...

In short, pistons are the only real problem to find, last time I looked it was over $400 for a set of forged pistons and they weren't even recommended for forced induction! circle track parts... I have a spare '80's engine now so after I get a shop built I'll do it up better than what I'm running now...
Thats my plan found a few 88s at my local yard might go pull one tear it down swap pistons ($400 is cheap for pistons used to seeing $700-800 for volvo pistons.) Stinger-performace has a set for $600 cnc machined cp pistons. Will then prob run megasquirt or stingers PiMP and just slam it all in tune it call it. Anything is better then the 200k sad little 120hp when brand new 2.5.
 

VICTORHUGO

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ONLY YOU NEED IS A 4 PISTONS(FROM A 2.3 T ARE OEM FORGED)A T3 TURBO FROM EARLY TBIRD/MUSTANG/COUGAR,LATER SWITCH TO IHI TURBO(SUPPOST TO BE FOR FAST SPOOL),ECM FROM 88/89 STICK SHIFT TBIRD OR MUSTANG SVO (SUPPOST TO BE SVO IS RATED TO 190/195 HP)AND A BIG VAM(IS KINDA MAF METER)AND USE A ROLLER ROCKERS AND CAM FROM A RANGER I BUILD A ENGINE LIKE THAT.......I HAVE SITTING IN MY GARAGE FOR LIKE 3 OR 4 YEARS LOL
 


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