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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you all have to say or what do you know about this model. I never see them, so it seems they must be rare. They had a 5spd and a 4cyl with a turbo. I know where one is and I want another daily driver.
 

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I drive an '87 Turbo Coupe as a daily driver. It is fun. Drives like a 4 cylinder until you put the pedal down. Then you get the power of a V8. Mine is an automatic. They are not popular or well liked. A stick should be better.
There are lots of hop up parts for these cars if you look. They respond well to tuning and bolt-ons.
 

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Junk! along with the Mustang SVO.
The motors are not junk, they haul ass, but the cars themselves suffer from constant electrical problems and almost always have error codes thown out that tell you whats wrong.
The thin gauge metal that the bodies are made of tend to rust out a lot sooner than other Fords.
Although they do handle quite nicely compared to other Ford products.
 

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Friend,


I'm on my 3rd 88 Turbo Coupe since the Mid 1988 Model year...and I still have a thing for them

IMHO...Ford could have done a better on the car from a number of standpoints...but I still like them and always wish to keep one on hand.

(1) Paint defects were rampant during this timeframe
(2) The Automatics used were DOGS
(3) Error Codes are seemingly ever present
(4) The interior does not age well...especially the dash pad and center console arm rests , unless it was always garage kept. Interior fade seems to happen early , unless garage kept
(5) The IHI Turbo Charger on the 87 and 88 are weaker than the Garretts used on the 84-86's
(6) The parking brake cables are a very weak design
(7) They tend to run Hot...or indicate being so.


On a positive note.
(1)A well maintained TC is very comfortable
(2)A model with a 5-Speed can be fun as well as more reliable
(3)The 87 and 88's have an inter-cooler that will prolong the Turbo's life-span
(4) Most parts other than certain hoses can be found easily
(5) It's a good handling car.
(6) It's economical when well maintained..and the Turbo Boost isn't always pegged.
(7) Even a bit dated..it's still stylish
(
The automatic climate control is nice
(9) The factory stereo wasn't bad for its time...but its an antique now

If you can locate a TC that isn't worn out with the paint oxidized and clear coat peeling like a snake or the interior isn't shot to hell...Give one a try...as long as it's a 5-Speed.

Just my opinion
 

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I had an SVO for a while. I could not keep it stock. They are easily modded....and with the factory computer 300 HP is achieveable, easily. SVO-same engine as the TC, but some of the TC's had IHI turbos which were on the small side. Instant boost, but they give up at higher revs. First thing I'd do is replace the tiny IHI with a T3. Don't get an automatic trans....they suck! The car is too heavy to make use of the motor--especially off boost. But if you don't mind tinkering with it you can make a serious sleeper that gets 30-35 mpg all day long.

EDIT: I don't recommend using one as a daily driver, UNLESS it's 100% stock and it's got a history of being bulletproof. Electrical systems are a PITA on these things (the engine electrical system specifically). I eventually replaced the SVO engine controls with a Megasquirt home built EFI controller. It worked great, but it became a "tuner"...meaning I constantly was messing with it to get the tune right. Mod list was stock engine & intake manifolds, stock TB. I used an intercooler from an Isuzu NPR truck (which bolts right into a Mustang--and possibly a TC as well), Holset HE351CW turbo from a 2004 Dodge pickup with a cummins engine, 4" exhaust, home-made header, 52 lb injectors from a pair of CFI HO mustangs, and of course the Megasquirt...oh and a Walbro 255 LPH high pressure fuel pump (that replaced the stock dual pump setup). Thing would break the tires loose when boost came on at 3800 in 2nd gear and it would pull hard all the way to about 6500, which is where I prog'd the MS to cut fuel. I'd guess around 325-350 HP...and that was with GOOD gas and 25 psi boost. I'm sure if I ported the head and added bigger valves, it would have made the same HP but with lower boost, but I was too lazy to pull the head off. I just cranked the boost. BTW, the HE351 turbo is capable of over 3:1 pressure ratio according to Holset. I've seen them make 38 psi on the dodge pickups-if that tells you anything.

There are guys making over 500 HP with a 2.3 4 cylinder...so they have plenty of potential, if you decide you want to mod it later on.
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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mavman on 3/21/06 7:41am ]</font>
 

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On 2006-03-20 00:57, LightningFastFords wrote:
Friend,


I'm on my 3rd 88 Turbo Coupe since the Mid 1988 Model year...and I still have a thing for them

IMHO...Ford could have done a better on the car from a number of standpoints...but I still like them and always wish to keep one on hand.

(1) Paint defects were rampant during this timeframe
(2) The Automatics used were DOGS
(3) Error Codes are seemingly ever present
(4) The interior does not age well...especially the dash pad and center console arm rests , unless it was always garage kept. Interior fade seems to happen early , unless garage kept
(5) The IHI Turbo Charger on the 87 and 88 are weaker than the Garretts used on the 84-86's
(6) The parking brake cables are a very weak design
(7) They tend to run Hot...or indicate being so.


On a positive note.
(1)A well maintained TC is very comfortable
(2)A model with a 5-Speed can be fun as well as more reliable
(3)The 87 and 88's have an inter-cooler that will prolong the Turbo's life-span
(4) Most parts other than certain hoses can be found easily
(5) It's a good handling car.
(6) It's economical when well maintained..and the Turbo Boost isn't always pegged.
(7) Even a bit dated..it's still stylish
(
The automatic climate control is nice
(9) The factory stereo wasn't bad for its time...but its an antique now

If you can locate a TC that isn't worn out with the paint oxidized and clear coat peeling like a snake or the interior isn't shot to hell...Give one a try...as long as it's a 5-Speed.

Just my opinion

Yeah, I know, I've owned 4 of `em.....all were 5 speed models one 1986 model, one 1987, and two 88's.
Also have owned 3 Mustang SVO's and a McClaren Capri Turbo RS.
Finally got tired of contantly fixing them and doing ongoing repairs that took up all my time and money.
Chasing my tail on the constant electrical problems is a major turn-off

I said "to hell with this" and sold all the T-Birds, sold one SVO, and parted the other cars.
I think I know the 2.3 fairly well, I have one making 416hp/389tq at the wheels right now and Im shooting for 450+
 

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I bought a new one.Ordered a new 84 special order,just the way I wanted it with a 5 speed.I replaced the power window motor twice.It was rough riding. With only about 30K miles on the odometer I had to replace the trans.It left me stranded in the middle of nowhere when it completely came apart just cruising down the interstate.The mechanic that replaced it for me said the insides were dry as a bone.It never leaked so it must not have had ANY oil in the transmission from the factory. I had to replace the turbo when it burned up because the 84 model had no external oiling to the turbo.The next turbo started to go out so I traded it for a new S10, the best new vehicle I ever owned.
But, the reticulated front seats on the Turbo Coupe were the best I ever had in a car.I swore I would never buy another new Ford after that,but then got a 97 Mustang.I think everything made in the 80s was crap.My 2cents
 

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you guys need to bone up on your turbo info!

First of all I'd like it explained to me how an intercooler prolongs turbo life since it just simply cools the air charge coming out of the turbo??

And secondly, I'd like to see pictures or even written documentation of how ANY turbo lives for more than a blast around the block without having oil lines?? The turbo bearings ride on oil just like engine bearings and I trust you all know what happens when an engine's bearings don't have oil?

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ZephyrZ7 on 3/22/06 3:38am ]</font>
 

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The cars are fun, but they are indeed a maintenance headache. My mom has had 2 of them, and I honestly spend more time tinkering under the hood for goofy electrical issues than she does driving. But she loves it, and I love my mom, so I keep at it


Her 5 speed was a blast back in highschool with the turbo nudged a lil
 

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i have an 85 exp turbo coupe i got in a trade about 4years ago. it's been parked for 6 yrs but has a new turbo on it. it does run and i was thinking of doing a little work on it and driving it some. does anyone know if these cars had the electrical problems to.
 

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EXP turbo? I never heard of one. It's not a Merkur is it?

I don't think it really matters what it is...if it's a ford 2.3 turbo, it's going to have some sort of problem.

Long as I had mine, I never had ONE electrical problem, other than the couple issues I had when I bought it. It had been sitting since 1990 when I got it and a few of the wires were eaten up by mice. Repaired the harness and fired it up...for the most part. Of all the problems I had, most were mechanical. Distributor gear, AUX shaft gear, broke rod, pumping up HLA's, weak valve springs....worn out cam, etc. It also had a cracked head, but what turbo 2.3 doesn't. As long as it ain't leaking water into the motor, it'll work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys for all the feedback. I think I'll leave that car alone.
 

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I guess since we've all been reading about (and telling about) the bad things, I guess it's time for some positive notes. I'm speaking for myself here.

When the SVO ran, it RAN. It was stock when I got it, and after I got it up & running, I drove it a couple months before the exhaust system fell off, literally (rotted out). First thing I did was build a 3" downpipe and full 3" exhaust, turbo to bumper. I used a 3" in/out bullet muffler. Turbo spool up was MUCH improved, full boost was achieved by 2200 (14 psi stock in premium mode--it was an '84...the 85 1/2-86's had I think 16 in premium). I did also add an open element air filter.

One day out tooting around I stopped and did a nice 1-2 shift burnout...and JUST before I went into 3rd gear, the motor died. I pulled it off the road and went to pop the hood....well...I never made it to the hood. Soon as I opened the door and saw the tell-tale anti-freeze/oil mix I knew it wasnt good, so I just called my buddy and had him pull it home.

4 months later (project got put on the back burner) I had another motor built. Stock replacement everything, even used a NA 2.3 block, crank, rods. I did use some Wiseco pistons (we are a wiseco dealer at work) instead of the TRW's though. I also used a stock head....got it going, and proceeded to pound the streets.

The thing would HAUL, for a little 2.3. Noone around here knows what an SVO is...everybody just thought it was a little 4 banger mustang. I took it to the local street races and won a little $$$ with it (or was it 4 figures $$$$??)--and later on found some more info to help it out even more. I did add the LA3 EEC from an '88 turbocoupe and the 35lb injectors, which didn't really improve the power, but it did make it a LOT more responsive and start better. The SVO's factor PK1 computer's cold start strategy left a little to be desired....After the LA3 swap, I pounded the streets with it some more. There was this one dude--pulled up next to me down at the old airport strip--and wanted to race. He had I think it was a '92 or 3 Mustang GT 5.0. We took off and it became apparent that either he couldn't drive or it was just slow...one or the other. Probably the former. Anyway, later on that night, I met up with him at a gas station. Guy says that my "GT" runs great and that he'd never seen that weird looking front end before, nor the goofy wing. I asked him how if felt to get his ass handed to him by an old Pinto motor--and popped the hood to make sure he knew that it was indeed a 4 cylinder.

Aaannnyyyway, later on I modded the crap out of it. Holset turbo, header, Megasquirt, etc. A friend of mine has an LS1 '01 Firebird and we were neck & neck at the air strip through 4th gear. I never ran it past that...hell...I was way over 100 mph at that point anyway and I really had nothing to prove, other than just to have fun. Besides it was a little lean for my taste up top (12.3-12.5 A/F in the higher gear extended runs--fuel pump too small I believe). I used to smoke Chevy trucks constantly, then remind them later on that it was only a 2.3. One guy was PISSED--had a Mitsu of some sort and we kinda half ass ran 'em from a 40 mph roll up to about 70 or so. I would shift down to 2nd, floor it, and when it came up to about 3800, I literally had to let off the throttle a little bit in order to keep the back end from spinning. The Holset turbo came on HARD! Once I figured out how to drive the thing it really was fast...one of the more fun cars I've driven to date, including a turbo 302 powered Maverick (which was more than a handful).

But as I stated, "when" it ran, it was fun. blown motors, dist gears, aux gears, etc...it stranded me the first time with the broken rod, but it had over 100,000 miles on it....so it had a reason to break. 2nd time it was the Dist. gear. It quit about 1/2 mile or so from work, but I had enough speed to coast into the dealer's lot next door...and left it there until I rescued it later on with my trailer. That was it...I was tired of it. Tired of working on it, tired of being stranded, and I wasn't going to let it happen again. Guy came down from KC MO and bought it from me. I basically gave it away, but sometimes you have to eliminate your losses before they get too severe.

One thing I forgot to mention was that that SVO handled better than ANY car I've ever driven--firebirds, camaros, an older Vette....that thing was like it was on a rail, like a go-kart with a roof over your head. That was the best thing about it...well, that and the 4 wheel discs. I loved everything about it, except working on it. I suppose if I had left it stock I would have been better off. haha..I'm a hot rodder, I cant leave anything alone!

They (any of the turbo fords) are fun to drive, you just don't want to try to use it as a daily driver. A weekend or occasional fun street car yes, but not a daily driver. What I really want to do is build up a Pinto with a BUILT 2.3...and see if I can get it to run some 9's in the 1/4. Lots of work, but I think I can do it....guy up north of us came down to the local 1000' strip once with his '93 Mustang coupe that had a turbo 2.3...and ran some high 7's in the 1000'. I think 7.80 something was the fastest it ran...and around 130 mph. So yes, it can be done.
 

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the exp is a 1.6L turbo they did'nt make to many of them. this one came from califonia and even has a sun roof. the guy i got it from in the trade said it was a screamer. guess i'll have to get it road worthy one day and find out.
 

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Mavman....interesting story! I totaly agree about the handling capabilities of the SVO.
I got into a pretty wild race with a turbo Supra on a very winding mountain road once.
It came down to who was willing to take the bigger risk on this particular road, and I was risking it all!!!

I had that SVO absolutely BURRIED in the corners and even had the tail hanging out on some of the turns.
If I was in a lesser handeling car, I would'nt have got into the race.
Needless to say, I smoked that fool in the Supra, and the road eventually straightens out, so I took the SVO up to about 140 mph.....by that time the Supra was about a half a mile behind me and haulin ass to catch me.
While I had it at top speed, I thought to myself "this is nuts", so I let off the gas and started slowing down. When I got down to about 60 mph, I passed a cop that was hiding in a blind spot on the side of the road.....but then I looked in the mirror and seen the Supra still coming at me at top speed.
He flew past the cop at high speed....doing at least 120!!
The cop busted his ass!!!


But that SVO was my daily driver for several years, and it left me stranded a lot!
It was a constant thrash every weekend to keep it running enough to get to work during the week.
I had problems with the VAM, the IAC, the TFI, the injector harness, the ignition switch, then the charging system took a crap, then the fuel relay was stuck "on", and I had some sparks and smoke coming from under the dash (still dont know what that was about).
Finally got tired of it all and got rid of everything.....now Im happy to report that Im "Free from Fox Bodies"
 

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I have an 88 turbo coupe. I've been daily driving for about three years. I haven't had any major trouble with it. (I've replaced the rotors and the radiator) Mine is a 5 speed, and is kinda fun to drive around. I must have gotten lucky with this one, it hasn't had any of the problems that the other guys have mentioned. I haven't pulled the codes off of it for about 6 months, but I'm assuming it's still fine. The interior in my car seems to be holding up pretty well too. I took it to the strip when I lived in Oregon and it ran high 15's completely stock on street tires.
My father has an 87 turbo coupe. His is a 5 speed as well. His interior and paint are both rapidly degrading. His hasn't had any electrical problems either. He has had to replace the injectors, and a couple sensors over the years. Also, the heater core did go bad and it was a chore to replace. His car has 250,000 miles on the original engine and has been boosting ~20 pounds for the last few years. He recently put water/methanol injection on it and it seems to have responded pretty well.

I like mine.


There's a couple pics of it here:

http://www.angelfire.com/creep/drfish/Tbird.html

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cain on 3/26/06 3:54am ]</font>
 

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I'll add a positive note. Orginal owner of an '86 TurboCoupe and the only time it stranded me was a failed TFI module. And Ford eventually was sued over that part.
I've had some charging problems but that seems to be ground related and is gone now. 100K+ and still running good. I'm going thru the suspension now and replacing all the bushings and rubber. I love the car, rides great, comfortable seats, handles great.
If you get one that hasn't been maintained well, it will probably take some effort to get sorted out. But when you do it's a great car. See www.turbotbird.com if you need help.
 

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Here is one more note from an SVO owner-


The 2.3 is neutral balanced, no harmonic damper, no countershafts-

In other words- BUZZZZ! Even after having the second engine professionally balnced, that Pinto engine is just one of the harshest 4 bangers out there. NVH out the wazoo. I loved the handling and looks of the car- the boost coming on was awesome but it SUCKED for any drive longer than 15 minutes. I also swapped out the stock driveshaft for the FMS aluminum one- a little better, but not enough.

RIP SVO.
 
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