1989 Ford Mustang LX 2.3 from North America
Fun in a box..
Replaced alternator with rebuilt. Usual things: timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt, plugs, distributor cap & wires. Small stuff, part of routine maintenance when you buy a 16 year old car...
I got the car in trade for my civic. Zero rust. 2.3 is rather weak, especially when coupled with the A4LD auto trans. Handled OK, steering is quick, back end can get away from you if too quick on the throttle - adds to the fun factor.
With 88 hp on tap, you are not going anywhere fast. I could swap in the 2.3 turbo (205hp/245ftlbs torque) but that would necessitate the use of premium fuel. Which at this day and age, is not what I want to do..
I did some simple mods to get the power up:
Installed Ford Motor Sports A233 cam. ($100 cad)
Cold Air Intake. ($50 cad)
Mallory Hy fire IIIa ignition with Promaster 29440 coil. ($100 cad)
Bosch premium 8mm wires with Platinum 4 plugs. ($75 cad)
Ford Ranger header with 2 1/4 tubing. ($50 cad)
Hi flow universal cat ($69 cad)
Turbo muffler ($29 cad)
These mods were cheap, and netted at least a 35 hp increase. Cam makes the engine come alive around 3000 rpm. The Hyfire ignition helps smooth idle and make more power as the vastly increased spark ensures a much more complete burning of fuel in the combustion chamber. The tubular header from the Ranger (2.3- 2.5) is a great junkyard score and combined with a 2 1/4 exhaust, allows the engine to expel the exhaust with minimal restriction. I made my own cold air intake using a piece of 3" mandrel bent tubing from my local muffler shop, and a K&N filter.
Nice thing is that my fuel consumption as not decreased noticeably - if at all. And I don't worry about guys in stock older civics bothering me. The way Ford set up the gearing is perfect.
I snagged decent suspension off Ebay for peanuts. Complete Cobra premium front and rear struts for $100 cad - shipped to my door. Ford C springs for $150 cad shipped to my door. Energy Suspension offset rack bushings - $27 shipped to my door... Upgraded the front brakes to GT spindles and 11" rotors for $50, and paid $100 cad for a set of rebuilt Lincoln 73mm piston calipers, installed a set of used GT front and rear sway bars - $25/set - all of which - bolt directly on... Easy mods.
Makes the car handle much better. Body lean around corners is sooo not there. There is a wee bit of frame flex, but nothing a set of subframe connectors won't cure.
All in all, for low bucks the car is much, much improved and a blast to drive. Granted it doesn't have the power of the 5.0, but it doesn't have the thirst for fuel and the insurance rates of the 5.0 either...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 8th November, 2005
88hp from a 2.3 litre engine? What is it doing, running on 3 cylinders?
Yep - all 2.3l normally aspirated (NON TURBO) from '84 to 91 were rated from the factory at a paltry, wimpy, measly 88 hp at the crank... Tons of info on the 'net to corroborate that. In 1992 Ford changed the head on the 2.3 to a dual plug set up - which was rated 105hp. Same cam profile, but the extra plug made a better job of ensuring complete combustion of the air fuel mix in the combustion chamber. By adding a very strong ignition/coil set up (like MSD, Accel, Mallory) on a pre '91 single plug and using a high quality platinum plug with a larger gap and wires, you can gain 10-12 hp.
I drove my friends Iron Duke 2.5l Ciera and I was jealous of the power. That should show you how much of a dog this motor was.