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Can this be done? I'm thinking more about the tranny then anything. I love the sc body but I'm not a fan of the 3.8.
 

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ANYTHING can be done. You'll just need to do a lot of re-wiring and probably some custom mount/driveshaft fabrication to drop that drive train in there. Since the Bird is heavier, I hope you're gonna mod the 2.3L for some extra go go...

Probably be pretty original! Good for you, I'd go for it!
 

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PostWhore, The AFDB is on a lil tight.
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2.3 wont cut it, even with upgrades and a turbo. 5.0 is the way to go if you want to lose the SC motor. 5.0 upgrades can get pretty nice up in the power level all under the stock hood what more could you ask for.
 

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I say go for it! The SC already has an intercooler on it, but from what I am reading online the 3.8l transmission wont bolt up to the 2.3l :( I did find some info on this on turboford.com. There was an adapter plate to switch the 2.3l to SBF (3.8l, 5.0l) bellhousing bolt pattern, but its not available. So I would suspect you would have to swap a transmission from a TC/SVO also. I always heard the 2.3l turbo would run circles around the 5.0, but that's just hearsay. I havent got to drive a turbo 2.3l in the right manner to find out for myself.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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I always heard the 2.3l turbo would run circles around the 5.0, but that's just hearsay.
For the 5.0s of the time (late 80s) that would be true from a horsepower standpoint; the latest generation of the turbo 2.3s in the Fox TCs were rated at 190 HP and 240 Ft-lbs whereas the last 5.0s available in the Fox T-birds were rated at 155 HP/265 ft-lbs. Earlier years were less, 130-150 HP range.

The 5.0s in the MN12 were rated at 200 HP and 275 ft-lb and the 5.0s in the 88-92 LSCs were rated at 225 HP and 300 Ft-lbs (partly due to exhaust), so you get more horsepower and more torque than the 2.3, and the swap is already well documented and more straightforward.
 

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For the 5.0s of the time (late 80s) that would be true from a horsepower standpoint; the latest generation of the turbo 2.3s in the Fox TCs were rated at 190 HP and 240 Ft-lbs whereas the last 5.0s available in the Fox T-birds were rated at 155 HP/265 ft-lbs. Earlier years were less, 130-150 HP range.

The 5.0s in the MN12 were rated at 200 HP and 275 ft-lb and the 5.0s in the 88-92 LSCs were rated at 225 HP and 300 Ft-lbs (partly due to exhaust), so you get more horsepower and more torque than the 2.3, and the swap is already well documented and more straightforward.
Party Pooper! Rain-on-parade Maker! :p
 

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What exactly do you not like about the S/C 3.8L? You have the horsepower and torque of a V-8, only with two less cylinders. I call that a win-win. Rebuild the long block and run some newer head gaskets, and you'll be good to go as far as tuning and modifications go.
 

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Well, I thought that too at first, then I considered the general high maintenance costs and less-than-average reliability of the 3.8 SC motors then it all seemed clear to me.
 

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WOT Junkie and avid corn burner
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Well, I thought that too at first, then I considered the general high maintenance costs and less-than-average reliability of the 3.8 SC motors then it all seemed clear to me.
I dunno about you, but I've seen quite a few reliable 3.8L S/C's. The 3.8 would be the smallest motor I'd put in such a big car. I really don't feel the TC/SVO 2.3 would be up to the task of moving such a car as well with out extra help. But that's just me. Once the head gaskets are replaced with better ones, reliability problems are moot. An S/C motor really isn't much more expensive to maintain than a 4.6 or a 5.0...and even the TC/SVO 2.3. The expensive part of maintaining an S/C is the suspension, the ARC shocks, to be more precise.

Now maybe it's the inner purist coming out in me, but I'd say run with the S/C 3.8. By the time you spent the money on the engine swap and getting the drive train set up right, you would have been able to make that S/C 3.8L a monster.

However, to answer OP's question. Yes, the swap can be done. But, you'll need to look at the MR=MC (economics for ya) approach to doing such a swap.
 

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IThe 3.8 would be the smallest motor I'd put in such a big car. I really don't feel the TC/SVO 2.3 would be up to the task of moving such a car as well with out extra help.
N/A being equal, yes, but the TC 2.3 outperforms the N/A 3.8s.
 

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I think if you're going to the trouble of installing an engine that was never intended to be put in this platform, you could do better than the pinto 4.

I dunno about you, but I've seen quite a few reliable 3.8L S/C's... Once the head gaskets are replaced with better ones, reliability problems are moot. An S/C motor really isn't much more expensive to maintain than a 4.6 or a 5.0
The head gaskets constantly pop with factory gaskets and hardware. Studs are a must. The MLS gaskets require additional machining to the surfaces to seal properly.

The harmonic balancers grenade on themselves as well. Occasionally they even make a nightmare scenario getting the remains off the crank. Only option for the long haul is the BHJ.

The 89-93 ignition control modules are just plain junk.

They eat belts.

Oh and the spark plugs suck to change.

True you can build a monster but like most monsters, it wont be cheap or pleasant to live with.
 

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I wouldn't swap a stock 2.3T in, but one warmed over like mine could be interesting...
 

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Besides the head gaskets and harmonic balancer I don't think the 3.8 SC motor would be any more of a pain than the 2.3L. 2 things you can fix. MLS gaskets are the way to go but like Matt said you have to have the block specially surfaced along with the heads. I had Dan put the MLS gaskets on my 3.8 NA when he rebuilt it and it was worth every penny IMO for that peace of mind.
 

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I think if you're going to the trouble of installing an engine that was never intended to be put in this platform, you could do better than the pinto 4.



The head gaskets constantly pop with factory gaskets and hardware. Studs are a must. The MLS gaskets require additional machining to the surfaces to seal properly.

The harmonic balancers grenade on themselves as well. Occasionally they even make a nightmare scenario getting the remains off the crank. Only option for the long haul is the BHJ.

The 89-93 ignition control modules are just plain junk.

They eat belts.

Oh and the spark plugs suck to change.

True you can build a monster but like most monsters, it wont be cheap or pleasant to live with.
There's a lot of generalizations here and I know you can find plenty of examples to support or contradict your statements. I will just post my experience, as some of it applies.

Blew stock head gaskets (and cracked a piston) at around 95,000 miles while trying to better my fastest bolt-on pass of 13.52 @ 101, which happened on the previous run. I blame myself and the circumstances for this.

Never lost a stock balancer, but went to a BHJ when I rebuilt the engine. A lot of balancer failures are from installing used balancers.

*knock on wood* I'm still running the original ignition module at about 130k miles

I've never lost a belt. I just change them as needed.

The spark plugs aren't bad if you don't have headers and change several of them from under the car.


Personally, I think you are creating a lot more potential for problems if you swap in a different engine than stock.
 

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I have headers and can change my plugs in 45 mins. Though unfortunately I am on my 3rd ICM (got life time warranty on the first replacement so no big deal). Belts have been fine, though I hate the fact you have to remove the lower radiator hose to replace the main belt.


While I like the idea of turbo 2.3 in a Mn-12 is not a good idea IMHO. Now a turbo I-300 :D
 

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I know this is an old thread but I'm having fun reading up on these. I had an 88 Turbo Coupe 5 speed and a 93 SC auto. Even though it's a small detail it's another thing to add to the list, no way could you use stock rear gears from an MN12 in it either. My TC had a fun enough time moving around the 3400lb Fox platform with 3.73 gears, add 400 pounds (average) and throw in 3.27 or 3.08 or 2.73 rear gears and you would be putting your foot through the floorboard getting that baby off the line!
 
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