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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gas prices seem to be rising and high octane fuel and turbos don't really mix with gas mileage. So a good MPG beater car was on the menu. Just picked up this Gem....

Definitely needs a head gasket and judging by the aluminum radiator and hardwired fan it's probably been running hot for a long time also the steering rack isn't even bolted to the frame and the brakes are pretty bad. I think with about $100 in parts it should be good to drive.

It made the ride back with insanely loose steering due to the rack bouncing up-and-down the temperature never went all the way up but it would just go up-and-down and the alternator belt kept slipping so the volts was going up-and-down..

Going to replace the bald tires tomorrow and pull the head will post all the progress on here..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Interesting project, these cars are long gone around my area. Love to see people keeping them alive. Not sure how much gas your going to save though, I swear my 92 turbo shadow gets better mileage than my old 94 2.2 tbi ever did.
My 89 Aries gets over 25 city 31 MPG same drivetrain but it's loaded with tools so I can't use it as a daily driver. My current daily is a 88 Town and Country Turbo gets 23-24 city and 27 mpg highway and Needs premium. Your Turbo 92 Shadow has a SBEC setup so a more efficient Sequential injection vs the pre-90 batch fired injector system and if your shadow is a 5 speed that's a big plus but if not even the 92 Turbo automatics have a lockup converter to save highway Mpg like the older TBI cars....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very true my turbo is a 5 speed, and my old 2.2 tbi was the 3spd auto so not quite a fair comparison. I dd a Sierra 6.6 duramax loaded with tools, luckily I don’t have to pay for fuel as it’s a work truck, previous to that I had a fuel sipping 99 Corolla and then a 03 Corolla to which we upgrade to a Lexus rx300 which is currently showing average mpg of 19 not great, lol but the wife’s happy.
I wanted another one of these for the coming gas crunch.
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But all the 84-86 5 speed 4A-C cars are rotted away and gone (Only the 4AGE and RWD are still around). I used to get 35Mpg city and 45Mpg highway even with 377k on it. Seems the only 80's econobox to survive into the 2020's is the K car. All the Honda's were interference so those are long dead as are most of the other 80's cars. This was my yard a decade ago and even then I always kept a K car beater around...
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update.

Finally went above freezing and took the head off. Took 2x the time due to rusted downpipe bolts so had to remove intake manifold and power steering pump to get a grinder in there took 4 hours total. No rusted bolts should take an hour. Also the egr pipe bolts snapped so considering using the 1994 Dodge Shadow TBI manifolds if they will work on the 88?

This is the worst I've seen I think.
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Head is cracked between valves too of course..
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Good thing I didn't do the clamshell method. Woulda been hydrolok time.
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Going to try to peen over the cracks and put some 80 grit sandpaper on some glass to resurface the head it's gotta be warped and I need a straight edge to check it with a feeler gauge. It looks like the compression and even oil was all mixing with the coolant.

For $30 I can get a set of rings and rod bearings re-hone it if it's worth it? Gotta drop the pan anyways get the goop out of it...

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Looking good !!

I always run a large bastard file diagonally across the deck and head.

This gives me a good indication if there is warpage or not.

The idea is to have flat surfaces, more than smooth.

Shouldn't be any problem with the newer manifold.

I would never peen the cracks between the valves.

If it's a tall deck, now's the time to ditch the balance shafts!

Thanks
Randy
It's the 2.2 I'm looking at a Tall block right now it's been sitting in a guy's garage for 20 years. Machine shop wants 140 to do the head so I'm gonna figure out the way probably like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Updates

Head was cracked in the water jacket to the chambers. Good thing I didn't pay a machine shop. Ended up using a $5 thing (i dunno what it was for maybe counter top) from Home depot with sandpaper glued to it to clean the surface.
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Going to source a non cross drilled head. Found a $60 2.5 1986 Tall Block that has been in a garage for 20 years so the head from that should bring this car back in operation.

Today drained the oil water mix, swapped the rims, cleaned the deck some more and had fun with the loose steering rack.

The rack moved side to side up and down making the car a wild ride. This is with tires off the ground. on the ground the rack would lift up too.


So tried tightening the first bolt it snapped so had to saw a hole in the frame to replace it but the one above it wont tighten (this one let the rack slide but not lift like the other one) so will have to cut it off later. Also changed the rack bushing since the previous owner kept driving it loose (rack sliding) the bushing was paper thin...
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New rims
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If anyone wants the steel wheels and the lug nuts (alloys need diff lugs) you can have em for free if you pick em up...

Next time going to drop the oil pan and pull pistons for a ring and hone job before the head goes back on. Can't see much crosshatch left and what is this?
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
There must be extra K cars up your way, they’re super rare in PA lol. Also I noticed that older prelude in that pic. I had an 86 (maybe 85?) with the side draft carbs. Was a cool car and styling was ahead of its time!
I've actually seen a bunch of K cars just sitting in people's yards and there's actually a few around here that are still driving around in really bad shape but still going.

The car on the right was a 89 Prelude SI
I had both Preludes 2nd gen and 3rd gen even the 4 wheel steering one. Pics from almost 20 years ago lol
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Never got those carbs to run right in the 84
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Did have cool styling though
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The 89 SI ran much better (got it for $200 at the junkyard about to be crushed)
Got a solid decade out of it till rust took it over but it never skipped a beat and even made it from MA to Florida and back
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How do you even fix this kind or rust?
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The car all the way on the left is actually a 84 Accord I picked up for $30. (lady wanted $300 but ps line blew then clutch and brake pedal both got stuck down husband begged me to buy it for anything) Everyone gives me that look when I buy these beaters


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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow those pics are a blast from the past. I remember when I got my prelude. Technically it was my first car (I had a ranger that predated it that I owned but I never fixed it or drove it lol). My brother in law was a mechanic and some one brought it to him with bad carbs. They decided they didn’t want to spend the money on new and gave it to him for like $100. It sat at his garage for a year or two and he gifted it to me. Red paint was faded bad so it got painted white quick (crappy job). I picked up used side draft carbs at the local junkyard (remember when useful things were still in the local yards?). I knew very little about mechanical work at the time as I was 15 and just getting into cars. Plus the spaghetti mess of vacuum hoses on that engine! Eventually got it running well but it was short lived as it was smoking like a New Jersey skyline. Very neat car though
My 84 Prelude was in a garage for a decade I got it for free they just needed it gone because landlord complaining plus scrap was so low u had to pay to have cars removed back in 2003. I spent 4 hours tinkering with it (good way to test the girl I was with she sat in my car the whole time no nagging) I finally got it running and we took it for a spin. Brakes were scratchy but there and the motor pulled ok but idle was off. I kept it around for a few years but never finished it so it was sold. I did take it on the highway and around town it just needed a good going through.

Once a car sits a full year like this just get rid of it because you know it will never get done. It just becomes one with the yard junk....
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
UPDATES
Took a ride and got the $60 2.5 TALL BLOCK.

Guy was real helpful we dissected the motor with almost no complications. One broken exhaust stud. Motor still spun and best of all no cracks in the head not even between the valves...
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Whole mess
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I'm not using the cam but did notice wear on one of the lobes so it must have not been getting proper oil change intervals.
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The right way to put this all together is to change the stem seals lap the valves but then got to wait for parts.

Still have to
clean the deck
pull pistons clean and new rings
hone the cylinders
clean the head (80 grit or 120 grit on my tile thing)
swap the cam followers lifters
pull broken stud

then can finally reassemble this thing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Update.

Got bottom end honed assembled. Seeing scratches on cylinder 1 and 4 from the new rings. Can't feel anything so hopefully it's fine. My $16 rings didn't show up in time so used OEM Mopar rings.
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Was able to pull the oil restrictor from a Turbo block I had lying around. Reason for installing it in this TBI motor is because without it the head can get overfilled with oil starving the bottom end at high Rpm. And a 3 speed auto on 2022 highways will be revving pretty high....

Lapped valves and installed new valve stem seals. Both of my valve spring tools barely fit so next time will need a better tool. Valves held water with no springs.
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My ceramic tile resurfacing tool worked great on the head. Not even the .0015 feeler gauge fit under a straight edge anywhere on the head.
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Got tired of fighting the broken stud so used some ultra grey around that exhaust port.

Ended up using the 94 Shadow manifolds since the 88 manifolds were cracked rotted broken bolts and O2 stuck. Just gotta wire up the 4 wire sensor to the 3 wire plug on the car.

Had a slight complication with the passenger mount bracket hitting the corner of the head and headgasket. Maybe 1mm off. Ended up bolting it up anyways. Checked the old head and it has a tiny notch from the bracket. Never seen that one before..

Motor is fully assembled just have to reset timing belt and fill up fluids to test if it runs. If so will proceed to break in procedure.
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Have under $50 in this engine "Rebuild" so hopefully it runs good..

Also had a chance to check out the underside and no rot holes. Just surface rust. Only a small section of rocker needs patched. Not bad for a 34 year old car that cost scrap price and still drove.
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Going to scrub it then use oil based undercoating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Man I am loving your TBI work. Once I get my convertible working again I wanna fix up my 1993 Voyager TBI and get some mo' performance going!

I love the fact that this TBI engine had blown a head gasket, ran for hours while I moved all my stuff with zero coolant and a flat tire and I STILL made it to my destination! The bearings rattle a little but it just keeps going! God I love these engines.

I heard if you shave the head to get like 11:1 an off-the-shelf Volvo timing belt can work.
I already added a 2nd Tbi gasket and the 94 exhaust manifold looks to flow better plus the intake has a divider thing inside unlike the 88 one so maybe it will make more power/mpg.
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First thing is get it started tomorrow...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I'm so totally f--ked in life right now but imma make it a mission to try and build my TBI van up and ride your TBI coat tails. Your budget updates are awesome. I feel like I will need to find out why my turbo 2.5 is running on 3 cylinders and apply some arieskcar budget to the problem

Your video where you drove your cheap purchase home hit me in places I totally adore, man, that feeling of buying a new abandoned car... man it feels amazing

I'm gonna record my 0-100 kph (0-60) see if you can compete with my clamshell performance 2.5 hahahaha

Hope you do a video the first time you go for a cruise!
Planned to go for a ride today but the exhaust didn't want to cooperate. Had to hold the exhaust up and the donut gasket along with the bolt/spring then nut. Practically impossible and I forgot there was a broken bolt stuck at the exhaust....

Did get enough hooked up to fire it up though.


Still need to

fill/bleed coolant
get 2nd exhaust flange bolt in
Wire up the 4 wire O2 for a 3 wire plug
Sealant on cam caps (Forgot)
Race it to seat rings...
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Nothing worse than broken bolts, ahhhh... SO annoying!
How about melted wires?
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Gonna splice in a 89 Tbi iac plug since this one is melted like so many other TBI cars I run across. This time it gave a code usually it just makes the car hesitate BAD due to shorted wires.

Took it for a ride no smoke or overheating but need to fix iac plug and MAP hose or sensor too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I feel like wiring is a bit chill and zen for me, I can do wiring and be relaxed but things like stuck bolts make me go insane and get frustrated like crazy!

Great videos... I just ordered my replacement ECU for my Lebaron, hope I can get it to run on 3 clyinders long enough to get it parked and do the repairs before summer...
I remember you said you pulled one of the spark plug wires when it was running and it shorted the computer or something?

If one of the cylinders is dead do a compression test.

On the Reliant Fixed the wiring it accelerates almost perfect.

No codes but still have air in the heater core and a ton of parts to swap
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Also I could only get one bolt in the exhaust flange. I went the ghetto route...

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Vice grips are holding pretty strong
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Update.

Took on a few test runs

Blew brake hose luckily already had them.
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Nuts were stuck to the lines as usual so the torch freed em up. Cool green flame too..

Also adjusted struts prev owner had top of tire sticking out now camber is straight.and greased front end.


Was still idling high and bogging/hesitating

Swapped IAC from parts pile
cleaned TBI unit
Used old exhaust spring to fit bolt no more vice grips...
Changed fuel filter saw no dirt but was hard to blow through unlike New one
Re did more vac lines
Ran black wire from 4 wire O2 to 3 wire harness Now have grey wire ran to battery neg terminal.

Now it can go for a decent length ride runs real good. No codes or smoke/leaks

Next plan is

Grind frame more get to last rack bolt
get a muffler
do timing belt
Bump timing till ping
Gut airbox
flush heater core
Scrub rust paint/undercoat
Bolts for dash (it's loose)
Exhaust donut (used one leaks)
Change oil filter at 50 mile mark
Trans fluid/filter.
Alignment
Fix radio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Updates

Got 2nd rack bolt out (was harder than rebuilding the engine took so long)
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Took tons of heat juice and 3 wrenches wedged in the frame hole. Replaced it with a intake manifold bolt and a locknut doused in blue locktite. Now steering is tight...

Got a nice $18 muffler ENFORCER 2 now it doesn't sound like a total pos.

Still have to do donut gasket the used one leaks and the 88 downpipe is a Lil different than the 94 manifold..

On the running front was fighting a stuttering issue when warm figured out the Allpar TBI mod bypass intake heater hoses was a bad idea lol. So now it drives good. Other mods that seem to work are 15°timing and gutted airbox...

Fixed idle issue by adjusting it.

Just did Timing belt. Old one was shredding the belt from a warped cover.
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Removed a few chunks off both covers and set belt tension cold then hot. No moaning sounds.

Pulled the RN12YC's I had gapped at .40 and swapped in the NGK's from the cracked head just to parts cannon the hesitation issue. Might get new ones at some point. Idled smoother with the Champions but actually accelerates smooth with the Ngk's

Also the 4 wire o2 from the 94 manifold had a melted heater wire (I never hooked it up) so tossed it wired up a new Honda Accord downstream o2 had lying around to the 3 wire harness. Seems to be working plugs look good after a few days on the Honda o2
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Still have to fix radio undercoat it and tighten the dash.

Only other issue was the coolant temp sensor. I have a bunch in the junk pile and one gave a code 17 (180 tstat 1/16th hole)then the next one gave a code 22 I think or it was stored from the last one. Cleared codes took it for a few rides no codes yet runs good...
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Man you are really kicking ass on this project!

I still gotta do a 0-100 KPH recording and see who has the faster TBI!

Where I live, the weather is no longer cold and snowy so the cops are out doing speed checks everywhere. I was having fun booting it around town the other day and spinning the engine all the way to like 4500 RPM(lol) and a Porsche Cayenne passed me on the straight after a looooong uphill turn where the van really hugged the corners in it's own, floaty way haha...

I passed the Cayenne like a minute later pulled over at a speed check... good thing my van barely hits 100 KPH even after like 9 seconds of flooring it, hahaha...

What's next for your TBI? I'm broke AF at the moment but damn I really want a side-exhaust on my van and a more-fun 2.5 NA motor. It is definitely more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.

They are SO sneaky with speed checks and cel phone checks. They hide in the bushes at multiple locations looking for anyone who dares check their phone at the 1-2 minute long lights here and they setup speed checks at the bottom of hills, right where the speed limit changes... but never in school zones!
I'm so broke I rebuilt the engine on the sidewalk in a snowstorm, Resurfaced the head on a $5 piece of tile, running a Honda Accord o2 some kid tossed and used spark plugs.

Plan is to make it the daily driver so I can keep my nicer cars for weekends out of general traffic problems.

I'll film a 0-60mph soon. I'm still breaking in the engine avoiding highways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Updates.

Bled brakes
Swapped in New motor/trans mounts
Right side of drivers seat is loose I think it's a bushing

Undercoated with Surface Shield and inspected rust. besides rocker one side it looks really good for a scrap price car especially over 30 years old.

The windshield washer wasn't working so pulled the bottle and found this..
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It had some trashed aluminum tape over it so replaced it with T-Rex tape. The dash is also loose and messed up so I'm guessing some idiot tried to do the heater core?

Anyways washer issue was the button wouldn't go in enough so pulled back the collar and now it comes on fine.

Seems to be running good. Ticks when cold so might buy new lifters and switch out the 10w40 conventional break in oil for 5w30 Full syn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
UPDATES
Currently daily driven. good on gas

Definitely has that beater car feel.
Have a bunch of cosmetic issues to deal with. A long list but nothing that impedes daily usage...

Dash still loose bolts are tight but it has a gap between the firewall and dashpad flops up and down (anyone know if there's a bracket behind there or just jam longer bolts???) I found this pic and the dashpad has 3 bolts but here there are 4 holes...
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Starter gear doesn't want to extend when cold just like my Dodge 600 (makes the motor sound but no engagement) works great over 50 degrees though

Muffler too low gotta try to shorten pipe and tuck it up higher

Driver seatback rightside is loose sagging back. seems to be a bushing but have to remove whole bench seat to fix?

downpipe flange was broken so the part that slips in the gasket was never there. Have a chunk of one off another car just have to use adapters and put it on.

noise when turning (shifting suspension sound) might be the rack vent pipe that popped out and too annoying to get it lined up with the inner tie rod boots. Also steering wheel is crooked. fight to change rack bolts (cut hole in frame) means I'll adjust it someday over the rainbow...

brakes are meh. calipers rusted I bet the pins are frozen. planning on a brake upgrade...

speakers badly blown and keep cutting out and cd player shuts off when u press buttons plus the foam pads holding it in are ghetto AF. got some 3ohm house speakers to go in...

still have to flush coolant and change trans fluid.

rear bearings are loose with weight on the ground.

still have the jury rigged Honda o2 sensor and used plugs from old head.

when cold timing tensioner makes noise (only did belt)

tires dry rotted.

most door light sensors don't work

fuel hoses dry rotted

maybe more...


going to try this week to fix

Downpipe
dashpad (very annoying buzzing have to hold it up at redlights)
seat sagging
fuel hoses
speakers/radio
 
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