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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought and sunk about $3k into an 89 LeBaron 2.5 T1 automatic, and it's toast now. It has a knocking rod, seized turbo, and a never-solved code 13. It's not in great shape, but it's not terrible either. The transmission shifted great, and it has a good Virginia inspection. It needs a fender, digital dash (or substitute), repairs to the top, rear door windows, headlight cover motor, another radiator, and probably a flush and fill for the convertible hydraulics.

The A/C works, it has brand new tires, and there is virtually no rust. It's a rather nice ride all around.

I did all of the standard rebuild stuff, except that I didn't pull the crank since I'm doing all this on the road in front of my house. I kinda think it's all a wash at this point and that I'm best off stripping the car down to a shell and crushing in. )-: I would use it for parts for my other cars, but I really don't need anything that's in this one. I'd list it for parts, but I think all of the stuff people want out of a LeBaron are junk on this one.
 

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I bought and sunk about $3k into an 89 LeBaron 2.5 T1 automatic, and it's toast now. It has a knocking rod, seized turbo, and a never-solved code 13. It's not in great shape, but it's not terrible either. The transmission shifted great, and it has a good Virginia inspection. It needs a fender, digital dash (or substitute), repairs to the top, rear door windows, headlight cover motor, another radiator, and probably a flush and fill for the convertible hydraulics.

The A/C works, it has brand new tires, and there is virtually no rust. It's a rather nice ride all around.

I did all of the standard rebuild stuff, except that I didn't pull the crank since I'm doing all this on the road in front of my house. I kinda think it's all a wash at this point and that I'm best off stripping the car down to a shell and crushing in. )-: I would use it for parts for my other cars, but I really don't need anything that's in this one. I'd list it for parts, but I think all of the stuff people want out of a LeBaron are junk on this one.
I just did rod bearings full piston swap 2.5T1 in the car and it wasn't that bad...
20210517_190824.jpg
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just did rod bearings full piston swap 2.5T1 in the car and it wasn't that bad...
Yeah, I keep reminding myself that there really isn't anything difficult to do on these cars.

My biggest qualm is having to take the crank out. I'll have to get it machined and get oversized bearings, or get a new crank. Either way, I'm probably best off removing the block altogether. I've taken a crank off, but I honestly can't remember what I have to do with the tranny to accomplish it. I think I should go ahead and pull the crank in any case. 1) I'll have to in order to fix it. 2) I'd keep the crank (and everything else) if I strip it. 3) I'd have more information for a prospective buyer if I sell it.
 

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Yeah, I keep reminding myself that there really isn't anything difficult to do on these cars.

My biggest qualm is having to take the crank out. I'll have to get it machined and get oversized bearings, or get a new crank. Either way, I'm probably best off removing the block altogether. I've taken a crank off, but I honestly can't remember what I have to do with the tranny to accomplish it. I think I should go ahead and pull the crank in any case. 1) I'll have to in order to fix it. 2) I'd keep the crank (and everything else) if I strip it. 3) I'd have more information for a prospective buyer if I sell it.
U don't need to remove anything....
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Haha! That was awesome. :-D

The concern I have is the condition of the crank. #4 had a chunk of piston missing when I got it. I originally replaced all four with complete pistons and rods, but #4 would seize up once the cap was tightened on. I was able to get it to run and spin pretty smoothly by transferring the original rods to the new caps. I'm worried that it's egg-shaped.

This is also the first engine I've ever done a hone and rings on. Compression was good and there was no blowby, so I feel good about that. Still, if I get that far in, I'd probably ask a machine shop to just triple-check everything.
 

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Haha! That was awesome. :-D

The concern I have is the condition of the crank. #4 had a chunk of piston missing when I got it. I originally replaced all four with complete pistons and rods, but #4 would seize up once the cap was tightened on. I was able to get it to run and spin pretty smoothly by transferring the original rods to the new caps. I'm worried that it's egg-shaped.

This is also the first engine I've ever done a hone and rings on. Compression was good and there was no blowby, so I feel good about that. Still, if I get that far in, I'd probably ask a machine shop to just triple-check everything.
Yeah the air hammer was the best part...
U can mic the crank journals by hand in multiple places to see if it's warped. But you have to resize the rods if the caps are mixed up. When I did the 2.5T1 I made sure to keep all the caps with their prospective rods. I got a couple hundred miles on a sidewalk rebuild using $60 piston/ring set I measured nothing used Autozone lucus assembly lube and torqued the ARP rod bolts to 55 instead of 50 on the spec because my 15 year old beam torque wrench is prob inaccurate as the scale fell off a few times. It spun easy by hand to line up the timing belt I never took off just zip tied the belt to the cam gear.too lazy to take the belts/covers off

I dunno what this thing is but this is the tool to measure the journal to see if it's out of round...
 

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The nice thing about an automatic transmission is that you can remove the bolts between the flex plate and torque converter, and pull the block out without having to remove the transmission and drive axles. The hard part of removing the crank is pulling the aluminum piece off the end. One has to pull the gear that drives the timing belt using a puller.
There was a thread about that not long ago. One time I did an in-frame rebuild and I honed the bores too much and the rings had too much end gap ---resulting in too much blow-by to pass DEQ, even though it seemed to run pretty good.
 

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The nice thing about an automatic transmission is that you can remove the bolts between the flex plate and torque converter, and pull the block out without having to remove the transmission and drive axles. The hard part of removing the crank is pulling the aluminum piece off the end. One has to pull the gear that drives the timing belt using a puller.
There was a thread about that not long ago. One time I did an in-frame rebuild and I honed the bores too much and the rings had too much end gap ---resulting in too much blow-by to pass DEQ, even though it seemed to run pretty good.
I just did it a couple days ago you unbolt all those screws holding the aluminum plate on you wiggle it and you flip the crank over off the dowel.
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey sweet! Well, I have already started going down the "1) Fix" path again, but I haven't gotten any further these last few days. I've been sick. )-: I hope to have the energy to crawl under the car tomorrow. I have an assistant of the Saab persuasion to help me. I think the fatal flaw was the use of cheap (not Federal Mogul) rod bearings. Hopefully it hasn't caused more damage with metal filings elsewhere. I lucked out with the ring job, which was my first, and compression is even and there is zero blowby.

I do have one other change I'm looking into, though. The '89 vacuum lines are a complicated mess, and I was never able to get it running right before, after months of trying. I'm going to see if I can switch it over to '91 electronics without too much hassle. I think the '91 electronics system and vacuum lines are just better thought out.
 

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Hey sweet! Well, I have already started going down the "1) Fix" path again, but I haven't gotten any further these last few days. I've been sick. )-: I hope to have the energy to crawl under the car tomorrow. I have an assistant of the Saab persuasion to help me. I think the fatal flaw was the use of cheap (not Federal Mogul) rod bearings. Hopefully it hasn't caused more damage with metal filings elsewhere. I lucked out with the ring job, which was my first, and compression is even and there is zero blowby.

I do have one other change I'm looking into, though. The '89 vacuum lines are a complicated mess, and I was never able to get it running right before, after months of trying. I'm going to see if I can switch it over to '91 electronics without too much hassle. I think the '91 electronics system and vacuum lines are just better thought out.
91 is SBEC vs SMEC and its SEFI not batch fired so there's injector drivers and a body module. Much more complex...
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
91 is SBEC vs SMEC and its SEFI not batch fired so there's injector drivers and a body module. Much more complex...
I've got all of the electronics, wire harnesses, sensors, injectors, throttle body, etc etc... I'm just unsure if there's anything vehicle-specific that is incompatible, or if it's just a matter of doing a complete brain transplant.
 

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I've got all of the electronics, wire harnesses, sensors, injectors, throttle body, etc etc... I'm just unsure if there's anything vehicle-specific that is incompatible, or if it's just a matter of doing a complete brain transplant.
I got a 89 Daytona fully swapped to 92 T1 and the guy had a huge book of wiring to get it going...
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I got a 89 Daytona fully swapped to 92 T1 and the guy had a huge book of wiring to get it going...
Hmmm, that doesn't sound promising. :-D Well, at least I'll see if the signals from the TPS and Baro are the same and just cut and splice the connectors. I'm pretty sure they are. I've never had a Holley TPS go bad, and the last Baro sensor connector leads fell off altogether.
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Off by .02. )-: 1.944 on almost every measurement.

I don't know what happened. The top rod bearing has deep circular pits. The bottom bearing looks new. The old rod bearings are smooth and uniform, so I honestly think the rod bearing failed early and caused much of the damage. The pan has a lot of metal film, and there are grooves in the camshaft and camshaft bearings.

This whole project was cursed from the start...
276172
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sure, but the #4 journal is now 0.02 undersize where it doesn't seem to have been before the rebuild. If the steel from the bearing and/or journal cut a bunch of pits and grooves into the cam, it probably got into everything aluminum. I'll try to get the rest of the block out tomorrow and get it to the machine shop to clean it and check everything...but I'm not particularly optimistic. /-:
 

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91 Daytona Shelby 5Spd 2.5 T1, 85 New Yorker 2.2 T1, 89 LeBaron Convertible 2.5 T1, Many spare parts
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Pre 89 cam has grooves already. And bearings are soft u can Emery cloth it off the crank
I talked to the local machine shop guru and brought him some parts to get his opinion. The bearing looks okay to him, but being .020" undersize on the journal is way wrong. The old bearing was standard size, too. We have a theory... The crank may have been welded (badly) by a remanufacturer, and the weld may have crumbled off on me. This would explain the large amount of metal in the oil and the massive journal size difference. He's with you on the cam and head, just smooth them back out and reassemble. Next step is going to be to remove the crank the rest of the way and either turn it back down to .020" or replace it altogether. Either way, he's pretty optimistic all around.

With the time and money I've put into the car so far, I'm taking the block to him as well to have him give it a bath.
 

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I talked to the local machine shop guru and brought him some parts to get his opinion. The bearing looks okay to him, but being .020" undersize on the journal is way wrong. The old bearing was standard size, too. We have a theory... The crank may have been welded (badly) by a remanufacturer, and the weld may have crumbled off on me. This would explain the large amount of metal in the oil and the massive journal size difference. He's with you on the cam and head, just smooth them back out and reassemble. Next step is going to be to remove the crank the rest of the way and either turn it back down to .020" or replace it altogether. Either way, he's pretty optimistic all around.

With the time and money I've put into the car so far, I'm taking the block to him as well to have him give it a bath.
Actually on the 2.5 T1 I have someone already bored over the Pistons and the rods all had oversized. So I had to get different pistons/bearings. And I found out by seeing all the numbers on the parts.
20210501_204004.jpg

20210330_201802.jpg
 
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