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85 2.3L manifold for Turbo with A/C

JoshT

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85 Ranger 2.3L W/ AC. I'm a little up in the air what is going to happen with this truck. Original plan was to V8 swap. That turned into fix the 2.3L and do the V8 later. I'm now toying with the idea of maybe doing 2.3T (not immediately) and saving the V8 for a future project. Lots of good reasons to go in either direction.

I know the easiest option would be to find a 2.3T Thunderbird or Mustang and rob it of an engine. Those aren't as available as they used to be and any engine I found would be due for a refresh or rebuild, so I may convert my existing engine. Regardless of which engine I use, I understand there will be an issue with the exhaust manifold and turbo placement, because they interfere with the location of the A/C compressor on the Ranger 2.3L. Ditching A/C is not an option, wasn't going to be one for the V8 either.

Can anyone point me towards a header and turbo setup that would be appropriate for a 2.3L Ranger with A/C? Even just pointing me to where I could find more info would be helpful. Did look in the tech library, but not enough info there to help me out with this question.

I can't say for certain that this Ranger will get built as a 2.3 turbo or a V8, but I can say that I have plans for this engine to live on either way. Regardless of the eventual home I'm probably going to want turbo noises to go with it, so still worth taking the time to read and learn about it.
 


franklin2

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Here's a exhaust manifold.


Here's a svo thread and it sounds like he had the same problem you might have. You can see he modified the bracket and the compressor some to fit.


Is this the bracket you need for the "narrow" type compressor that clears the turbo?

 

JoshT

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Thank you for the input. Unfortunately neither one really works in my situation.
Here's a exhaust manifold.

So I've done some reading on Facebook groups and browsing various forums. I've learned a few things in that time. First is I was wrong about the source of interference. The problem with the factory (E6) turbo manifold isn't the compressor, but the AC box on the firewall. The E6 manifold puts the turbo too far back and it wants to sit in about the same spot as the Evap core. Might interfere with the comrpessor too, I can't be certain about that part without having one available. Doesn't matter because loss of the AC box on the firewall kills the factory location.

Based on what I can tell from looking at pictures, that amazon header won't work. Installed as shown with the turbo down it might clear the AC box, but it looks like it'll be moved forward right into the compressor. Many pictures I see of that style have it flipped over with the turbo on top, but I think the bends would still drop down into the area occoupied by the compressor, and it might through the turbo up enough that it doesn't fit under the hood. I've also been reading on forums and facebook groups. A lot of people seem to have a problem with those cheap chinesium headers cracking. I don't really want to drop the money on that just for a test fit, especially when I already have serious doubts about the fitment and quality.

Here's a svo thread and it sounds like he had the same problem you might have. You can see he modified the bracket and the compressor some to fit.


Is this the bracket you need for the "narrow" type compressor that clears the turbo?

Yeah I don't think his solution will work for me simply because of the differences in the engine bay layout. Ignoring the A/C compressor the turbo fits with that factory E6 manifold in a Mustang, it won't fit with that manifold in a Ranger. In a Ranger it would need to be moved forward 4-6 inches more like the center mount header shown in the Amazon link. Problem is if you moved his turbo forward like that it would be right where the AC compressor needs to sit. Even with his compact compressor it wouldn't work out.

I've found a potential solution and it actually involves the factory manifold that won't fit. Apparently it is fairly common practice to flip those factory manifolds which moves the turbo to the front of the engine and also raises it several inches. Unfortunately it's not a simple matter of flip it over and bolt it on because the ports aren't centered to the mounting bolts, but there a couple of people out there that make and sell adapter flanges that allow them to bolt on inverted and have the ports aligned. This should move the turbo forward enough to clear the AC box and place it high enough to clear the AC compressor. If necessary an elbow could probably be made and used to get it up a little higher, it's something I've read of 2.3t builders doing before in other vehicles. Also one of the "performance" parts suppliers is introducing a header in the next few months that will probably put the turbo a little higher and further forward than the flipped E6 header. It's supposedly been tested on Rangers for fitment. I'm in no rush to do this so I don't have a problem waiting to see what it looks like.
 

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Eco..

boost.


Car engine...2.0.
 

bobbywalter

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Or just flange-pipe-flange to relocate....that works well.


Electric ac is cheap and easy as well.
 

bobbywalter

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127794935.o1btVpNW.jpg
142092482.U0bAF6pB.jpg



Turbo bricks forum ftw....
 

JoshT

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Not sure how those are going to help. TurboBricks is a Volvo forum. Yes, with a lot of machine work a Volvo DOHC head can be mated to the Ford 2.3L block, but that's more than I'm interested in doing and IMO is not worth the effort to reach my goals for the truck. If that was simply providing examples of making it work, thanks, but if I were going to put that much effort into building the modifications shown, I might as well build a header. As I think mentioned previously, I'm not interested in getting into fabricating my own header.

That first picture is interesting if I ignore the home brew turbo relocation. The engine side flange looks a lot like the 2.3L's exhaust flange. It looks like the the turbo would be positioned lower and further aft than where the Ford turbo header puts it. Likewise if it were flipped it would place it higher and further forward. Makes me wonder just how similar the flanges are and what the turbo mounting flange looks like. Unfortunately, there are no junkyards around here where I can go to compare parts.

Electric ac is cheap and easy as well.
I'm not going to pop a windown unit in the back window. Just isn't going to happen.

Seriously though. I have considered an electric compressor for another project, but I haven't found much good info on them and don't really want to use one for this one.
 

bobbywalter

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You simply use a na manifold..

Some pipe with a turbo flange to put the turbo where you want it

Then use the turbo that will utilize that situation most effectively.

I can do this and destroy any factory ford setup.......for just a few dollars.

And utilize the ranger dress and factory ac.

If I can do it....you can do it.

It's boost...

Tuning is key....microsquirt is ideal


Those forums that utilize 4 whizzers...boost...
And diy tuning....particularly micro squirt....

Will net you best value and power to dollar.

The only thing easier....is an LS swap.
 

franklin2

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You could modify the A/C box and flatten it out, getting rid of the A/C coil but still letting the heat and air through. And then put a aftermarket A/C system inside, hanging it under the dash.

Of course you know the factory A/C box is in the way with the normal v8 swap with no A/C.

Have you ever looked at remote turbo setups? Moving the turbo a little farther down in the exhaust system. Keeping it closer to the engine heat is best, but sometimes compromises have to be made. You would need a pump to pump the oil back up into the engine, and probably a shield to keep road debris from damaging the turbo. The diesel guys do it once in awhile. You could even put a large intercooler in the back behind the cab before routing the piping up front to the engine.
 

bobbywalter

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You could modify the A/C box and flatten it out, getting rid of the A/C coil but still letting the heat and air through. And then put a aftermarket A/C system inside, hanging it under the dash.

Of course you know the factory A/C box is in the way with the normal v8 swap with no A/C.

Have you ever looked at remote turbo setups? Moving the turbo a little farther down in the exhaust system. Keeping it closer to the engine heat is best, but sometimes compromises have to be made. You would need a pump to pump the oil back up into the engine, and probably a shield to keep road debris from damaging the turbo. The diesel guys do it once in awhile. You could even put a large intercooler in the back behind the cab before routing the piping up front to the engine.
That is the picture.... moving the turbo.

Nothing needs changed in the oem fead or ac system.


351...and 350 can be fitted with stock ac box lightly modified.











slightly modified.
 

JoshT

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You could modify the A/C box and flatten it out, getting rid of the A/C coil but still letting the heat and air through. And then put a aftermarket A/C system inside, hanging it under the dash.

Of course you know the factory A/C box is in the way with the normal v8 swap with no A/C.

Have you ever looked at remote turbo setups? Moving the turbo a little farther down in the exhaust system. Keeping it closer to the engine heat is best, but sometimes compromises have to be made. You would need a pump to pump the oil back up into the engine, and probably a shield to keep road debris from damaging the turbo. The diesel guys do it once in awhile. You could even put a large intercooler in the back behind the cab before routing the piping up front to the engine.
I'd rather not. If I end up with the V8 instead I'll modify the box to clear. I purchased a truck with AC because I wanted it built in, not an add-on system. I'd rather avoid the under dash AC units, not saying they don't work, just not how I want to go. Even in the F-100 I don't want to use one of those units. For it I'll be getting a retrofit kit that replaces the factory HVAC assembly.

I know it can be done, but not considering it at this point. With my plans for the truck, I don't think putting it further back underneath the truck would be a very good option. Plans are to lower the truck, so to find room I'd need to put it all the way back behind the cab. That's a lot of piping. Also got the concern of I park over grass quite a bit, often times dead grass. I don't see that location, a hot turbo, and dry dead grass being a very good combination. 🔥🔥🔥

That is the picture.... moving the turbo.

Nothing needs changed in the oem fead or ac system.


351...and 350 can be fitted with stock ac box lightly modified.
Obviously. I've said from the start that I need to move it away from the stock 2.3t location. Instead of moving it lower and aft, I'm looking to move it higher and forward. I'm looking for a bolt together solution for a manifold rather than trying to build my own, and I don't care for the J-pipe solution. That might be where I end up, but I'm looking for other options first. I am also aware that I'll have to be fabricating regardless. At a minimum I'll have to make a downpipe, oil drain and returns, FMIC mounts, charge tubes, and intake pipe. I'm good with that or with hiring that out if necessary. I just want to find a near bolt on solution for the manifold and turbo location.

Don't think I ever said anything about changing the FEAD and the goal is to avoid modifying the AC system. Any notion of changing those came from the links in post 2, which I've said I don't believe would be a solution for me.

Won't be any 351s in this one, if I V8 swap it'll be a 5.0L and 4R70W from an Explorer. Maybe a 5.0 based stroker, but still short deck Windsor. That may still happen, but I plan to use the truck with this 2.3L for a while first. Not saying I'll ever turbo the 2.3L or seriously build it if I do. I might build NA, or I might throw a turbo on the stock engine with low boost and see how long it lasts. Making plans and gathering ideas, because even if the engine doesn't stay in this truck I think it'll get used in something else. In the something else I have in mind, the stock turbo location would still be less than ideal.

The 350 comment is plain blasphemy. :p

It's late (technically early) and I haven't slept much in the past two days, so I'm going to bed. Maybe something about your posts will click when I'm more alert.
 

bobbywalter

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4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
The j pipe is a bolt on solution. Pennies on the dollar to build....just a few hours. Tuning is the issue.

I have installed 351 and 350 with the outer shell modded and made from metal....you lose efficiency for sure but it works with factory based parts...


I have used older rear suburban and van hvac units on the fenderwell with custom tubes to factory firewall holes which works best.

I have a big block in my truck and not an issue to go that route.

I use a gm box on my bronco and it blows the factory ford stuff away.

Building a custom Hvac box is nothing..
 

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