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Topic: My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics) (Read 35101 times) previous topic - next topic

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

My wife and I have owned our 1986 Mercury Cougar for about 11 years now.  We bought it in 1999 when my wife was pregnant with our son.  We bought it because we needed a reliable car and she always loved Cougars because her first car was an 86 Cougar that her dad bought back in '88.  This is what it looked like when we got it...


After driving it around like that for a while, we got tired of the normal look and tried to make it look a little bit sportier (I guess).  We ditched the wire hubcaps and put some shiny ones on.  Looking back on it now, they look like  and I now appreciate the factory look, but I was a poor and dumb 18 year old at the time.  We also put some 5.0 badges and some chrome trim on the bottom, those werent too bad looking.  We used the car as a daily driver.  Here are some pics...








A little after that I found an 86 XR7 that had been hit hard in the front, but only had 50k on it.  The interior was in perfect shape, so I swapped the interior into the V8 Cougar and drive it like that for a while.  It was great because the original interior had some bad "fox lean" going on.  Shortly after that some punks drove down my street and broke out about 15 different car's windows, ours included.  I didn't want to mess with swapping the glass from the XR7, so I just swapped the whole doors onto the car.  That made the car not so nice looking, but we still liked it and it drove great.  Still a daily driver...


After that we started making more money and could afford newer daily driver cars.  The Cougar was parked on the side of the house and fell out of use.  I considered selling it and the parts car XR7 and then parting it out, but couldn't really get very much for them.  I decided to keep them, because the Cougar ran great and I had in the back of mind the idea to use the 2.3T out of the XR7 for a turbo notchback mustang or a turbo ranger.  Time passed and nothing happened.  The Cougars just sat there untouched and began to look pretty wore out, making me want to work on them less and less.  I was constantly having people stopping by and asking to buy them or leaving little "we buy junk cars" cards on them.




Then about 4 years ago I decided that I was going to do something with the Cougars.  Hmm...


I decided to do the opposite of what most people on the board do.  I pulled out a perfectly good running V8 and started to swap in the XR7's turbo 2.3.  I got most of the swap completed in late 2007 while my wife was in boot camp.  After that we moved to Texas, but the car wasn't ready, so I had to leave it behind at my house in Kansas.  After that we moved to Las Vegas, but the car still wasn't ready and we didn't have the money to ship it anyway.  Every time we would go visit family I would take a few tools and try to get a little bit at a time done on it.  Progress was slow and I had a few setbacks.  My parts car, the 86 XR7, was stolen right from my house while my buddy who rents it was at work.  I had already gotten most of the stuff I needed from it except for the tail lights, TL 3.45 rear, exhaust, and 2 10 holes and all 4 Cougar 10 hole center caps.  The funny thing is, I was coming to town the next week to finish all that stuff up and would have PAID them to haul it off for me.  About 2 months ago, my buddy who rents the house told me that there was a tow notice on the car from the city and the same day a note on the front door from a person who buys junk cars.  Now I don't know exactly how it went down, but it seems to me like after all these years of turning people down who wanted to buy it they came up with a new tactic.  I think they called the city to report a "junk car" (even though it had been there at my house for years and years) and conveniently stopped by to leave a card the same day, essentially leaving me an easy way out of this problem.  It had never been driven before with the new drive train, but my dad drove it over to his house down the street and put it in his fully enclosed back yard to keep it safe for me.  He reported that it got him there ok. 

That brings us up to last weekend.  I found some dirt cheap tickets to fly home for the weekend.  We flew out of here on Friday night and after a good night of sleep I went out to work on the car Saturday morning.  I installed the new electric fan (from a Supercoupe) and wired up the relay for that.  I got all the lines to the new tranny cooler tightened up with 2 clamps and stopped the leaks that I had there.  I put most of the interior back together and put the remainder in the trunk along with the V8 wiring harness (in case I ever decide to switch back.) 

So, about the swap/build.  I did this swap for a few reasons.  First, I wanted to breathe some new life into the Cougar.  Second, I wanted a "race car."  Everything that is not necessary in the Cougar was removed.  All interior (only put back in for shipping purposes,) carpet, cruise control, radio, heater/AC (yep, ALL of it,) and everything else we could find that did not NEED to be there.  The third reason I did the swap was just to see if I could.  There is a great sense of pride knowing that you did something like this yourself.  Thanks to my wife and the people here who have bought part from me, I now have the money to ship it home to me here in Vegas.

My plans for the car's future?  Since this is a kind of "junkyard cat" build, I will be trying to go as fast as possible for as little money as possible.  I have already installed a 255 fuel pump and have a manual boost controller ready to go in.  I will be putting in a FMIC, 3" exhaust and a new rear end with better gears.  I also plan to have the head mildly ported along with a cam.  I am going to stick with the C3 tranny until it breaks, then probably go with a T5.

Thanks for reading all of this and here are the new pictures and videos!

Ed





































1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #1
Ed , Your Cougar has seen some days of ware & tare...Thanks for sharing your photos and videos. ;)

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #2
Awesome. I love to see the phoenix cougars rise from the ashes!
CoogarXR : 1985 Cougar XR-7

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #3
Cool build, Im glad you didnt lose it to the city.  Segwick county....Wichita area?
Mike

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #4
Thanks guys!  Yeah, we are from Wichita.  That is where is currently.
1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #5
Hey, I have that same steering wheel cover! Isn't it great! Heh, good job on getting this far. Keep it up!
1983 Tbird with '03 Split Port V6 motor swap done! Headers, dual exhaust, 500CFM Edelbrock, 3G upgrade, Electric fan. 3.73 Gears and an FRPP Limited Slip. Five lug complete! 5-Speed conversion complete! Standalone Fuel Injection in progress...

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #6
Good story...always hard to give up on a good car.

BTW, now you need some 2.3 badges ;)
'84 Mustang
'98 Explorer 5.0
'03 Focus, dropped a valve seat. yay. freakin' split port engines...
'06 Explorer EB 4.6

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #7
The dual automatic shift levers are interesting.... LOL!

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #8
Thanks for sharing, that's a great history you have with your car!

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #9
UPDATE - The car just got loaded on the transport truck and is finally headed my way!
1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #10
The car is here!  It got here yesterday but I have been busy with homework so I haven't got to do much with it. 




The car made it here fine with a couple of exceptions.  The battery is dead (brand new battery.)  I assume they let it sit with the key on and the car not running and the fan drained it.  My VAM and air filter are missing!  I didn't notice until after the truck was gone.  I am going to go ahead and say it probably fell off with a good bump in the 1200 miles it took for the car to get here, but it was on there pretty well.  I guess it's not a big deal, just sucks that I have to replace them now.

1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #11
It is nice to see that you finally were able to bring it "home". It is also nice to see people work on them even if it takes forever.
1987 Cougar XR7 5.0 SOLD
1992 Ranger 4.0
2018 Hyundai Elantra
2019 Ram Rebel

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #12
Thanks, it sure is nice to have it home. 

I put the dash back in today with the new blank plates I made for AC and radio.  I got most of the trim back on except for the steering column cover, because I have to get rid of the column shifter.

1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #13
Quote from: Loaded87IROC;320375
Thanks, it sure is nice to have it home. 

I put the dash back in today with the new blank plates I made for AC and radio.  I got most of the trim back on except for the steering column cover, because I have to get rid of the column shifter.



Oh man and I love the dual auto shifters... LOL! It's still one of the funniest things I have ever seen for some reason!

Oh dude I hope you plan to lower that automatic shift indicator bezel as featured on CoolCats.com. I know it's not factory correct to do so but it's like what was Ford thinking to make that stick up like a sore thumb when it did not have to. There is so much harmony in the 85-87 interior design except for this! I'd rather have an old Mustang/Pinto/Maverick/Torino floor shifter than that look.

Just my personal preference though... It only matters to me... LOL! But then again I'd more likely do my old trick of just putting a manual boot in place of the auto shift bezel. I have done that to many former cars including all my auto trans Camaros, my 1989 Tbird and my 1999 Mustang as well as on my current 08 Mustang. I always loved the manual transmission boot look anytime I could use it. It might have something to do with the fact that my Mom used to own a 67 VW fastback with automatic stick shift.. LOL! The only reason I changed it back was that I liked the relation of the bright shifter beel to the shape of the classic Ford ones and it looked so much better with the premium aluminum manual trans boot rectagular ring in place that the plain black one that came with the car. So I simply removed the boot from the ring and snapped it into place of my plain black one...

I have also seen people adapt the new Mustang auto shifter assembly and console into classic Mustang restomods...

And yes I know I have been rather long winded today!

My 86 Cougar (2.3T swapped) thread (long and lots of pics)

Reply #14
I agree, it is pretty funny. Kinda reminds me of my first Camaro, an 85 Z28 that was originally a 305/5 speed but somebody converted to a 350 /700R4.  They left the clutch pedal in though and you had to push it to start the car.

I am planning on leaving it as is though for the time being.  I think the tranny will be the first to go under the abuse I intend to put this car through and I will be swapping in a 5 speed then.
1986 Mercury Cougar - 2.3T/T5 swap, TC brakes and suspension and rearend, 3" exhaust, 255 lph fuel pump, Stinger BOV, Gillis MBC @ 18 psi
2003 Chevy Suburban Z71 - Daily driver
2015 Chevy Volt - Wife's daily driver