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Topic: 88 TC project. (Read 1500 times) previous topic - next topic

88 TC project.

So I finally have some pictures and stuff to post about the car I purchased nearly a year ago. Found the car on FB marketplace after looking for another (newer) thunderbird when my 95 burst a brake line on the way home from Jersey. Looked in pretty decent shape and ran and drove for $1200. Now some of you I'm sure will say I paid too much for the car, but I've been wanting one of these TCs since I was 13 years old looking for my first car and I'd passed on purchasing one 4-5 times at this point. So I wasn't about to let this one go.

In hindsight, I paid too much for this car.

Tires were shot, turbo didnt spool properly, battery was dead, steering was dangerous and there were MANY questionable wiring jobs done on the car by previous owners. There is evidence of 4 seperate stereo systems in this car, nearly all of the console panels broken at the mounting tabs and the driver's door doesn't lock. Boy, do I have my work cut out for me. Since picking the car up, I've done some of the routine maintenance, and made a few modifications. Currently sitting on coilovers and 18x9" +30 BBS replicas. Really need to find a place that can make a new wiring harness for this thing because its 33 years have not been kind to it. Viper alarm system, shoddy DIY work, and the stereo situation makes this a true nightmare for tracing down wires and fixing shorts, eliminating old excess stuff and just figuring out what's connected to where it's supposed to be. Hoping I can pick some of y'alls brains on some stuff to fill in the gaps the Chilton's manual doesn't go over.

Current Mods:

- MaxpeedingRods SN95 Coilover suspension
- LMR Adjustable Rear Upper Control Arms
- Ebay Fixed Tubular Rear Lower Control Arms
- McBay Performance 1" Rear Coil Spacers
- Maximum Motorsports Adjustable Front Camber Plates

- GodSpeed Performance Manual Boost Controller
- Stinger-Performance 3" Turboback Single-exit Exhaust
- Flowmaster 3" High-flow Catalytic Converter (to be installed)
- Vibrant Performance 1142 3" Ultra Quiet Resonator (to be installed)
- Autometer Wideband 02 sensor (to be installed)

- 18x9" +30 BBS replica chinesium wheels 4x108
- 215/35r18 something something tires
- GTS Headlight Covers (Black)
- Unknown Front bra with "Turbo" applique
- Full LED bulb conversion

- Sickspeed Neochrome 700g weighted shift .
- Autometer buttstuffog Wideband AFR Gauge
- Autometer buttstuffog Boost Gauge
- Autometer buttstuffog Oil Pressure Gauge
- Full LED bulb conversion
- OEM Red Door Pulls
- OEM Red Seat Belts

Future Modifications:
- 255lph Walbro Fuel Pump (with double relay)
- 600cc Bosch/Deatschwerks Fuel Injectors
- Stinger-Performance FMIC kit
- Twin Scroll turbo (Turbonetics?)
- Stinger-Performance Fuel Rail
- Stinger-Performance Adjustable FPR
- Stinger-Performance PIMPx Standalone ECU
- 5-lug conversion (details TBD)
- Angle Kit?
- Brake upgrade (details TBD)
- Wheel upgrade (details TBD)
- Body work
- Paint (Still on the fence over Grabber Orange with matte black vinyls to mimic the Mach and Boss mustangs or Purple with white vinyls to mimic the old Grabber Maverick and Escort MKII liveries)
- Ported and polished upper and lower intake manifold
- Sequential Ignition setup?
- Ranger roller cam upgrade
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: 88 TC project.

Reply #1
Some more recent pics from this weekend.
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: 88 TC project.

Reply #2

I hate wiring hack jobs.

This might help you some.
1988 EVTM (Courtesy of @TheFoeYouKnow and hosted on

Long live the 4-eyes!  - '83 Tbird Turbo

Re: 88 TC project.

Reply #3
Awesome, thanks Chuck! The Chilton's manual has been a lifesaver so far and has all the basic diagrams and stuff, but it can be pretty vague sometimes since it covers 84-97 Fox, FN10 and MN12 birds...
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: 88 TC project.

Reply #4
Welcome aboard! Car looks great man the stance and wheels really make it. The activity is pretty low on here anymore but the ones of us that still frequent the board are still  the brain trust that can find most of any info you need

Re: 88 TC project.

Reply #5
Figured I'd post an update on the car since I haven't in over a year.

Been fiddling with the stance a bit, picked up some 1' spring spacers for the rear to give me a little more adjustability in height back there. It's been a real c trying to get this car level at all four corners and I'm sure it has everything to do with the mismatched Frankenstein of parts I've cobbled together for this. Fox stang, bird and SN95 parts all over just to get things right. They "should" be, but adjusting it all? It's been a nightmare trying to get it perfect.
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: 88 TC project.

Reply #6
Managed to unstick the wastegate so I'm not having boost problems anymore. Found I had the boost controller hooked up wrong, so now I'm boosting properly and even put in a nice set of buttstuffog autometer gauges for Boost, AFR, and Oil Pressure (preparations for the future). Thought I was going to move soon so I've been putting the interior back together as well, but turns out that was a false alarm. I wanted to carry the subtle red strip around the outside of the car inside as a styling choice so I picked up some red interior pieces from another member here. Was only after I received them that I found I'd made an oopsie in not realizing the TC and non-TC interiors are different. Live and learn. Would like to get red TC door pulls and armrest pads (center console top too maybe?) but so far I'm really liking the stock red seatbelts and door pulls look (despite the pulls being slightly wrong.) Also been thinking about a nice little halfcage setup with a red suede bucket seat but I'm not sure if that'll be too much for the interior. We'll see as things progress. Here's some of the interior and miscellaneous stuff:
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.

Re: 88 TC project.

Reply #7
Picked up a Stinger-Performance 3" full turbo-back piping kit and while I still need s, hangers, cat and resonator welded in, she's clamped in for the time being and all things considered, doesn't sound half bad for a straight piped tractor motor. I did manage to get the bird out to a couple events early in the season before an emergency stop popped a brake line right at the K-member. As such, she's up on blocks for the time being while I fiddle with some other stuff. Not yet sure if I'm going to try taking the lines on myself or bring it to a shop to do. There are some things that I would just rather have a professional do than pretend I know how to myself and get myself killed, yanno? The short list of these is tuning, cracking open an engine/trans, precise setup of suspension, bending new brake lines. At some point I'm going to have to learn these skills but for things that require precise tolerances and specific calculations to get right, I'd rather pay someone to do it properly.

IMG_1481 by Lexi Edwards, on Flickr

Cold Start:
IMG_1547 by Lexi Edwards, on Flickr

Warm and revs:
IMG_1565 by Lexi Edwards, on Flickr

EDIT: OP updated with list of modifications.
'88 Turbocoupe 5 speed.