My Father and Step mother were the previous owners of my '88 TC. My father had a mechanic change the cam to a roller setup and later I found out he also modified the car to create more boost. He also turned the boost alarm off.
I took ownership of the car last January and got it running again. Stuck fuel injectors and other odds n ends to get it running fairly well. I replaced vacuum lines that were dry rotted, etc.
I wanted to adjust the turbo pressure so I purchased a Gilles Valve from all the recommendations I have read. This is when I found out the someone had mickey moused the turbo setup. Right now I have the no spring or ball in the valve and it produces 18 psig boost. I have checked for a vacuum leak and have not found any (Not that there isn't any, but I have not found any). I placed a vacuum gauge on it in the summer and the vacuum sits between 14 & 15 psi depending on the idle. The idle does vary sometimes as if a module is adjusting the rpm.
The idle does hang sometimes when I push the clutch in and other times it does not. I have not figured out what causes this.
It appears I my commuter car may be taking its last breathe and until I find a replacement the Thunderbird may have to fill the slot for a time. At this point in time with the turbo set the way it is the car is a handful in the rain. It hits like a '70s era 2 stroke dirt bike. All off or on in the power band. I would like to turn the boost down.
I hate the thought of exposing the car to this salt brine they put on the roads, but......
I put my car away for the winter. Unfortunately it stays outside since I don't have the garage space. I put a tarp under it and it has a mild slope so hopefully the water runs off plus put the car cover on it. Also used a gas stabilizer when topping the fuel off. I should pull the battery and put it on a tender.
I put roughly 1k miles on it this summer and didn't do much else other than get it cleaned up. I did remove the rear seat to fix a seat belt so the kiddos could ride in it. I did battle the cigar smell in the car and I think I've gotten the upper hand on it finally. I found on Amazon this stuff: Dakota OBNA-5 Bomb/Car Odor Eliminator Neutral Air So far the Dakota OBNA-5 car bomb seems to have eliminated the smell. We'll see if I need to do it again in the spring after being closed up.
Things that need to be done this winter is a clutch and exhaust. Will wait until after the holidays.
IMO - I would replace them. The springs may be sacked at this point and if any other sludge is stuck in them it may not allow them to pump up. Have you checked the lifter oil passages if they are caked up too?
The lifter valley doesn't look too bad. Obviously like you said the lifters need help.
The worst I had ever seen was on my '79 Bird with a 302. I removed the intake and there was an impression of the intake bottom in the sludge. Never seen any ting like it or anything like it again. I was amazed not in a good way.
Looks like everything has propagated and is stable now. So this is the new, permanent server for the site and it does seem like things are running a bit quicker. So far so good...the admins are pretty happy with it. Hopefully all of your are, as well.