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  #16  
Old 05-01-2012, 03:15 PM
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A Ranger would be a much better candidate for turbocharging its I4; lots more room to vent out the heat.

And yes, of course you can tune the turbo to make lots of low end torque appropriate for a heavy truck. All the big diesel trucks have this. I remember reading the specs of a Peterbilt engine that generated over 600 lbs-ft of torque at 1200 rpm. That's like a little more than off-idle for a 2.3 liter I4. So it had lots of low speed hauling torque, but it was all done by 2400 rpm.
 
  #17  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:09 AM
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Back to the original question however. Most of us hear are Aerostar enthusiasts, myself included. We like to keep our vans running, we like to upgrade them when necessary to handle the tasks we need them to do. Increased performance is as a natural consequence, among our desires and goals. I do lots of towing and hauling, and as a result, I would love more performance. I am however a realist. The Aerostar is as a general rule a difficult platform to get real performance gains from.

The 3.0L Vulcan and the 4.0L Cologne engines are both pushrod engines with restrictive head designs. Both are limited in performance by how much air their heads can flow, and both are limited in how much this weakness can be improved. Both are expensive motors to squeeze more power from, partly because major modifications are required to make much difference, and partly because since the engines are not popular for performance platforms, good performance parts are more difficult, and consequently, more expensive to acquire.

Both those motors can be stroked and bored, again that is generally major and expensive work. These mods can when combined with other supporting mods, result in significant power gains, however, even after that, these motors will either loose their street ability, or will still fall short of other more modern engines used in the FWD vans of the van. Our van is technically a better platform, as it is more heavy duty than a FWD van, but the engines make it a tougher platform to work with.

The engine compartment was originally designed to fit a 2.3L 4 cylinder engine. When V6s were optioned, and later made standard, it left very little free room. There is barely enough clearance to accommodate the valve covers, and while the engine is difficult to work on regardless of what engine is fitted, the simple fact is, the van was designed to use an inline 4 cylinder engine not a V6 or V8.

Because of this fact, the 2.3L turbo option is still one of the best performance options, especially for the money. 2.3L turbo engines for the time being as still not that difficult to find and obtain. Even in their stock form with a stock computer, the M/T versions produce about 20-40 more horsepower than the 4.0L v6. While low end torque might be less, the power is still adequate to get the van moving, and once in motion, the turbo operates to some degree at any rpm over 1800. With supporting mods, a stock Werner IHI (87 or 88 Turbocoupe) can reach full boost (18 psi) around 2100 rpm, and a Garret T3 (SVO, Merkur, older Turbocoupe) can reach full boost by 2300 rpm (22 psi). A stock Turbocoupe engine with stock computer a few supporting mods (ported head, ported intake, ported exhaust manifold, 3" exhaust, cone type air filter fully shrouded, good intercooler with 2.5" pipe, manual boost controller) can produce 250 horsepower to the wheels, roughly 275 at the crank, 110 more horsepower than a 4.0L V6. With a Garret T3 and similar mods, you can reach between 275 and 300, though larger injectors and custom tuning would also need to be added to the mods list. With a T3/T4 hybrid or a properly sized Holset, larger injectors, and standalone fuel management, you can go well beyond the 300 hp mark.

An A4LD with 4.0L gears and various upgraded internals and valve body calibration and shift kit should be able to handle up to a 350 hp engine reliably. Obviously the torque converter needs to be matched to the engine, you need a higher stall speed to allow the engine to rev up at launch to overcome the turbo lag and to help get the van moving. You will also need a good trans cooler. A manual trans just needs a suitable clutch, though finding an Aerostar that already has a manual trans is much better than trying to hunt down the parts to do a swap.

Some interesting things to note about heat management. While the engine compartment is crowded and head build up is always an issue, the Aerostar has a larger radiator than a Ranger or Trubocoupe. I know this because when I purchased my electric van I'm using on my 4.0L, I looked at ranger kits and found they were not the right size.

Here is the fan I used, its a single fan 3300 cfm rating and measures 21.5 inches wide by 17.5 inches tall which covers most of the cooling core on an Aerostar radiator. The stock radiator is slightly taller than this fan but only leaves about an inch on the bottom uncovered.
Flex-a-lite 180 - Flex-a-lite Black Magic Xtreme Series Electric Fans - Overview - SummitRacing.com

A direct fit Ranger Fan measures 18 wide (3.5" less than an Aerostar radiators core width) and 18 high and only moves 1950 cfm.
Flex-a-lite 40 - Flex-a-lite Direct Fit Electric Fans - Overview - SummitRacing.com

A 4.0L Aerostar radiator is stock dual cores, and with a little searching a thicker 3 core version can be found. So despite the crowded engine compartment, in operation, the Aerostar has slightly more cooling capacity.

Finding a good location for an intercooler can be tricky. On my project, I considered hood mount, and while doable, this option does not generate the best airflow ( small fan might be able to help), heat soak when idling could introduce problems. Front mount is doable, but difficult, and trying to maintain AC is harder. Both options would require cutting and bodywork.

Some added bonuses to help with heat management issues with a 2.3L is that stock turbo motors use water cooler bearings in the turbo, which helps keep everything cooler and also use a water cooler on the oil filter, which also helps keep everything cooler. An electric fan can be wired up to run a short while after the engine is shut down, which will help reduce under hood temperatures. My 4.0L has an electric fan set up this way. It works great, and goes a long way towards cooling down a warm engine.

Custom exhaust would need to be made to fit such an engine anyway. 3" exhaust not only increases power, but lowered engine and turbo temperatures. Stock turbo setups use a smaller 2.25" or 2.5" pipe. There is only one exhaust manifold on one side of the motor. A V6 or V8, even if they don't get as hot, has two cast iron manifolds that can heat up and in turn that heat rises and fills the engine compartment. A single manifold has less surface area, and as a result should radiate less heat. That may not be a big issue either way, the manifolds are located near the wheel wells, which means much of the heat escapes through there anyway.

For fitment issues, a modified or rotated intake , or an elbow might be helpful, this would move the throttle inlet to a more convenient location, and would allow better access to the spark plugs and more airflow around the turbo.

I have been looking at building a 2.3L Aerostar for some time. Yes there are daunting challenges, but most of these can be overcome, many are challenges that have to be addressed for any serious performance mods, and many are either easier, less expensive, or both easier and less expensive, than cramming a heavy bulky, and in the end, less powerful V8 into an Aerostar. The Mopar powered V8 Aerostar, which was featured not his forum a while ago and has since changed owners, is in the end pretty torquey, but the performance figures are not that awe inspiring, as the peak HP was still just a little over 200 hp (the crowded space and setup limited output, plus the selected engine is a torque motor, not a race motor), and regardless of torque, once power kicks in, horsepower is still a measurement of power over time, while torque is nothing more than a static force. And even though at a different RPM, a 2.3L turbo motor does in fact produce a LOT of torque.

My plan was to use a 2.3L Ranger motor (which I have) and built it to turbo specs (which I have), and get it all assembled (in progress), and then mate it to an upgraded A4LD trans (which I have), and drop it into a '92 extended body. I have since canned the Aerostar project, as the van I had selected has body rot issues that would be too expensive and time consuming to correct, it also has a few interior issues as well. I may still attempt a 2.3L turbo Aerostar, I am still building the motor and still have most of the major parts. A few things have to be built as needed after the motor is installed, namely the intercooler tubing and exhaust, as well as any custom AC and power steering lines. the fuel management still needs to be sorted out, my goal was to use 2 Microsquirt computers, partly because they are not that expensive, they are adaptable, one could handle all engine management function, the other would handle the basic transmission functions (overkill I know), but both would be fully tunable and would adapt to whatever injectors I decided I needed. The computer could also assume fan control, a nice feature.

Depending on local custom car laws and emission regulations, this is usually quite doable, but make sure that you can get it registered before you begin the project, it would suck to get it all built and not be able to register it. Areas with strict emissions guidelines might give you a lot of difficulty. If using a stock TC computer, and a good catalytic converter, it should be fairly easy to register as a custom car. With an aftermarket computer, depending on how strict the locals are, it can be somewhat harder. In California, my advise is to not attempt this period, unless you are building an offered or track only car.

Again, major engine swaps are a big deal, there is a reason few on this forum have ever followed through with any major engine swaps or conversion. I still plan to take it on, I just need a pretty rust free dent free van as a starting point. For me no point in souping up a rust bucket that will cost as much as the motor swap just to make it presentable.
 
  #18  
Old 05-02-2012, 03:50 PM
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What Khan said x 2,000,000
 
  #19  
Old 05-06-2012, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by xlt4wd90 View Post
A Ranger would be a much better candidate for turbocharging its I4; lots more room to vent out the heat.

And yes, of course you can tune the turbo to make lots of low end torque appropriate for a heavy truck. All the big diesel trucks have this. I remember reading the specs of a Peterbilt engine that generated over 600 lbs-ft of torque at 1200 rpm. That's like a little more than off-idle for a 2.3 liter I4. So it had lots of low speed hauling torque, but it was all done by 2400 rpm.
I did some scientific examination, and at least on the case of the shorty, there's about 15,000,000 cubic yards of space behind the driver's seat in the underbody area to remote mount a turbo. Hell, you could even do it post-cat to stay emissions compliant. Just cross the exhaust piping over to the driver's side, and have the turbo dump out in front of the driver's rear wheel.
 
  #20  
Old 05-07-2012, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Dorifuta View Post
I did some scientific examination, and at least on the case of the shorty, there's about 15,000,000 cubic yards of space behind the driver's seat in the underbody area to remote mount a turbo. Hell, you could even do it post-cat to stay emissions compliant. Just cross the exhaust piping over to the driver's side, and have the turbo dump out in front of the driver's rear wheel.
Yes, but on practical examination, you will find some serious problems. Firstly, the engines themselves. Both the 3.0L and 4.0L are majorly expensive motors to turbocharge, and anyone familiar with turbocharging will know what I'm on about. The stock pistons are cast, not forged, which means under boost they overheat and melt or shatter. The compression ratio is way high, which means you would have to limit your boost a lot. To do this properly, the V6 has to come out, get torn apart, replace the stock pistons with forged ones that have a dished combustion chamber (I'm not aware of any on the market, but CP has been know to custom make them for a price) to lower the compression down to the 8:1 - 8.5:1 range. If the stock rods are not forged, you will need to replace them with forged rods. The stock crank should be fine. Then you need cut out the stock exhaust seats and replace them with high performance nickel alloy or marine grade seats. Then replace the valves with stainless steel ones so that they can take the heat. This is so that you don't have warped valves or cracked heads. If you don't a turbocharged V6 just won't work for long before you break something.

Next the problems with remote mounting the turbo. Lets start with draining. Turbos are gravity drained. The oil is supposed to drain out of the bearings and return to the pan. This doesn't work if the turbo is located lower than the oil level. So you would have to install a sump and an electric pump to catch the drainage from the turbo and return it to the main oil pan. This approach is unreliable, the oil pump you select must be able to run continuously at full output while accepting any cavitation and must be able to do so at engine temperatures without failing.

Another problem, for reliability, you need to intercool. When a turbo is located that far back, it makes a very long run to the intercooler, which is best mounted up front. The longer the run, the more lag.

While it is doable, the cost of turbocharging either a 3.0L or a 4.0L is much higher than a 2.3L swap. Lets run on the high side prices with 2.3L. The stock motor is built for this, so no internal mods needed. You can get complete motors with the turbo for between $350 - $1500. These are ready to bolt in and just need the proper harness and fuel management. You would also need a 2.3L bell housing and a matching torque converter to use it. I won't go into the trans upgrades because you have to do that no matter route you go. So a complete swap can be done for around $2500 if you do all the major bits yourself. A turbo 3.0L or 4.0L on the other hand requires a lot of parts that are not readily available. As a result they are very expensive to obtain. Plus the turbo is not included, a good turbo costs upwards of $450 (the cheap turbos don't hold up well). All said and done with the mods to upgrade the engine and build it to proper turbo specs, you would be in the $5000 - $12,000 dollar range.

Now you start to see why turbocharging the 3.0L or 4.0L is not that common. Sure it has been done, there are those with Taurus' that have done the 3.0L, and there are Rangers with turbo or supercharged 4.0L. Most of those have not been done properly, and have to limit the boost, and are not very reliable. Most of them would not even come close to what the 2.3L turbo will do. Getting a 3.0L V6 over the 300 hp make through turbocharging is expensive and challenging, even when you have more room to install the hardware. Getting a 2.3L over 300hp does not require even removing the valve cover, the motor can already handle it, all you need is a big enough turbo, the proper sized injectors, and the correct fuel management. And they are reliable at those power levels.

Installing turbos post cat often increases lag, overheats the converters, and if the cat ever breaks apart, well, lets just say your exhaust turbine was not designed to munch ceramic. The cat should always be located after the turbo.
 
  #21  
Old 05-07-2012, 10:23 AM
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I don't think too many of your issues arise from the boost levels I had in mind. The usual rule of thumb of turbocharging a non-turbo engine is to stay within 5-6 PSI. It's usually still within the bounds of the factory speed-density or MAF system, the capabilities of the factory fuel injectors and fuel pump, and safe for cast pistons, etc.

I'd personally want to use a turbo to gain fuel efficiency, which does work when applied right - and a turbo is also great compensation for altitude. And usually at such low pressures, the intake temperature is usually low enough to not mandate the use of an intercooler - so your setup can be relatively simple.

Correct me if I'm wrong on this; good pal of mine wants to run a remote turbo on his '03 Sable with a Vulcan and stick to the "6 PSI rule" as well.

As for oil-cooling the turbo, wouldn't removing the factory oil pressure switch and using that output as a feed line suffice?
 
  #22  
Old 05-07-2012, 04:00 PM
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If you're interested in increasing fuel efficiency with a turbocharger, you should be starting with a smaller engine, like the I4. (It's what Ford is doing with the Eco-Boost series.) The idea is that most of the time, you will not need high power output, so a small engine, which will operate in a more efficient mode, will suffice. It's only when you need that added power to get onto a freeway with short on-ramps that you will need the boost from the turbocharger. And yes, it will help at high altitudes, but it will be limited by the designed boost ratio of the turbocharger.

Recognize that a typical turbocharged engine has lower efficiency than a naturally aspirated engine. In order to accommodate the expected increase in air pressure, most engines modified for turbocharging have to have lower static compression ratio. (Maybe you can get away without it if you run just 5-6 pounds of maximum boost.) Under boost, the engine control computer also has to retard ignition timing to prevent detonation. Finally, a turbocharger presents an exhaust restriction, which means the engine has to work harder to push the exhaust out. These all work against efficiency, which you hope to gain back by the smaller engine running most of the time without boost, but with lower CR.

As far as locating the turbocharger remotely, that has been done before, but it also introduces turbo lag on acceleration (throttle opening), and air surge on deceleration (throttle closing). So you may need to keep the turbo running at higher boost levels, but bypassing the compressed air through a recirculating valve, which stays slightly open all the time when you're not needing all the boost. It can be closed quickly to deliver compressed air when you open the throttle, and opened quickly to bypass the high speed compressed air when you close the throttle. That can be used in conjunction with the waste gate to try to keep the transitions smooth.

I still worry about heat under the hood. The turbocharger traps all the heat that would normally be pushed out the exhaust, and it's a lot more than you think. The typical gasoline engine is only about 25% efficient at converting the chemical energy in gasoline into mechanical work, so abut 75% of the energy turns into heat. Normally, about 1/3 of that is carried away by the engine coolant to the radiator, where incoming air carries it into...the engine compartment. Now you're trapping the rest of the waste heat, also in the engine compartment. The Aerostar's engine compartment does not have the best ventilation, so I can see a lot more parts getting heat damage if you install a turbocharger in there.
 
  #23  
Old 05-08-2012, 12:33 AM
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Compressor surge? A blow-off valve is a great answer to that. Either way, turbocharging is prohibitively expensive when it comes down to the cost of the parts alone, so this isn't something I'd be immediately willing to partake in.

One thing's for sure, I have no plans to cram a Mod in there. lol
 
  #24  
Old 05-08-2012, 09:48 AM
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The general 6-7 psi rule of thumb was created by those who know little to nothing about turbos and are too cheap to do it right. You can find plenty of failure stories. The problem is many of the people who do these cheap turbo setups do not report back when the setup they were told would fail finally does.

Turbocharging only saves fuel if you use small displacement engines as an alternative to larger less efficiency engines. A lot of it has to do with the internal friction of the engine. Larger engines have more moving parts, more cylinders, and all that creates more friction, which requires more file just to overcome the friction inside the engine. So smaller engines with fewer cylinders are inherently more fuel efficient.

When you start by using a turbo ready motor, it is almost always cheaper than trying to modify another motor to be turbo compatible. Just limiting the boost is not a good idea. And if you think you could get away with it on either the 3.0L or 4.0L, lets lay down a few simple facts. The 4.0L in particular has a tendency to ping even in its stock form. Pinging and boost is a bad combination, so at the minimum, if you wanted to run a stock motor with boost,you are going to need to run on the highest octane you can get and have a way of pulling the timing. Neither engine has valves or seats that are up to the challenge, even if the piston does hold, the valves are going to warp. The 3.0L has a marginal cooling system, the 4.0L is ok from that standpoint. But if you are only going to get 7 psi of boost, with the cost of turbos, its hardly worth the effort. And the setup will not be reliable. It might work fine so long as everything works fine, but all it takes is one bad sensor, one failing fuel pump, one little issue, and everything goes wrong, and it can do serious engine damage even at low boost levels when using parts that were not meant to handle it.

To do this type of modification on an Aerostar in particular, you have to be willing to go all out, or you need to not do it at all. If you do it right, there is no need to limit yourself to a meer 7 psi boost. You can use the same turbo, and run much higher boost and see more performance, so you are getting more for your money. Furthermore, even if something goes a little wrong, like a bad sensor or a failing fuel pump, the parts can handle it better, so engine damage is less of a concern.
 
  #25  
Old 05-08-2012, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by KhanTyranitar View Post
Turbocharging only saves fuel if you use small displacement engines as an alternative to larger less efficiency engines.
Not nessecarily; I've been fortunate enough in my life to own two different Toyota Supras. One was a naturally aspirated 7M-GE paired to a 5-speed manual, the other a Turbo with the A304E automatic.

Wanna hear something crazy? The Turbo was regularly 2-4 MPG better on fuel than the NA model. The engines themselves were nearly identical; the only prime differences between the models were that the upper intake manifold on the NA model was a split plane with a butterfly valve to switch between short and long runners and the Turbo manifold was a single plane. Both were in excellent tune. I'm not sure why this is, but typically turbo cars tend to be really good on fuel when you stay in the vacuum.
 
 
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