1988 Ford Thunderbird



February, 11, 2008 AT 1:48 PM

Engine problem
1988 Ford Thunderbird 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Manual 88000 miles

I thank you in advance for reveiwing my car problem.


The car is actually a 1971 Opel GT. I had the engine and 5 speed manual transmission installed on the car replacing the 1.9 that came with the Opel. The engine and tranny are from a 1988 Ford Thuderbird. It is the 2.3 liter model with the turbocharger.


When I start the car, and especially so in colder weather, it revs pretty high for a good bit and black smoke comes out the exhaust. Then after a minute or so the car will drop the RPM, but the idle is not anywhere near smooth and even. It is not crazy, but it is up and down.

When I backout of my carport, it does so fairly easily. When I use 1st, 2nd or 3rd, it shifts into the gear easily enough, I apply the gas pedal and it will start to accelerate, but then will be hesitating (a la' a chunka chunka chunka). If I mash the accelerator to the floor, it reacts as if it is not getting any more gas and does not accelerate.

Now, after about 10 minutes or so (of driving around my development, it will hit a certain point and all of a sudden I have full gas pedal and acceleration but there will still be some black smoke coming out of the exhaust as well. Also of note is that even after running at highway speeds, when I come to a stop, down shifting and all that, the cars idle goes down and the car acts like and sometimes does stall. It starts right up again but I have taken to having my foot on the brake and sliding part of my foot over to keep a little pressure on the accelerator so it will not stall.

Of note.I have been paying attention to the oil, and the car does not seem to be burning any oil. The turbocharger seems ok when driving as well. I was thinking that maybe the turbocharger was leaking oil. But again the oil level on the dipstick has stayed constant.

OK, what might me my issue(s)? I am hoping someone will say it is fuel injectors. Is it also possible that the spark plugs are wonky? Air sensor of some kind? HELP PLEASE!

Thanks so much for reading.

Paul R.


Black Smoke Coming From Exhaust




5 Answers



February, 11, 2008 AT 3:52 PM

You are running too rich. Check mixture, did you put the ford computer and ignition module in this? Or aftermarket stuff? If so what? Check the fuel pressure, could be a bad regulator on the fuel rail. If you havnt done a complete tune up, as it's a new motor, now would be a good time. Check also your ECT, this acts a bit like a choke on SEFI engines.



February, 12, 2008 AT 3:08 PM

I did have the Ford computer put in to the Opel (which goes real real fast in this car), and I will check the fuel pressure regulator.

I am also wondering if it could be the EGR Valve or Idle Air Control. Thoughts?

Last question. What is the ECT? Yes I probably just gave away the fact that I am in the process of learning about cars and engines. Thanks!




February, 12, 2008 AT 5:53 PM

ECT= Engine coolant temperature sensor.I assume you have the 02 sensor(s) in place? If the EGR is stuck open, you would have the black smoke, and it would be next to impossible to start it, if you could. The IAC is a possiblity if the idle is rough.



February, 25, 2008 AT 8:29 AM

OK, I am still having some issues with my 1988 2.3 Thunderbired engine. It is doing less of the weird hesitating when I initially start and run the car, meaning when I press the gas it shakes etc. Then again about 10-15 minutes after I start the car (meaning after it warms up a bit) it runs pretty well.

Now, I also would like to point out that the car sat for awhile, as in about 6 months without having any significant driving attention. There has been some little clicking sounds that I have noticed as well. Is it possible that I have a bad lifter or two? I mean after it warms up it does run better.

I did change the oil out over the weekend and there was no milkiness or anything like that to indicate antifreeze in there. So that is good.

AND. Since I have 6 weeks before the car goes to the body and paint shop, I am planning on pulling off the upper manifold and checking all this stuff. The lifter, the fuel pressure regulator and the fuel injectors. Do you believe I am on the right track?





February, 25, 2008 AT 9:19 AM

Oh yes, I would also like to let you know that in the oil change, I put in 3 quarts of Castrol 10W40, and a 32 ouncer of the Lucas Oil treatment. The car actually seems more sluggish.




Please login or register to post a reply.

Replace Fuel Pressure Regulator
Fuel Injector Replacement Ford 5.4L V8
Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Toyota Corolla