Help me decide on oil for a Ford 2.3 Turbo car

Not open for further replies.
Jul 28, 2004
Blacksburg, VA, USA
This is the engine that you probably know from the Merkur or the SVO Mustang. I have a 1988 Thunderbird Turbocoupe. I probably couldn't go wrong with 10W-30 except that the engine is now considerably modified and will soon be approacing 300 RWHP out of the little 2.3 plus the fact that I want something good for the turbo which is why I'm looking at synthetic. The bottom end is mostly stock but is balanced with a fresh grind on the crank so oil clearances should be tight but I'm getting 50-60 psi on a cold start in the summer(70° ambient) with cheap 20W-50 oil. Once I heat the oil up good it drops to 20-30 psi. This is why I think I need a heavy oil. Plus I drive it like a race car at times. Shifting near the rev limiter, downshifting to 6K and stuff like that and the fact that it's boosted mean I need some incredible stuff in the sump. At first I was only considering Amsoil as I have family members that are dealers and they may cut me a deal. Probably a 15W-40 or 20W-50 amsoil. Then I considered that I can get 15W-50 M1 at work (Advance Auto) and get an employee discount on it. I know these aren't too heavy in our 80-90 degree summers here in VA but in the winter it sometimes gets as low as the teens and I think I may have to mix in some lighter stuff. Is the 15W-50 Mobil 1 safe to start on occasional sub freezing temps? I'm really more concerned about lunching my oil pump drive (aux shaft and distributor gear) which are really weak. As long as I don't see over 60-70 psi at startup it shouldn't stress it too hard. So does the 15W-50 and other such synthetics flow easily enough at say 15 degrees to provide comparable oil pressure to a conventional 20W-50 (which can be quite thick at startup I've heard, and like honey below freezing). Please help me out here and thanks a lot for your help. And what a great site, unfortunately the more I read the more confused I become. But I'm glad there are people out there trying to dispel all the myths that the car and oil companies have started. There should be a slogan "The truth is out there". [Happy] Thanks, John L.
German Castrol would be a good choice. A thick 30 weight, lots of Group V, and good for cold weather starts.
I've used Mobil1 15w50 year round. No problems with the winter cold starts. Castrol has a 10w60 that can be bought at the BMW dealer or online. Various brands 5w50 is available at most autopart stores. There are also a bunch of 0w or 5w-40's that might be thick enough when hot for winter use. Another option is to stick with the 20w50 mineral oil and get a dipstick type, oilpan magnetic type oil heater, or engine block coolant heater.
Originally posted by John L.: except that the engine is now considerably modified and will soon be approacing 300 RWHP out of the little 2.3...
Pictures please!!! How fast does that thing burn up the 1/4 mile? Pics! Pics! [Big Grin] I vote for M1 15w-50. Arguably Mobil's best OTC product and is readily available.
I will post some pics if I can find them. The outside is kinda rough and the car is very heavy, but with a little more boost and a big intercooler I should be into the low 14s,(probably gonna put a bigger turbo on too). Not that impressive really but it does weigh 3600 lbs and is a 4 cylinder. [Big Grin] It has a K&N cone filter on the air meter which eliminates the stock air filter/silencer setup(straight shot at the turbo now). I fully ported the head and did a little to the intake, exhaust, and TB. It has a considerably bigger cam in it and full 3" side exhaust, currently running 15 psi boost, soon to be at least 18. But enough about that, I'm leaning more towards the Mobil 1 all the time. How does Mobil 1 compare to Amsoil? I can get the Amsoil at dealer cost (about 5 dollars a quart) and the Mobil at about 3.78 a quart. I think the Mobil is a better value really.
I just sold my 87 Merkur XR4Ti, 24psi, 3" downpipe/exhaust, 2700lbs. Mid 13's in the quarter on the stock T9 trans (NOT RECOMMENDED!!). Man that thing was cool! Some observations-- 1. LOVED the Motul 6100 10w-40 (syn blend). 2. CONSUMED Mobil 1 0w-40 and 15w-50. Never had to add a drop of the Motul between changes, added about 1.5 qts during the same OCI's with Mobil 1. Settled on Mobil 1 Delvac 5w-40 Syntheticor Shell Rotella 5w-40 Synthetic, but still had consumption issues with the Mobil product. Stick with the Mobil 1 or K&N oil filters, had oil pressure issues with the Motorcraft and Fram filters. Have fun with it! -James Wilson 160hp less and nearly 1000lbs less!! 94 Suzuki Swift GT, German Castrol 0w-30.
That sounds like it is/was a fast car, definitely would have blown the T9 soon though! I read some posts here about you selling your car when I was searching. How many miles did you have on the car when it consumed the oil like that? Do you think I would have the same issues with new rings? For one thing the 2.3 Turbo has a looser ring pack and piston to allow for more expansion so I guess this could contribute to the consumption with certain oils?
I also have a couple XR4Ti's, both lightly modded. I've used M1 10w30 in one that ran low 14's with nothing more than a 3" downpipe and exhaust, K&N cone on the VAF and 18 psi. Never used a drop and still has great compression. The other car has been abused a little more even though it has hardly been modded. It had a voracious thrist for M1 and I've been using Pennzoil Long-Life 15w40 in it lately with very good results. Tried M1 15w50 in it, but still had high consumption. For your situation I'd try the M1 15w50, since it is a very well built oil with a really nice add. pack. GC might also be a good bet. My Mazda 6 gets that oil and runs great on it. The GC is also a little thinner, so it might help you make a touch more power and rev a little freer... Then again, the 2.3T isn't exactly a revvy 9000 rpm mill [Wink]
My Merk had 164 miles on it when I sold it, only had it for about 20K miles with 5K mile OCI's and 200-mile-daily-commutes. I loved that car...someday when I'm rich and famous I will buy another one and do the Cosworth conversion :-P -James W
Not open for further replies.