'87 XR4Ti Projectmobile
"My wife and I are in 100% agreement on my Merkur.  She doesn't like to drive it, and I don't like her to drive it.

The projectmobile comes home from Ft. Worth.

I bought this 1987 XR because it had a good straight body that apparently has never been wrecked.  The paint was uniformly thin and oxidized.  The interior was in fair, but dirty condition.  The motor was found to have a cracked head, but I didn't care since I was really only interested in the car's body. I did not care about the interior, engine, suspension or driveline.

I pulled the engine and stripped the exterior and interior. I did some modifications to the car, whatever was required before it was painted. I installed the 1992 Pontiac Gran Prix Turbo hood louvers into it's hood. Since I was planning on changing the color to 1998 BMW Arctic Silver, I removed every bit of plastic or anything that could come off. (I had a local company called Westside Paint & Body in Rosenburg, TX do the bodywork.)

I had planned on using most of the stuff from my old 1985 XR4Ti. I had put a lot of miles on it, and the body was looking haggard. The engine still had plently of power, but was leaking from the seals. I decided that when I yanked the engine, that I would at least change these seals. Well, I decided that I would at least do the head gasket while it was apart. Then I thought, I should do a valve job too. What the heck, might as well do the rings.... O.K. a total rebuild while I am at it.

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When I sent the head to the shop, they found that it was cracked. This was found thru a non-destructive testing procedure called magnafluxing.

I ended up deciding to change course and do the dual spark plug head thing that some guys on the internet had developed. Thanks to Jaime Nieves and Brad Anesi, I was able to learn a lot about the dual spark plug setup that was used on the 1989 to 1994 or so, Mustangs and Ford Rangers that came with the 2.3L engine. There is a yahoo eGroup devoted to this modification.

It was around this point that I had decided that it was not only the destination, but the journey. I decided to have fun putting it all back together, and to me, this meant cleaning, polishing, coating, or chroming a bunch of the parts that I was about to re-assemble. I ended up selling some of the engine parts from my old engine on eBay and began working with the new stuff. I bought a 1989 Ford Ranger 2.3L engine from a guy in Dallas TX to use for the dual plug conversion.

You can see that the dual spark plug head does not utilize the same intake manifold and it also uses a serpentine belt drive setup. It also has a different timing belt cover design (improved) and lots of other little changes.

I began by porting the intake manifold and cylinder head. I had larger valves installed in it and re-used the higher rate valve springs that I had purchased long ago from Racer Walsh. My plans are to start off with the Ford Motorsport A237 camshaft, but I will likely end up with a cam from as this is most likely the best cam for this motor.

I smoothed out the runners in the lower intake half, then turned my attention to the upper. At first glance, it doesn't look like there is much to do in there, but there are two large protrusions into the front upper intake where the throttle cable bolts to the intake. I ground off both of these lumps inside the intake and smoothed out the whole inside. It had it ceramic coated by a company called HPC coatings in Tulsa Oklahoma. At $140, it was definately not cheap, but it was one of my favorite things about my old motor.

The next stage is what I refer to as "the slippery slope." It begins by polishing one bracket or bolt or whatever. Then you decide to polish the throttle body, then the turbocharger, then pretty much everything has to be improved or shined up in some way or another. Have a look at my page called "the Slippery slope" to see what I mean.

This is where I am now. I am re-assembling items and getting ready to put the motor back into this car after it has been without for more than a year and a half.

Future plans include:

Installing the T-5 and exhaust system.

Stripping and saying goodbye to the 1985 parts car.

Installing and wiring the Euro headlamps

Getting the car Road Worthy then....

Installing the David Godfrey big brakes on the front and converting the rears to disks

Converting the front Koni Struts to coilovers and doing something about the rear springs and shocks.

Please enjoy your visit to
Thank you,
Richard Thompson