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ssswitch Reader
6/3/15 11:06 p.m.

Couriers are such awesome little trucks. Can't wait to see the swap.

classicJackets New Reader
6/4/15 11:19 a.m.

All,thanks for the kind words and I hope I dont disappoint!

Hobier.. here's an engine shot. Can't get a full frontal thanks to the hood opening backwards.

Was supposed to have my 2 day shipping in yesterday to replace water pump gasket (had new wp) and thermostat but FedEx seems to have screwed up. Trying to work that out now but likely won't have one til Friday. I'll add a picture of the inside of the old water pump when I get home, cause it's nasty. Case in point: Yeah, this was originally smooth.

Temperature sensor comparison, old vs. new

Run some kind of anti rust stuff in your radiator, folks.. Doug

classicJackets New Reader
6/9/15 8:45 p.m.

Well, after getting the correct water pump gasket in the mail and installed, the truck wouldn't start. I was stumped - there was nothing electrical that I could have even unplugged! It turned over and seemed to be cranking but never fully caught. In a fit of desperation I got a new ignition coil, cap, and rotor to match the new spark plugs as I knew it was getting fuel.

As it turns out, the wires from the condenser and the neg. terminal on ignition coil are supposed to join in a 2->1 connector and contact the points - both wires had worn through with age. Soldered them up and It started first try. No pics cause that's boring stuff.

Borrowed a timing light from my manager today and got everything a little more dialed in. First glimpse at a Tach as well. Idle had been at about 1250, so I adjusted it down some. Runs much better with all the tune up parts and timing adjusted, much smoother and sounds better too.

Because this is ugly and potentially dangerous, and the windshield seal is the main source of my horrible leak every time it rains, I'm going to see if I can talk my insurance into helping cover a new windshield. Not sure it'll work but I don't want to have to eat the whole $300 charge If I can help it.

classicJackets New Reader
6/11/15 10:11 p.m.

Well, the truck is running better than ever. Finally caved and bought an engine hoist from Harbor Freight to get the engine out of the back of my truck. Much nicer to have no weight back there. Drove the truck to work today. Parked in between a couple "big brothers" lol.

Also got the intake and exhaust taken off the complete engine. Again, definitely looking forward to getting the block hot tanked and the head cleaned and decked, just in case. The thermostat was incredibly rusty and really nasty, so I'm going to take the bet that it got run hot.

May be hard to see, but there's lots of "rusty dust" in each of the cavities. Upper is thermostat, lower is waterpump.

Got this cart at auction at work for $25. Two locking drawers. Will be a nice workstation, and has plenty of storage on the bottom shelf for all the pieces I've pulled off.

Picking up some new wheels tomorrow. Don't particularly want to move away from the stock look, but I need new wheels to clear disc brakes, and these will do that and guarantee that I have many tire choices.

2.3T as I left it tonight.

More to come.


ssswitch HalfDork
6/11/15 11:46 p.m.

Sweet cart. Can't believe Couriers are so small, or maybe it's that trucks these days are obscenely large.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill SuperDork
6/12/15 12:29 a.m.

Probably a little of both. I think trucks today are obscenely large but Couriers are pretty darn small. I used to have an '81 that was baby blue and just all around a nice little truck.

Truth be told, I'd take that little Courier over those other two trucks any day of the week. She looks sharp man, seriously clean for her age.

Wall-e MegaDork
6/12/15 5:15 p.m.

They are tiny. A shop near me has a Courier U Haul truck on their lot. I can't imagine what you would be moving with the tiny box but it's certainly cute.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
6/13/15 9:36 a.m.
Wally wrote: tiny box


beans Dork
6/13/15 10:32 a.m.

I may have a Hurst shifter sitting around that I pulled out of an S10 with a T5 if you'd be interested.

classicJackets New Reader
6/13/15 8:50 p.m.

The truck is really small, but it's parked next to an F350 dually and a 2500 haha. Not average size trucks. Wally, you definitely wouldn't be moving stuff anywhere fast!

Beans, the T5 has a B&M shifter on it - if the Hurst will be that much better I may be interested but the B&M seems nice and tight.

Drove the truck over 300 miles Friday and averaged about 26 mpg at 60 mph. Wheels I wanted to pick up Friday were 10" wide, and I can't run more than 8" so I had to pass them up. Making the return trip tomorrow and will know in the morning if I'll be picking up a different set of 16"x8".

Spent today cleaning the garage space I've taken up st my parents so my mom can park again. I pulled the car apart in December but realistically can't move forward with it for a year or two, unfortunately.

Started with this:

Everything to be put away includes the table in the background, covered in parts. Huge pain and spent about 8 hrs on it today but got it done and car is moved out. Success.

Ordered new tie rods for the truck as mine now are getting a little scary and making some noise. 300 miles to go again tomorrow.


classicJackets New Reader
6/20/15 11:46 a.m.

Made it back up, and within about 2 miles of my destination the truck started bucking and giving me issues any time I put it under load. Luckily it made it. Next day started up and was fine so I made the final 100 Mile leg of the trip, and it was rough. Running hot, stumbling, bucking and backfiring under load, etc..

Because I had to, I made it home. Went 2 miles the next day and the engine cut out and wouldn't start again. Already had a new radiator on the way, so I called and got an ignition condenser added to the list. Parked it at McDonald's overnight haha. Replaced the condenser and plugged back a vacuum cap and I was good to go. Replacing the radiator has made the truck run significantly cooler too. You can see why, the old one was reall bad..

Next step is finding some 16x8 wheels in 6 lug. Doesn't seem like it would be hard but I'm not having much luck. Doug

JacktheRiffer Reader
6/21/15 1:21 a.m.

This is a really cool build.

classicJackets New Reader
6/23/15 7:42 p.m.

Thanks JacktheRiffer:

Also replaced the points yesterday and the truck runs like a boss. So much smoother than before, and much of the vibration from the drivetrain, somehow. Old ones were really bad.

Made some progress on getting everything apart today. Got the transmission unbolted from the engine and pulled apart, and got the head off. No real issues other than the head bolts were 13mm instead of the 14mm 12 point that I had expected from some other reading.

Not thrilled about what I found but hopefully someone here can tell me if it's as bad as I'm worried about.

Yes that's rust buildup in all of the coolant passages.

hmm, what's that little thing on the 4th cylinder?

... it's part of a ziptie. Not sure how long it's been there or if it got driven on.

Here's the cylinder under the ziptie area.

Cylinder walls in 2 and 3 look like this:

The crank bolt came out surprisingly easy. I've been spraying it with PB Blaster since I got it, but I didn't have an impact and I couldn't even put the trans in gear.

Here's the back end. I'd like to get the clutch and flywheel off tomorrow.

If anyone has any tips on how to handle the whole zip tie situation please post them. Already planning to take everything apart and get it all cleaned up, but not sure If I should plan on doing anything else.


Beagle Reader
6/24/15 3:36 a.m.

if that's a plastic zip tie, I seriously doubt it was running when it got in there. I'd expect it to go out the exhaust if it was running, but that begs the question. If it was running and part of it went out the exhaust, it might be a big deal to Mr. Turbo. Small objects are not friends of the blades. Then again, as hot as the turbine side gets, it may be hard to find anything if it was running.

There's no indication of a burnt valve, or witness marks that it ever got between the piston and the quench pad that I can see in the pictures. I'd be shocked if it did anything to the rotating assembly, but I'd definitely have a close look at the turbo.

ssswitch Reader
6/24/15 10:23 a.m.

That'd be one hell of a zip tie if it could hold up to how hot a turbo hotside can get.

Beagle Reader
6/24/15 2:07 p.m.

no kidding... a 100 something PSI closed valve spring pressure will probably have mashed it pretty flat even with no temperature in the mill and rotating by hand.

classicJackets New Reader
6/24/15 7:20 p.m.

Going to try to get it out today. Just got to spend some money. Always sucks, but It's also always fun. Have new Headgasket set and conversion gasket sets on the way, along with a Chilton's manual, replacement thermostat housing, and new head bolts.

Also ordered upper ball joints to get me by.

Here's a copy paste have to and have done list for where I'm at now.. Replaced since bought: Ignition coil, cap and rotor, condenser and points, plugs and wires

Thermostat added, water pump, radiator and lower rad hose replaced.

Headlights replaced, Reverse bulbs replaced

Struts replaced all 4 corners

Replaced clutch slave and master cylinders

Bumper rust ground/sanded down and cleared over to keep from getting worse Wheels resprayed (already getting ugly)

Replaced passenger kickpanel with new "wood" material

Replaced fuse in radio wiring to get that working

Redid some wiring in the main fuse box and replaced fuses

Replaced door rubber seals with those from a Ranger.

Replace turn signal lens in front

Have, waiting for me to do:

Disc brake conversion (still want to get later model B.Master Cyl. and prop valve)*

Driver side kickpanel

Inner and Outer Tie rod ends

Sway bar linkage

Upper ball joints

What I need to get/have done

Windshield replaced (Safe-Lite, probably)

Get brand new calipers and rotors for disc brake conversion*

Lower Ball Joints

Find window felts/rubbers to keep water from coming in at the bottom of the doors

Replace the shifter bushing to tighten up shifts

Replace the bad sections of floor

Replace the bushings/mounts from chassis to body to cut down on clunking (anyone done this??)

Figure out how to make the driver's side of the seat not suck anymore (get springs/foam fixed)

Keep engine running right!!

Rebuild the 2.3t for drop in of sometime late fall.

Quite a list in front of me and I really, really don't want to think of all the money it's going to freaking cost me, but hopefully this truck will be with me for a long time.


classicJackets New Reader
6/25/15 6:44 p.m.

Officially picking up new wheels tomorrow. Driving almost 2 hours northeast, then going back 4 hours southwest... I think I may be a little crazy. Wheels are up near Charlotte and my end destination for the night is Atlanta. Hoping to be heading out of work by about 1:30, Gastonia NC by 4, Atlanta by 9. I drive pretty slow and may need to take a few breaks to make it easier on the truck. Getting these 16x7, 0 offset bullet holes. Price is pretty good. I'll be ordering some 205/45 BFG Sport Comp 2's. I've read good things about them and I can get a bit of a discount on them this summer only.

Nitroracer UltraDork
6/28/15 10:30 a.m.

I just drove 3 hours round trip for a set of wheels on my truck last week so I don't find it crazy at all. I like where your project is going - A courier is a rare sight in my neck of the woods.

Dusterbd13 UltraDork
6/28/15 11:05 a.m.

Do you have any links to complete or step by step swap of the 2.3/t5 swap into a courier?

The 83 b2000 im helping my best friend with will be going the na version of this swap. Want to see what I'm going to have to do.

classicJackets New Reader
6/28/15 8:12 p.m.

In reply to Nitroracer:

You got me beat! Hopefully yours were worth it!! What neck of the woods is that? I'm in the southeast (GA/SC) and this was still the first one I ever saw in person.

Duster, I do not. I'm working on putting together a list of all the engine swaps and processes that people have done to try to make them easier in the future, but I don't have it now. I imagine you won't have too tough of a time, the 2.3 came stock in later couriers.

The trip to Charlotte and Atlanta went off without a hitch, other than the rain. Got 27+mpg for at least the first 225ish miles. As it turns out, the new rust hole that I found when poking with a screwdriver is directly where water sprays into when driving. Luckily, I can cover the hole with my left foot while I drive

Even better news than expected, the wheels are 16x8 after all! 0 Offset still. I'll run 225/50's and only be 3mm overall diameter different than my stock 14" wheels, so I won't have to worry too much about the speedo being off.

classicJackets New Reader
6/30/15 9:13 p.m.

After almost 2 months of looking, I finally found some wheels in 16x8 like I had been looking for. I had to drive about 2 hours to go get them, but the guy had told me originally that they were 16x7 so I was really excited. They are 0 offset American Racing AR172 Bajas. Aluminum.

Got the tires demounted today and ran a test fit to see if they would fit right. They fit great, even on full lock. I will need to get longer lugs and new style lug nuts before running them. Here's some pics..

Hard to see, but here's clearance at full lock.

Little bit of lip when looking down from above. (yes, this is pointing straight ahead. Fender curves)

And when looking from behind..

I really, really like the way they look and I'm excited to get tires in. I'll be putting on B.F. Goodrich G Force Sport Comp 2's in 225/50R16, though I haven't decided whether or not I'll do the all seasons.

Also replaced my sway bar linkage tonight. The old ones were really worn out. Here are the rubber bits on the old one, you can see how worn out they were.

New ones look much better. (and yes, I did clean up the upper arm. It's been so dirty for so long.)

I'm having some issues identifying the piece to the right side in this picture. From what I read in the Book, it's a ball joint.. But it's not the upper or lower, which are on the control arms? They look so worn out on both sides.

I have new inner and outer tie rod ends that I'll probably try to put on next week and get an alignment done. I also plan to get the lug studs replaced on the "new" hubs I have and order new rotors and loaded calipers, and have some brake lines made up. I really want to be able to get these disc brakes on sooner rather than later.


Dusterbd13 UltraDork
7/1/15 5:49 a.m.

Its an idler arm.

Lof8 Reader
7/1/15 6:38 a.m.

Cool thread. I've got a Ranger that i'd like to put a 2.3t in some day. Will be watching.

classicJackets New Reader
7/7/15 4:17 p.m.

Thanks Duster! You're right. I'll probably get a re-seal kit eventually. The thing that the book labels as a ball joint is actually the end of the center link, something else I'll need to replace eventually.
Lof8, hoping to be able to make it all work here pretty soon.

I've spent the last few days installing a sheet a day of some Stinger Roadkill sound deadener I got from auction at work $9. Only putting sheets on the back wall right now. I will get the doors eventually too, but not the floors for a while (need to patch/replace/stop taking in water first). Engine noise is still loud but it has cut down significantly on the noise I would hear from the bed clunking around over bumps and stuff.

Even more exciting! New rubber came in the mail today! They look so dang good. I can't wait to get them mounted up. Also really need to figure out getting new, longer lug studs so I can actually use these wheels and tires.

I ended up recalculating the size I need, as my current tire is a 195/75 and not 195/70 like I originally thought. With the 225/55's, I should only be about 5mm larger than the current setup. Tires weigh about 26 lbs each. I'm looking forward to getting the old assembly vs. new wheel assembly on the scales and see what the difference is.

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