Original owner since '86 planning updates...

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zxr250cc
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Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by zxr250cc » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:43 pm

Hi all,

I have been reading the forums for years and am working slowly on my XR4Ti that I put in storage at the end of '99 in disgust due to over heating problems. At the time of purchase I let myself be influenced by a girlfriend who could not use a manual transmission and stupidly bought an auto. About 90% of trouble I have had with the car has been related to the cooling system and its effect on the transmisson or motor. Sounds familiar to everyone in here, right?

I have been replacing old parts underneath like tie rod ends, control arms, pads, master cylinder, brake lines and chasing weird issues that cropped up after being in storage indoors for 17 years. Did you know mice like chewing on washer fluid hoses? (LOL, of course you all probably have seen something like this.)

When initially trying to start the car it fired on one cylinder only. So I undid the fuel rail, pulled out the injectors and looked at them. Three were stuck together from dry gas varnish, I guess. I manually made the tip section move, rubbed the o-rings with a little clean oil and popped them back in the motor, reinstalled the rail and started the car up with ease. The fun started when it warmed up enough to open the thermostat. Water started spraying all over from the area by the heater valve. Close inspection found that one of the hoses had been nibbled on by a mouse. I changed all the small heater hoses and cooling hoses on the motor after that and began working my way through issues at they popped up. My current need, as is so common, is a coolant bottle. I have tried to patch a stress line crack in mine with no success. I have been junk yard diving for an alternate car model replacement but not successful on a physical size match yet. I am also planning to change the radiator soon and add an intercooler from a Focus ST or RS.

After driving the car for about two hundred miles on back roads to check fixes and look at what to do next the car stopped moving. I changed the fluids all over the car except the transmission. The trans filter was blocked with fibser from clutch disks. After changing the filter and using Valvoline MaxLife ATF in the C3 it has run fine up to about seven hundred miles now. I bought a Skorpio A4LD from a junk yard and plan to convert the car to that later on. Other needs come first however like the rear differential mount and a new radiator. I work in the auto parts industry but that really doesn't help much since all the parts are either gone or available only from the internet as has been true for quite a while. This is not news in here of course.

Mid range plans: ECU from '88 T-bird to control the A4LD and allow boost with intercooler or manual '88 ECU and use an added switch for over drive, change exhaust system to 3" downpipe with a free flow small cat, 3" out to the back and maybe change wheels and do brake calipers/rear disk changeover. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Cheers
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
1999 Taurus SE 24v DOHC Spruce Green
2004 SVT ZX5 Focus EAP Screaming Yellow

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Mike McCreight
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by Mike McCreight » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:45 pm

Sounds like a worthy project. I'm sure a couple of our vendors will offer to help out with a coolant bottle. I offer brake upgrades, and the transmission cooler issue is easy to sort out.
Please keep us updated!
It's not a hobby, it's an obsession!

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merkurdriver
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by merkurdriver » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:56 am

Radiator, brakes, 3" exhaust upgrade here: www.merkurdepot.com

I have used coolant bottles on hand as well and I have just finished the drawings for our new aluminum coolant bottles.

Scorpio A4LD is nice because it does not require any computer controls. There is a converter lock / unlock that is activated by vac switch on the Scorpio, or you can simply install a toggle switch to control converter lock up. Scorpio A4LD with a 2.3 Mustang or 2.3 Turbo Coupe bellhousing and front pump and it will go in fairly easily.
I have been having a local trans shop build these for me frequently. I bring them a Scorpio A4LD and a 2.3 A4LD and they rebuild it with the 2.3 front pump and bell on it. (I actually have 2 freshly rebuilt units in that configuration on hand sitting here right now...)

zxr250cc
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by zxr250cc » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:10 pm

Ah, the trans cooler in the radiator.. a design from a lower, hotter region. The fourth time (1998!) the engine and cooling systems decided to share fluids I asked the trans shop guy if he had a BIG transmission cooler and he said he had one so I requested the cooler be added and the tank end plugged off. I might post more on this topic later. Two of the fails were warranty; two were on my nickel. My C3 had four rebuilds on it when it was parked. The coolant bottle failed in 1999 and that was when the car became parked long term, with extreme prejudice, and the engine rebuilt from over heating. I let it sit for seventeen years and did my best to ignore it all that time.
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
1999 Taurus SE 24v DOHC Spruce Green
2004 SVT ZX5 Focus EAP Screaming Yellow

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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by Ersatz36 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:31 pm

merkurdriver wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:56 am

I have just finished the drawings for our new aluminum coolant bottles.
:applause

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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by JimG » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:10 pm

I would still have my Scorpio if it had a manual gearbox instead of that POS A4ld. If you are going to do all this work consider upgrading to a T-5!
Jim Gosses
86 XR4TI, 165K, IC, RR, PBR Fronts, T-bird Rear Discs
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by zxr250cc » Tue May 01, 2018 12:07 pm

Hi all,

I may decide at some point to switch to a T-5 transmission but for the time being I already own the A4LD. I have a six speed manual transmission in my SVT Focus and enjoy it when driving. At present a diff mount and a radiator/coolant bottle set are front and center for needed items in the Merk. Oh, struts and shocks also. It is so easy to work up a long shopping list for these cars!

Thanks all,

Cheers
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
1999 Taurus SE 24v DOHC Spruce Green
2004 SVT ZX5 Focus EAP Screaming Yellow

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eaton53
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by eaton53 » Wed May 02, 2018 2:12 pm

I just got past some cooling issues myself.
Turned out I had a blockage, solved by several high pressure coolant flushes.

I'm hoping the system will now work with significantly greater efficiency.
Been out a couple of times since... cool as a cucumber, so far so good.
Mark Copeland - I'm 50 miles west of Kewanee, IL

'89 XR4Ti
Car was the 2014 MCA Merkur Preservation Award Winner
I'm just the latest caretaker and I'm keepin' it REAL shiny!! 8)

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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by zxr250cc » Thu May 03, 2018 2:15 pm

Hi all,

One thing I note about the various threads is the mention of mileage on the cars. As these are older odometers that don't show mileage beyond 99,999 it is my expectation that any and all are 100k + any number shown as they were fun to drive when new before issues added up. Mine is ~168k for example.

Just a thought...

Cheers
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
1999 Taurus SE 24v DOHC Spruce Green
2004 SVT ZX5 Focus EAP Screaming Yellow

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eaton53
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by eaton53 » Thu May 03, 2018 6:24 pm

There are some XRs here that are well known cars. There's no doubt that mine has 42K actual miles.
It looks like it doesn't even have that many. At about 1K miles a year, it's gonna take a LONG time to get to 100K.

And then there was that guy trying to sell a trashed XR here, claiming 7K actual miles. I don't think anyone believed him. :BS
Mark Copeland - I'm 50 miles west of Kewanee, IL

'89 XR4Ti
Car was the 2014 MCA Merkur Preservation Award Winner
I'm just the latest caretaker and I'm keepin' it REAL shiny!! 8)

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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by thesameguy » Thu May 03, 2018 9:04 pm

Mine shows 83k, but it's actual mileage is around 292k. IIRC I bought it with 267k on it, but around 272k I swapped the cluster with one that showed 63k because... I don't remember, something broke. Anyway, so when I sell mine in or around 2025, just know it has 320k, not 20k. :P

zxr250cc
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by zxr250cc » Fri May 18, 2018 3:36 pm

Hi all,

I am going to work on my Merk this weekend. It is ~250 miles away and that slows the rebuilding cycle and maintenance down quite a bit. I have new lower control arms and other parts I will work on this time, as well as trying to fix a sticking passenger door lock solenoid. I am hoping to finish this by end of summer and start using it as a second car on a regular basis. Next year I might come to Carlisle...

Items that are bugging me at the moment: radiator, fuel gauge level, door lock, tachometer, clock... The clock worked when it was parked but is no show now. Tach reads low, never higher that ~2,000 rpm. Fuel gauge acts goofy; works then shows empty or low the next time started when it is mostly full.

Cheers
1986 XR4Ti Mineral Blue Metallic
1999 Taurus SE 24v DOHC Spruce Green
2004 SVT ZX5 Focus EAP Screaming Yellow

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John Brennan
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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by John Brennan » Fri May 18, 2018 4:02 pm

Wow, I have to admire your dedication. Mine's right in the garage and I have trouble getting to it! :?
This is my car, and these are my people!
1989 XR4Ti 5-Speed
2015 Fiesta ST
2015 Edge

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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by thesameguy » Fri May 18, 2018 4:04 pm

In my limited experience, the instrument clusters in these cars are a definite weak point. At one point or another I have had every gauge stop working, sometimes more than once. The exception to that is the temp gauge, which is ironic because the temp senders suck.... for your fuel and tech issues, I would definitely suspect the cluster.

I wouldn't stress about the clock - dumping it for two 2 1/16" gauges is a good deal.

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Re: Original owner since '86 planning updates...

Post by John Brennan » Fri May 18, 2018 4:32 pm

thesameguy wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 4:04 pm
I wouldn't stress about the clock - dumping it for two 2 1/16" gauges is a good deal.
Exactly-- especially when your stereo has one, your cell phone has one, and you might even be wearing a wristwatch...
This is my car, and these are my people!
1989 XR4Ti 5-Speed
2015 Fiesta ST
2015 Edge

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