Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

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tdiguardi
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Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by tdiguardi » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:17 am

I am getting back int othe merkur scene after many years.
I remeber going to junk yards pulling head after head only to magniflux them and find most of them were cracked.
I also remember pain stakingly replacing cracked dashes with a mint one. Did the 1989 moldes solve that? Different plastic in the dash?
Different alloy in the heads?? Just asking.

I also heard that the C3 automatics were junk and should be swapped wit ha C4? any truth to that?

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by John Brennan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:00 pm

Dashes were definitely better, a big problem was the old center-mount speaker. That said, Father Time and the Sun will eventually warp and crack any dash, as my warped and cracked '89 dash will attest to...and it's been garaged and parked under covered parking at work as least as long as I've had it (and when I was commuting in it).

I have read that the '89 heads were better/stronger; have not had any real confirmation on that. Very difficult to find any non-cracked heads these days.
This is my car, and these are my people!
1989 XR4Ti 5-Speed
2001 BMW Z3 3.0 5-Speed
2015 Fiesta ST 6-Speed
2015 Edge 3.5 V6 Auto/Paddles

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by DPDISXR4Ti » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:51 am

Although the big change in the dash was mid-1987 (when the center speaker went away), there were several less obvious changes in the dash over the car's 5-year life. The last change was mid-89 where the A-pillar trim is inset into the dash. As a result, to look right you need the matching trim panels and dash from late '89 donor. Indeed at this point 30+ years down the road they all can and do crack, but the post mid-87 parts are certainly better.

Years back I had heard that the late '88/'89 heads are "better", maybe due to different exhaust valve seats? I've never heard a definitive verification on that, so I'd almost take it as folklore at this point.

A C4 is absolutely a stronger transmission than the C3, but keep in mind, it's still a 3-speed. Most people who have swapped in a C4 want it for the drag-strip. I would never want one for a street-driven car unless it was just an "around town" car. I'd sooner go A4LD if I wanted an Automatic.
Brad

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by eaton53 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:14 pm

My dash is mint.
Don't know about the heads but my car doesn't leak anything, which is saying something on an '80's survivor.

"I also heard that the C3 automatics were junk and should be swapped wit ha C4? any truth to that?"

Oh yeah. They're not good but neither is the weak T9. XRs in general need a tranny upgrade.
Mike @ Merkur Depot has done swaps:
http://forums.merkurclub.net/forum/view ... hilit=A4LD

I have no idea how much.
One question I had about this that I don't think anyone else has asked...
If a person did this swap using Explorer innards, could the XR be upgraded to the manual horsepower specification?
How huge of an undertaking would that be? It would be all stock parts, not "mods".

A 4-speed 175hp auto XR would be fun.
The 2011 Eclipse Spyder that traded in a couple of months ago had a 4-speed and didn't have that much power.
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: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by merkurdriver » Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:50 pm

88/89 heads do have a different casting #, so there must be "some" improvement made by Ford if they went through the trouble.
If the car is stock the C3 and T9 are OK...but any big power improvements are going to require something a little stronger.
If you're doing an automatic behind the 2.3T then the C4 3 speed is indeed the strongest, but an OD 4 speed A4LD can be made pretty tough to the "4.0 Explorer towing package" specs and bolt in the XR pretty easily if you assemble all the right pieces needed.

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by John Brennan » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:31 am

merkurdriver wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:50 pm
88/89 heads do have a different casting #, so there must be "some" improvement made by Ford if they went through the trouble.
If the car is stock the C3 and T9 are OK...but any big power improvements are going to require something a little stronger.
If you're doing an automatic behind the 2.3T then the C4 3 speed is indeed the strongest, but an OD 4 speed A4LD can be made pretty tough to the "4.0 Explorer towing package" specs and bolt in the XR pretty easily if you assemble all the right pieces needed.
Thanks for the confirmation on the head... and the A4LD will indeed hold a lot more power than stock 5-speed numbers, especially if spec'ed out as Mike says.
This is my car, and these are my people!
1989 XR4Ti 5-Speed
2001 BMW Z3 3.0 5-Speed
2015 Fiesta ST 6-Speed
2015 Edge 3.5 V6 Auto/Paddles

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by eaton53 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:21 pm

merkurdriver wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 2:50 pm
If the car is stock the C3 and T9 are OK...but any big power improvements are going to require something a little stronger.
My T9 wasn't ok... I chucked several with zero mods.
Fortunately Ford's Lifetime Service Guarantee was in effect at the time, so all of the rebuilds were on Ford's dime.
If you're doing an automatic behind the 2.3T then the C4 3 speed is indeed the strongest, but an OD 4 speed A4LD can be made pretty tough to the "4.0 Explorer towing package" specs and bolt in the XR pretty easily if you assemble all the right pieces needed.
Has anyone done a 175 hp A4LD? If someone had a C3 car, how hard would it be to create it? Everything visible would still be Merkur parts...
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: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by DPDISXR4Ti » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:06 pm

eaton53 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:21 pm
Has anyone done a 175 hp A4LD? If someone had a C3 car, how hard would it be to create it? Everything visible would still be Merkur parts...
Yes, it's been done in a XR for sure. Rebuilt to Explorer specs as Mike mentions above, it should handle in excess of 175HP all day long.

Talk to Mike. He knows the details and I believe can supply some/all of the parts.
Brad

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by eaton53 » Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:05 pm

DPDISXR4Ti wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:06 pm
eaton53 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:21 pm
Has anyone done a 175 hp A4LD? If someone had a C3 car, how hard would it be to create it? Everything visible would still be Merkur parts...
Yes, it's been done in a XR for sure. Rebuilt to Explorer specs as Mike mentions above, it should handle in excess of 175HP all day long.

Talk to Mike. He knows the details and I believe can supply some/all of the parts.
My car is fine and it's also all original down to the floormats.
I'm not messing with it unless something bad happens. This is a hypothetical situation.
However, if it were to chuck a tranny, then all bets are off. I don't think I would rebuild a C3 because it's crap.

I also would want to have it redone without any visible non-Merkur alteration.
If it's sitting at a car show with the hood up, it must look 100% stock. One would have to drive it to know something was up.
This would be professionally done in Ohio.
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: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by merkurdriver » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:26 am

eaton53 wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 3:05 pm

I also would want to have it redone without any visible non-Merkur alteration.
If it's sitting at a car show with the hood up, it must look 100% stock.
Last A4LD I did I used a Merkur Scorpio dipstick & tube. Bolted up to the same spot the C3 stick and tube does. Looks pretty much like it came from the factory under the hood.

Some Sierra's came from the factory with an A4LD - a factory looking finish would be the shifter and trim from an A4LD equipped Sierra, which would be plug and play into an XR4Ti.

Image

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by eaton53 » Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:01 pm

Hey Mike...
Just for poops n giggles, what's the ballpark cost if the following were done in your shop?

A4LD swap with upgraded 4.0 Explorer Towing rebuild.
Engine upgrade to the 175 hp manual specification.
Changes to retain fully stock appearance.
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: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by my8950 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:08 am

eaton53 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:01 pm
Hey Mike...
Just for poops n giggles, what's the ballpark cost if the following were done in your shop?

A4LD swap with upgraded 4.0 Explorer Towing rebuild.
Engine upgrade to the 175 hp manual specification.
Changes to retain fully stock appearance.
in...

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by eaton53 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:01 pm

my8950 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:08 am
eaton53 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:01 pm
Hey Mike...
Just for poops n giggles, what's the ballpark cost if the following were done in your shop?

A4LD swap with upgraded 4.0 Explorer Towing rebuild.
Engine upgrade to the 175 hp manual specification.
Changes to retain fully stock appearance.
in...
I put a bug in the wife's ear about it.
She just got a fancy nearly new Cadillac. My next car won't cost nearly as much as that did.
So maybe I get a few small XR upgrades along with it... a vague idea of required dollars so I can cobble together a plan would be great.
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: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by merkurdriver » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:08 am

eaton53 wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 1:01 pm
Hey Mike...
Just for poops n giggles, what's the ballpark cost if the following were done in your shop?

A4LD swap with upgraded 4.0 Explorer Towing rebuild.
Engine upgrade to the 175 hp manual specification.
Changes to retain fully stock appearance.
I don't work on anyone's cars besides the ones we persoanlly own, sorry.

I can supply the A4LD and all necessary parts to my local transmission guy (who has done all of the A4LD builds I've stuck into XRs over the years) and have one professional built for you that would be plug and play, ready to roll. Basically a Scorpio A4LD with all upgraded internals and the 2.3 bellhousing/front pump/torque converter combo that allows it to simply bolt right up to the engine.

"Engine upgrade to the 175 hp manual specification" is as simple as swapping in the manual ECU and adjusting the timing from -10° to -13°
15 minute job, easy peasy.

Scorpio tube and dipstick keep it looking stock under the hood and the Sierra A4LD shifter plate and shifter would really be the icing on the cake and the only minor thing I have never added on any of the swaps.

Maybe Jeff at MPM would want to carry out a swap for you? I would be happy to assist in parts gathering if needed. (I have everything sitting here to make one of the A4LD's as mentioned above.)

Its $1000 for the shop to rebuild an A4LD. Internal parts + labor and includes a new torque converter. I have a used Scorpio A4LD $100, the 2.3 bell and pump $50.

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Re: Did 1989 XR4TI solve the previous dash and head issues?

Post by eaton53 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:38 pm

Thanks for replying, Mike.
Hopefully my current C3 stays intact. Everything's working better than ever... did a 75 mile car show round trip today.
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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