New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Documenting your big project with photos/videos? Have photos/videos to share of anything Merkur related? Place your links to photos and videos here. Please - Merkurs and Merkur-related pictures only. Cosworths welcome!!
Carlisle and event related pictures are to be placed in the relevant section under 'Events'.
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Matt01
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New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by Matt01 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:05 pm

Hi MCA, Since the whole photo bucket thing, I figured I would start a new thread.
I ll see what I can remember and what order I did things.
It all started in 2012 when I bought the car from a gentlemen in Buffalo NY, the car was plated in Ohio. The guy told me he got a couple offers on the car for parts (probably 1 of you guys) but he sold it to me for cheap because I was going to fix it.
The car was a wreck, needed everything. Year of purchase: 2012
Here it is waiting the 3 day period before importing to Canada.
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Bone stock interior
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Untouched engine and the first night spent in the garage.
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Some of the problems:
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broken coil spring
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dirty and finished coolant
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This is AFTER the 7 hour drive home, it had NO brakes, wow!
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So in order to get the car to pass inspection here in Quebec, it needed a good once over.
Approx year: 2012/2013

New Brakes
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New BAT lowering springs
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New stinger exhaust
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Tune up stuff, it got new brake cylinders, shoes, plugs, wires (which all broke) new OEM cap, + rotor
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Old tranny + brake fluid
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I had some wheels lying around from an 88 Mustang that I was using on my 84 Cougar.
Anyway here is the car on the day it passed mechanical inspection! It originally failed because I overlooked a loose balljoint, and for whatever dumb reason the exhaust needed to have a resonator installed (yes a resonator, not a cat)…
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I started on a limited budget some mods, one of my first mods was a rear OMP strut bar. Im happy I did, they’re pretty hard to find now.
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I got lucky on eBay! I bought this off a sierra from Argentina, a real momo steering wheel + hub.
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I sanded and varnished it myself, the results were ok for a first timer.
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Here it is installed with a Hurst shifter knob from the autoparts store.
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In 2013 I finally blew the head gasket while aggressively passing a slow Toyota driver.
Here is the damage, typical break between 1 + 2.
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rebuilt head and manifold ready for paint
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The parts and tools table with finished head
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Here it is, back together, and working out the kinks
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NEW WHEELS! I found in Toronto a rare set of 4x108 17” BBS wheels. I did the 14 hour trip in 1 day in my Corolla to get them. Worth the trip, and worth every penny, these wheels are hot. I did end up sending 1 of them to be straigtened and painted, I would like to have another one painted however, ill probably wait till I get my front fenders flared.
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Year 2014.
This is a good year, Eaton LSD time. IMO one of the best mods you can do to your RWD car. A car with decent power is useless without a proper diff, seriously.
New MC2 mount vs old diff mount
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while in there (not really but anyway) I installed extended studs also from MC2
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Here you can see a test fit of the pumpkin in the case. You can see both sides are trimmed. The moral of the story is you’ll never get the diff installed if you start trimming the wrong damn side of the case!!
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Old vs new.
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Here it is installed in the case.
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Here is a differential test. Best Mod Ever, thanks MC2.
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Years later update. In the MC2 kit, they use aluminum shim tape to keep the stub shafts a tight fit into the diff. I finally got around to getting the stub shafts machined (up in size) to fit properly into the diff without tape.
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But if anyone ever decides to go this route, the shaft will not fit into the splined portion of the diff because the diff is offset in the pumpkin compared to how it is supposed to be. So I had to grind down about 1/4” so it would fit on the passenger side. If ever anyone wants a pair of machined shafts for the swap PM me, I can have it made, and I will have it made with the properly machined gap that I now know about.
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I got (real real cheap) some Recaro GTX seats out of a MK2 GTI. They are period correct, although not my favourite model of Recaro, they do make me sit lower in the car which is nice, and they are super comfortable.
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Year: 2015. New Rapido sway bars. Thanks Russ!
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Cosworth Style Short Rad
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New Front control arms + poly bushings.
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Rear Brake Swap: I used a limited edition mc2 brake brackets for focus SVT rotors and scorpio calipers.
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I picked up from England a type 9 short shifter, which really did make a nice difference.
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To catch up, here we are.
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Summer 2016, this is the year where I have too many parts, too little time to install parts.
Picked up new rear coilovers from England.
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I pulled off the rear beam, did all the bushings, painted everything. Really happy with the results, way less deflection. I kind of think I should have went solid bushing for the subframe though. Probably would have made it even more solid.
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Pulled it off and pressure washed everything
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Underside of the car:
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New bushings sourced from Mike Mcreight
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Fresh bushings, fresh paint
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Installed
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Also I finally found time to install these camber shims that Ive had in my toolbox for years, another rare part from England.
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Honestly these are so simple, but so good, these things put the rear wheels at -.2 deg at my ride height.
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I bought a XSPOWER RS500 intercooler, and it is fantastic, an almost bolt on intercooler and it performs so well too.
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I actually bought an eBay universal piping kit and the welders at my school cut, beaded and installed it for me. They did a great job.
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I got a hell of a deal on some R888 race tires, so I bought some lightweight Enkei EVO6 wheels for them. One day I hope to join a lapping club and use them
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I finally had time to wire up and install my pod for boost + wideband, and mini triple pod.
I used the stock amp faceplate to install the 3 mini gauges, the switch is going to be for
the second radiator fan. (sourced from siliconeintakes.com)
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Im not much a welder, and Im happy that I can say I welded this myself!
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I had to go back and fix up my rear brake hose setup, I learned that you shouldn't hard line it directly into the caliper (oups! haha) So I bought a weld on tab kit for a hot rod, and bought 2 sets of custom stainless hoses. I wanted to match the cosworth style rear brake hose setup. Heres what I did.
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Welded on the tab
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Installed the hardline into the fitting and supported with the tab.
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Here it is, with a Thule roof rack I pulled off my Corolla, its the same part number!
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Here are my 2 girls. Yep I bought another 2.3 1989 Ford!
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Here is the mustang, the day I bought it.
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And update on that project. Here it is today. 5 bolt swap with 17” GT wheels + Raceland coilovers.
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Tech Tip, if anyone needs a 3" gasket rush rush, run to napa grab a # 31574 and cut to fit. Works well.
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I finally bought one of these, I'll install it soon. This is a big check off my list, I should have bought one years ago to match my rear OMP bar.
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This has been bothering me since I had the damn car. I bought the rockers about 2 years ago, and they've been gathering dust while I looked for a body shop to take care of them for me. I finally found a damn cool welder kid in my area who works out of his dads basement bodyshop.

He started on the passenger side, I think he thought it was the more difficult side because of the small patch in the door to do. Here is it after the cladding removal (I drove a couple years with no cladding)
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Here is the finished result. The driver side floor was rough, I might have to get it patched a little better one day. For now I’m really happy with how it looks.
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While I had access to the lifts at school I decided I would change my rear main seal, it has been leaking. Long story short a rear main seal job turned into a clutch replacement too, because it was burned up too.
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the crappy old T9

So I bought the "Brute Power" clutch kit on Rockauto. Its the cheapest one. The pressure plate had pressed into in Exedy, so its probably a rebranded one, which is good.
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So we dropped the tranny, and as suggested, a good impact gun and long extension with a swivel socket made short time of the top 2 bolts. You can see the condition of the throw out bearing sitting on the top.
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While I had some downtime for my clutch I figured I would sand and paint the transmission tunnel with some good napa industrial paint.
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Here you can see a new fel pro rear main seal, and a newly installed pilot bearing ( that was the HARDEST part of the job getting that out) a teacher ended up torching it out.
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At the same time I dropped the front subframe to do the oil pan gasket again, the fel pro I already installed still leaks. Use the Mahle/Victor Reinz one, much less chance of leaking. The fel-pro is not properly shaped to the oil pan.
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EARLY 2017.

I found a holy grail ECM on my local classifieds, naturally I found the money for it, and got a pretty good deal (if it works). A rapido ECM.
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PRE-CARLISLE RACE.

I decided to make a list of stuff to do before Carlisle, anyway I went crazy and tried to get it all done. Spent alot of money.. Alot.

This I bought from a member here (who was in Canada!! yaay cheap shipping + no exchange) so I had to pick this up, OEM whale tail.
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so I made a visit to mike mccreight. Picked up a nice OEM grill. I test fit it before I sent it to paint.
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This is the 1 part I was never able to justify the price of (canadian vs. GBP dollar) but I found it at a reasonable price down there and I had to do it. My original tank blew out almost immediately when I bought the car. Also its the exact model I wanted because it has the OEM cap and not some unobtainable jobber replacement.
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I installed the OMP bar and Coolant tank.
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Test fit the whale tail, drilled the holes, installed the brackets. And yes, trying to install a OEM wing on an 89 hatch, is difficult. Requires patience. I got it pretty much installed though. Id like to pick up a late 87 hatch one day.
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Here it is, as it sat at Carlisle! Overall I bought + had painted then installed the grill and spoiler. I sent the shafts to be machined (didnt have them back in time), I had the windows tinted, installed the strut bar, coolant bottle, big vam + ECU for Carlisle. I’m sure theres alot of odds and ends that I forgot.

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Post Carlisle, things Ive bought since Carlisle 2017.

Installed my Chucks engine mounts. Here it is against my old crusty one. I find it still goes pretty smooth, I would not of minded an even stiffer mount.
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July 03: Pulled off, degreased the rack, and installed new MC2 nylon bushings.They are a perfect fit, nice product MC2.
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I dumped my diff fluid after 3 years when I went to install my new stub shafts, it came out a real metallic color, I guess thats normal.
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July 25th 2017. Mine and my dads cars
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Finally got my new Coilovers. Gas Golds. My old blown ones will officially be up for sale. They are probably the nicest coilovers Ive ever bought, the knob is on the strut body instead of the weaker top knob that tends to break. Also I will install poly top mounts.
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I took a little drive down to New Hampshire and I scored a deal on some 17 x 8.5 Borbet type A for a steal. 1 of them is cracked so the owner was convinced that it was scrap. It should be no problem for a decent mag shop.
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They are wideee. Its okay though, I have a plan. I would like to flair the fenders soon anyway.
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Last edited by Matt01 on Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

$KRILLA
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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by $KRILLA » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:18 pm

Nice build !

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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by merkurdriver » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:55 pm

:cheers
Good stuff!

XR4ti614
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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by XR4ti614 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:42 am

Awesome thread, thanks for sharing!

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Matt01
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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by Matt01 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:39 pm

Just a small update:
New limited edition OMP, straight from the UK
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Also I got a steering shaft bearing, going to try and install that soon.
Thanks for the nice product Esteban
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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by abomb1982 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:51 pm

I want to fender flair my xr as well. Please take lots of pics and many details as you flair yours. great build

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Matt01
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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by Matt01 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:43 pm

Ill let you know the details when that happens, it will probably be early next summer.

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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by abomb1982 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:56 pm

Has anything happened on your car ?!?!?!

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Matt01
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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by Matt01 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:57 am

Car is still in storage (only Feb). But I have been collecting a couple parts

takata harnesses. Got them for a hell of a deal in Toronto. Going to pick up some new OMP seats early this spring.
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Started buying parts for my Wilwood brakes. Got the Hats/rotors and brackets so far. All Im missing is the Calipers and lines. They are going to be 12.19" x 1.25. 6 Piston. Pretty excited about that.
You can also see my Cummins turbo studs and nuts. Sick of my crappy auto parts store studs breaking, Lets give this a try.
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Also I bought a set of 2 Piece BBS RC090 (BMW Style 5 off a 5 Series) 17"x8 et 20. Im going to have them redrilled and powdercoated Gold. Hoping they fit well when I have my fenders done.
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Ill probably be putting my BBS RX for sale, with possible delivery to Carlisle. Tentitave price about 800$ If anyone is wondering.

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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by morlynon » Mon May 28, 2018 3:58 am

Looks great. I dig the steering wheel and seats.

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Re: New Updated Build Thread. 1989 XR4. 4 years of progress.

Post by my8950 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:00 pm

What are the fender flare's from? Or are you just making them from sheet metal?
:cheers

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