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Thread: Upgrading Cam

  1. #1

    Default Upgrading Cam

    Hello, I have A 1979 2.3 L turbo, and am looking to upgrade the camshaft. I would like to find one that would help the engine breathe a little better. I've been searching online, and have found some, but wanted to get someone else's opinion on which one I should get. And how would it effect the gas mileage?

    Thanks, Josh

  2. #2
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SE Michigan


    Hi Josh
    Am attaching a chart from 1993 Ford SVO catalog to compare specs. Some NOS cams may still be around.
    Similar spec cams from aftermarket is pretty much the source now unless a new NOS stick is found.
    This is how i decided what cam to use. Ford explains them better than i can. Many liked the A237.
    Went conservative with the A231 cam, since i got a good deal on it locally and car is daily driver. Installed 'straight up'.
    Was told by SVO Tech Hotline it would give me 20% more of everything. Hp, torque, fuel mileage. Using 10w30.
    From what i read, the cam is factory 'big cam' late 2.3 T-Bird, SVO? cam. Getting 18, 25+ mpg on a good day.
    Engine now has over 100k on rebuild. Ave. fuel mileage is same 20 as before with stock cam. Smooth idle.
    Car is at least as fast or faster than stock config was. Bought car from Ford dealer in 1980 with 24k on it.

    Next rebuild will go with same, up one step, or go with the Ranger roller setup. Very happy the way is is though.
    I have two 2.3 engines. 2.3T in 79 Cobra and a 93 Ranger 2.3 EFI with the stock roller cam everyone talks about using.
    Very good low end torque, drive-ability and fuel mileage. No problems. Been using nothing but Valvoline 5w30 since new.
    Truck weighs 3200, non turbo dual plug stock. No problem doing 70+ without realizing it. Car will beat it though.

    Name:  cams_2.3_SVO_1993[1].jpg
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    Last edited by gr79; 01-17-2019 at 11:19 PM.

  3. #3


    Thank you so much for the information!

  4. #4
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SE Michigan


    You are very welcome.
    Info passed along to hopefully help you and others enjoy these turbo cars as i do.

  5. #5
    FEP Super Member xctasy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Dunedin 9011, New Zealand, South Pacific


    Ford did some seriously smart stuff with the early 1974 to 1989 slider cams. Very simliar to what Porsche did with the 901 series 911 Turbo "930" cams.

    Ford of Europe had done some major Emissions experimentation with the lobe centers on the early European small capacity 1300, 1600 and 2000 cc Pinto style 3 bearing cams. The US design team was privy to all that stuff before going nuts on the additional Lima 2000 and 2300 four bearing cams.

    Stock Pinto era Lima cams were all the same USA emissions compliance cams with a similar to European Pinto 2000 style 268 degree at lash intake and exhaust and about 399 thou lift. Nothing different to the 1969-1987 Pinto 2.0 OHC cam you saw in an early non Fox Capri or Pinto.

    IIRC, It was the EFi turbo that got a down graded cam lift and duration.

    This info is basicaly from Tom Cat on the link

    2.3 1974-1986
    Valve Lift (Intake / Exhaust) .399 / .399 .050" Duration (Intake / Exhaust) 196 / 196 Lobe Separation Angle 129 / 111

    2.3 EFi TURBO (small cam, before the XR4 Ti/ Fox T bird Super Coupe or XR7 Turbo got the C cam)
    Valve Lift (Intake / Exhaust) .354 / .353 .050" Duration (Intake / Exhaust) 188 / 188 Lobe Separation Angle 120 / 104

    2.3 1987/90 C cam (the A231 cam)
    Valve Lift (Intake / Exhaust) .390 / .390 .050" Duration (Intake / Exhaust) 187 / 190 Lobe Separation Angle 108 / 116

    SVO TURBO CAM (the A234 cam)
    Valve Lift (Intake / Exhaust) .437 / .437 .050" Duration (Intake / Exhaust) 208 / 208

  6. #6


    An option is the "Ranger Roller" cam mostly because you mentioned gas mileage.

    A lot of people with downplay that cam, but in one season I ran the A237, a "1.5" cam, and the Ranger Roller and saw no performance difference ... not because of the cams themselves, but because a stock type turbine in enough of restriction that cams with more exhaust duration done perform as you might expect (choked).

    With the Ranger cam, add an adjustable pulley as you will want to move it around to your desired RPM range. Installed straight up, it will feel dead after 5,000 ish RPM, retard it 8 degrees and it pulls good to 5800 ish...

    The other benefit is that you are going roller cam so you aren't putting wear particles through your engine like the slider. Obviously it is a cheap solution to try as you will need cam and follower, then an adjustable pulley ...

    If you don't like the cam, you will be set up with the roller followers and adjustable pulley and only out the $30-$35 for the used cam.

    Car should run mostly like stock, pick up a little low and mid RPM power, and not affect gas mileage negatively.
    Bob Myers

    84 Capri RS Turbo - Only a 4 banger - 1/8th 6.29@110, 1/4 9.87@137

  7. #7
    FEP Super Member gr79's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    SE Michigan


    Set cam in mine straight up, desiring more low end power than top. Depends on how one uses the car.
    4 cyl can use all the help they can get to build speed.
    Have good torque in mine. Pulls in 3rd or even 4th from just off idle. Can even floor it (lug it) and engine wont buck.
    Engine and cyl head were pretty much machined to blueprinted specs last rebuild. Rotating items were balanced even.
    Seems smoother overall. Never wind it much above 4000 anymore. No need to. Never rev engine quickly when cold.

    Use FL-!A oil filter. Was made for 2.3. The filters have slotted instead of round holes. Eases oil pressure spikes and flow.
    That is what the brochure said way back when Ford changed the design.

    Normal driving, 1500-3000. 1500 putting around town, 2200-3000 (62-72) on freeway with T5 trans in 5th.
    Really need to change rear gear from 3.45 to 3.73. Was fine with stock RAD trans gearing and no overdrive.
    Engine seems to like 2800-3200 for highway. 3.45 rear gear in 5th now puts rpm at 2400-2600 at 65. Stock 15" tires.
    Of course, can always stay in 4th like with the old trans and drive slower. 4th is fine if 55 mph limit, 5th for low 60's up.
    Now, will get 'blown' around the freeway at 55. Car cruises nicely in 5th at 75-80, same fuel mileage as 4th.
    Last edited by gr79; 01-18-2019 at 03:03 PM.

  8. #8


    I'm back and forth between a 231/234 or a Ranger stick for my 84 RST. It'll never be dragged, but if/when I ever get it road worthy, I could see a once in a blue moon excursion on a road course happening. I don't want every last ounce of power I can squeeze, just more than stock. I want a reliable cruiser with a bit more balls.
    84 Capri RS Turbo
    Vinemont, AL (formerly El Mirage, AZ)
    USAF (Ret)

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