Because, even during the depths of my recovery, my vision never faltered; thanks to prednisoneâs side effects during treatment, said vision became a C4 Corvette-likeÂ laser-infused slalomÂ but with Young the GiantÂ screeching in the background.
SoÂ itâs about time I drove to my friend Brianâs shop and made it happen.
Letâs do it, but remember the mission: to improve performance via Ford donor cars of the era, honoring the time when boneheaded computers made radical aerodynamic shapes that altered our automotive landscape.
The 1989 Merkur XR4tiâs superior suspension, brakes and larger differential bolted up easily, but our donor had a bashed engine crossmember. Mercifully, the Sierraâs unit accepted everything up front â being right hand drive wasn’t an issue!
Upgrades include Koni shocks and rear disc brakes from one of the Thunderbird donor cars.
Can you say sleeper?
The choice of the 15×7-inch Ford Mustang 10-hole (teledial) wheels (with grippy Spec Miata rain tires) is the widest setup to fit a stock chassis. And these Fox Body wheels provide the perfect offset and 1980s aerodynamic swagger for a Ghia-spec, near-luxury, British family car.
While no Chevy Nova on slicks, the difference from a 165 mm, 13-inch wheel to a 205 mm, 15-incher gives the little Ford a tough demeanor.
No wonder the Bondurant Driving School used them on their Merkurs!
Since the body was ready to test fit its new motor, we spent hours determining the best bits: parts from a 1985 and 1987 Thunderbird Turbo, plus the 1989 Merkur gave us options.
The most important bit was the larger Garrett T3 from earlier turbo Fords, seen here getting a clean with leftover cam covers (destined to be garage art).
Those factory covers were cool, until the uber-rare Ford Motorsport cam cover (finished in brown like the motor, ânatch) hit my Facebook feed. And it’s beyond worthy considering there’s aÂ BoPortÂ 2.1 roller camshaft within.
Out goes the Nova so the Sierra can get its new engine. Except not.
The fancy aluminum engine mounts/brackets of a Merkurâs 2.3-liter turbo âLimaâ are 2 inches wider than the Sierraâs 2.0L âPintoâ crossmember.
Mercifully the Turbo Ford community on Facebook is strong, and a solid Merkur XR4ti crossmember was boxed up within hours of hitting this brick wall. Apparently those addicted to social media are not always clueless!
The only thing missing to complete the engine swap is a low-mount alternator: it shall clean up the engine bay and smooth out/shorten the distance from the (aftermarket front-mount) intercooler to the throttle body. Shouldnât be hard considering the Sierra has no power steering or A/C to complicate matters, right?
Oh Google Image Search, what wonders you find us!
Hereâs to hoping the local junkyards have a 92-94 only (yes, really) Ford Ranger with these brackets and pulleys. I’m visiting one with a complete (looking?) 1992 Ranger shortly after I hit the send button on this article!
Not to worry, the Sierra’s time will come. Soon.