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Author Topic: my 91 capri so far  (Read 9925 times)

supercowmoo3

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    • 1991 mercury capri n/a, 1984 vw rabbit diesel
my 91 capri so far
« on: April 21, 2015, 11:44:32 PM »

So I'm new to this forum and decided I'd post something about my build and ask for some help with it while I'm at it.

I bought it for 500 bucks from a guy in southern their new york whos grandfather had bought it at auction for aparently way too much money. He drove it a while and noticed it was reading low oil pressure so he parked it outside for two years then decided to sell it. All four brake calipers were rusted and locked up so I bought four new remanned ones and lined the slide pins up nice and good and put them on. Cleaned up the rotors while I was at it.

Next thing was the rust problem and the water leaking in causing it. There were rather large holes on either side of floor corners right behind the front wheel and the bottoms of the front fenders were rotted off. After knocking off the rust there wasn't much left of it and so I started making up rather large patches out of sheet metal, and since I was only 17 at the time and still didn't know how to mig weld, my grandfather welded them in for me. After the patches were welded and some boxed pieces welded in for strength was finished I rusty metal primes all of it in generous amounts. Then some roofing tar created a water tight seal. After I made patches for the bottoms of the front fenders they weren't quite even or smooth so a little bondo evened it all out. Then there's was the bare metal surface rust coated rocker panels to adress. This was all from just sitting outside mind you. I sanded and sanded the metal clean, primed it, and since I couldn't find the factory paint and the red paint that was already on there had turned almost pink, I decided to spray them gloss black for some two tone madness (actually because I'm cheap pretty much and I intended on plasplastidipping the car anyways at some point).

So the rockers are black, the holes are 'properly' patched there's still some underneath rust and things to one day clean up and respray or replace with custom chrome moly things like the front radiator support which has started rusting holes through it. Now what needs to be stressed is the leaky soft top. I had bought a new one from jcwhittney for around 200 bucks and it seemed to be too short in the front although the back and weather strips all lined up like the should. I called the company and they said it fits and just needs to be stretched to fit the top section. Aparrently they are right and it reaches. I don't really know myself as it was my grandfather who had tried it out so I'll just have to wait until Sunday when I can work on it to see for myself.

Now after the new top is installed I can finally put the car on the road and drive it. I know one of the injectors wires is touchy and shorts out if wiggled in a certain spot causing misfiring on the fourth cylinder I believe and it seems to idle rather high in the real cold (1800rpm at below 30). The idle speed I'm not worried about and the injector wiring I can fix. Now what I'm really wondering is what kind of power can you get out of these cars? Mine is n/a and has stock everything as of right now. I'm thinking of adding custom headers and exhaust and intake to make this thing breath better. I know it's got something like 110hp stock and thats not too bad for a light car. I'm hoping to get about 150 n/a with or without major internal work such as back cut vvalves, cylinder head porting and polishing, maybe a cam if I can find one, valve upgrades, probably a fresh bore and high compression pistons while I'm at it.

The absolute biggest problem with all of that though is that I can't find parts for this engine let alone performance parts and if anyone knows of a good source of them id be very greatful. another thing is what kind of ecu upgrades or full standalone programmable ecus are good for a forced induction conversion on an n/a capri? If anyone wants to help or knows of some good parts and resources sources id be very gracious. Thank you all
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Rocketman

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 12:36:05 AM »

Welcome to TeamCapri! Sounds like you've got a bit of a project on your hands.

The soft top, I've never known someone to buy a top from JCWhitney. There were two sizes, I forget which was when - perhaps you got the small size on a large frame?

There are some aftermarket bits for the engine. We share the same basic engine as the 1.6L Miata so things like pistons, valves, cams etc all will work. Stay away from cheap underdrive crank pulleys, they will ruin the rod bearings and the crankshaft itself. I've played a bit with ITB manifolds/throttles but don't have anything working yet.

There's not much to do with the engine management. You can advance your static timing a bit, but there isn't a magical chip for it like there is for the XR2. A Megasquirt is going to be your best bet for tunable management, and you can upgrade just about everything when you do it (injectors, ignition system, speed density vs VAF, etc)

If you want power, your best bet is to find an XR2: either as a donor, or as a car to drive. The tradeoffs with turbo'ing an NA are pretty major (weak transmission) and the conversion is pretty involved (easier if you have a complete donor! don't try to piece it together)
There's a thread I wrote about it here: Capri Nonturbo to Turbo Conversion

Post some pictures when you get a chance!
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supercowmoo3

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    • 1991 mercury capri n/a, 1984 vw rabbit diesel
Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 10:01:42 AM »

Thank you for the quick reply. As far as the converible top goes they said they only carry the one top for this car so I don't think I can get anywhere from that lol. I could return it and search for one elsewhere but I'd like to try and get this one on and see what happens.

As for internal upgrades and such, I kind of like the hydraulic clutch in the n/a capri and it shifts perfect, real short and very precise. I'm only looking to maybe get what a stock xr2 capri would produce so around 150hp so I would hope most of the stock components would be able to handle that. Does anyone know if the n/a connecting rods would hold up to a little more power? I'm hoping to find some high compression pistons that create something like a 10:1 ratio but that's if I do rebore it and such. First thing I was hoping to find was camshafts and valvetran upgrades. If a performance miata valvetran will work that would be great.

I've read a little about megasquirt and that it's a chip you have to get soldered into your ecu and it controls the fueling and such. Can you put a megasquirt chipset into an n/a ecu? If so that would be something. I'm wondering if with that you could turbocharge the n/a motor unless that's a really bad decision. if the n/a engine is built the same as the turbo then youd think it would handle it right? I know thethe transmission might blow and have to be swapped but I'm alright with doing that.

If anyone knows where to find some cams and valves that can hold up to a more agressive cam then I'd be very grateful. Thanks again for the quick response
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mitch1204

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 10:44:37 AM »

I wouldn't invest in a rust bucket. You want to have one in decent condition. Them floor pans play a part in the car's overall structure. There are still a few Capris floating around on Craigslist. I see them all the time $1500 and higher. One member posted recently wanting to sell his in northeast PA. He mentioned junking it so the price is probably right. His sounded in much better condition.

The good news are these Capris are known to read low oil pressure when in fact the oil pressure is good. Your valves would be rattling if the oil pressure dropped. I read about cleaning both sides of the ground strap attached by the passenger strut tower. Since the ground starts at the battery I cleaned that one too. It seemed to help as the gauge worked better but wasn't quite right. When I changed my head gasket I noticed a small hole the size of a toothpick feeding the oil pressure sending unit. I took the sending unit off and cleaned that hole out with carb cleaner. I also sprayed inside the sending unit. I also cleaned up the contact. Something worked because my gauge has been working great since. When in doubt do a compression check. How many miles does yours have?

Parts are a challenge but they are still out there. Advance and RockAuto have somethings available. Roo-sport has many hard to find parts. Even eBay and Amazon you can find parts. Avoid the no name made in China crap. Avoid Driveworks suspension parts at Advance. Go with Moog. They have better ball joints and tierods. I bought an all metal radiator off Amazon and a new gas tank off a guy that sells them on eBay. Very pleased with both purchases.

That's another thing, your tank might be rusted out. You can pull the back seat bottom cushion out to access the fuel pump. There you can inspect it.

Another area of concern is your cooling system functioning properly? The fan should be turning on and off when it reaches operating temperature. Are your hoses in good shape? This car has more than usual. You'll notice a hard pipe running above and about where the engine and tranny meet. That is a coolant pipe and each rubber hose off of it feeds other areas. Pay close attention to the tiny L hose under the distributor. Mine cracked along with one other member. The car overheated, warped the head and blew out my radiator gasket on that cheap plastic radiator. One little $10 hose caused a bunch of repairs. The head gasket was on my list, it just happened sooner. :)

TechCapri has an online manual straight from the Ford manual. There you can find much useful information. This forum is also a valuable resource in your quest.

You go to restoring this car it's out of passion. It can get expensive. It's worth it because I get comments all the time and I haven't got to the paint and interior yet. That's this summer.

Welcome to the Capri nut forum!
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supercowmoo3

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    • 1991 mercury capri n/a, 1984 vw rabbit diesel
Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2015, 11:14:06 AM »

its funny you say that lol. When i first got it the gas tank was rusty and had holes through it but we brased them up, cleaned up the tank and even jb welded some of the smaller holes which seems to be holding up good. The majority of the car is surprisingly solid and should rust apart, the worst of it was the front corners behind the wheel well but when we welded them we actually boxed it to add some strength so it should be fairly solid. The cooling system seems to be working properly and the hoses look pretty good.

I will try to post some pictures once i figure out how to do it lol. Is there a post on this forum with instructions to posting pictures?

I also read that the ground strap could be a problem because what we had done to remedy the problem was replace the sending unit with one out of a ford truck that is just a switch and when it reads pressure above around 10 psi it will be on and below that itll shut off. It makes my gauge read 60psi all the time but if i see it drop then i know that ive got major problems. I still have the old sender unit somewhere so i could try cleaning up the grounding strap mounting surfaces and reinstalling the stock sending unit. The car has 150,000 miles on it and i just put on a new timing belt so im guessing since its a mazda itll run for a good 50ks more and then ill just rebuild it with some performance parts(high compression pistons, cams, performance valvetran, probably an xr2 transmission, better cooling, etc) i plan to be installing an engine and transmission oil coolers when i get the new top on the car and get it put on the road for the summer. Im taking an automotive course at school and next fall semester i can bring in an engine to rebuild and i might do that with this car although i was thinking of doing something crazy with it like a rear wheel drive tran swap out of a miata or something and swapping the engine over to a small block chevy out of an s10 or something. Easier to get performance parts that way and more fun in my opinion lol. If i do go that route it wouldnt be for a while and probably not until the car dies or i destroy the engine in the thing. the only rust thats on the car now is bubbles above the passenger side rear fender above the wheel well. I really love the stock capri though even n/a. It shift so nice and the clutch feels great, it takes corners pretty well and has that miata syndrome where it feels like youre going much faster than you really are.

Anyways if someone can tell me how to upload pictures that would be great thanks :)
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Rocketman

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 12:28:27 AM »

I'm guessing you're young & excited & have big Capri dreams. I was there once too :)

Did you read about thread about the turbo conversion? I know you don't want to hear it, but it is significantly cheaper, less work and less heartache to find an actual XR2. It's capable of handling decent amounts of power from the factory. The N/A is not. There's a lot of folks who have gone the same exact route you are going down, and have ended up buying an XR2 or leaving the Capri platform altogether.

A stock XR2 makes 132 crank horsepower. Thats ~115 to the wheels.
A stock XR2 engine is enough to kill an N/A transmission.
150 is at the very edge of what the N/A transmission will handle, IF you baby it. And let's be honest, who wants to baby it?
Even the stock XR2 transmission does not like abuse. Burnouts are the #1 killer of XR2 transmissions. You mentioned converting to XR2 trans- thats a lot of work by itself! Flywheel, clutch, mounts, axles & intermediate shaft, clutch cable, pedal assembly all need acquired & swapped out.

The Megasquirt is not a chip that installs in the stock ECU. The Megasquirt is a total ECU replacement - you remove the stock ECU and the Megasquirt takes its place. It's configurable and tunable in every way, and once you get it setup it's relatively easy to tune. There are even MS units that will plug into the stock engine harness - but these are not ideal if you're really going after performance.

Use Photobucket or IMGUR to upload pictures, and then hotlink the images here - the forum does not support direct uploads at the moment.
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supercowmoo3

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    • 1991 mercury capri n/a, 1984 vw rabbit diesel
Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 11:26:22 AM »

thanks a lot rocket! I really do have big hopes for this car and i might end up doing an entire engine and trans swap to another mazda so itd be more of a bolt on deal with minimal mounting point modifications. Ive read more about the megasquirt and i think itd be a fun project to try. Im wondering how good the minisquirt is for this car and if anyone has tried it. its just a slightly cheaper and more compact option with the same full standalone control as the bigger megasquirt. i could get a minisquirt for approximately 360 fully assembled with a harness or an assemble it yourself megasquirt ecu for around 450 dollars. Or i could get a junkyard carb for around 100 rebuild it and make up a custom mounting intake for it. this route would be alot more headaches and probably leave me with a shit running capri but it is possible for me to do. Id much rather have the full control of the efi through a standalone ecu like megasquirt and ive been reading good things about it.

I really dont know what the real next step will be with this car, probably some form of headers and full axhaust and a larger diameter mandral bent intake piping. That will give me some power and make it alot more fun to drive.

Question! Do you have to run a catalyst in these cars as in will it trip a code if the catylyst is removed? Bacsically is there only the one o2 sensor in front of the cat or are there multiple which do not run the engine but will get very upset if they see that their precious catylist is MIA and start tripping codes like crazy?

im going to try to upload some pictures using photobucket now so hopefully that goes smoothly
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supercowmoo3

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« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 11:31:53 AM by supercowmoo3 »
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supercowmoo3

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    • 1991 mercury capri n/a, 1984 vw rabbit diesel
Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2015, 11:30:01 AM »

i guess im going to have to upload images like this them lol, sorry if thats an inconvenience
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 11:32:44 AM by supercowmoo3 »
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Rocketman

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2015, 03:15:13 PM »

See on the photobucket page, on the upper right? It has things like EMAIL / LINK / IMG? Copy/paste that "IMG" link from the bar, directly into the post here, it will display it automatically for you.



Like that!
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chrispoe

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2015, 10:21:32 PM »

The idea of playing with a megasquirt intrigues me, but the price and trouble for the small gains in N/A applications doesn't seem worth it to me. Diyautotune has the megasquirt 2 unassembled kits for $279 and assembled megasquirt 2 for $445.
All capris are OBD1, so they only have the 1 O2 sensor on the exhaust manifold before the cat.
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supercowmoo3

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    • 1991 mercury capri n/a, 1984 vw rabbit diesel
Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2015, 10:31:47 PM »

thank you for the really useful info! ill check on diyautotune and see whats involved in doing so. I was hoping to do a mild cam in my capri and see what kind of gains with it n/a i can get out of it before ultimately going turbo down the line. Also with only one o2 sensor to worry about i can make up headers and a full 2.5" exhaust. ill just cut out the threaded bit for the o2 sensor as im sure i dont have a tap for that and weld it on my down pipe. The cars not going to be used in  the winter either so ill just use regular steel and maybe get the header power coated. Thank you guys so much
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supercowmoo3

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2015, 11:17:50 PM »

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supercowmoo3

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2015, 11:18:36 PM »

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supercowmoo3

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Re: my 91 capri so far
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2015, 11:29:59 PM »

so this is my 1991 mercury capri. The only rust is in the fender above the passenger side rear wheel. I personally feel that its held up extremely well for being up here alot of its life. I had the whole interior pretty much out so i know what was solid and what was not lol. Only a few floor pan patches and you guys already know of my firewall/inner fender/ floor pan holes that i had. I wish i had taken a before and after picture of them because we really welded up a good amount there. anyways the cars a lot better then it was when i first got it. I hope to have the new top on it this sunday and driving it monday but as we all know things rarely go as planned so we'll see what happens. Im planning on sanding up and painting the four new brake calipers i put on this thing from sitting in a field for two years lol. The cheap coating they put on them is already falling off and i havent even driven it yet so it needed to be done anyways.

A side note that ive thought about mostly because my family doesnt understand why i love having project cars 24/7 and why i spend so much on cars and spend so much time working on them. This is a passion. This is what i truly enjoy and love doing. Making something my own and creating a beautiful and custom and unique thing is an art and i happen to enjoy doing so with cars. I'm sure alot of you guys can relate but i just thought id just share my opinion of why i spent at least 100 hours on a car i picked up for 500 bucks and have about another 500 in it already before even driving it lol
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