Basically I had problems getting the stock T3 to clock properly to install the FMIC. So rather than trying to find a used SVO turbo or used cold side I decided to buy a new turbo. What I bought was one of the eBay turbos, but rebuilt with real Garrett internals. There are several threads on the internet about this, but I won’t comment on how good or bad the idea of using the Garrett parts is, since I never got it installed.
Instead I ran into a number of problems with the differences between the eBay turbo and the original T-3. The biggest was that the new turbo was not a drop in replacement for the T-3. Starting with the hot side. The new turbo sits almost ½ inch farther from the header flange, and is rotated at least 15 degrees from the T-3.
This caused all kinds of problems with the 3” downpipe I already had. Installing the turbo twisted the downpipe and moved it right into the middle of the firewall. So I couldn’t install the downpipe. After discussing with the guys who built my exhaust we tried a couple of bends/extensions to the downpipe so I could get it installed and drive to them. But it was angled in the wrong direction so badly we were considering building a new downpipe.
But before I went down that route I wanted to make sure there weren’t going to be other issues with the new turbo. And turns out there were a few.
First, I was trying to reuse the T-3 wastegate actuator bracket, but that didn’t fit. With the T4 cold side, the 6 bolt spacing is even wider than the T-3 so the T-3 bracket wouldn’t bolt up. Next I bought a Garrett actuator bracket, which had the right angle on the actuator to the wastegate. Until I tried to install it in the car and the bracket placed the actuator right where the strut tower was. I tried a couple of different orientations and couldn’t get a straight shot to the wastegate without hitting the oil drain, header or strut tower.
Second, the drain line and feed line sizes into the center section where different sizes than the T-3.
So at this point I figured there were enough differences with the eBay turbo that I should cut my losses and get a real Garrett. Well, that didn’t go so well either.
Once I got the Garrett, I found that the orientation of the downpipe was fixed, but none of the other issues were resolved. Different size oil feed, different size drain and the positioning of the cold side bolts was identical.
The drain was easy to fix, found the right size bolts and opened up the holes in the mount.
The feed was easy to fix, brought the turbo and original feed to Lowe’s and got the adapter to fit the bigger center section.
The actuator proved to be a totally different beast. I eventually got a Universal bracket and had to stack washers on part of the actuator to get the angle correctly.
Here is the bracket:
The problem is that the bolt holes really only give about ½ inch of adjustment. Flipping the bracket moves the actuator mounting holes around and some adjustment, but not enough to get the binding out of the actuator rod. Yes, people sell bent actuator rods, but I couldn’t find any that didn’t include the full actuator.
I finally shimmed the actuator mount with some washers to get the angle on the rod to freely move the wastegate.
I ended up with this combination since I couldn’t easily extend the length of the actuator mounting bolts. I think one or two more washers would have removed any angling of the rod. Ideally the bracket would have an offset, like the stock bracket, but this works.
Long story, but if anyone is considering upgrading from a stock T-3 to a T3/T4 Stage III 50 trim hybrid here are some things to consider
1) The new turbos are oil cooled only. You are going to need to remove the water lines from the block and from the piping around the engine. I found a pipe in my pile of spare parts that didn’t have the nipple to feed the turbo and used it.
2) Any of the ‘universal’ actuator mounting brackets are going to try to put the actuator into the strut tower because of where the wastegate sits on the Ford 5 bolt outputs. Or hit the drain. Or as you see above bind the rod.
3) The best of the ‘universal’ actuators is what I show above. Either buy a new actuator with a bent rod or do what I did stacking washers. Getting a bent actuator also means making sure you get the right size hole for the stock wastegate. The two ‘universal’ ones I had were too small so I stuck with what I had.