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Turbo Upgrade - Finale! April 2012

Here's the video version of this update!

Hello everyone! In this update we'll wrap up the Talon's turbo upgrade and take it out for some datalogging runs!

First up on the to do list is the battery. Ever since switching to the Magnus intake manifold years ago, there's been little room for a decent size battery in the stock location. I've tried a couple different small battery options over the years, but none of them would hold a charge when the car sat. I most recently ran the lawn and garden battery that you see on the right, which was cheap and fit well, but just wouldn't last long.

I could run a battery in the hatch, but you need an elaborate vented battery box, cutoff switch and more to pass tech at the local drag strip. Plus, I actually use this car for hauling stuff and would hate to lose my space back there!

So I found one of the most compact full-size batteries out there, the 51R seen on the left. This is a popular battery, most commonly found in Honda Civics. It boasts 500 cold cranking amps, much more than my lawn and garden battery, which was very generously rated at 275 cold cranking amps. Torch likes batteries!

Now that I have a good, strong battery I need to find a new home for it. Once I cleared out the stock battery tray and support, I actually had a nice size spot for it in the engine bay. I started by building the base of the battery tray using some angle iron that I picked up at the hardware store. I cut the pieces I needed and filed off the rough edges to make sure everything fit well together. Once I had the four pieces for the base cut to fit the battery, it was time to weld them all together.

After the tray was all welded together, one more test fit was needed so we could fab up some mounting brackets to attach it to the car's frame. Once the fit was right, I made some cardboard templates and then transferred that to some flat stock steel. I then drilled out matching mounting holes on both brackets..

After positioning the mounting brackets just right, I welded them in place.

Oh, and I finally got some good welding gloves! I found these on sale at my local welding supply shop.

Now it's time for the top hold-down bracket. I cut a couple more pieces of flat stock and angle iron and tacked this together

Here's a shot of the battery tray and hold down bracket after cleaning my welds up wit the flap wheel.

Then it was on to my paint booth for a coat of my favorite hue - Dupli Color Low Gloss Black.

Here's the whole assembly ready to be installed!

Now that the battery was in place I could make my new turbo intake. My plan was to get rid of that extra coupler and make one seamless pipe.

To get the fit right, I busted out the sawzall, trimmed things up a bit and welded the two pieces together to make this.

Here it is installed.

We're getting close now! I filled it up with oil, topped off the coolant and checked the other vital fluids to make sure all was well. Once that was done it was time to get the wheels back on the ground!

Now we're just moments away from firing it up for the first time in months! Looking over it and how everything turned out, I'm very pleased. There's no compromises to the streetability or reliability and everything is packaged very well. Much of this credit goes to the ERL Exhaust Manifold, as it positions the turbo in an excellent location.

Thanks to the power of ECMLink, adapting the engine's computer to all of those changes would be a piece of cake. I just plugged in my laptop, changed a couple settings to compensate for the larger injectors and it fired right up!

But before I could go for a ride, I needed to complete a couple more tasks. First was to get rid of the my wimpy 30psi boost gauge and upgrade to the "manly lumberjack" 45psi version on the right.

Next was the simple, but time consuming install of the innovate wide band oxygen sensor. This is an excellent, affordable tuning tool made far better since you can program it to include its readings into your ECMLink data logs.

Here are both gauges mounted up!

That pile of wires is a security system that was in the car when I bought it in 2005. I finally got a little tired of fooling with it and tore it all out from under the dash.

Next was to install my new alcohol injection tank. This is far better than my flimsy, repurposed coolant overflow jug that I was using before.

I started by cutting out a simple bracket template, then drilling the tank for the feed line fitting

...then drilling the tank for the feed line fitting.

Here's the finished steel bracket welded up, painted and bolted to the tank.

I had been running a 50/50 mix of water and denatured alcohol in this system, but decided to instead give Snow Performance's "Boost Juice" a try. I run it in my turbo Miata and have been very happy with the difference it made compared to my old mixture. I definitely recommend it.

And here's the tank mounted, filled and ready to go.

My final step was to install a larger water/methanol injection nozzle and test it out. Here's how that looks in action. To learn more about DIY water methanol injection for your car, check out my website!

After that was finished, I took it for a first drive on low boost and a very conservative tune. To see my reaction, check out the video at the top of this page. To summarize, I am impressed by this setup and especially by the responsiveness of this turbo given it's size and my meager 2.0L engine displacement. It's going to be pretty nasty when it's fully sorted out.

Here's one of the ECM Link data logs- Inside all of those squiggly lines is the secret to getting the most out of this setup. In this log, we have a 2nd to 3rd gear wide open throttle run. Everything looks great, especially given the conservative boost and timing we're running. Our intake temperature is a little high at 124 degrees, so I'll need to make a better cold air setup to bring that down.

Also, the airflow peaked at 63 pounds per minute and the Evo 8 mass airflow sensor is reading well past its 3000 hertz frequency limit. A speed density conversion kit from ECMLink will allow me to run more boost, eliminate the Mass Airflow Sensor restriction and get the most out of this combo.

The Innovate wide band shows a somewhat conservative, but safe 10.7 to 1 air to fuel ratio. There's also no knock to speak of and the injector duty cycle is right where I expected. Oh, and last but not least, the horsepower estimate is looking pretty good too. :-)

Thank you for reading! Next up for the Talon is a trip to the local drag strip to see what it can do!