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Recommended Modifications

So you're ready to go faster? Here's what we recommend (in approximate bang-for-the-buck and ease-of-installation order):

Stage 0:

Get the car running right, put decent tires on it, and take it to the strip and get some baseline numbers for it!

At sea level, a 200hp version of the 2.3T in a 3300lb car should run a low 15/high 14, and a 175hp version should run a low-mid 15. These times assume decent (but not spectacular) traction and driving.

Stage 1:

Disconnect the knock sensor FREE
K&N Air filter/no air box $30-$50
Adjustable boost $5-$500

At first glance, disconnecting the knock sensor would seem nuts. BUT, the knock sensor is easily fooled by non-detonation noises into pulling out timing when it shouldn't, and it takes out way too much. People generally run about 3 tenths faster when they disconnect it...you gotta use your brain to avoid detonation and broken parts.

Turn up boost till the overboost buzzer just comes on, this is about 17.5 psi OR set it wherever you want (Air/fuel meter highly recommended) ;-).

The best number I've heard of so far for an SVO at this stage was an 86 that ran a 13.75 on slicks. This was posted by a list member a while back.

Stage 2:

Big exhaust $200-$1000
Engle 55 or Ranger roller cam $150
Tbird Intercooler $50-$100
Optional, save your money for a serious one if you're going to go farther than stage 2
Late model computer and injectors for early model owners $400?
You can also Superchip an early model computer to make it the same as a late model computer.
When a new computer or chip becomes a requirement for early model owners will depend on a lot of things, but generally, if you're running 95mph or more in the quarter mile in a stock weight SVO (~230hp), it's probably about time. For some people this may happen before the cam change. You probably want the computer you buy to be from an intercooled car (late SVO, or late Tbird TurboCoupe). The computer mapping was different for inter-cooled versus non-intercooled applications. Late model owners (single fuel pump) may also want to consider going to a higher flow fuel pump at about this point. The early model double-pump system should be OK for most applications. If you're going to use nitrous at some point, go all out on the fuel pump(s).

At this point, you should have gained at least 5 or 6 mph, and half a second off your baseline time. Typical gains would be closer to a full second, if for no other reason than that you should be getting to be a pretty good driver by now ;-).

Stage 3:

Good intercooler $250-$1250
The intercooler is the most important power production part in a turbo motor. The only reason the parts listed above were listed first is because they can be done cheaply, and a good intercooler can not, unless you find a really good deal on a used one or fabricate one yourself.

Stage 4:

High flow turbo $600-$1500
Ported late model exhaust manifold or header FREE-$500

Stage 5:

Ported head/big valves/maybe bigger cam FREE-$2000
Ported intake manifold FREE - $500
The early and late model intake manfolds flow similarly, but the late model is better if you want to use the stock knock sensor system.
If you're the "money is no object" type, the aluminum head and a matching manifold from Esslinger are better than all the porting in the world on the stock parts. If you're going to end up buying them anyway, there's no point in spending a lot of money on the stock parts first. If you're good, you may be able to approach 90% of the performance for a lot less money, though.

Stage 6:

Parts exist to do an aluminum head 3 liter 8000RPM stroker motor if you want to go nuts. This will require more fuel than the stock 86 system can provide. Currently you're on your own for such things... BIG BUCKS!

Other things like underdrive pulleys ($50) and cam timing pulleys ($50-$100) can be played with as desired. Prices vary depending on the deals you find, and how much of the work you can/will do yourself. There's always nitrous for those who are inclined to deal with it, and to take the necessary precautions.

Results will vary, but 13s in the mid 90s can be run on the 30# injectors, and 12s at a few mph over 100 can be run on the 36s, both without nitrous. With nitrous and some creativity, a lot more is possible.


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Page last updated: Friday, 28-Oct-2005 11:26:28 EDT