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Turbo PowAr1!!

A while ago I was talking to Deacon Shiva on IRC and he was talking me into turbocharging my CRX. yeah, I know…. becoming what I said I never would :p . STFU and listen. he said I could get the turbo, IC, and turbo control unit off an 88-93 Saab 900 turbo and build a turbo kit from that. he’s got an adapter plate to get the turbo to bolt right up. then I’ve got boost management and charge cooling. all I’d need is a RRFPR or AFC (air/fuel management) and plumbing… and then I got boost. at first I was reluctant since I wanted to run the CRX on the track competitavely. but honestly I don;t see that in my budget. I see it as a track whore car for open track days, and a daily driver. so I can justfy turbocharging it. at low pressures certainly. 5-ish lbs will give me plenty. it’s pretty strong just bone stock.

so I looked into it. Deacon told me he was running 16 PSI through the stock saab turbo. that’s nothing for the turbo. it’s a Garrett T3, being driven by 1.6 liters of Honda fury. the turbo can handle it, but the stock bottom end on the engine can’t :p . they blew their motor. they were using it as a strip beater so they really didn’t care. I do, however, so 16 PSI is out of the question. like I said, 5-ish PSI is all I will run while it is still my daily driver. 5 PSI from 1.6 liters is very low for a T3. the T3 is decidedly too large for my application. someone mentioned a T25 is smaller and would be better for what I need. hmmmm….. foreshadowing…….

well…. I did it… I was at the boneyard today and there was a 1996 Saab 900 turbo there. WTF right? I never see anything newer than ’92 unless it’s domestic or korean (IE, neons, cavaleirs, and Kias…) . but there it was.. right in the front of New-Car-Land so I knew it hadn’t been stripped yet. sure enough I open the hood and everything pretty much is there. there was this weird bearing grease all over the place. whatever. I look down, lo and behold the turbo is there. what’s more, there is none of the usual shell of grime from leaky seals. the turbo looks good. actually it looks better than good. it looks in wonderful condition. so I go at it and 2 hours and a pint of blood later I have the turbo out. 20 bucks. you just can’t beat that. 20 bucks for a Garrett turbo in great condition. W…T…F….

I get it home and take off all the mangled banjo lines. I’d kept the downpipe on to fabricate off of later, so I reoved that and set it aside. I played with the wheel and it spins very freely. in fact, it will spin if I blow into the exhaust inlet. rock. it has a little play if I try to wiggle it lightly. not so cool, but maybe it’s because there’s no oil or water in it. or mayb ethere’s supposed to be a little play. I dunno. I know there’s supposed to be “very little,” but I have no clue how much “very little” is. but I suspect if it was too far off the thrust bearing journal woulde be shot and there would be more signs of internal leakage. ther is a fine coat of soot in the exhaust housing but that’s normal. there’s some oil vapor condensation on the inlet side, but the PVC valve vented DIRECTLY infront of the turbo so it doesn’t surprise me. there’s what appears to be a little coke on the inside of the oil inlet fitting. bad monkey. gotta let the turbo spin down :rolleyes: . whatever. I can backflush it or something and get it out. not worried.

so.. I looked around on the internet trying to figure out what turbo it was. I was expecting it was a T3. in fact, I got a Garrett T25 turbo (inlet A/R .48, exhaust A/R .49, wheel trim is 45 IIRC). so psyched. 20 bucks. Not only was I worried about getting the larger Garrett T3 turbo off the older saabs, the saabs I usually find are old and the turbos are generally not worth picking up. again with the w00t for finding this one.

I also got the turbo control box from an ’88 Saab 900 Turbo SPG. yeah the rare one. again, wtf was it doing in the boneyard? the older saabs had their turbo control separate from the ECU I am told. MAkes sense since the control box is…. well… separate. I hacked it off and left plenty of wire on the harness for splicing. I didn’t get any solenoids or anything just yet. those are plentiful. there are tons of older saabs there and nobody ever takes mundane parts like those. it’ll be a while before I have to wire it all up anyways. I know how to tweak the saab boost control unit too from my previous saab ownership days.

so now all I need is an IC. there was a good one on the saab I picked the turbo off of, but it was almost closing time for the yard and I was happy with just the turbo. I’ll scrounge next time I go. I’ll be able to find one. there are plenty of turbo cars there and very often people never bother with the ICs. they are generally a bitch to get at. well I’m not most people, and I’m motivated. so there.

anyways, I’ve got the better part of a turbo kit, and everything is going pretty well. I need to find out what other little parts I need, and I need to start locating them too. solenoids and whatnot. but yeah. got a turbo. got boost control. got w00t?


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  1. October 12th, 2003 at 17:32 | #1

    reliability or power. it’s your choice. i’m choosing reliability until i get rich, that’s why i have an N/A rx7

  2. October 12th, 2003 at 18:37 | #2

    garrets are pretty solid, and I’m only going for low boost. I’m looking for fun, not timeslips 😀 . the D16 in my car is considered the strongest bottom end of all the 1.6l engines. that being said, yeah it’ll effect reliability. but by the time I get all the parts collected it may be a 3rd car and not as much of a daily driver. I certainly agree that boosing an NA engine has its risks. I’m just gonna take my time and make sure I do it right.

    Also, CR is only 9.1:1, so it’s a LOT safer to boost than an EJ25 Impreza (9.8: or 10:1 depnding on the bottom end). Especially at low pressures like 5-6 PSI where it’s even considered safe on those blocks.


  3. October 12th, 2003 at 19:41 | #3

    Plus I’m guessing that CRX is pretty light? Har!

    -paK +3

    • October 13th, 2003 at 04:58 | #4

      2100 of the lightest pounds ever to house 110 bone stock horsies.


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