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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I have decided that it is time to start adding some power to my E. I want someting better that a CAI and Exhaust. I thought about headers, cams, fic, Kpro. I thought that if im going to spend a couple K on the E, I might as well do it right.

I just briefly (emphasize briefley) skimmed the web for some cheap parts to get a bare bones set up. Here is what I found. I think I have the basics, correct me if I am missing anything.

-Rebuilt Garrett T3 turbo (ebay) 450

-AEM FIC (ebay) 350

-(I think that there is a FIC and harness for sale here.... That may be an option)

-Exhaust ... see next sentence

The steel work I can do, welding, bending, fabrication. Plus, all of the parts I can get locally I can get a wholesale price. (perks of working in a machine shop)

I know that I probably will need to upgrade the fuel delivery system, but if i keep the boost to a minimum, I could probalby get away w/ the OEM set up for now, right?

Ive read rollertoasters, and hellements threads, I think I can do it. any Ideas?
 

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Add $1000 to tune it right.

From my experience never sheep out on tuning. it's the most important thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I wouldn't skip the tuning. I was just adding up parts/labor (I would be doing all of the labor).

What would tuning involve that I cannot do?

I assumed that I could make a trip or two to the dyno and do allot on my own with the fic.

I will be paying for college this fall and the adding of a turbo is a long shot. That is why I am adding up the cost of everything, so I can plead my case to my parents.
 

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... so I can plead my case to my parents.
Frankly? This is a bad idea, and I hope for your sake they recognize this.

You are asking to do something well-known to have issues. First, you're making your school and possibly job transportation less reliable just from the unnecessary wrenching on it alone. Second, turbo and other forced-induction mods are neither trivial nor casual. Get it wrong, and you get to buy an new engine, plus have it out of commission for an extended time. Third, this is a 5-year-old vehicle with ???? miles. It's already on the cusp of having issues just from normal use. For one, forced induction on an old engine is usually an invitation for seal failures - you ready to overhaul the top-end?

Your "on the cheap" objective is diametrically opposed to doing it right. If I had the confidence that you were an experienced mechanic, I could discount a lot of the potential for mistakes, but your (apparent) age is working against the "experience" side of the ledger. You can compensate for a lack of funds with experienced D-I-Y, or compensate ability/experience/know-how issues with money, but you can't have both cheap and seat-of-the-pants without issues.

Fully in "old man" mode here: high-performance mods are great when it's not your primary wheels, which is what it sounds like here. If you have a backup car of your own - not your parent's or siblings' - that's not a beater requiring its own constant repair attention, then have at it. That's the formula which worked for rollertoaster and Hellement - their E is a largely a big toy which they don't absolutely need to depend on as a daily driver, so they have the time to do it right, and don't have to sweat the getting around when things aren't.
 

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Frankly? This is a bad idea, and I hope for your sake they recognize this.

You are asking to do something well-known to have issues. First, you're making your school and possibly job transportation less reliable just from the unnecessary wrenching on it alone. Second, turbo and other forced-induction mods are neither trivial nor casual. Get it wrong, and you get to buy an new engine, plus have it out of commission for an extended time. Third, this is a 5-year-old vehicle with ???? miles. It's already on the cusp of having issues just from normal use. For one, forced induction on an old engine is usually an invitation for seal failures - you ready to overhaul the top-end?

Your "on the cheap" objective is diametrically opposed to doing it right. If I had the confidence that you were an experienced mechanic, I could discount a lot of the potential for mistakes, but your (apparent) age is working against the "experience" side of the ledger. You can compensate for a lack of funds with experienced D-I-Y, or compensate ability/experience/know-how issues with money, but you can't have both cheap and seat-of-the-pants without issues.

Fully in "old man" mode here: high-performance mods are great when it's not your primary wheels, which is what it sounds like here. If you have a backup car of your own - not your parent's or siblings' - that's not a beater requiring its own constant repair attention, then have at it. That's the formula which worked for rollertoaster and Hellement - their E is a largely a big toy which they don't absolutely need to depend on as a daily driver, so they have the time to do it right, and don't have to sweat the getting around when things aren't.
I learned this when I was young. I replaced the suspension on my Civic and it was down for nearly a month as I had to cut the rear lower mount bolt out because it was seized. Luckly I did have another vehicle to drive while work was being done and the Civic was my toy. I hate listening to those older than me most of the time, but they are 99% of the time right!
 

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Mike Nailed it, on all counts!

I have been toying around with racing, from about age 12. I built my first racing engine from a 1950 Ford flat head, when I was 14 years old. I can tell you all about what performance parts do to reliability, Fuel economy, and finances. I wish I had back 1/2 of the money I have blown on Racing parts, over the years. Keep in mind that I had access to a full auto repair shop. Lifts, wheel alignment machine, air tools, and all the other tools to go along with my fathers service station. A machine shop is nice, but not automotive specific.

Then on the other hand, I had Fun. .. . .. . Sometimes at the expense of reliable transportation, but fun all the same.

Never think for one second that the car parts are more important than your education!! Your education will last a lifetime. The high performance parts MAY last 2 years.

I would suggest that you adjust your priorities. I understand wanting more power. However, when your out of school, in a solid job, you can afford something that falls in the toy category, to go along with the daily driver. For now I would concentrate on my education.

Dom
 

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all of you old farts are a bunch of party poopers! Come on, let the kid have some fun. So what if his Element is in pieces and he has a final coming up... he'll learn to get there via bus or a friend.

Who amongst us didn't have their street car/race car in pieces on jack stands at 11pm when work called for us to get up at 5:30am and drive through rush hour traffic? Who amongst us hasn't lost their brakes down the main straight at Lime Rock Park and had to drive home on a Sunday only to then drive into NJ to pick up new brakes then turn around and drive to work... all before 9am? Who amongst us hasn't totaled their tow vehicle, I mean only means of transportation when it was in a head-on collision?

The above are just a few of the highlights...

Then after I got a real race car I proceeded to crash it and didn't care, I still had my daily driver. :D

Ok, then I guess what I am saying is... so long as you can fix it yourself and get the work done before school/work... go at it. Just remember you need to understand how to fix whatever goes wrong with a screw driver and duct tape... that's pretty much what most people carry that work on cars and use them as their sole form of transportation. :)

Have fun and wrench wisely. :)



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Hmm, Turbo and Budget in the same sentence...:D

You know what they say, you get wisdom through experience. Have at it-it'll make you wiser in SOME respect!

I don't get this "plead the case to the parents"...whenever my kids have a harebrained scheme, I tell them to have at it...but don't count on me to bail you out if it's something you chose to do. So far, they have gained a LOT of wisdom...and survived!
 

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I have seen a turbudget build done on several cars, mostly with less than ideal results. I will have to say without a shadow of a doubt, your stock fuel system will NOT be able to handle boost. Not even a little bit. The stock injectors from the factory are running between 85 and 90% duty cycle depending on where you are are in the country. That leaves at the very most 15% overhead. A small turbo with a low level of boost is still increasing cylinder VE about 75-80%.

That being said, you will need to upgrade the injectors and fuel pump. Then you will need a means of controlling those injectors (thus the FIC). Tuning costs are what makes it all come together in sweet harmony.

I have a better plan for you. Wrap your Element around a tree and say it was an accident, get the insurance check, a few grand from your 'rents and call me. I will ship my E out to you. BAM! project done.
 

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My last "toy" was a 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo. It put out 300HP from the factory and nearly 500HP when I was done with it.

Here is the important part.... The car CAME WITH A TURBO and I still spent a ton of money keeping it from becoming a rolling grenade.

Turbo and Budget CANNOT be in the same sentence, even when the car comes with a turbo. Certainly not when there was never a factory turbocharged version!

Save your money and go buy a used 300ZX TwinTurbo, they can be had for less than $5000 in fair shape. Spend another 10 grand and you can get it to go more than 180 mph and still hold together.

Save the E for picking up the parts you will be breaking on the race car.

-Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #11
WOW! Definitely not the responses I was looking for. I guess that its best I heard it now rather than later. Just to answer a few of your comments:

- The machine shop I work at (for the past 5 YEARS!!) fixes construction equipment. ALL of which have turbos. Front end loaders, backhoes, bobcats, wood chippers and all of our fleet of dumptrucks. Ive worked with turbos that have an inlet and out put of more than 4 inches.

- I do know the risks. Last summer we had a dump truck whose turbo crapped out. A 300hp diesel engine hit over 8000 rpm before it seized. (the seals had went out, and the lubricating oil was sucked through the turbo and was fueling the engine. There was no way to stop it, it wasnt running on diesel that could be shut off. So, there there was nothing to do but run and hope it didn't hit you with the flying parts.)

- By budget, I meant that I would be using a rebuilt turbo, used or refurbished fic / kpro. And welding stuff myself, instead of having it sent out to be welded at $65 per hour. I would still do it right, just not all out.

All that being said, thanks for telling me. I probably wouldn't have listened to my parents. I guess listening to people who have done this before (or something similar) makes it seem like a dumb idea. I still have to do some mods this summer (or I think I will go insane). CAI and exhaust are on the way, I guess.

Maybe Ill get some older sports car and mess with that.

Unless... I take HONDA GHANDI up on his offer :D

Thanks again, Ill post the build of whatever I do.
 

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Oh, cool - you do have turbo experience. However... also knowing large-diesel turbos: there's a big, big, big difference. Paraphrasing Honda Ghandi, it's all about fuel and fuel-mixture management. That's a relative piece of cake on diesels - change to a bigger injector orifice, maybe add a little more cooling capacity for the additional heat load, and you're done.

Not so on gassers - much more complicated with a lot of components in the mix. This is the stuff which keeps the tuners going around in little circles. Bolting the turbo on and doing the plumbing (no small task there), while you have the skills and experience, is unfortunately the easier part of the equation.

Anyway, yeah, the learned-the-hard-way reality is that this sort of "super learning experience" project is always best done on a car you don't have to depend on. Especially when you get to the inevitable "brick wall" that has you baffled and you need to take your mind off it for a while. A project car can sit for a couple of weekends while you reboot your brain, your daily driver can't.
 

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What engine management do you intend to use with your Automatic setup?

I don't think there is anything reliable or proven out there.

Hondata doesn't support the Auto transmission.
 

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The absolute minimum you will need for engine management is:

AEM FIC
AEM UEGO
larger injectors
odb2 scan tool
laptop

any thing over say 7psi will need a fuel pump, rail, regulator, and bigger feed line.

I tuned my car myself and it was the first time ever doing any tuning. If you understand how obd2 engine control and fuel trims work it's really not a big deal. You WILL have to baby it around for a month or so and constantly monitor everything before you start beating on it. Better safe than sorry.

My first setup cost me about 3k, I did all my own labor. I've easily got 5k in it at this point.

figure out how much everthing will cost, I mean everything!!! including gaskets, wires, etc.. Then add about 20% to that , because I garantee you forget something.
 

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Horse Power costs money.

How fast can you afford to go?

If you have college payments to consider, FORGET IT.

Also, and I don't mean to hate or knock anyone, but, whats the point of turbo charging an element? It's not a performance vehicle, it's not built for speed, It doesn't really handle well at high speeds, it has a high center of gravity, it corners slow, I could go on & on.....I understand that you can alter the clutch, suspension, wheels, tires, control arms, ecu, port/polish etc......but at the end of the day, it's still an element....I mean, it's a lunchbox on wheels.... how fast does it really need to be?:D
 

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when you can make black marks from the exit of a turn until the next braking section, then you have enough horsepower.

I know some people just don't get it. Some of us have a genetic disorder that causes us to mod our cars, no matter what we drive
 

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Is there any turbo piping available for the E? Or custom is the only route?
 

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There wasn't when I did mine. I just made my own

by the way I officially have over 30,000mi since boost on mine, how's that for reliable??
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Rollertoaster, I have this disorder you speak of. :D

Thanks, Like I said earlier, I will have to do somthing this summer.

Any Ideas about other add ons that are cheaper and still reliable besides the typical CAI and Exhaust (which I will still probably do anyway)?

Getting to work over the summer is not an issue. My dad owns the company so I could ride w/ him if the E is under construction.

I was also thinking about a small lift (somthing like sparaman). Othe interior mods are on the way also (Nav head unit, speakers, dynamat?). But I would still like to make the E a bit quicker. Not top end, just torquier (i think that is a word).

Would a fic & harness (w/o turob) help w/ power? I could probably turn down the fuel/air mix and get good milage when I want it. Or does it not work that way?
 

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Rollertoaster, I have this disorder you speak of. :D

Thanks, Like I said earlier, I will have to do somthing this summer.

Any Ideas about other add ons that are cheaper and still reliable besides the typical CAI and Exhaust (which I will still probably do anyway)?

Getting to work over the summer is not an issue. My dad owns the company so I could ride w/ him if the E is under construction.

I was also thinking about a small lift (somthing like sparaman). Othe interior mods are on the way also (Nav head unit, speakers, dynamat?). But I would still like to make the E a bit quicker. Not top end, just torquier (i think that is a word).

Would a fic & harness (w/o turob) help w/ power? I could probably turn down the fuel/air mix and get good milage when I want it. Or does it not work that way?
An Fic will not give you any more power without the turbo. Yeah you can activate the V-tec at a different rpm, and play with the mixture a little, but it's not like you could advance the timing or anything.
 
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