Upgrade: Staged Upgrades

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Preface

Before reading this thread. We are under the assumption that the car has been, and will always be, properly maintained. Things such as oils/fluids, tune-ups, pressure testing, and other mechanical maintainance has been done. 60k/120k service overhauls will also be assumed. The staged upgrades should only be done on a properly maintained car.

Introduction

Automotive modifications are merely creative extensions of the enthusiast. Everyone will have different tastes and preferences, and ultimately, different goals. And to futher add to the complexity... there will always be more than one way to reach those goals. Many things that may influence the outcome: octane rating you plan on using, additives you plan to use, and how much turbo 'lag' you are willing to bear with... are just a FEW important points to consider when you start examining your goals. First, you need to think about exactly what HP range you are shooting for... this also loosely translates into the trap speed at the end of the 1/4 mile. If you are ONLY concerned with the E/T (10, 11, 12 second 1/4 TIMES)... then you may want to do more research. These guidelines should will only serve as a general reference and help new users understand the thought process involved when building out the performance aspect of the 3000gt/stealth(and it really will apply to just about any car).

Turbocharged

Turbocharged cars have the best tuning potential... but on that same note... are also the most prone to irreversible damage in the wrong hands. If the enthusiast does not know about the limitations of the engine/turbo or inexperienced about tuning... please do the appropriate research BEFORE attempting any modifications or boost adjustments. To put emphasis on a point mentioned before: It is IMPERATIVE that the enthusiast decides on the goals before spending money on modifications. It will make everything much simpler for the enthusiast(and his/her pocketbook) if there is an objective.

The biggest setback with tuning the 3000gt/stealth platform is the amount of work required once you step outside BPU. Due to the design of the original system(engineers designed the stock fuel/turbo/ic system compliment each other perfectly and are EXTREMELY efficient), there is absolutely no overhead for tuning. If you do intend on tuning, you will NEED to redo much of the stock setup.

It is important to note that these 'stages' are not complementary. You can't stack the stages together, these are 4 rather different scenarios.

BPU-Basic Power Upgrades

(260-350awhp, 105-110mph 1/4 trap speed)

  1. Intake (~5%)
    Opening up the intake restriction will probably be the cheapest modification available for the car. You have your choice of cotton gauze/gauge filters. Drop-In replacement or Cone Filter with MAS adapter
  2. BOV - Blow Off Valve (0%)
    The stock BOV is made out of plastic and more-often-than-not begins leaking over time. Sometimes the leak may get to the point where you actually hear an sound commonly noted as an "OWL SOUND". A leaking BOV means you have a boost leak, and you may be losing power due to the loss in air.
  3. Boost Controller (mechanical or electric)/Boost Gauge (~15-25%)
    One of the most potent modifications(also the most dangerous). This allows you to tinker with the air pressure that actually gets fed to the engine. It's important to note that the stock boost gauge actually calculates the engine load and doesn't represent the boost level accurately. You will need to get a boost gauge if the boost controller you get does not come equipped with one. The Boost controller has a direct effect on the max HP potential of the car. BUT, do not confuse PSI with power. Hot air is less dense than cooler air.
    The stock injectors(360cc) can support ~14psi on a properly functioning 3S with no boost leaks or other issues. This limit is pretty firm unless you have other methods to log knock or air fuel data. The injectors AND stock intercooler limits are pretty close to this PSI range.
  4. Y-Pipe (0%)
    The stock y-pipe has a rubber gasket that is sandwiched between the throttle body. Over time, this gasket gets brittle and starts ripping/cracking along the crease/lip. Most people will either upgrade their y-pipe with an aftermarket, or find 'alternative means' to re-use the stock y-pipe. The most popular options are the tennis ball mod, or getting a 3" rubber coupler from home depot.
  5. Downpipe (~10%)
    Downpipe is the next mod that will help improve the flow of the exhaust side tremendously. Most aftermarket downpipes(collector pipes) are designed in a 'Y', instead of the 'F' design. The letters just represent the visual bends of the pipe. Most of the improvements will be experienced in the mid-range and spool-up
  6. Exhaust (~5%)
    Cat-back exhaust is the last part of the exhaust system. It will help control the tone of the exhaust sound and the larger diameter pipe will help reduce backpressure. Turbos don't like backpressure.
  7. Hi-Flow Cat
    Helps alleviate some of the exhaust restriction... without excessive emissions issues
  8. Underdrive/Lightweight Crank Pulley
    This will help free up a little bit of power from the accessory belts.

Mild

(400-500awhp, 108-120mph 1/4 trap speed)

  1. TD04 based turbo upgrade (13G/13T/15G/DR500/DR650/etc.)
    Most are configured as direct bolt-on. While others can be fabricated to be bolt-on using different exhaust housings. The advantage of using a TD04-based turbo is the fact that there is very minimal modification required to install them. Also, spool-up times for these turbos are generally tame.
  2. Fuel
    1. Supra Fuel Pump
    2. Fuel Pump Rewire and/or Fuel Relay Bypass
    3. 450-550cc Fuel Injectors
    4. Fuel controller: S-AFC/E-Manage(Blue or Ultimate)/ARC II/MAFT
  3. Ignition
    Recommend going to colder plugs. One heat range colder. (NGK Copper: BCP7ES, BCPR7ES-11 | NGK Iridium BKR7EIX-11)
  4. Intercooler (at least DSM sidemount upgrades)
    While you 'can' use the stock intercoolers... you will probably spend a lot more money trying to keep the post-IC temperatures down with additives. I suggest replacing the stock intercoolers anytime you start seeing and holding 15psi to redline. It's important to note that many things will change with this step... so I am including BOV and intercooler piping with this.
  5. Exhaust
    1. Downpipe
    2. Exhaust
    3. Hi-Flow Cat
  6. Drivetrain
    1. Clutch (capable of ~500lb/ft holding capability)
    2. Flywheel
    3. Carbon Fiber Driveshaft

Moderate

(500-700awhp, 120-138mph 1/4 trap speed)

  1. TD05/DR800
    Usually requires a little bit of custom work. Plates or manifolds are mandatory to fit these turbos.
  2. Fuel
    1. Supra Fuel Pump or Walbro
    2. Fuel Pump Rewire and/or Fuel Relay Bypass
    3. 550-800cc Fuel Injectors
    4. E-Manage Ultimate / MAFT Pro / ARC II / standalone (AEM EMS/Autronic/Haltech)
    5. Aftermarket FPR (recommended)/E2kMfG Fuel Loop
  3. Ignition
    Recommend going to colder plugs. Two heat ranges colder than stock. (NGK Copper: R5671A-8, R5672A-8) You will probably also need to upgrade your ignition coils or make sure your stock coils and PTU are in proper working order.
  4. Intercooler (FMIC)
    I suggest nothing less than a FMIC at this point because you are probably pushing 20+psi to redline... so you need a intercooler capable of cooling the CFM@PR for these larger turbos. Don't forget that this also includes all the piping required. It's important to note that many things change with this step... so I am including BOV and intercooler piping with this.
  5. Exhaust
    3-3.5" diameter final pipe should be used to ensure that there are no restrictions post-turbo. Should be able to use bolt-on aftermarket DP/exhaust options.
  6. Drivetrain
    RPS: MAXX, Carbon/carbon, C/C Pro | SPEC: Stage IV, Stage V | Southbend DXD-F
    1. Clutch (capable of ~600+lb/ft holding capability)
    2. Flywheel
    3. Carbon Fiber Driveshaft
    4. Transfer Case(xcase) and/or X-case bracket

High

(700+awhp, 135-and-beyond mph 1/4 trap speed)

  1. Hybrid TD05/DR1000/Large Garrett config (twin/Single)
    Equation is simple. The biggest complimenting turbo you can fit for our engines... under the hood.
  2. Fuel
    1. Supra/Walbro Fuel Pump
    2. Fuel Pump Rewire and/or Fuel Relay Bypass
    3. 800-1300cc Fuel Injectors
    4. E-Manage Ultimate / MAFT Pro / ARC II / standalone (AEM EMS/Autronic/Haltech)
    5. Aftermarket FPR and fuel rails
    6. Fuel Pump Voltage booster or twin pump setup.
  3. Ignition
    Recommend going to colder plugs. Three heat ranges colder than stock. (NGK Copper: R5671A-9, R5672A-9) You will probably also need to upgrade your ignition coils or make sure your stock coils and PTU are in proper working order.
  4. Intercooler (FMIC)
    I suggest nothing less than a FMIC at this point because you are probably pushing 20+psi to redline... so you need a intercooler capable of cooling the CFM@PR for these larger turbos. Don't forget that this also includes all the piping required.
  5. Exhaust
    3.5-4" diameter final pipe should be used to ensure that there are no restrictions post-turbo.
  6. Drivetrain
    RPS: C/C Pro | UR Racing: Twin Disc Carbon | Exedy: Twin/Triple Carbon
    1. Clutch(capable of ~1000lb/ft holding capability)
    2. Flywheel
    3. Carbon Fiber Driveshaft
    4. Transfer Case(xcase) and/or X-case bracket
  7. Stroker / Engine Rebuild
    We have some 3.5L and 3.7L blocks available that will drop in with a little bit of adjustment. This will allow a quicker spoolup on some turbos and more power @ lower rpm

Naturally Aspirated

First Stage

  • Testpipe
  • New plugs, get NGK coppers. They're great, the only downside is that you gotta change them around every 10k and they're cheap as dirt too.
  • New wires, MSD one's are great. IPO sells 8.5 Superconductors for 65USD shipped. If not you can always get some Accels.
  • Make sure that you replace the throttle body and plenum gaskets when you change your wires and plugs.
  • Get an air intake. There are a wide variety of filters and air intakes that you can buy.

Second Stage

  • Get a 3sx performance pulley. You can either get the underdrive or the one that's the stock size. I personally recommend getting the stock size one because it will do just the same thing that the underdrive will do and it won't slow down your accessories. Again that's totally up to you.
  • Get a good clutch, maybe ACT or some others, there's a pretty good variety of them. But make sure it's a good known and can handle a decent amount of ft/lb. RPS is also a great brand preferred by our members.
  • You should get an aluminum flywheel, most likely Fidanza or something of that sort.
  • Lower your car with Intrax or Eibach. These are springs and if you want flexible you can go with TEIN, or some other brand like JIC. But Intrax springs work great and their pretty cheap.
  • A front and rear strut bar, these will help a lot with body roll and increase cornering capabilites. If you have the extra cash then also get some sway bars.

ATX ONLY

  • Get a high stall torque converter to help obtain quicker 60' times and lower ETs in the 1/4 mile.
  • Purchase a shift kit (reworked valve body for your transmission). This will enable quicker, firmer shifts.

Third Stage

  • Exhaust, there are MANY different types of setups that you can do. You can get an aftermarket exhaust or go to a shop and have them make you a custom setup like Fireman or Wicked. You can find more details about these setups HERE
  • Downpipe OR headers, 3sx and EK2 manufacturing both sell great downpipes. Headers have been proven to provide a 2-3 hp increase OVER just an after-market downpipe. Unfortunately, headers are nearly TWICE as expensive as just a downpipe. Gotta pay to play!
  • New motor mounts, the old ones should be all flimsy by now. If you start your engine and it looks like its gonna come out and bite ya in the ass then get some new mounts. 3sx, and Maximal Peformance sell them for a good price.
  • After-market cam gears, to fine tune and dial in your power

Fourth Stage

  • Before moving on to these power upgrades I would recommend purchasing a LSD or limited slip differential. This will help you nail 2.0-2.1 second 60' times and eliminate or reduce the "one wheel peel" and rolling wheel spin associated with our stock open differentials.
  • Cams, if you're a die hard NA fanatic, or want to kick up your rev limiter and take full advantage of your DOHC motor, cams are a MUST. You will want high rev valve springs and an ECU flash to bump your rev limiter up. (TurboBob provides 3si with his ECU tricks)
  • Ah the wonders of Nitrous. If you need that extra kick then I suggest going with a 50 shot and see how it goes, if the engine responds well than go up to 75. There are tons of brands like NOS, Venom, etc.
  • If you need more power then go S/C. Supercharge your car with one of RIPPS kits.
  • Or you can always go TT.

Misc Options

Due to the complex nature of NA cars... there is only a certain point of build-up before you start building up the engine. After all... with NA setups... the engine will be doing all of the work.

  1. Air Filter (Recommend Cold Air Intake system)(6-8hp)
  2. Downpipe + Testpipe or Hi-flow catalytic converter
  3. Cat-back Exhaust
  4. Head Port
  5. Engine Rebuild(higher compression)
    1. Clutch/Flywheel
    2. Fuel Injectors/Fuel Controller

References

Online Stores

--Pacman3000gt 17:16, 14 September 2006 (EDT)

This article originated from a thread or post on 3000GT/Stealth International. (1887)