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Project #OGiantKillerCRX: Out With the Old Turbo, What of the New?

  • Posted: 12-30-2015 12:38 AM
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In planning to build my #OGianKillerCRX project as properly as possible, it became apparent that this project, at least from a performance point of view, is going to be starting with the turbo specification. Do I replace the current turbo or do I rebuild it? This question seems to have found a pretty abrupt answer once I got the kit out of the car.

First, to give you some appreciation of this kit's design, and what the constraints of parts selection are, take a tour of my removal of the kit from the car.


Behold the E-AS CR-X engine bay, with turbo kit installed. Take a look at how close the head cover is to the front core support!


There is no room here. The engine cants forward in the bay, making a little more room for the turbo down where it lives…but still, how do you get to it?


Definitely not from the bottom! You can barely see the turbocharger from here. Even if the O.G. K-Mac front sway bar wasn't there, this is not a way to get the turbo or manifold out either.


So I tear in to the front end. Once the bumper cover is off you can get a good look at the cute little intercooler. But you know, everything on these cars is scaled down. This is all the after-cooling this kit needs most of the time.


After the after-cooler, AC condenser, and radiator are removed, you can get a great look at the turbocharger and manifold.


It is not glamorous but this kit was designed to deliver good power reliably for a long time. Low maintenance and without headaches. It's been on this car for its entire life…nearly 30 years and 135,000 miles!


Check out this turbine outlet! I mean, it's ugly and does not appear to flow really well, but man! The shape of that casting, how it goes around the AC compressor like that. This isn’t a factory kit, but it sure could pass off for one.


This package was not invincible, though. This manifold has been repaired in a couple places. Cast manifolds are durable but with enough heat, age, and stress, everything has a breaking point.


Looking inside the manifold, you can see where the top crack came straight through. And of course you can see the bottom half has its own evidence of repair.


Here is the turbo kit in its entirety. The piping is not all original, and many of the couplers are not either. The original blow-off valve is in place, though, and the main couplers to the throttle body and from the air filter are in decent shape.

So that's the turbo kit…it’s a nice kit but it is not going to cut the mustard for my project. I need to bring this thing into the current age. But I am not going to go nuts. If we look at limiting factors; such as using a D16A1/ZC engine, the HKS exhaust manifold, and turbine outlet, then I can honestly say that maximizing the efficiency of this package is going to be the challenge. It won't be a money-spending contest, either.

Besides that, I hardly think things are going to develop for this chassis any more than they are now and that will make this project stand the test of time. Just what I am hoping for!

Now, the turbo itself...the manifold has a T3 flange on it, which back in 1986 probably made sense. Turbocharger technology most likely was not going to fully utilize that size of turbo the way it can today. A T3-flange turbo today is usually used on 2.0L engines at the smaller side, and make twice as much power as we need for our project!

Couple that with my desire to retain the turbine outlet and I am not 100% confident I will be able to actually get a new turbo that is going to drop in.

For this reason, I am going to plan on sending out the turbo for a teardown, inspection, and possible refurbish. And if I can crank up the juice on it, I will do what I can!



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