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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

I'am new to the forum and have been reading posts and learning quite a bit from you fellers. I recently purchased an '89 Dodge Caravan ES with a 2.5 Turbo with a 3-spd auto with 140,000 miles. What a kick in the pants! My wife and three kids love the van - clean inside and out, dirt cheap and Daddy likes the BOOST! Nobody expects such speed out of the hole from an old Caravan!

The van had a valve lash adjuster rapping away under the hood at idle and it smoked a little bit whan I purchased it, but ran like a scalded dog and had 130 psi in cylinders #1, #2 & #4 with 120 in #3. #3 also had some oil deposits building up on the anode and the cathode of the spark plug with oil on the threads. I don't know if the oil is coming from above or below. BUT then the van started smoking real bad and I began to burn 1 qt every 120 miles........................so after arming myself with info from this forum, I figured the seals in the turbo were shot - I checked the oil return line from the turbo and it was free and clear and even though spark plug #3 had some oil deposits, it did not look like 1 quart per 120 miles worth!

So I put the van up on blocks tried to remove the turbo from below wow....tight and hot exhaust bolts siezed and very little room to work! So I figure I will remove the head to change the turbo and I got to thinking I will rebuild the engine from top to bottom ----- The van will be a daily driver for Momma, so I want to retain fuel economy and keep the internals stock (besides over boring if it needs it, crank turned etc.), but Daddy will like to play with it on the weekends, and I figure a Grainger valve and other external doo-da's will keep me happy and tinkering.

So here is where I hope you all can give me some advice:

*Who should I have rebuild my Turbo? Turbo's Unleashed? Or does anybody have a low mileage used turbo for sale?

*Where should I buy a rebuild kit for the engine? Any particular suggestions or tips I should know about that some of you have learned about rebuilding the 2.5?? I will be having a local machine shop rebuild the cylinder head and deck and/or bore the block if needed and turn the crank.

*Has anyone installed an intercooler with minimal hassle and still retained the AC condenser behind the grille?

I would appreciate and consider any and all advice thrown my way....

Happy Boosting!

Hank aka Fescue Farmer (Lawn & Landcaper by trade)
 

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Welcome to the club, these beasts are fun and costly, lol!

Your local machine shop can source all your engine parts or any local parts store, if you not planning on going crazy, stock cast pistons will be fine. Make sure as you said to get everything checked and squared, straigthened up. Get some ARP rod bolts and I personally would use ARP head studs as they are reusable and last forever! Any brand rings are fine, Hastings, Sealed power etc. Use Mopar head gasket # p4452005. I would also put this relief spring in your new oil pump, # p3690944 gives you a bit more oil pressure.
Balance shafts are optional but if you take them out, make sure to get your engine balanced, 2.5's are buzzy. Use motor and trans mounts from Polybushings.com
Turbo, again, depends on goals, if your not going crazy, find a stock Garrett and that will be more than enough for you. Get a ported exhaust manifold and of course, a larger exhaust system. Get a custom cal from TU, make sure the tranny is in good shape.
Head work I would simply have the ports cleaned up, have the valves backcut, use PT lifters, look in the induction section for info on those and conical valve springs, again look in same section.
Install poly suspension bushings- a must if you turn up the boost, keeps the thing from torque steering, Johnny has those too!


I used a Mazda RX7 TII intercooler in front of the rad and it fits with little modification and I retained my a/c.

I think I got most of it!!!!!!
 

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Best advice, do it right the 1st time. I went through NUMEROUS engines because I was in a hurry to make hp. Yes, it worked, but I've taken time to do it right now (2+ years) 2.5's are prone to cracking pistons with any type of "good" hp. Put a set of forged slugs in it. Pistons, rings and pins are around $400 now. 'bout 200 les than 2 years ago.. Dump the mitsu turbop. Go S60 or larger for a street 2.5L.

I just pumped about 4K into my engine bay. The previous 4 engines cast more than that.. wish I had just done it right the 1st time.

Any help or advice you want, just ring. we are here.
 

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Yeah I was going to say if you're doing the turbo junk the mitsu and get a garrett. Biggest increase in power I have made to my van is just going to the bigger stock tII turbo over the little mitsu even at the same boost level.
http://www.turbosunleashed.com/ I've never delt with them, bought mine at a junkyard, but I haven't read to many bad things. They do sell a complete TII garrett with a 2.25 swingvalve, you would probably want to upgrade it to 2.5inch, for $500 plus you would need the coolant and oil lines. Its just a matter of how much money you want to spend.
 

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glhsken said:
Best advice, do it right the 1st time. I went through NUMEROUS engines because I was in a hurry to make hp. Yes, it worked, but I've taken time to do it right now (2+ years) 2.5's are prone to cracking pistons with any type of "good" hp. Put a set of forged slugs in it. Pistons, rings and pins are around $400 now. 'bout 200 les than 2 years ago.. Dump the mitsu turbop. Go S60 or larger for a street 2.5L.

I just pumped about 4K into my engine bay. The previous 4 engines cast more than that.. wish I had just done it right the 1st time.

Any help or advice you want, just ring. we are here.
Agreed but I figured if he's going slightly modded, cast are fine but of course Forged are the way to go, :D
 

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Mine is in the machine shop right now getting Wisecos and a freshening up of the bottom end, with APR rod bolts... seems that is all these 2.5's need. Ditch the balance shafts :D

Jeff
 

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definitly ditch the balance shafts thats free hp and better mpg.also a ported exh manifold if you do it yourself is free and clean up some of the castinf flash from inside the ports of the haed are great ways to add power with little to no cost if you do it yourself.forged is the way to go for the pistons.figure a difference of about $300.00 over stock pistons but well worth the peace of mind.also make sure you dont have light weight rods.aside from that you should be fine.if you are keeping to about 240hp to 260hp a stoch t2 garret will give you a good increase in power without any signifigant diference in lag.also the ported exh manifold is great for helping with lag.good luck and have fun.
 

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Ondonti said:
that would mean no hp gain then
It seems that removing them frees HP up in the RPM band, I don't drive at 5500-6000 rpm all the time, so I can't see how they would effect regular driving around town and such! Hence my conclusions and no one else has ever said they gained any MPG either. He's the first thats ever mentioned it!
 

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silvershelby387 said:
forged is the way to go for the pistons.figure a difference of about $300.00 over stock pistons but well worth the peace of mind..
Much less than that now. Roughly 175-200 after you have bought rings.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank You for your responses! The 2.4 PT Cruiser Lifter thread is interesting and sounds like the way to go. Stock Mitsu turbo or stock Garrett turbo? My van came with a Mitsu - what would I need to change if I put a stock Garrett on - exhaust manifold? And what would be the advantages of a Garrett over a Mitsu? Which one is the least expensive? I'll probably leave the balance shafts in the engine.

I'm trying to stay near stock as possible, but you all know what men always want.......................................MORE! The forged slugs sound like good insurance, but where does it end :)

Thanks again guys, I plan on taking the engine out in several weeks and am building a file of part resources - glad I found this forum!
 

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The mitsu is so small any higher boost produces tons of heat, boost creep and spikes, especially on a 2.5 with a 3inch system-the ups are- instant boost and almost no lag, awesome for a street machine and a heavy van.
To fit a Garrett, will bolt right up but you need to change or modify the coolant and oil lines but you were buying new ones anyway from one of our vendors-right? lol!

Again, all depends on what your doing to it, if its for the street with 14 or so boost, keep the mitsu, but if its worn out, put the Garrett on!
 

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If you keep the mitsu turbo you are stuck with a near stock exhaust system. The turbine housing is so choked on a 2.5L the wastegate hole with not flow enough air to keep the boost settled and you will have boost creep with a free flowing exhaust system.
Since you are not going wild I see no need of forged pistons, if you stay within the stock range of boost up to 14 PSI assuming you have a good fuel system you will have no problems with detonation. Like you said yeah it's just $200 more but all those little 200 here, $50 there, 100 more here REALLY add up to mega bucks....I know this first hand ;). I'd recommend a stock T2 garrett, a 2.5'' exhaust system from www.fwdperformance.com/store and of course some kind of intercooler. You will need to purchase a 2.5'' swingvalve for a garrett turbo, the mitsu's is not the same. Any 89 T2 turbo car has a 2.5'' swingvalve and you can also buy a brand new turbonetics one from any turbo dodge vendor. Of course, if you want to keep things dirt cheap find an 88' 2.25'' swingvalve which has the larger 89-up flange and will bolt up to the downpipe. You can find one of those for around $10-20 as opposed to 50-110 for a 2.5'' SV.
A garrett with larger exhaust will spool just as fast as your mitsu with the stock exhaust yet make way more power. Also get a SS braided turbo line kit from a vendor, Turbo's Unleashed has been very good to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Guys, thanks for the info - I keep learning the more I read. Puppet, that just may be the best advice yet! I'm ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd love to! But then I'd want .........................you know - MORE! I'd want another one for just the strip, and then another one that was not a sleeper but with a $10,000 paint job with cool graphics and a Rockford Fosgate kicking stereo and and and and......................so you see I better be satisfied with the one I got!

Hank
 
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