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GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

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  • GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

    I don't think we can expect to see the Jackson racing blower kit any time soon, though it sounds like he'll get around to it eventually.

    I have access to a rather brilliant hot-rodder/fabricator/welder/chopper-builder who has forgotten more about this kind of thing than most people will ever know. I happened to be talking to him yesterday at his shop on an unrelated matter and I told him about our possible "niche market" for a light-pressure turbo for the late-model GX. I should have learned not to be surprised by the guy any more, but he blew my mind when he began expounding on the technical issues surrounding turbocharers on CNG engines. (He knew, off the top of his head, how many ounces of water are produced by a CNG car per GGE burned. Unbelievable.) He once designed and fabricated a one-off turbo for a CNG-powered bus in a town in Colorado, just for one example.

    Anyway, in our discussion we agreed on these points:

    1. With the compression ratio of 12:1 a "serious" hot-rod turbo kit would require tearing down the entire engine and installing low C.R. pistons. But the stock engine should handle a low level of boost without a problem.

    2. The biggest GX market is in Utah right now, and most of these cars are operated at a high altitude. Our goal is to improve the car's breathing enough to produce the same kind of performance in the mountains of Utah that a stock, gasoline-powered Civic sees at sea level. Not a "hot-rod", per se, but enough extra grunt to level the playing field. Plus a little bit, probably. (What the heck....)

    3. A turbo should, in theory, increase the fuel efficiency of the engine as long as the driver doesn't play around with the power too much. We figure most buyers would be more interested in a modest power increase in order to maintain the car's efficiency. These things were never intended to be hot rods! (Frankly, it'd be cheaper to burn Premium unleaded and buy an Si anyway.)

    4. Natural gas engines produce vast amounts of water vapor in their exhaust, which is why the entire exhaust system must be stainless steel. Any turbo or blower must be able to handle a very moist, highly corrosive environment. At first blush our inclination is to use a custom version of the Garrett VNT-15 variable-geometry turbo. These units utilize Inconel and stainless steel in the turbine stage, so corrosion won't be a problem. They are highly efficent, and spool up more quickly than comparable wastegated turbos. They are relatively simple to engineer around since they don't have a wastegate. And, finally, the clean, soot-free exhaust and relatively lower exhaust temperatures of a CNG engine should contribute to the longevity of these already excellent, state-of-the-art turbos.

    It is our intention to keep the cost down by avoiding the use of an intercooler, which really isn't necessary at low boost levels. We're thinking 4 or 5 psi should be more than enough. Overkill, in fact.

    I plan to at least do a one-off for my own car, but I'd like to see how many people express a serious interest in such a kit. Post if you want one, or speak up if you have suggestions! If you want to make a serious hot rod out of one of these cars my guy can work with you, but you'll be on your own as far as I'm concerned. I have no intention of opening up my engine. I want a simple, bolt-on, low-pressure turbo that will give me just enough "oomph" that I won't miss my gas-engined Honda.

  • #2
    Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

    What price range do you see this turbo kit ending up in?
    Adrian
    Adrian

    Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
    Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
    Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

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    • #3
      Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

      I've boosted many cars. Even at 4 to 5 psi honda head gaskets DO NOT LIVE LONG. If you plan on a turbo or S/C, head studs and a good head gasket are a must.

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      • #4
        Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

        Originally posted by aDreamSoReal View Post
        I've boosted many cars. Even at 4 to 5 psi honda head gaskets DO NOT LIVE LONG. If you plan on a turbo or S/C, head studs and a good head gasket are a must.
        Thanks for the pointer. That'd be a good opportunity to lower the CR a hair, too, with a thicker gasket.

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        • #5
          Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

          Originally posted by Adrian View Post
          What price range do you see this turbo kit ending up in?
          Adrian
          Not sure. A VNT turbo, bone stock, runs about $700 for a Volkswagen. A couple hundred for modifications, a couple hundred for oil lines and other bits, a hundred or so for a custom exhaust flange and pipe to hook up the catalytic converter, a couple hundred for the shop's fabrication work.....

          I'm just guessing here, but I'd say around $1500. That's what I'd pay, anyway. Much beyond that and it'd be outside my price range. That represents 5 months of fuel savings for me, and I drive a LOT.

          Most turbo kits are substantially more than that, but they include intercoolers. Those cost more than the turbos.
          Last edited by mickey; 05-29-2008, 10:34 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

            1500 for a kit like that is pretty good. I hope it would come with a header and not a log style manifold. Also, i would buy an intercooler off ebay. I buy all my coolers off there for the hondas i build. Even with low boost, you'll see a 15% gain in HP with an IC.

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            • #7
              Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

              Don't tease me! I want one. I need more power. I went to Lake Tahoe for the first time and highway 80 was killing me with the hills. I'm sure this would help a lot, plus better fuel economy. I think an intercooler would be good also.

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              • #8
                Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                I'm very interested. 1.5-2k was my price range.

                I want more torque. HP is nice, but climbing in a GX is not easy.

                If we could dyno it at say 140 HP and 145 lbs/ft Torque I'd be very happy.

                What about the ECU?
                CH

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                • #9
                  Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                  ECU: Tuning would be part of the deal, of course.

                  Intercooler: If we're going to shoot for the 1500 to 2000 $$$ range then an intercooler kit is out of the question. I suppose my guy might develop one for those interested in it.

                  Header: Ditto. My guy makes brilliant, incredibly tough custom headers. He just made one for a Cummins diesel that will cost $1500 all by itself. A Honda one would be a grand, at least. He can make you whatever you want (and often DOES for Hondas) but for a "kit" we're shooting for relatively low cost and a modest power boost. At least to start. Therefore, the stock manifold will be utilized.

                  This is all based on a 5 minute conversation, but I'm quite serious about it. So is the shop. I figure if we can get 8 or 10 people interested we'll get the ball rolling.

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                  • #10
                    Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                    A quick look at Ray Hall's online turbo calculator calls for a GT-25 turbo to make 4 psi of boost on a 1.8L engine with a 6000 RPM redline. That would make, in theory, 153 hp. I figure on CNG that'd be close to the 140 rpm output of a stock Civic engine. PERFECT, in my book. (Obviously some modifications will be needed to run that on a CNG engine.)

                    The calculator also shows a 2 hp increase by adding an intercooler. That's pretty expensive HP, folks. No thanks.

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                    • #11
                      Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                      This would void the factory warranty, right? I guess I would have to convince myself I'm ok with that. This is the bigger stumbling block for me.

                      Adrian
                      Adrian

                      Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                      Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                      Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                        Adrian,

                        Me too. I would do the turbo in a heartbeat, but looking at the repair prices I have seen on this site .....I'm keeping the warranty. Good meeting you, by the way, at the Long Beach drive.

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                        • #13
                          Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                          I got no warranty. Bring it on. You could wait til your warranty ends and then get it guys.

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                          • #14
                            Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                            Originally posted by scott View Post
                            Adrian,

                            Me too. I would do the turbo in a heartbeat, but looking at the repair prices I have seen on this site .....I'm keeping the warranty. Good meeting you, by the way, at the Long Beach drive.
                            It's the repair prices that drove me to buy the 8 yr 120,000 mile Honda care 0 deductible extended warranty. I paid $1400 for it so I don't have to deal with anything for a while. It was nice to meet you in Long Beach as well.

                            Adrian
                            Adrian

                            Navy 2008 Civic GX (wife's)
                            Silver 2012 Toyota Prius
                            Grey 2012 Civic Natural Gas (mine)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: GX turbo kit: Gauging interest

                              I got a 3 year 100,000 mile warranty. The miles will get me in 2 years. No interest in the turbo, before or after warranty

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