WE have finally starting spinning spanners on our Turbo Taxi. If you’ve just joined us, the plan is take our high-mileage vomit comet and turn it into a kick-arse street and strip monster – while keeping it fueled by sausage fuel.
Yep, 10s on LPG is the aim for our Turbo Taxi. Last issue we test drove a couple different cabs before we settled on one that seemed to be the best of a bad lot. It had a neat interior and a minimum of battle scars but the engine had a serious rod knock after 577,000km. Not to be perturbed, we decided to buy it anyway with the plan to replace the motor, but first we took it out to Calder Park Raceway where it ran a fairly pathetic 17.29@83mph on the only pass of the night. That’s where we finished things for episode one.
To kick things off for episode two, we decided to head back out to Calder Park and see if we could better our time. I had a crack first and ran a 16.82 straight up, followed by a pair of 16.74s. Then Aiden jumped in and managed to reel off a best of 16.70@83mph – and he was pretty happy to let everyone know about it (you mad? – AT). That was a much more realistic time for the car than low 17s and we were happy to leave it at that.
Then we got to work. We found a FG Falcon motor with only 142,000km on the clock for $200 online. It was a petrol engine rather than gas, and was from a manual car, but how different could they be? The lads at MPW offered us a hoist and we figured we’d get the job done in a day.
In fact, the swap took four days, but it started like a dream when we finally hit the key. We certainly learnt a lot more about FG Falcons in those four days! From spigot shaft bushes through to crazy wiring looms and epic parts transfers through to just waiting for gaskets to show up; it all conspired against us. However, the new motor didn’t have a rod knock and that’s a definite plus.
Less than two weeks later the taxi was back in the workshop with a blown radiator which we had replaced by the guys at Glenlyon Motors and then we headed back to MPW to borrow their hoist again. We also borrowed young Ben to help us install the new Plazmaman intercooler kit; it’s one of their Stage-3 1000hp kits to make sure we had all the flow we’d ever need. To help things along, we also grabbed their four-inch intake kit and a battery relocation kit. All of which are designed to bolt in with a minimum of mods but the ‘cooler kit needed a bit of clearancing behind the stock XT bumper bar because it is designed for the XR6 Turbo models, which have a different front bar.
Meanwhile, we stripped the intake and exhaust manifolds and started pulling some of the stock LPG hardware out of the engine bay – including the LPG convertor, which was sitting right where the turbo needed to go. We used stock FG XR6 Turbo bits for the intake and exhaust manifolds. The intake went straight to Jason at Tunnel Vision Turbocharging for modification while we fitted the exhaust manifold ourselves.
The turbo is a billet-wheel ball-bearing Garrett GT35/84R for GCG Turbos in. On the compressor side our turbo has a 68mm inducer with an 84mm exducer and a surge slotted 0.7 A/R housing. The turbo runs a 1.06 A/R exhaust housing with an internal wastegate and an aftermarket GCG actuator and an enlarged wastegate flap to handle the higher boost levels we’ll be using. At the moment the actuator is set for 14psi and they’ve given us an extra 5psi spring to take the boost up to 19psi. In terms of horsepower it’ll do 800hp standing on its head, but Garrett claim it is suitable for power levels from 550-1000hp. We’re not sure we need that much, or do we?
With the turbo on and plumbed up it’s time for the car to head to Extracted Performance Exhaust for a four-inch stainless system and then it’s heading to Tunnel Vision Turbocharging for the high performance gas system. But that’s for the next episode – next month.