The Chevrolet Cruze came out at the same time as Honda and Hyundai were making the 1,8L engine their standard powerplant in their sedan lineups. But here's the thing, the Cruze's 1.8L lump is the weakest among the engines in stock form, belting out only 90whp on the dyno, compared to 100whp and 106whp for the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra respectively. And that's the whole reason why we're adding a turbocharger to up the power level and make the car more fun to drive.

 

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1. First order of business is to remove the stock airbox and exhaust manifold from the car. For those wondering if the rest of the exhaust still needs to be changed or upgraded, the simple answer s no. The stock exhaust works fine if you want a quiet ride and flows adequately for the 150-160whp target we have in mind.

 

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2. The turbocharger we are using is the popular T28, which is the same found in the Nissan SR20DET engines that power the Silvia. We specififed a wastegate spring pressure of 5-6psi, which is pretty safe for the internals of the engine.

 

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3. We fabricate our turbo manifold from black iron tubing and elbows. The reason why we do this instead of the fancier ram horn stainless steel manifolds is that the thickness of the black iron tubing is a lot thicker than stainless steel and will support the weight of  turbocharger without ever cracking. Sure it isn't shiny but this is where function trumps form.

 

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4. After test fitting, we grind out the welds for a smooth exhaust flow. The manifoldis then sent to the machine shop to have the flanges resurfaced smooth and straight, ensuring no leaks in the exhaust.

 

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5. We now proceed to layout the piping work fom the throttle body to the front mount intercooler. We use 4 ply silicon hoses and aluminum piping. Why aluminum instead of stainless steel? Aisde from from weight, aluminum actually cools quicker than stainless teel, which tends to hold heat it. There is a reason why all motorsports over the whole world use aluminum for their piping work.

 

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6. More air requires more fuel. A tried and tested way of doing this is a with a 5th injector setup that sprays extra fuel into the intake manifold. This ensures complete and thorough mixing when it enters the combustion chamber. We use a 1000cc injector because, well, its better to have too much than too little.

 

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7. The piping then goes in to the front mount intercooler end tank.

 

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8. The other end will go in to the turbocharger's discharge outlet.

 

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9. We secure the front mount intercooler with angle bars bolt to the front crash frame.

 

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10. Here's an above view of the piping work so far.

 

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11. We do a test fit of the turbocharger to see how everything lines up.

 

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12.  A K&N filter goes into the mouth of the turbo inlet.

 

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13. The rest of the aluminum piping is fabricated and connect to the intercooler. A small detail often overlooked by other shops when fabricating turbo kits is that intercooler piping must have a lip that prevents the hose from blowing apart when under boost. We invested in a bead roller a long time ago and it has proved invaluable ever since.

 

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14. And now the piping work is complete.

 

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15. Simply bolting all the mechanical parts together will not make the car run properly. Tuning is of paramount importance and we use Unichip because it's the only tuning solution that works with the Cruze, enabling us to control the ignition timing, fuelling as well as the additonal injector that sprays upon boost. We also added a Unichip 3 Bar MAP sensor to better read boost as the stock MAP sensor has a hard time reading positive pressure. The Unichip Q4 also has the added feature of controlling the electronic throttle, allowing for faster response.

 

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16. Here's the front bumper installed to check the fitment of the intercooler. No cutting or trimming of the stock bumper is required for the intercooler to fit.

 

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17. Here's the completed turbo setup and ready to be tuned. Another advantage of aluminum over stainless steel is that it can be easily painted in any number of finishes, unlike stainless steel because paint doesn't stick to it. For this car, the customer requrested a stock looking black wrinkled finish.

 

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18. Tuning on the dyno gives us a final power output of 155whp! Which is a good 65hp increase frmo the stock figure of 90whp, at a low and safe 5.5psi of boost.

 

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19. We also decided to add a turbo insulator wrap to shield the plastic valve cover from the heat generated byt the turbocharger.

 

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20. An oil catch can was also added to capture the oily air coming from the valve cover that gets spewed out with the added positive pressure generated by the turbo.

 

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21. And here's the finsihed product! All clean and shiny!

 

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22. What's power without looks? A set of H&R Springs lower the car in preparation for a set of bigger and wider tires to harness all the added power with added grip.

All in all, it takes an average of 1.5-2 weeks for a custom turbocharged setup. Pretty much any gasoline powered can be turbocharged and have 50%-60% more power. As for fuel economy, the stock Cruze averages 6-7km/L, with the turbo setup, this figure will remain the same as long as you stay off boost, for example while driving in traffic. But where's the fun in that? The whole reason why you got a turbo is to be able to go fast right? Fuel economy of course will go down slightly by 0.2-0.4km/L with very spirited drivng all the time, which for us is more than a fair trade off for the added power and fun we get.