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New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 20 Jul 2017, 05:52 am
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Thumbs up New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

FIRST OFF: THIS IS A LONG POST BECAUSE I'M GONNA BE LEAVING FOR A 12HR SHIFT AT WORK AND I WANT TO GIVE AS MUCH INFO AS POSSIBLE BEFORE I GO, AS I WON'T BE ABLE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS FOR A WHILE.
(sorry for shouting)

Little background:
Saul (my girlfriend named him) is an '05 2.4l turbo that I bought used 2 years ago at ~70k miles, one previous owner. He's currently at 120k. Very few options (no cruise control, no power locks, etc...). I drive him pretty hard (please ignore the innuendos), as he's my daily driver for commute and errands. Taken me cross country, NY->CA->NY, as high as 1.5 miles in the mountains. Several road trips. Just keeps motoring on. Not the most reliable little car in the world, but not too expensive to maintain and fix. I am however on a first name basis with my mechanic at this point and he's started giving me "frequent flyer" discounts.

Now, on to the good stuff. I'm not looking for some "magic $60 chip that you plug in and will get you 60hp instantly" BS. I have realistic expectations, and a realistic budget. Not a huge budget, but realistic. I'm trying to get as much of a performance/driveability/reliability increase as possible with $600-800 in parts. Currently, Saul is fully stock, with the exception of a crappy aftermarket stereo+speaker combo, because I like bluetooth and USB charging. I'd prefer to be able to do it all myself. I don't have any car experience outside of changing my own oil and checking all the fluids. I'm a fast learner though, and can find detailed instructions on most stuff somewhere on the internet.

I've heard that K&N cold air intakes are a good start. Obviously, the minor HP/MPG increase reflects the low cost + idiotproof-ness of the mod. Are there any specific things you guys would recommend doing? Mainly I'm looking for horsepower/torque increase, because I don't know how much I trust myself to **** with suspension/transmission things. However, if there are non-performance mods you recommend because they'll make Saul a better daily driver, or spend less time in the shop, please let me know! I have access to power tools, an Autozone, and online shopping.

Not gonna lie though, if the budget allows, I want to just mess with the car a little as well. I believe cars can be an extension of oneself, and I'm a goofball. I'm already gonna put in a "Dixie horn" next paycheck. Mess with the exhaust to make it sound ever so slightly... "ricier"? (but I don't want to be obnoxious to those around me) if that's a word, etc... Stupid stuff like that, you know? Any recommendations for that kinda stuff is totally welcomed too.

Thanks in advance for any replies, and sorry again about the essay. I'll be on again in a while to see if anyone's come up with stuff. Have a great day everyone, and I hope to be an active member here after I've started doing some work on ol' Saulie!

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Old 20 Jul 2017, 06:26 am
rob302's Avatar
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Location: Darien, IL | Forest Park, IL
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

Auto or 5 speed? GT?

welcome
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Old 20 Jul 2017, 08:51 am
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

Since it is a turbo pt but without stuff like power locks and cruise, I gather it is a non-gt car and so must also be an automatic.

Given that it is a non-gt, the cheapest and idiot proof increase to torque and horsepower will be a Mopar Stage 1 pcm. That will give you an instantaneous boost and it will be beyond the Gt levels. If you send off your own core pcm to Fwd Performance, a Mopar Stage 1 tune is a bargain at $125 plus shipping.

Once you have the stage 1, and you still aren't satisfied with the considerable boost in horsepower and torque it will deliver, and want play more, then you might consider a custom tune built for you. You could get yourself a new or used (As long as it has been properly unmarried from the previous owner) Diablo Sport tuner. The tuner also has some pre programmed tunes inside, referred to as 'canned tunes', the best of which will be very similar to the stage 1 tune. You likely wouldn't feel any difference between the two. However, the DS will give you the ability to have some custom tunes created by some of the tuner gurus and be able to upload them to your pcm. Since you don't have a gt pcm to start with, you can't just use the DS without having the Stage 1 first. The DS is only compatible with the GT pcm and the Stage 1 pcm.

There are some other tuners that have been discussed on the forum recently, such as the Hp Tuner, but that one is pretty pricey and seems to be for more advanced tuners.

I have both the stage 1 and a Ds, but I only use the stage 1. I am satisfied with the results.

In my opinion, bang for the buck, the stage one is the best choice. The cold air induction kits won't do anything except enhance the sound when you get on the gas.
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Old 20 Jul 2017, 09:55 am
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

I second that Stage 1 recommendation. For a 2005 turbo lite PT, it will provide a substantial performance gain beyond the stock GT. And in many cases, it will also make the car compatible with a DS tuner. Currently the DS tuners will not work on the 2005 turbo lite with the original PCM.

Other upgrades for a 2005 turbo lite might include a rear sway bar (aftermarket or OEM off of a 2001 PT) and rear disc brakes off any salvage PT that came with them.



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Old 20 Jul 2017, 03:28 pm
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

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Old 20 Jul 2017, 11:15 pm
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob302 View Post
Auto or 5 speed? GT?

welcome
Auto, non-GT
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Old 20 Jul 2017, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

Quote:
Originally Posted by myckee View Post
Since it is a turbo pt but without stuff like power locks and cruise, I gather it is a non-gt car and so must also be an automatic.

Given that it is a non-gt, the cheapest and idiot proof increase to torque and horsepower will be a Mopar Stage 1 pcm. That will give you an instantaneous boost and it will be beyond the Gt levels. If you send off your own core pcm to Fwd Performance, a Mopar Stage 1 tune is a bargain at $125 plus shipping.

Once you have the stage 1, and you still aren't satisfied with the considerable boost in horsepower and torque it will deliver, and want play more, then you might consider a custom tune built for you. You could get yourself a new or used (As long as it has been properly unmarried from the previous owner) Diablo Sport tuner. The tuner also has some pre programmed tunes inside, referred to as 'canned tunes', the best of which will be very similar to the stage 1 tune. You likely wouldn't feel any difference between the two. However, the DS will give you the ability to have some custom tunes created by some of the tuner gurus and be able to upload them to your pcm. Since you don't have a gt pcm to start with, you can't just use the DS without having the Stage 1 first. The DS is only compatible with the GT pcm and the Stage 1 pcm.

There are some other tuners that have been discussed on the forum recently, such as the Hp Tuner, but that one is pretty pricey and seems to be for more advanced tuners.

I have both the stage 1 and a Ds, but I only use the stage 1. I am satisfied with the results.

In my opinion, bang for the buck, the stage one is the best choice. The cold air induction kits won't do anything except enhance the sound when you get on the gas.
I've been looking around and seeing that there's some debate between the Mopar and Syked. Do you have experience with either? The problem however is that I can't afford to go without my car for a week while the ECM ships back and forth. Saul's my daily (emphasis on daily) driver. I don't think the DS is something I'll be messing with, as I don't know too much about the internals of my car yet. Maybe down the road.

I suppose the K&N falls under the "silly but not particularly expensive" mod category then. Anything else you can recommend that perhaps goes beyond straight performance, and maybe improves driveability/reliability or just has a neat function?

Thanks so much for the detailed response, sorry about the wait. 12hr shift, my ass...
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Old 20 Jul 2017, 11:27 pm
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Handy_Cruiser View Post
I second that Stage 1 recommendation. For a 2005 turbo lite PT, it will provide a substantial performance gain beyond the stock GT. And in many cases, it will also make the car compatible with a DS tuner. Currently the DS tuners will not work on the 2005 turbo lite with the original PCM.

Other upgrades for a 2005 turbo lite might include a rear sway bar (aftermarket or OEM off of a 2001 PT) and rear disc brakes off any salvage PT that came with them.



See my above post regarding the PCM tuning.

I don't think I'm gonna get a sway bar, the roads in my area are pretty crappy quality, so the current stiffness of my suspension is pretty much where I want it. How would I know if a cruiser in salvage has the rear disc brakes? And is it a big job to install them?

Thanks for the response as well, sorry it took so long.
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Old 20 Jul 2017, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

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Originally Posted by vermontpetey View Post
Hey, Vermont is a great state! Saul's taken me skiing there many a time.
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Old 21 Jul 2017, 12:17 am
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Default Re: New here, and I heard you guys know your stuff regarding performance increase

Quote:
Originally Posted by sterfri99 View Post
I've been looking around and seeing that there's some debate between the Mopar and Syked. Do you have experience with either? The problem however is that I can't afford to go without my car for a week while the ECM ships back and forth. Saul's my daily (emphasis on daily) driver. I don't think the DS is something I'll be messing with, as I don't know too much about the internals of my car yet. Maybe down the road.

I suppose the K&N falls under the "silly but not particularly expensive" mod category then. Anything else you can recommend that perhaps goes beyond straight performance, and maybe improves driveability/reliability or just has a neat function?

Thanks so much for the detailed response, sorry about the wait. 12hr shift, my ass...
You don't need to send your original. In fact I wouldn't recommend that. It's nice to have a backup pcm for future repairs and trouble shooting.

If you have a local pick a part or u pull junkyard or whatever the self serve junkyards in your area are called, you could get a used pcm from any automatic 05 pt cruiser or any automatic 05 Dodge Neon. Even from a non turbo car. They are compatible with the stage 1 programming. They will be cheap and plentiful at your local yard. The stage 1 really will provide a substantial boost in performance with only 10 mins of work to plug it in.

I have both the Syked and Mopar stage 1 and I don't notice any difference. I am sure there is, but maybe those differences are only apparent on a dyno or running the car at the drag strip.

You might consider the Mopar blue plate blow off valve for the turbo. It's another cheap piece that will give that cool pshhhh sound but has no real performance benefit but was offered at the same time Mopar offered the stage 1. I like the sound. This and the cold air pipes really make the car sound great.
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