Let's talk horsepower. We can't get enough of it, right? Have 500 horsepower under the hood? Not enough. If you already have 1000 horsepower, we bet you wished you had 1500. Once you get a taste of it you always come back wanting more. In our case our Project Integra was generating some pretty impressive numbers in normally aspirated trim, laying down 180 horsepower to the wheels. Although the Acura was quick, it wasn't fast enough to keep us happy. At this point we were at a crossroads as to which path to take: add a little laughing gas and squeeze our way into oblivion, or add a turbo system and boost it to glory.
With a magazine titled Turbo you know which path we had to take. With the decision made to turbocharge the Integra now we had to choose whether to piece together a turbo kit and have a shop fabricate the intercooler piping and downpipe or use a complete bolt-on kit. Although we knew we could source the right components to build an awesome turbo system, we thought for the readers it would be best to use an existing bolt-on turbo system and try to extract as much power out of it as possible. After careful research we decided to use Edelbrock's Performer X 50-state legal turbo kit. Don't let the 50-state legality fool you; this is a serious turbo system with many great components. And since cops love us we didn't see the harm of showing them a badge of our own: our CARB-approved badge. Take that sucka!
The heart of the Edelbrock Performer X turbo system is a Garrett GT-series ball-bearing turbocharger. It utilizes a Garrett GT28RS turbocharger with a 62-trim compressor blade and .60 A/R compressor housing while the turbine expedites exhaust gases through a 76-trim blade in a .86 A/R housing. Capable of producing 35lbs/min of airflow, the turbocharger is able to support up to 350 horsepower. The Garrett turbo comes preassembled onto a Ni-resist cast manifold and turbine outlet elbow, thus reducing installation time. Another component from the Garrett family is the high efficiency bar-and-plate front-mount intercooler (22" x 5.5" x 2.5") with welded cast end tanks. The turbo kit also comes with a Tial 50mm blow-off valve and all powder coated I/C piping. Also not seen before in other bolt-on turbo kits is the addition of a high-flow intake manifold. Edelbrock supplies the race-proven Victor X intake manifold complete with secondary fuel rails and injectors already installed.
Installation of the turbo kit was a breeze. We have to say it's by far the easiest turbo kit we've ever installed, hands down. The kit is extremely complete - with every nut, bolt and gasket prepackaged for easy installation. Also, as we mentioned earlier, the turbocharger comes preassembled onto the manifold; and the water lines and oil feed line were already attached to the turbocharger allowing us to install the kit even faster than anticipated. Every component fit properly and there were no interference issues like with some of the other kits we've installed. The hardest part of the install was actually removing the factory intake manifold! It took us roughly eight hours to install the turbo kit from the first crack of the nut to the turn of the ignition to fire it to life.
The Integra drives like a stock car in bumper-to-bumper traffic but when the accelerator touches the floorboard the needle quickly reaches the red zone in a hurry. Much of the overall civility of the turbo kit is due to the engine management system used for fuel enrichment for the additional airflow from the turbocharger. When the vehicle is not in boost, the factory ECU is in control of all the engine parameters - allowing the car to drive like a stock vehicle. However when boost pressure is present, additional fuel is added to the combustion chamber via the secondary injectors mounted on the underside of the intake manifold and is controlled by an Edelbrock-tuned Motorola piggyback ECU. But this isn't your average piggyback system. The Motorola system monitors fuel enrichment parameters with an additional air temperature and MAP sensor that come with the turbo kit. The Edelbrock/Motorola ECU also controls ignition timing, thus keeping the engine safe from detonation.
Prior to installing the turbo system we took the Integra to XS Engineering's Dynojet for some official baseline numbers. For those of you who haven't followed the build-up of Project Integra, the B18C1 engine was generating 180-plus horsepower to the wheels with the help of Skunk2 performance camshafts, a Skunk2 intake manifold, a DC 4-1 header and a reprogrammed ECU. However, to establish a fair baseline figure we stocked out the engine back to its bare essentials. With only an AEM cold-air intake and Skunk2 exhaust installed, the B18C1 engine generated 160.3 horsepower and 118.2 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. Now, with the Edelbrock turbo kit installed, the Integra generates 255.1 horsepower and 178.4 lb-ft of torque at 8 psi of boost pressure, an improvement of 94.8 horsepower and 60.2 lb-ft of torque. Taking into consideration that we removed the AEM cold-air intake, the improvement is even more impressive. Going from a stock normally-aspirated GS-R with only a bolt-on exhaust to the Edelbrock turbo kit-equipped Integra adds about 100-plus more horsepower. Yes, that was through the factory catalytic converter, and it's 50-state legal. I think I'm in love.
What more can you ask for in a bolt-on turbo system? This one is easy to install, has great components and, best of all, it's 100% legal. More importantly the GT28RS turbocharger is far from maxed out, so there is plenty of room to grow. There might be a grin from ear to ear right now, but it won't be too long before we start turning up the wick for more power, so stay tuned.