89 Sunbird Turbo Issue - First Generation Forum

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89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 8:06 PM
Recently I wrecked my 99 Sunfire 2.2L and bought a 89 Sunbird GT. I find that the Sunbird doesn't perform as good as the Sunfire, and with the turbo I would expect it to be noticeably faster. Is the Sunbird not running as well as it should or am I expecting too much from it. O, and the turbo gauge does not go past halfway up, is this normal.

Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Tuesday, June 12, 2007 10:20 PM
just so ya know, the 89 sunbird is considered a second gen, but the 2.0l turbo is the same regardless of generation.

the boost gauge usualy doesnt go up passed half way. the factory boost gauge is highly inacurate anyways, the best thing to do is get an aftermarket gauge. the 2.0l turbo is rated at 165hp, but with it being 18 years old, it likley is a bit worn. the best thing to do is a general tune up (plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filter and set the timing). if its not fast enough for you there are some simple things you can do to coax some more power from it. after you get an aftermarkey boost gauge, you can up the boost a little bit, i wouldnt go more than 8-9psi without adding an intercooler. these motors respond very well to bigger exaust (2.5" is big enough) and doing a better air intake helps aswell.



Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 1:35 PM
In addition to the above (tune-up) I would consider the timing belt for replacement. They tend to stretch and cause soggy performance and when they fail it's no fun at all.

There are several different factory calibrations for that engine and some are a bit peppier than others. If your car is an auto it may feel a bit sluggish compared to a 5 speed. The manual cars really tend to pull well. Also, the factory boost gauge is not really accurate. I'd recommend an aftermarket gauge for best results. If the cat is plugged or the muffler / exhaust has been replaced with cheap aftermarket parts this will also have a noticeable effect on power even at stock levels. The turbo bird has the potential to be quick, but you'll probably want to do a good job establishing where baseline is and what condition the various parts are in before spending money on new stuff.

-->Slow
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 8:27 PM
Thanks for the help.

I forgot to mention that the car has been sitting for a year. I did a tune up (plugs, wires, cap , rotor, oil, and air filter) when I first got the car as well.

I will look into replacing the timing belt and setting the timing. Also the exhaust up to and including the cat looks original, after that the exhaust looks newer and is smaller (probably more then a 1/4"). I am looking into replacing the entire exhaust with a performance one. A friend of mine says that the exhaust should remain relatively original diameter to keep back pressure and vacuum up to make the turbo perform better, is this true? I would think you would want lots of air flying through the turbo to get it spinning faster.
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:39 PM
that is not true. the ideal exaust system for a turbo car is a very short peice of pipe in a cone shape comming out the fender. now that isnt feasable on a street car, but a good exaust system is needed to make good power. keep in mind that the faster the exaust can get away from the turbine housing, the more exaust can flow through it, spinning up the turbo faster. backpressure is the biggest enemy of a turbo car (aside from detonation). this being said, go with a full 2 1/2" exaust with a good high flow cat and a good aftermarket muffler like a flowmaster, magnaflow, or hooker (stay away from round mufflers, they just make noise).

on another note, if your exaust is smaller after the downpipe it may have been replaced with a non turbo cat back, wich would be around 1 7/8-2". this would create a fair bit of backpressure and cause the car to be a bit sluggish



Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Thursday, June 14, 2007 6:18 PM
Today I checked a catalogue stating that the exhaust is supposed to be 2" from the motor to the tail pipe. So mine is not stock, giving me what I think is my power loss.

I already have a round muffler with a 2.5" inlet, will this still work good, or should I replace it? I rather keep the muffler I have due to limited funds.
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Sunday, June 17, 2007 9:48 PM
Dan S wrote:

Today I checked a catalogue stating that the exhaust is supposed to be 2" from the motor to the tail pipe. So mine is not stock, giving me what I think is my power loss.

I already have a round muffler with a 2.5" inlet, will this still work good, or should I replace it? I rather keep the muffler I have due to limited funds.


If it comes down to it, just keep the round muffler, but listen to Sharkey he really does know what hes talking about.

I also own a 95 turbo neon, that runs 13.2s I run 3" exhaust and it works great.

I just picked this 84 turbo bird up not even more then 48 hours ago. I already took the muffler alone off and could tell a little gain just from that, I couldn't imagine putting a full 2 and a half inch exhaust on it.


Any exhaust shop will bend you that up for less then $100 for sure.
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 4:05 PM
Hi....
Sounds like your wastegate solenoid is wasted! (A $24 part at NAPA). Without it, you never get more than atmospheric pressure - which is halfway up on your boost gauge. The engine then behaves like its normally-aspirated brethren.... You should be able to get 12 psi & upwards (depending how cold the intake air is) with a properly working stock turbocharger system.
One way to test this is to disconnect the vacuum line to the wastegate driver (up near the intake manifold). this will allow "unlimited boost" - until the ECU gets smart and shuts off the fuel! If you then feel this GREAT kick in the ass, buy a new wastegate driver module....
Take care,
Moe ('89 turbo Bird)
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Wednesday, June 27, 2007 6:34 PM
its called a wastegate solonoid. if its bad you will still get around 4psi, as thats what the spring in the wastegate is set to. unhooking the wastegate solonoid is a very bad idea, the turbo thats stock on these cars will produce upwards of 18psi, and even for 2 seconds of 18psi (till the ecm shuts the fuel off) can cause damage.



Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Thursday, June 28, 2007 2:31 PM
Hi, Dan....
My suggestion for a simple test involving the disconnection of the vacuum hose to the wastegate solenoid (electronic) module was based on personal experience with both my '84 1.8L turbo 'Bird and my '89 2.0L turbo Birds. (This troubleshooting technique was suggested by the Pontiac design engineer on the '89 turbo 'Bird project.) It worked fine for me both times - with NO thrown rods. In my case, the solenoid driver module was bad - for Both engines. Only 3PSI boost with a busted module was the reason for all my research on the subject. (With so little boost, it had a hard time with the imports.....)
I was just trying to save you a big bucks disappointment by screwing around with custom exaust systems to solve your problem.....
Take care,
Moe
(p.s. My '89 Bird is my daily driver - at 230,000mi. It's been chipped, and still very strong.)
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Monday, September 03, 2007 7:37 AM
talk to jordan kruegar




Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 6:30 AM
you can run around 10 psi with this car safely ......detonation on stock fuel supply happens around 15......

before you start playing with boost.....make sure youve got the fuel to support it.
get a walbro 340 fuel pump and an adjustable fuel pressure regulator

then you should be ready to play with boost.
Im only using a turbosmart manual boost controller to get the boost up to 18psi

however my wastegate rod has been modded and my car has a chip for more fuel supply

** a great mod for this car is to take the wastegate rod and drill a hole a 1/4 behind the stock hole where the rod connects to the internal wastegate flap on the turbo.....I did that before all my modifications......it yielded a smoother boost and way less spike......
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 2:21 PM
does anyone kno where i can get parts for my89 sunbird gt 2.0 turbo like piping kits boostcontrolers that will bolt on to this application.
Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 6:24 PM
nothing will just bolt onto these cars, or realy any 1st/2nd gen j body. intercooler piping kits dont exist. everything must be made custom.



Re: 89 Sunbird Turbo Issue
Wednesday, September 12, 2007 6:35 AM
what should i get other than exaust b/c im already doing that can i do to make my car faster i lave this car i used to have a granddam turbo with the same motor and it got 15lbs of boost this sunbird i have not doesent have the pep .......iv herd things about porting the exaust and turbo well not really the turbo but just a little inside the inlet where can i have this done?? is it even possible to get parts to rebuild this car i cant find forged pistons anywhere or rods ...i would like to also find a head if anyone knos any of tese thins please let me kno thnx
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