Putting together budget DIY turbo kit 2003 L61 Cavi - Boost Forum

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Putting together budget DIY turbo kit 2003 L61 Cavi
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 9:28 PM
Been doing research on what all is gonna be needed to turbo my car the past few months, its a 2003 L61 cavalier 5 speed and am at the point now where I can start ordering parts now to build my car. I have mostly everything figured out but I am looking for advice on what I have picked out and what I still need to pick out. Basically I am trying to make an all inclusive list here of EVERYTHING required to successfully turbo an ecotec cavalier on a budget. My car is my daily driver and my only vehicle at the moment so when I do tear into it I need to have all the parts there so I'm not stuck waiting on something. This thread should also prove to be very helpful to a newcomer who is trying to learn everything they can to boost their J body, as it will be a build log for my car when I start actually tearing into it.

Here is what I have picked out so far in parts and need some input on them, or what may be a better option and better value

Turbo - Right now planning on a eBay T3/T4 57 trim .63 AR turbo, I am well aware of their poor quality and have used them before with success and have also blown one apart before by over speeding it. I know it is not a great choice but for now I believe it will get me driving with some boost and will hold up at 10 lbs until I have the cash to buy a genuine Garret G30 or come across a deal on a used one. However very affordable at $180 and if it last a couple months will be worth it

Turbo Manifold - ZZP stainless t3 manifold with the 38mm external wastegate flange. Seems like a solid quality choice that will work great even as the build grows eventually. And a great value at $310

Intercooler and Piping - Going to go with the eBay 2.5" piping and intercooler kit. No moving parts to break lol and from what I have read the kit works fine.
Great bang for the buck at $180

Wastegate - Now a genuine Tial 38mm gate is around $250 which I cant afford, seen eBay gates for about $80 but don't know if they work well at all. Need your guys advice on a decent wastegate that won't break the bank. Plan to eventually get a Tial but if a eBay gate will work for a month then I'll do that

Blow Off Valve - Again a real Tial is like $250 and is out of my current price range, plan to use a eBay BOV until I can get a real Tial

Turbo Oil lines - I need your guys knowledge on the exact lines and fittings I'm going to need to get oil into the turbo and back into the oil pan. Cant be stuck waiting for fittings when everything else is in place. Also as far as I know going to have to pull the pan and have a bung welding in it for the oil drain, is that correct? Going to need to know what exact fitting to get for that, pulling the pan and having a bung welded in will not be an issue

Fuel injectors - I need your guys help her with what size and type injectors will be needed for this build, horsepower goal is 250 also. Plan to also run 10 lbs of boost on 93 octane.

Fuel pump - For the size turbo (t3/t4 57 trim) my boost and hp goal will I need to upgrade the stock pump and if so to what one?

Exhaust - Plan to run a 3" downpipe and 3" out the back if I can fit it with maybe a bullet muffler or resonator, and dump wastegate to ground

Air filter. Cone filter element to some 3" pipe down to turbo inlet

Ignition - Will it be neccessary to run a device to retard timing with boost with the tuning I'm planning on using, will explain that below

Tuning - From what I know I should be able to get this setup tuned well with HP tuners correct? Plan is to get kit all on there and take car to FJ Performance which is local to me in Butler pa and have is Dyno tuned with HP tuners. Now with that tuning is a FMU or stand alone timing control needed??? Or will the HP tuning take car of the fueling with just larger injectors and timing ok on its own? I'm new to this gas turbo tuning, built a few diesel trucks and they are way easier to tune with boost

Looked into stand alone tuning it with Mega Squirt 3 but at this point don't think its necessary just starting into getting the car going with some boost. From what I've read HP tuners should be able to get a good tune on it at 250 hp right? Now further down the road when I get crazy with it I think I may want to stand alone it, ya know bigger turbo, built internals, 2 step, all that fun stuff.

Clutch - How long will the factory clutch last you guys think, or will it slip soon as I get into the boost? And what is the best bang for the buck clutch for these cars?

Anything I missed?

Want this thread to be a nice compilation of everything to boosting a ecotec J body and will be a build log of my car when the building begins.

Gauges - Planning on a triple piller pod and Glowshift wideband O2, pyrometer, and boost gauge

Engine internals - Plan on leaving the engine internals all stock at this point. When I'm more serious into the build plans are pistons, H beam rods, cams, valve springs keepers, and whatever else is needed for the l61 to handle more boost and RPMS



Re: Putting together budget DIY turbo kit 2003 L61 Cavi
Thursday, June 18, 2015 8:53 AM
HPTuners will control both fuel and timing. The stock fuel pump should be ok, but if your goal is more power then it wouldn't be a bad idea to upgrade it. Also the stock clutch will be fine.

This whole project sounds like a bad idea. Your oil/coolant lines are going to have to be custom made which will leaving you waiting and there is also the possibility that the ebay turbo wont even fit. Also Ecotecs have a spot at the bottom of the block that is the prefect spot for the oil return(ALOT better than putting it in the pan). There is ALOT better options that'll meet your goals: Weekend install, DD Reliability, ~250whp. Look into the Saab or LNF factory turbo kits. OEM quality parts, premade oil/coolant lines that you know will fit, prefect for a stock L61, OEM fitment, and minimal fabrication(downpipe).

Re: Putting together budget DIY turbo kit 2003 L61 Cavi
Thursday, June 18, 2015 9:06 AM
Here you go. Perfect budget set-up. Turbo, manifold, all the oil/coolant lines, gaskets, bolts, etc. OEM fitment and reliability. Everything will be easier, quicker, and more reliable with this "kit".


Re: Putting together budget DIY turbo kit 2003 L61 Cavi
Saturday, June 20, 2015 8:46 PM
I really like your LNF turbo idea, that's for sure a better option.

So once I get the lnf setup like you linked to all I'll need is to fab a down pipe/exhaust, intercooler piping, bov, and injectors.

What do you recomend for the intercooler and piping , fuel injectors, down pipe/exhaust, and bov?

From what I've read the K04 LNF turbo setup should be capable of 250 hp at the tires no problem, correct?
Re: Putting together budget DIY turbo kit 2003 L61 Cavi
Saturday, June 20, 2015 9:07 PM
Read a thread on a l61 with lnf turbo.

Looks like will also need a lnf cross over cooling tube and a cobalt thermostart housing and a le5 lower hose for the cobalt thermostat housing. Sound correct?

Also for charge piping, notice that the lnf turbo has a 2 bolt flange, is there a elbow i can get to bolt on that for my charge piping?

And to build the down pipe where can I source a flange to bolt on the turbo to weld the exhaust tubing to?
Re: Putting together budget DIY turbo kit 2003 L61 Cavi
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 7:55 AM
There's so much more that I want to say but I don't have time right now. Definitely go with a k04 setup, it'll absolutely make the power you're looking to make and is an oem setup.

For injectors:

"In Oldskool we trust"
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