My L61 Saab Turbo Build - Boost Forum

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My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Thursday, August 17, 2017 9:43 AM
Well I like to tackle about 5 projects at one time, so while I'm in the middle of fixing my back bumper I'm also looking for my Saturn rear calipers, starting a turbo build, and rebuilding an engine and transmission on my Grand Prix. So, let's start with boost stuffs. Just getting started on my Saab turbo build for the L61 for my 2003 Sunfire Rice Rocket, and I just want to make sure I'm not missing something. What I've got now:

2.0T Turbo Manifold from a 2003 9-3
TD04H High Pressure Turbo with OEM Wastegate
2.3L 2002 Saab 9-5 Turbo Injectors, flow matched and cleaned
255LPH Walboro In Tank Fuel Pump (Not a clumsy eBay knockoff)
Air Intake
PCV to atmosphere breather, one of those dorky little "filters" (will do a catch can later)
2.5" Custom Downpipe (I have a Pacesetter header with 2.5" exhaust including Magnaflow Cat, Vibrant 12" Resonator, 2.5" Magnaflow Muffler)
NGK spark plugs for NA, but can dial back (using strictly 91 octane ethanol-free fuel)

Things I know I have to get still:
2.5" intercooler and piping
Oil Lines (braided)
Coolant Lines (braided)
Recirc / BOV
Boost Controller (Going with a manual controller until I go with a more expensive Greddy Pro-Fec next tax season)
Turbo Timer
Wideband / OPS / Boost / EGT Gauges (all on the pillar) with gauge pods
2 Bar TMAP

Now for the part I have questions about. Is a vacuum pump required, or have you guys been getting along okay without them? My brakes aren't "upgraded," per se. Just the rear disc swap coming soon, but that's basically an OEMish thing.

Can I use a 3 wire GM 2 Bar MAP instead of the 4 wire IAT/MAPís I keep seeing? Just program IAT and MAP separately? Or is it easier to use a 4 wire MAP and splice the IAT into that? To me it makes sense to keep them separate. Iím hiring a shop for dynotuning (for the first time) with HP Tuners.

I see some people here using MSDís, but if I keep power dialed down to say around 200 -225 horsepower at the crank will this really be necessary? Ignition timing can surely be tuned on the OE PCM.

I am using the OEM block. Iíll have the RPM set to 7,000 max for now. I will balance delete when I do the timing chain, when I do the head gasket, when I do the bottom end lol. Once the block is built and balanced, Iíll build with higher boost, retune with a standalone, and do the manual trans swap at the same time. Glad I have three cars.

Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Thursday, August 17, 2017 11:44 AM
You're going to be sorely disappointed with the stock PCM's capabilities. Make sure your tuner knows what he's getting into. If he hasn't tuned an 03-05 jbody before, he doesn't know what he's getting into. You can use whatever map sensor you want but it makes tuning more of a challenge to use anything but stock. Most people, myself included, opt for the stock 1bar map sensor and try to dial it in from there. If you're not making 20lbs of boost it should be doable.

You don't need to run a TMAP sensor if you don't want to. Just make sure that you have an IAT sensor mounted in the charge piping somewhere after the intercooler and before the throttle body.

What size are those injectors? I have a feeling they're not going to be big enough for what you're trying to do. I saw a guy run a similar setup as you and made 175whp because he could only get 5-6lbs of boost out of it before his saab injectors were maxed. Not sure if he was running an FMU but he was running higher than stock base fuel pressure and a boost referenced FPR.

Vacuum pump is not required, especially if you plan to run the 2.2 head and cams.

Brakes... meh. I have run hawk HPS pads and stock rotors and it always stopped well. They're not heavy cars. Biggest thing I did was all new DOT4 fluid. Really stiffened the pedal up.

Plugs will be fine. If you ever decide to upgrade, I really like the copper options. Maybe 1 step colder if you feel like it. Gap is more important. At 17psi I had to drop to .030. Everything below that .034 - .032 worked great.

"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Thursday, August 17, 2017 1:45 PM
I don't remember the injector size. 39 lb sounds right. OBX FMU.

1 bar MAP makes me happy. Vacuum pump not required is good. I won't worry about the plugs. DOT3 is fine until I swap lines and go for a big brake kit somewhere down the line. I know I can get 225 HP on OE PCM and that's fine for now. I'll reference the tune forum when I get it to the dyno. Picking up turbo gaskets today so that's another thing.
Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Monday, August 21, 2017 3:33 PM
2.5" intercooler piping is bigger than stock. Have there been any boost lag issues with this size? I imagine 3" piping is quite noticeable.
Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Monday, September 25, 2017 12:08 AM
These are 34lb injectors at 43.5psi.

You are correct, Yellowcav. According to, sizing table shows 175 horsepower is definitely close to expected at oem fuel pressurb on these injectors. FMU should help out, but either way, I'm probably just going to ditch these and get bigger injectors. Back to drawing board for a little while on turbo, but that just gives me time to focus on the rear disc.
Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 6:47 PM
Hey guys! How do you like how my Saab build is coming along?! XD
received_2360209767338385.jpeg (70k)

Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Thursday, March 22, 2018 9:03 AM
Hahahahahaha oh man that made my dad. It's funny because this is literally exactly how it went with my buddy who tried to do the same. You'll be so much happier man and the reliability is really nice.

"In Oldskool we trust"
Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Thursday, March 22, 2018 11:24 AM
Yeah and now for a meth kit and 2.9" pulley. I'll stuff the turbo onto the M/T J I have and see what it does.
Re: My L61 Saab Turbo Build
Friday, June 26, 2020 11:01 PM
Damn, I've come a long way since this, but how do I still have this supercharger and not on the vehicle? Upsetting.
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