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N/A to Turbo Motor Swap

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  • N/A to Turbo Motor Swap

    I bought a T5 last January for $900 and did a few upgrades on it before someone totalled it from the rear in October. The largest repair I had done was a timing belt and water pump but I immediately started learning how to pull a motor out of a car because I was determined to keep the engine and swap it into my first car, a '96 850 that my dad bought from the dealer new.
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    ​​​​​Everything went fairly smoothly, but the car wouldn't start, so I began searching for other turbo swaps. I honestly was disappointed in the community reading thread after thread of speculation, rude remarks, and only offering "buy a turbo car" advice. The funny part was none of these people commenting had even done it! I ended up reaching out to a couple of people who had stated they completed the task and voila.
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    I have a '97 B5234T running in a base model 850. Autotragic but whatever, my slow wagon is manual. I'm still sorting out some things like the turbo coolant ports off an XC90, a possibly bad wastegate, and my shoddy wiring, but I have to say... For having never even pulled a motor out, this was relatively easy to learn how to do. My friend and I spent hours on small things that should've been minutes, but we took our time, read a ton, and got it done!
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    Pics on @basemodeldonna

    I will hopefully get a short writeup going for people who also want to do this.
    Last edited by HansDaFonz; 05-12-2020, 05:53 PM.

  • #2
    Very cool project! Glad you proved all the haters wrong. Now you have something very unique and pretty cool in my opinion

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    • #3
      How did you get your sedan to sit up on its hind legs like that?

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      • #4
        He used the engine hoist to lift the car

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        • #5
          While on the ground he removed what was needed and dropped subframe, motor, all as an assembly then used hoist to lift car high enough to pull out the goods.

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          • #6
            It is strange people don't do this more. besides the plumbing/exhuste you would have to swap the entire wire loom from the turbo to ever hope to get rid of the check engine light. also I assume the abs
            system must be swapped to make room for the turbo and the fuse box. The fuse box goes deep into the car, then why not throw in the dash from the turbo?.... ok maby its too much work.

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            • #7
              tardcart I actually didn't swap the ABS system or touch the fuse box (except for immobilizer bypass) as they appear to be the same but I could be wrong! The engine wires are the only thing you need, and when you drop the subframe with everything attached, it's pretty easy to visualize what you need to disconnect. I just went around the motor and looking for anything that would snag/still be connected... I forgot the steering column and almost broke it haha

              Took the car on a 250+ mile trip to the mountains (only 2500ft climb) and it drove well, just won't boost quite right. It holds about 3-5psi on the ipd cbv upgrade, and I'm positive there's no vacuum leak so still leaning towards a faulty wastegate actuator...

              ​​​

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              • #8
                Easy way to tell is pull the pin from the actuator to gate arm. It should be tough to pull out and shaft shouldn't rotate. Get a mity-vac pressure pump and check it that way too.

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                • #9
                  I assume you put the turbo computer in? did you have to use the turbo cpu harness? there must be additional pins on it. Did you swap the turbo exhaust in?
                  the NA exhaust would inhibit boost.

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                  • #10
                    tardcart Yes, you would need to swap ECU and the turbo TCU as well. I'm currently using an S70 T5 ECU in hopes of compensating for the blue injectors. Once the ecu is removed, the connector separates into two, the engine harness and the car harness (or whatever its called). If you keep everything connected to the motor, removing the engine with the necessary wires is very straight forward. Only had to pin the TCV to B41. The flange is different for N/A and turbo, so turbo exhaust must be used. I just (with help) plasma cut my own flange, welded a pipe to it, and welded an O2 bung on. I have a 3" pipe and the angle flange exhaust housing that runs straight out the hood, so back pressure is virtually nonexistent 😂

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                    • #11
                      Good job man

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                      • #12
                        05V70RGT I replaced the actuator this weekend, but it still doesn't seem to build boost properly, so I will get a pressure tester and go from there. Also will be rewiring the TCV to make sure it's making connection with the ECU in a proper terminal.

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                        • #13
                          Before you replace it or rewire anything get yourself a mity-vac or similar hand pump. Disconnect waste gate actuator rod from the waste gate. Install pumps hose onto actuator. Rod at this point will be pulled into actuator as far as it will go. Assuming the diaphragm is intact. Hold rod to keep from turning and loosen the lock nut from rod end. Using the mity-vacS accurate pressure guage pump to approx 4psi. if it will hold at 4 with no drop in pressure, proceed to close gate manually by moving lever. Now, holding the lever in the closed position, turn the actuator end in or out until it will easily drop onto waste gate lever with out any force. Install clip and tighten lock nut against rod end. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT ALLOW THE WASTE GATE ACTUATOR ROD TO TURN WHILE ADJUSTING. There is your basic starting point for the waste gate to work correctly. Remove hand pump, reinstall WG hose go drive.

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                          • #14
                            This is honestly refreshing to see someone tackle a N/A to turbo swap instead of just asking if it can be done. Well done!!

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                            • #15
                              A little update: I've been daily driving the car even though it doesn't run quite right. Pulls decently when forced into a lower gear, but shifts "early" and seems to build boost fine but lose the power somewhere. Throwing a few codes but nothing major as far as I'm concerned (EVAP gross leak, sas, etc.) Starting to think my problem lies with electrical and/or fueling. I work 60+ scheduled hours a week right now so my free time is very valuable to me, but I should be picking up the pace soon.

                              Sovvagn has my S70 T5 ecu, so hopefully that returns soon! Just stage 1 with the trans saver option.

                              Also have my JOM coilovers installed with Mookeh camber plates. Coming from Bilstein HD + IPD springs, this setup is amazing. I've lowered the front more by removing the helper springs but the ride has definitely gotten a tad bouncy for me, so I will be looking into proper rate/height springs from Swift or Ground Control soon.

                              ​​​​​​​Peace
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