View Full Version : 1989 Spirit ES T2 Conversion and More

04-21-2011, 11:31 AM
So, here are some pics of the car as it sits right now. Currently it is a stock 2.5 T1 car with the 3 spd auto without lockup. Only mods are 2.5" mandrel bent exhaust with no cat and straight through muffler. Over the next few weeks as time permits it will be getting converted to T2 status and a a523 swapped in from my 93 shadow parts car I picked up last night. It will be getting the following installed:

- 255 Walbro Fuel Pump
- +20 Injectors
- BoostButton.com Cal
- 3 bar map sensor
- 52mm throttle body
- 1 piece intake (with opening ported to match throttle body for what its worth)
- air charge temp sensor
- Stock T2 Garrett Turbo with 2.5" ported swingvalve
- Greddy Bov (cheapo ebay unit)
- 88 tbi cam
- stock t2 intercooler/radiator combo and hoses (for now at least)
- stainless braided turbo lines

Anything else I'm missing/should be doing guys?

Also no idea what I want/need for a clutch combo, probably not going to want to use the stock tbi used setup... Please post your recommendations for a daily driver combo that will hold up to whatever power levels this will make(which I have no idea by the way, would also be nice for someone to chime in here on this too)


04-21-2011, 01:14 PM
Looking good! Ive got an 89 spirit with a pretty similar parts list, except i swapped to 2.2 (dont do that...).

My comments so far would be dont bother with the 52mm tb if you dont already have it. That is money/effort that would be much better spent on finding a 2pc, or getting another 1pc to cut up and improve.

Also, put a 180 thermo in it. Ive always liked that on every car ive done it to.

As for a clutch, it sorta depends on how far you are going to turn the boost up. You're getting a 3 bar cal setup so i assume you're shooting for over 15psi. If you max out the +20 injectors you could easily be making 350+ lb ft on a 2.5 based on my experience, and at that point you cant get away with just a better disc, you need a stronger pressure plate too. I have a 4puck on a stock t2 pp on my aries and it started slipping a little over 300lb ft.

If you get a stronger PP you could get away with either a 4puck or 6 puck. Or if you get a REALLY strong plate you can get away with a stock disc. We have a member here who went low 11s on a stock clutch disc with a dual diaphragm pressure plate.

Have you driven a ceramic puck clutch yet? Some people like it, some dont..

04-21-2011, 01:43 PM
This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for! I have not driven anything but a stock clutch setup(as far as I know), this is why I have no idea what to expect, I don't know what is in my spirit r/t for a clutch setup but it is considerably harder to depress the clutch pedal than any of my other cars, to the point where it gets annoying in stop and go traffic, I would like to avoid this if possible, if no oh well, I'll live. Will I be able to use the stock tbi flywheel? I don't have any stock turbo pressure plates laying around so either way I need to purchase something, its one of the last pieces of my build I need to acquire.

As for the rest of your comments, I already have the 52mm throttle body and ported entry T1 intake with air charge sensor installed in it. Some day down the road a ported 2 piece is probably in order, when money permits. Right now I need to focus on getting all the necessary parts like a clutch setup for my build. I'll be shooting for whatever psi this thing can handle with current setup/funds available, needs to stay streetable though as it is going to be my dd.

The trans I got from the donor car is a a523 with final drive 3.77 any idea what kind of rpm's Ill be running at 70mph? Gas mileage estimates?

04-21-2011, 02:25 PM
TIII pressure plates iirc are a little stiffer than t1 and t2 plates, but i dont think they're considered 'stiff' to most people. You probably have some kind of aftermarket pressure plate in the r/t.

You can use your TBI flywheel. Afaik only the early mid-80s stuff had a different bolt pattern diameter for the PP for non-turbo. Definitely get it resurfaced, though, should cost around $20.

Since you'll be buying a pressure plate new anyway, id get one thats one step up from stock, and probably use a 6puck with it. Its going to be stiffer than stock but it should hold ~350 lb ft or a little more.

If you happen to drive a ceramic puck clutch and just dont like it, you might try kevlar or a stock disc, but either way you'll need a stiffer plate (and pedal) to get to the same torque capacity.

Your cruising rpm is dependent on your tire size. If you use something close in diameter to 205/60r15 (i think that was stock on snowflakes?) you'll be doing around 2600rpm @70mph in 5th with the 3.77.

(5th gear is .72 iirc)

And i think on the highway, with no special tuning whatsoever, it'll do somewhere between 26-30, maybe more if you go slow (~60).

04-21-2011, 02:50 PM
Yeah, I'm thinking the r/t isn't stock. Actually now that I think about it though I do have a stock used clutch and pp in like new condition from my 93 iroc r/t and a new in box stock clutch and pp for a 91 spirit r/t (bought from fwd performance a few years ago) Would I be alright using one of those? I would rather upgrade the stuff on those cars for even more power than this one. Yes I will be running the stock snowflakes with 205/60r15's on them. How does a stock t3 pressure plate compare to a t1 or t2? Can't wait to see those lower rpm's with the 5spd installed, right now I am well over 3000 @ 70mph. I am really on the fence with this clutch stuff, if I could get away with the stock t3 stuff I may just be temped to go with it since I already have it(just forgot about it until now).

I also need to upgrade the suspension or at the minimum replace the front struts, the oil leaked past he seals from sitting for 10 years in the field, and the ride it pretty bouncy at times.

Would the front knuckles/brake parts and k frame/a-arms be an upgrade for my car also?

Are the struts/springs the same from a shadow base model to a spirit es?

---------- Post added at 01:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:42 PM ----------

Here are some pics of the parts car in all its glory. Wait till I get some pics in the daytime so you can all see how beat this car really is. I dont think there is a single straight panel on the car and the rockers are totally gone. It does have brand new tires all the way around though;)


04-21-2011, 04:41 PM
You can definitely use the stock tIII clutch stuff up to a point. Where that point is, you will probably find out. The good thing about a stock organic clutch disc is when you find out where it slips, you can turn the boost down a little bit and then keep using it. After you slip a ceramic very much you might have to take it out and resurface the pucks.

If you've got it, run it. You can always make the car not slip the clutch by limiting the torque you make. Just be aware that the 3bar and +20s stuff might not be of much use to you if your clutch cant hold past 14psi anyway. The 2.5 should make about 300lb ft on 14psi.

06-15-2011, 05:58 PM
Update: Well havent had any time to dedicate towards this car lately however the car has forced me to address my fuel issue. Car kept running out of fuel after driving for about 15 mins and it would die. Could start back up after a min or so and drive another 15 mins. I figured it was rust/crap getting on the strainer in the tank and I was right. After pulling the tank I cant believe anything in there worked at all! I have never seen anything this rusty in my life! Looks like its time for a new tank and swapping in my walbro 255! While I'm at it I might as well swap in the 5spd and bigger turbo...

06-30-2011, 11:17 AM
Update: I had a week off to help around the house after our new baby girl was born!! I also squeezed some time in to work on the car during this week. I was able to get the engine and trans pulled from my daily driver and my shadow parts car. I also harvested the rest of the 5spd parts from the shadow and got them modified and installed on the spirit. See pics below. Still have some possible issues to sort out with the clutch cable and mounting and also still need a trans mount as the one from the shadow is the larger/newer style and I cant use it on my old 89 spirit with the smaller style mounts. See pics below for how I modified the clutch assembly from the spirit to accept a clutch pedal as the one from the shadow turned out to be quite different. I did end up welding the bracket after I took those pictures showing it bolted together, sinc ethe lower bolt interfered with the brake booster mount nut, I did end up leaving the higher bolt and welded the rest in the factory area and my lower bolt area(sorry no pics of this). You can see the differences between pedal assemblies from both cars as well as the differences from the old style auto mount to the new style manual mount for the trans side. I also show pics of the bobble strut mount I fabricated, yes I know that one piece is longer than the other but I wasn't going for looks just functionality, I think it turned out pretty good, should be really solid. Anybody else swap a 523 or 568 into an 89 spirit yet? Any tips/tricks?

Also apparently you are only allowed 20 pics in your thread, how stupid is this! What is the point of having a nice project thread if we can only put 20 pics in it, I personally hate having to click on every link to open a separate window etc just to view the thread creators pics. Admins, can we allow this for project threads please? My pics are off site anyway and load directly from my photobucket account.


07-01-2011, 01:03 AM
That's a lot of pics!

I almost hate to say it at this point but... i have never swapped that big pedal bracket to do a 5spd swap. The shaft that the pedals hinge on has a nut on one end. If you take off that nut you can slide the shaft out and use it in your stock pedal bracket (it's longer because it has the clutch pedal on it). Ive never dropped a steering column to do a 5spd swap. You can swap the pedal shafts just by laying on your back under the dash, although i admit its not easy and it really sucks to be in that position for as long as it takes to wrangle that shaft in and out.

07-05-2011, 12:40 AM
I had to drop the pedal assembly because the bracket for the auto adjuster stop was not welded on the spirit assembly, If you look at my pictures I ended up using the stock spirit assembly with the shaft and pedals from the shadow assembly and cutting off the clutch adjuster bracket and welding it onto the spirit assembly. They were quite a bit different.

09-28-2011, 08:56 AM
Well, I finally got around to working on the car again last weekend. I finally have the engine bolted to the trans with a TIII flywheel and stock clutch setup (lets hope I never have a distributor fail since I wont be able to use a timing light now) Head is on with a new gasket. 88 tbi cam is in. I ended up purchasing a non ported stock 2 piece intake, got the +20's installed and it is bolted to the head. I cleaned out the fuel rail before installing too. I bought a new fuel pump assy. and swapped out the pump with my 255. Got the sending unit out of the old tank also. Still need to get them installed in the new tank and get it hung back under the car. Changed my mind about running the totally shot stock t2 turbo. Purchased a Turbonetics hybrid 50 trim with a stage 1 turbine wheel and a chrysler .63 housing from a member on here. I am thinking I will get a ported exhaust manifold too, probably not going to port the intake for now, no time or funds for that. Also changed my mind about the stock intercooler setup, purchased a same side in/out front mount. Pics and more updates to follow once I get a chance to work on this again in the near future. Anything else I'm missing? Any thoughts on how this turbo will spool with my current setup?

03-16-2012, 01:04 AM
Finally got this car all together. Sometimes it boosts great and sometimes it seems to not build up much boost at all. Not really sure what the deal is at this point. Have a few minor bugs to work out yet such as power locks stopped working and traveler displays f1-1 error on the screen or something along those lines. Also have a slight oil leak at the fitting for the oil feed line coming from the sending unit. Also at cold start up it idles too low to stay running for whatever reason now, 30 seconds to 1 min later it idles fine and from there on out its normal. Not sure if that's the cal causing that or what.

I will try to get some pics of my front mount install and other items of interest soon. I will be driving the car to work tomorrow for the first time, hope everything goes well since I will be putting on about 150 miles tomorrow.

03-17-2012, 09:33 AM
Figured out my boost issue last night. Amateur mistake, had the vac line to the bov and wastegate can switched, must have been too tired when finishing the project. Now the car will boost great until i hit a wall at about 10 psi and cut out for some reason unknown. cal is supposed to be set for 20 psi.

---------- Post added at 08:33 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:31 AM ----------

also i can hear a psssssh leaking sound at 10 psi too right before it falls on its face a.d throws me through the windshield.