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Thread: Beginner Minivan Build

  1. #1
    Garrett booster
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    Beginner Minivan Build

    Okay so its been almost a year now so I figure its time to get going on this project. I have an mostly stock 89 turbo Caravan that I am going to convert to t2 status. I had originally planned on working on this with someone who had done this a few times before but it looks like I will be going at it without him for the most part. Sooooooo I may have gotten in a little bit over my head.... Okay, way over.. So far all I have done to it is put on a 3 inch exhaust and a couple gauges. I think I have accumulated most of the parts needed, but I wanted to hold off until I had everything. So my question is what should I do first? Also what head gasket should I use since the 005 is gone now?

  2. #2
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor GLHS60's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    For starters you need the 006 head gasket as your 1989 2.5 would be crossdrilled. If you can possibly swap a Garrett that would be the place to start. Good Luck!!

    Thanks
    Randy


    Randy Hicks
    86 GLHS60
    86 GLHS 373 : SOLD, but never forgotten
    89 Turbo Minivan
    83 Turbo Rampage : SOLD
    Edmonton,Alberta,Canada

  3. #3
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Which gauges do you have?

    I think so far, you ARE doing things in the right order. Ideally someone would want to have an exhaust system and a wideband oxygen sensor before doing anything else. After that you could use a manual boost controller to up the boost a few psi. You'll probably land around 13 psi on the stock turbo. The Mitsu turbo can make more boost but its internal wastegate doesnt flow enough to keep boost pressure from 'spiking' before stabilizing, and you will have to set it to the highest number that doesnt 'spike' high enough to hit the overboost cutout at ~14.7psi. That's why i think you will land around 13.

    If you have the chance, i would at least upgrade to the factory garrett turbo while you have the head off. Even if you dont plan to make a whole lot of power, it is still more adiabatically efficient, which means it heats the air up less, and it's easier to control boost with it as it doesn't have the Mitsu's spiking and creeping issue.

    If you DONT upgrade the turbo right now, i would DEFINITELY port the wastegate orifice in the turbo so that you can turn the boost up higher (after you get an intercooler) without running into massive boost spikes and uncontrollable boost creep.


    So, in my mind the basic ideal order of mods is: Wideband, Exhaust, Boost controller, Intercooler. After that you're looking at upgrading the fuel system/computer, followed by the turbo if you haven't already.

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

  4. #4
    Garrett booster
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Unfortunately I put on a narrow band A/F gauge... It came with van and I didn't know any better at the time. I have it set to stock boost so it currently spikes to like 11 or 12 if remember right, it started leaking coolant pretty so I have not driven it in a couple weeks. We think its coming from the turbo but cannot tell. I also picked a t2 motor for cheep that I was going to steal the intake and turbo off of for the van. So my next step should be to swap the turbo and intake? I probably should trade out my narrow band for a wideband too..

    - - - Updated - - -

    So I need a 006 HG and not an 005? How do you know which one to use?

  5. #5
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Yes, you should really get a wideband. It can save you a lot of annoyance and is pretty much a necessity when you get to a certain point. A lot of people will tell you you dont need one for low-ish boost but i just broke some pistons at 12 psi a few months ago and there's a good chance i wouldnt have if i'd had a wideband on it at the time.

    Does the intake on the t2 motor look totally different from what's on the van? If so, you got lucky! Either way, yes it would be good to put the turbo from the T2 motor onto the van motor.

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

  6. #6
    Garrett booster
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Idk it looks similar, its a two piece. I believe the motor came out of Daytona Z? Now when I swap the turbos do I run the wastegate that is on the t2 turbo now or should I upgrade that? It had been sitting for a while so I don't know if it even works. Is there a way to check before hand?

  7. #7
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    If it's the 2 pc, you've got the best of the stock intake manifolds.

    I would run the wastegate actuator that is on the T2 turbo. You can see if the diaphragm is leaking by hooking it up to a hand vac/pressure pump or regulating shop air down to <20 psi and see if it holds or leaks down. Any motor that had a 2-pc intake on it would have the 'small can' wastegate which typically doesnt hold higher boost settings without some help. However, i dont see this as a big issue because if you find it cant hold your desired boost setting you can generally fix it by spacing it away from the compressor cover with some washers. I had one that would not do more than 11psi, but i took it all the way to 18 after i spaced it out. I never went any higher because i didnt have a wideband o2 and broke the motor @ 18 psi (let that be a FURTHER warning to you, wideband is NEEDED).

    So, as long as the internal diaphragm isnt leaking, i would just run it and add spacers if needed.

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

  8. #8
    Garrett booster
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    Smile Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Alright, we were supposed to start working on this today but we never got around to it. Here are some pictures of what I have to start with. There is a lot of red and no rust. I have the T2 intake and turbo to put on it along with a water to air intercooler, nitrous and a few other things. If this ever gets done it should be pretty fun.










  9. #9
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Looks like a pretty good starting point. Hard to find any of these that still look good. Mine looks worse than most of the ones in the junkyard.

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

  10. #10
    Slugmobile & MeanMini Caretaker Turbo Mopar Contributor wheming's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Me likey!
    I just love those red interiors! :thumbup:
    Wayne H.

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  11. #11
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor 2.216VTurbo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Nice van, maybe you could add some pics to the "show off your Mini" thread. I that red interior, it's what my Woody had before I swapped it for the 'other red' interior so I could gain a power drivers seat I see you have crank windows, by chance does it have electric rear windows like my Bro's blue turbo Voyager LE? I thought it was weird that my Woody SE had power windows but manual rear windows and his is vice versa

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  12. #12
    Garrett booster
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    I'll have to clean it up a bit and take some better pictures to post to that thread, but I do love the red interior. And yes it does have crank windows up front and power windows for just the rear two.

  13. #13
    Garrett booster
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Okay so its been like 6 months now and I've finally got the head off. I was comparing the mitsu turbo to the garret and realized the size difference in the swing valves. The garret has the 2.25 I believe and the Mitsubishi has the 2.5. I don't know a whole lot about what parts will swap over but I don't think I can just swap the stock 2.5 from the mini onto the garret turbo and my 3 inch exhaust wont fit on the 2.25... Where can I find a 2.5, or preferable a 3in, that will fit?

  14. #14
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    The mitsu housing will not bolt to the garrett turbo.

    You can slot the holes on your downpipe flange inwards and it will bolt up to the 2.25" housing on the garrett if you use 'normal' bolts instead of 'shouldered' bolts. It's not ideal but i've done it several times. Other than that you can look in the for sale section or post a want ad for a 2.5" swingvalve housing. They typically go for $70+ depending on condition. They were only made for one year.

    Keep in mind it can be tricky to get those bolts out of the turbine housing without breaking them. There is one bolt on the inside too that is tricky on the garrett. I go through the o2 sensor hole with an extension and use a wobble socket on the inside but not everyone has wobble sockets.

    TU made 3" swingvalve housings for the garrett in the past but they are not always readily available used. When you find them they are often going for $200+ iirc.

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

  15. #15
    turbo addict
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    Guess we need to know your budget and goals. 250hp? 500hp? $1000 to spend? $3000 to spend? 1st thing I'd do if I owned a minivan is slap a Water/Air IC on it from Frozenboost.com. Then decide how much power I want to make from there. Is a S60 turbo going to get me to my goals (great street turbo IMO) Or do I want to go T3/T4 or GT dual ball bearing?? Once I have a power goal I can choose my turbo and decide if I need to port the head and manifolds (I ALWAYS port the exhaust manny). Will the 1 piece intake get me by or do I need/want a 2 piece, do I want a custom upper plenum on a 2 piece? How much boost do I want to run?


    As far as Swingvalves/O2 housings there's the 87 and earlier 2.25" then the 88 2.25" wide flange and the 2.5" 89T2 from the factory for the Garretts. Then you can either go with a TU 3" and their downpipe or an FWDP downpipe if you want to order from 2 different places. If you want to up the flow even further "shadow" here sometimes makes 3" SV's with a mandrel bend on them. Then there's the ATPturbo piece that will require a custom downpipe but is really nice. Those all bolt onto the Garrett or Chrysler Garrett housing.

  16. #16
    Garrett booster
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    I spent the extra money and ordered a new 3" TU swingvalve. I didn't think of it when I bought it but will I need to buy an aftermarket wastegate can for it or will the stock garrett work?

    Thanks

  17. #17
    Garrett booster
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    As for the intercooler, I actually did buy a water to air intercooler kit from frozen boost. It will take a little bit more work to get it together but it fits in very nicely and lets me keep my AC. I would like a S60 turbo but I already had a garrett and don't really want to spend too much more on this project.

  18. #18
    turbo addict
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    You'll probably have to make your WG arm adjustable by cutting it and threading it for 1/4-20 then using a coupler and some lock nuts so that you can adjust the wg to have 5-7psi with a straight vac line from the intake to the actuator. So sounds like you want something fun and peppy. I think you're pretty much there. Just get it all installed.

  19. #19
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    You can run low 13s in an automatic van with the stock garrett. It's just that hardly anyone has ever had the combination of motivation and patience and skill to actually try. Most people never get their vans out of the 14s even though they have the parts to go faster. Even a 14 second van feels fast to most people.

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

  20. #20
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor GLHS60's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner Minivan Build

    His is 5 speed, should be fun!! I love red interiors too, they wear well and don't fade as bad as other colors.
    My 1989 Voyager LX has red interior and still looks like new inside, outside not so much.

    Thanks
    Randy


    Randy Hicks
    86 GLHS60
    86 GLHS 373 : SOLD, but never forgotten
    89 Turbo Minivan
    83 Turbo Rampage : SOLD
    Edmonton,Alberta,Canada

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