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Thread: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

  1. #1
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Force Fed Mopar's Avatar
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    '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    So, after about 4 years of daily driving (and a ton of racing ), it's time for a general overhaul of nearly everything. At the time that I acquired it from Tony (Bozo), it had a fresh 2.5 CB and Ciff-built 568 w/ OBX posi, Eibach springs, 3" exhaust w/ hi-flow cat and a MBRP resonator, +40's, 3-bar, AWIC, and I tuned it using the wideband. Fastest time was 9.03 in the 8th on slicks, fastest mph in the same 8th was 80mph on street tires. Car weighs about 3250ish with me in it, Dynamat everywhere in the cabin. I've done a couple head gaskets, once because I didn't clean the deck properly, other than that it's been a nearly rock solid daily racecar.

    However, nothing lasts forever and now it has various leaks, head is worn out, brakes are worn out and getting some shake, suspension is starting to feel loose, clutch is barely hanging on for daily use, and the body and interior have some wear and tear. I've finally managed to get something else to drive so I can park the Lebaron and do work on it.

    These are pics of it as it sits today. I'll post more later, so I can have some good before and after shots. Plans include going through the interior and recovering or replacing as necessary, bodywork and repaint in factory color (Pewter Metallic), Polybushings throughout the suspension, some aero work for post-hwy speeds, new set of Eibachs cut to drop it about an inch, and of the 2.5 TIII swap I acquired for next to nothing Also revamp the AWIC system and new stereo.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Rob M.
    '89 Turbo GTC
    2.5 TIII swap is here!

    Project LookOwt
    '91 Daytona ES, 61k original miles, Rick Lozier's old 3.0 nitrous car
    Back to basics, then the mods go back on....

  2. #2
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Sounds pretty exciting. What turbo is on it now and what turbo will you be using with the tIII?

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

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    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Force Fed Mopar's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Stock for now, then upgrade. I have a Holset H1c kicking around, as well as a Banks Sidewinder. Gonna leave it on 2-bar for now, reading back some Steve Calder made 440whp on a 2.2 on 15psi, stock head w/ cams, custom header and intake, big turbo, external wg and big injectors. Will start with stock top end on the 2.5 stroker, get that tuned then start modding from there. Same basic plan I had for the 2.5 8v before this TIII setup fell in my lap. Figure I should be able to hit 300whp on a good tune (8v setup made roughly 250 whp on 20-22 psi) pretty easily, then start changing parts out. Once I hit that 400+ mark, I'll start looking into going 3-bar, then start looking for a ported head, or someone to port this one.
    Rob M.
    '89 Turbo GTC
    2.5 TIII swap is here!

    Project LookOwt
    '91 Daytona ES, 61k original miles, Rick Lozier's old 3.0 nitrous car
    Back to basics, then the mods go back on....

  4. #4
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Force Fed Mopar's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    More before pics
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    Rob M.
    '89 Turbo GTC
    2.5 TIII swap is here!

    Project LookOwt
    '91 Daytona ES, 61k original miles, Rick Lozier's old 3.0 nitrous car
    Back to basics, then the mods go back on....

  5. #5
    Slugmobile & MeanMini Caretaker Turbo Mopar Contributor wheming's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Sounds like a fun upgrade!
    Wayne H.

    '91 Dodge Spirit ES 2.5L turbo 5spd
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Should be
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    Rob M.
    '89 Turbo GTC
    2.5 TIII swap is here!

    Project LookOwt
    '91 Daytona ES, 61k original miles, Rick Lozier's old 3.0 nitrous car
    Back to basics, then the mods go back on....

  7. #7
    Buy my stuff!!!!!!!!!!! :O) Turbo Mopar Vendor turbovanman²'s Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Another TIII 2.5 nice.

    My 2 cents on the stock head, it sucks with a 2.5, can't breath worth crap. I had a ported unit on and it was fun, would rev to the moon, stock head with the same setup, it was done before 6000 rpm.
    1989 FWD Turbo Caravan-2.5 TIII, GT35R, auto, a/c, cruise, pwr windows/locks, fully loaded with interior and ran with full exhaust. RETIRED FOR A FEW YEARS! 12.57@104 :O)
    1984 Chev Getaway van, 6.2 Diesel with a remote mounted turbo setup burning WMO-For sale.
    2003 GSW 2.0L TDI, auto, fully loaded, modified, 360K-wife's.
    2004 GSW TDI, 5 speed, fully loaded, modified.

    Aurora ignition wires for sale. Link to info

    Super60 roller cams or custom/billet cams. Link to info

  8. #8
    TIIFIIIWII Turbo Mopar Vendor DodgeZ's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Quote Originally Posted by turbovanman² View Post
    Another TIII 2.5 nice.

    My 2 cents on the stock head, it sucks with a 2.5, can't breath worth crap. I had a ported unit on and it was fun, would rev to the moon, stock head with the same setup, it was done before 6000 rpm.

    You are saying the TIII head doesn't flow well stock?
    2018 Viper runs 9s

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    TIIFIIIWII Turbo Mopar Vendor DodgeZ's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Quote Originally Posted by Force Fed Mopar View Post
    Stock for now, then upgrade. I have a Holset H1c kicking around, as well as a Banks Sidewinder. Gonna leave it on 2-bar for now, reading back some Steve Calder made 440whp on a 2.2 on 15psi, stock head w/ cams, custom header and intake, big turbo, external wg and big injectors. Will start with stock top end on the 2.5 stroker, get that tuned then start modding from there. Same basic plan I had for the 2.5 8v before this TIII setup fell in my lap. Figure I should be able to hit 300whp on a good tune (8v setup made roughly 250 whp on 20-22 psi) pretty easily, then start changing parts out. Once I hit that 400+ mark, I'll start looking into going 3-bar, then start looking for a ported head, or someone to port this one.
    Steve makes power because everything is big. Including the turbo
    2018 Viper runs 9s

  10. #10
    Buy my stuff!!!!!!!!!!! :O) Turbo Mopar Vendor turbovanman²'s Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Quote Originally Posted by DodgeZ View Post
    You are saying the TIII head doesn't flow well stock?
    For a 2.5, yeah. Changing the head from a ported unit to a stocker killed the powerband.
    1989 FWD Turbo Caravan-2.5 TIII, GT35R, auto, a/c, cruise, pwr windows/locks, fully loaded with interior and ran with full exhaust. RETIRED FOR A FEW YEARS! 12.57@104 :O)
    1984 Chev Getaway van, 6.2 Diesel with a remote mounted turbo setup burning WMO-For sale.
    2003 GSW 2.0L TDI, auto, fully loaded, modified, 360K-wife's.
    2004 GSW TDI, 5 speed, fully loaded, modified.

    Aurora ignition wires for sale. Link to info

    Super60 roller cams or custom/billet cams. Link to info

  11. #11
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Force Fed Mopar's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Quote Originally Posted by turbovanman² View Post
    For a 2.5, yeah. Changing the head from a ported unit to a stocker killed the powerband.
    Has to flow better than a stock 8v swirl lol. There's at least 50hp to be had, all things equal. After all, stock T2 was 175, stock TIII was 223...
    Rob M.
    '89 Turbo GTC
    2.5 TIII swap is here!

    Project LookOwt
    '91 Daytona ES, 61k original miles, Rick Lozier's old 3.0 nitrous car
    Back to basics, then the mods go back on....

  12. #12
    Buy my stuff!!!!!!!!!!! :O) Turbo Mopar Vendor turbovanman²'s Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Quote Originally Posted by Force Fed Mopar View Post
    Has to flow better than a stock 8v swirl lol. There's at least 50hp to be had, all things equal. After all, stock T2 was 175, stock TIII was 223...
    There is but same as a 2.2 8 valve vs 2.5 8 valve, you can rev the piss out of a 2.2 but the 2.5 is done by about 5500 rpm. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't done it. Just ran out of power vs pulled easily to 7000 grand with a ported head.
    1989 FWD Turbo Caravan-2.5 TIII, GT35R, auto, a/c, cruise, pwr windows/locks, fully loaded with interior and ran with full exhaust. RETIRED FOR A FEW YEARS! 12.57@104 :O)
    1984 Chev Getaway van, 6.2 Diesel with a remote mounted turbo setup burning WMO-For sale.
    2003 GSW 2.0L TDI, auto, fully loaded, modified, 360K-wife's.
    2004 GSW TDI, 5 speed, fully loaded, modified.

    Aurora ignition wires for sale. Link to info

    Super60 roller cams or custom/billet cams. Link to info

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    TIIFIIIWII Turbo Mopar Vendor DodgeZ's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    I'd guess it was your tune.
    2018 Viper runs 9s

  14. #14
    Buy my stuff!!!!!!!!!!! :O) Turbo Mopar Vendor turbovanman²'s Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Quote Originally Posted by DodgeZ View Post
    I'd guess it was your tune.
    Yep!!!!
    1989 FWD Turbo Caravan-2.5 TIII, GT35R, auto, a/c, cruise, pwr windows/locks, fully loaded with interior and ran with full exhaust. RETIRED FOR A FEW YEARS! 12.57@104 :O)
    1984 Chev Getaway van, 6.2 Diesel with a remote mounted turbo setup burning WMO-For sale.
    2003 GSW 2.0L TDI, auto, fully loaded, modified, 360K-wife's.
    2004 GSW TDI, 5 speed, fully loaded, modified.

    Aurora ignition wires for sale. Link to info

    Super60 roller cams or custom/billet cams. Link to info

  15. #15
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    You need the bigger ports (even 16V) to take advantage of the extra amount of stroke. Yes, even with boost. I do agree that the tune will also have an effect on things as well as ignition timing is important due to piston speed.

  16. #16
    TIIFIIIWII Turbo Mopar Vendor DodgeZ's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    http://thedodgegarage.com/cylinder_head_flow.html

    The Lotus head flows like the SRT4 head. The SRT4 is a 2.4. The SRT4 head flows so much that if you rip the shitty stock turbo and put a big turbo with supporting mods they make 500hp. 500hp, that is without removing the TB,intake manifold, valve cover or oil pan. Bolt-on exhaust, turbo, fuel, intercooler and a good tune you are at 500hp, no porting.

    These facts lead me down the path to believe the Lotus head flows enough air for 2.5.
    2018 Viper runs 9s

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    TIIFIIIWII Turbo Mopar Vendor DodgeZ's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    2018 Viper runs 9s

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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Ok.....
    1989 FWD Turbo Caravan-2.5 TIII, GT35R, auto, a/c, cruise, pwr windows/locks, fully loaded with interior and ran with full exhaust. RETIRED FOR A FEW YEARS! 12.57@104 :O)
    1984 Chev Getaway van, 6.2 Diesel with a remote mounted turbo setup burning WMO-For sale.
    2003 GSW 2.0L TDI, auto, fully loaded, modified, 360K-wife's.
    2004 GSW TDI, 5 speed, fully loaded, modified.

    Aurora ignition wires for sale. Link to info

    Super60 roller cams or custom/billet cams. Link to info

  19. #19
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Force Fed Mopar's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    I still think 300 on the stock turbo is doable. Would have to be 3-bar though, run 20+ psi. 290 has been made on an 8v on a stock turbo on 30psi w/ lots of fuel or meth sprayed at it. I really don't see why 300+ can't be done on the TIII on the same principles.... No not the most efficient or easiest way but I bet it can be done.
    Rob M.
    '89 Turbo GTC
    2.5 TIII swap is here!

    Project LookOwt
    '91 Daytona ES, 61k original miles, Rick Lozier's old 3.0 nitrous car
    Back to basics, then the mods go back on....

  20. #20
    Moderator Turbo Mopar Staff Vigo's Avatar
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    Re: '89 Lebaron Turbo GTC: General overhaul + 2.5 TIII swap

    Where an engine 'feels' like it makes power or wants to be shifted is very subjective because you're just comparing it to other parts of its own powerband. I have a turbo caravan right now with a stock 1pc, stock mitsu, stock downpipe, stock head, stock cam, stock injectors, stock computer, stock stock stock. By retarding the cam 6* i've made it 'feel' like it wants to be shifted at 5600+ and at 17psi i hit the 6200 limiter somewhat frequently in 1st and 2nd, which you basically NEVER do with stock cam timing.I dont know if i ever hit the stock rev limiter with a stock 2.5 t1 setup. This setup may not actually be any faster than stock cam timing, but when i'm deciding when to shift i'm not comparing it to a stock setup, i'm comparing it to what it felt like 500rpm ago.

    You can probably take a stock TIII head on a 2.5 and make it feel like it wants to be shifted at 7000 rpm. It doesn't necessarily mean you'll make more power at 7000 than you would at 6000 with a completely stock setup. It doesn't mean it would be 'better'. It just means you made it make less power at lower rpm and maybe you slightly improved the power it makes at higher rpm. Area under the curve might be ----. Your peak power number might be lower. But it will feel like it wants to be revved higher. So unless you're comparing dyno plots, the rpm an engine seems like it wants to be revved to isn't a reflection of whether it's making GOOD power, it's just a reflection of where it's making the power it's making, good or bad.

    Dont push the red button.You hear me?

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