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Thread: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

  1. #1
    Mitsu booster
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    1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Hello everyone!

    So I am the proud new owner of a 1989 Dodge Spirit ES 2.5L Turbo! Many of my car friends don't understand, but I've wanted an FWD turbo Mopar every since high-school (I'm 32 now). Several weird cars later, I finally found myself a Spirit nearby. It hadn't ran in 5 years, and the PO could never get it to run right with the upgraded computer from fwdperformance (again 5 years ago) and a new long-block installed. But after reverting some modifications to stock and installing an OEM SRT4 intercooler, she runs great!!!

    Here is what she has:
    - Stock Mitsu turbo
    - SRT4 intercooler
    - Amazon bov
    - 2.5in exhaust (PO)
    - fwdperformance ecu stage 2? (PO)

    Back in high-school, I read through thedodgegarage.com at least 20 times lol, and I've since red through it 5 times as a refresher. I guess my question would be this: has anything changed? Are there easier upgrades available now compared to back in the 90s? Are their newer turbos on Ebay that would be easy to use on this 2.5l? I'm just trying to make this a fast daily without breaking the bank.

    Also, are their any easy suspension upgrades for this platform? She needs all new struts and bushing, but I wanted to ask or guidance before I purchase anything.

    Thanks so much for your time. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and contributing to this site.
    - Chris


    PS: She is an automatic, but I will be performing the modifications as per the "Knowledge Center" I found on this site :-)

  2. #2
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Welcome to the site Chris.

    If you have all of the basic maintenance done, the formula has remained relatively unchanged. If you just want a quick daily driver, adding some boost will get you there. I would highly recommend getting a WBO2 and carefully tuning the car. If you look in the EFI tuning section, you'll find MPTuner which is a way you can roll your own cals.

    As far as the suspension goes, there isn't much in the middle these days. It's pretty much the stuff from the parts store, or Rich Bryant's BC coilover stuff. I have the coilovers on two cars and they're awesome. They're not on the same planet as the cheapest stuff you can get on Rockauto though.

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor GLHS60's Avatar
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Welcome Chris!!

    1989 Spirit Turbos rock!!

    Along with what Cordola posted:

    Up grading to a stock T-II Garrett or MP Super 60 Turbo is a great "bolt on".

    Our are an oddball turbo/exhaust manifold bolt pattern that limit options.

    The manifold could be re drilled for conventional Turbos if desired.

    Bolt on Turbo oil/water lines are available for the Garrett and MP Super 60.

    Beware of Super 60 Turbos that aren't MP as they don't bolt on.

    Many Turbos don't have the water cooling provisions that ours have.

    FWD Performance and Turbos Unleashed are trusted vendors.

    Both can supply Turbos and other good stuff .

    Not at ebay prices but also not ebay quality and they will fit.

    A free flowing exhaust on a 2.5/Mitsu combo can hit stock over boost easily.

    Something to keep in mind if you run into this issue.

    Best of luck!

    Thanks
    Randy

    PS: Great site if you haven't seen it yet:

    http://www.gusmahon.org/
    Last edited by GLHS60; 08-12-2020 at 06:57 AM.


    There is no logical reason to call an Engine a motor.

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

  4. #4
    Mitsu booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Welcome to the site Chris.

    If you have all of the basic maintenance done, the formula has remained relatively unchanged. If you just want a quick daily driver, adding some boost will get you there. I would highly recommend getting a WBO2 and carefully tuning the car. If you look in the EFI tuning section, you'll find MPTuner which is a way you can roll your own cals.

    As far as the suspension goes, there isn't much in the middle these days. It's pretty much the stuff from the parts store, or Rich Bryant's BC coilover stuff. I have the coilovers on two cars and they're awesome. They're not on the same planet as the cheapest stuff you can get on Rockauto though.
    Thanks Cordes. I do have an air/fuel gauge ready to install. I have the 4 wire O2 that came from the factory that was going to tap into...would you recommend replacing that Stock o2 sensor with the wbo2 or installing an additional wbo2 sensor more downstream of the turbo and wiring the gauge to that?

    I also have a Hobbs pressure switch and a cold start injector somewhere in my parts stash, but Iíll check out mptuner! Thatís definitely a new development :-)

  5. #5
    Mitsu booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by GLHS60 View Post
    Welcome Chris!!

    1989 Spirit Turbos rock!!

    Along with what Cordola posted:

    Up grading to a stock T-II Garrett or MP Super 60 Turbo is a great "bolt on".

    Our are an oddball turbo/exhaust manifold bolt pattern that limit options.

    The manifold could be re drilled for conventional Turbos if desired.

    Bolt on Turbo oil/water lines are available for the Garrett and MP Super 60.

    Beware of Super 60 Turbos that aren't MP as they don't bolt on.

    Many Turbos don't have the water cooling provisions that ours have.

    FWD Performance and Turbos Unleashed are trusted vendors.

    Both can supply Turbos and other good stuff .

    Not at ebay prices but also not ebay quality and they will fit.

    A free flowing exhaust on a 2.5/Mitsu combo can hit stock over boost easily.

    Something to keep in mind if you run into this issue.

    Best of luck!

    Thanks
    Randy

    PS: Great site if you haven't seen it yet:

    http://www.gusmahon.org/
    dude you made my day!! I totally forgot about Gusís Slugmobile!!! He has great suspension advice on that site as well. Ya know, Iíd really like to build a Slugmobile II to honor Gus. Maybe Iíll try to replicate his set up since it worked so well (why reinvent the wheel lol).

    thank you so much

  6. #6
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenderbass View Post
    Thanks Cordes. I do have an air/fuel gauge ready to install. I have the 4 wire O2 that came from the factory that was going to tap into...would you recommend replacing that Stock o2 sensor with the wbo2 or installing an additional wbo2 sensor more downstream of the turbo and wiring the gauge to that?

    I also have a Hobbs pressure switch and a cold start injector somewhere in my parts stash, but Iíll check out mptuner! Thatís definitely a new development :-)
    You can't use a WBO2 sensor in place of the stock one unless you use your WBO2 sensor's NB output (if it has one) to feed the computer a signal. That's generally what I do. I only use one O2 sensor in the stock location and the NBO2 output signal from my WB controller is used to feed the computer which has always worked out very well for me.

    In regard to the hobbs switch, I would completely avoid that unless you're doing it for nostalgia reasons. You can get a computer which will run larger injectors, or roll your own for next to free and do the same. It's so much better than the tuning from the dark ages.

  7. #7
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    I don't use this brand anymore, but it's the same thing really. I'm using the 14point7 Spartan units now.


  8. #8
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Welcome!

    Slugmobile is still out there, living in North Carolina.

    With your 89 SMEC electronics you'll also have the option of running the Turbonator/T-SMEC calibration and use the WB2NB function. It will let you feed your 0-5v WB output into the SMEC.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor GLHS60's Avatar
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Sounds like a plan but my good friend Wayne Hemingway owns Slug and Mean Mini.

    Might be respectful to get his blessing before starting.

    Best of Luck!

    Thanks
    Randy

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenderbass View Post
    dude you made my day!! I totally forgot about Gusís Slugmobile!!! He has great suspension advice on that site as well. Ya know, Iíd really like to build a Slugmobile II to honor Gus. Maybe Iíll try to replicate his set up since it worked so well (why reinvent the wheel lol).

    thank you so much


    There is no logical reason to call an Engine a motor.

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

  10. #10
    Garrett booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Congrats on your new wheels! Sounds like a fun ride and a sleeper. Post pics when you get a chance.

  11. #11
    Mitsu booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by GLHS60 View Post
    Sounds like a plan but my good friend Wayne Hemingway owns Slug and Mean Mini.

    Might be respectful to get his blessing before starting.

    Best of Luck!

    Thanks
    Randy
    wow i had no idea they were still on the road. Iíll have to come up with a new name :-)

  12. #12
    Mitsu booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    thanks everybody! Iíll try to post some pics tomorrow.

    Looks like a lot has changed with tuning. Awesome video, Cordes. Any particular reason you chose to go with something other than that PLX unit?

  13. #13
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenderbass View Post
    thanks everybody! Iíll try to post some pics tomorrow.

    Looks like a lot has changed with tuning. Awesome video, Cordes. Any particular reason you chose to go with something other than that PLX unit?
    Mainly cost. You can build your own unit which is super simple using the 14point7 Spartan kit. They work pretty well too. I have several of them.

  14. #14
    Mitsu booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Mainly cost. You can build your own unit which is super simple using the 14point7 Spartan kit. They work pretty well too. I have several of them.
    just to confirm: is this what you are talking about?
    https://www.14point7.com/products/sp...a-controller-2

  15. #15
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Mainly cost. You can build your own unit which is super simple using the 14point7 Spartan kit. They work pretty well too. I have several of them.
    I installed a 14point7 Spartan 2 (assembled) the other week and it works great!
    The Spartan 2 also has a simulated NB output that connects directly to the ECU.
    Regards,
    Miles

    DD '87 Sundance T1, 12PSI, SLH with rear disks
    '87 CSX #432

  16. #16
    Mitsu booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by chromguy View Post
    I installed a 14point7 Spartan 2 (assembled) the other week and it works great!
    The Spartan 2 also has a simulated NB output that connects directly to the ECU.
    Ya i noticed that. Seems like a nice and reasonably priced unit. Did you install a new pin or did you tap into the original O2 wiring?

    Sorry about all of the questions. This is all very exciting stuff that is very new to me.

  17. #17
    Mitsu booster
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    [IMG] Pic of the PO (left) and I. He was such a cool guy. The car stayed in one family, and he did a great job documenting the history. [/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    I still need to straighten out the intercooler and get it a little higher in the car.

  18. #18
    Supporting Member II Turbo Mopar Contributor
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenderbass View Post
    Ya i noticed that. Seems like a nice and reasonably priced unit. Did you install a new pin or did you tap into the original O2 wiring?

    Sorry about all of the questions. This is all very exciting stuff that is very new to me.
    Last winter I converted from LM/PM to SBEC so i rewired from the firewall forward. I added an extra bit of wire to the O2 sensor input wire so I could add the Spartan2 NB output when I am ready. Currently still using the original NB sensor as I become comfortable with the WB. I expect to change over in the next few months

    PS looks like a great car. My CSX also had a bit of surface rust where the paint was missing. I sanded the rust off and painted with RustOleum until I have the car ready to paint.
    Regards,
    Miles

    DD '87 Sundance T1, 12PSI, SLH with rear disks
    '87 CSX #432

  19. #19
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenderbass View Post
    just to confirm: is this what you are talking about?
    https://www.14point7.com/products/sp...a-controller-2
    No, sorry, I am using the one you have to put together. Although, with the new design you hardly have to do anything at all.

    https://www.14point7.com/products/si...troller-free-2

  20. #20
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: 1989 Dodge Spirit 2.5L Turbo Upgrades :-)

    ETA: I have cut the stock O2 wire near the 60 way connector and crimped onto it, and I have also used an old 60 way connector while tucking the original wire back into the harness. Both seem to work just fine.

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