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Thread: The Instigator Build Log.

  1. #1
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    The Instigator Build Log.

    If you are on Facebook then you probably know who I am, If not I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Nick Rutledge, Im located in Oklahoma, and this is my build long of my 1989 Caravan I like to call The Instigator!

    I remember being 14-15 years old and seeing a video on the interwebs of a woodgrain Turbo Caravan putting some cars on a Z28 at the drag strip. This was back in the day of limewire, kazaa, or napster. Im not even sure if Youtube was a thing yet. I used to watch racing videos for hrs at a time.


    It blew my mind something you would never think could be fast was outrunning, what I considered, one of the fast street cars of its era. Of all the other vehicles out there this was the most awesome thing I had seen. I watched this video all the time and showed anyone who would watch, actually when I picked this van up my sister spouted off " I remember you watching that video over and over and would just laugh" I was set to own one of these vans one day.


    Fast forward almost 20 years and I finally became the owner of an 89 Turbo Caravan. With 145k on the clock.

    June 19, 2021 im out at the local race spot just talking with some buddies and the mention of a sleeper comes up. I bring up the Caravans and the memories just start flowing back. I was dead set to buy one. I started searching the internet that night and couldnt find one to save my life but then I stumble upon a craigslist ad for one in Southern California. I send out an email and wait a couple day before I get a reply. I start talking with the owner and after a few days I buy a plane ticket and Friday July 2, 2021 I made my way to California from Oklahoma.

    I didn't even test drive the van, I just chatted with the previous owner for a few, gave him his money, and was on my way back to Oklahoma. 1300 miles later I make it home and Im ready to start modding the van.

    My end goal was to run a high 10-low 11 with the full interior and still be able to drive the van wherever Id like. I started with a base line 1/4 mile run and baseline hp/tq numbers.
    She ran 17.66@77mph and made 129.09Hp@4780 160.37Tq@3240

    Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the rest.


  2. #2
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Here are some pics from the trip and the van when I first got it.












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  3. #3
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Stock Dyno Graph and 1/4 mile run!!







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  4. #4
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    First step, I knew that the head was going to be a bottle neck so it needed to be ported. I also had come across a diagram where 5 Digits had said the swirl head would be better if welded. I found a local guy who could port it and weld it up for me. Not only did we weld and reshape the chambers, but we welded above the intake ports so we could raise the roof of the intake runners. Stainless intake valves, Inconel exhaust valves, and copper beryllium seats.











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  5. #5
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Wow. That's an impressive effort on the head. I'll be very interested to see how this turns out. Your van is extraordinary similar to mine with the exception of it being an auto trans.

    I would love to see what you have lined up for manifolds, turbo, and trans.

  6. #6
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Wow. That's an impressive effort on the head. I'll be very interested to see how this turns out. Your van is extraordinary similar to mine with the exception of it being an auto trans.

    I would love to see what you have lined up for manifolds, turbo, and trans.
    Hey man, I've actually already got the van going, just got around to posting a log. I'll update some more with intake header and all that now.

  7. #7
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    I knew I wanted to get the van lower so I got with Rich Bryant and ordered a set of his BC coilovers for the front. In the rear we copied Fastasleep and built a new axle. Shocks on the rear were swapped over to some Viking Double adjustables Part# D218. While at it I swapped over to the larger lug pattern and the bolt on front hubs. I just picked up a cheap set of Summit wheels to get me going.

















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  8. #8
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Short block was built by a local shop Brand Racing Engines. He does alot of work with the street outlaw guys and used to be big into the Ford 2.3's.

    Block was half filled
    Zero decked
    Drilled for 1/2" head studs
    4 bolt billet main caps
    Arp main studs
    Mains line honed
    .040 ceramic coated Wisecos
    Compression bumped from stock to 9.2:1
    Srt 4 Manley Rods
    Balanced
    Knife edged the crank and I believe pulled 5lbs out of it
    Oil main feed holes were enlarged
    Main saddles were grooved behind the main bearings and extra feed holes drilled.
    Aux shaft was cut down on the lathe to remove some weight.
    Mopar High pressure spring installed in the oil pump.
    Balance shafts removed
    Oil pan baffled









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    Last edited by Loudexploder; 12-25-2022 at 01:21 AM.

  9. #9
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    The Instigator Build Log.

    Im real big on camshafts and I didnt really like what was available. I got in touch with Geoff at Colt cams and found that he had one blank left. I jumped on it and gave him the specs I wanted.

    The specs on this cam are
    224/230 duration @.050
    .525/.505 Lift
    113LSA

    I used the Perfect Circle 214-2130 rockers

    PT Lifters with spacers

    Valve Springs are 425lbs/in
    146lbs seat pressure
    369lbs over the nose intake
    360lbs over the nose exhaust.

    Titanium retainers from PAC


    With this cam on a stock valve deshrouded cylinder head and stock bottom end the 2.5 made a peak power of 343 at 5800rpm and 24psi

    After installing just the ported head the 2.5 made a peak power of 410 at 6500rpm on the same 24psi. (I let out at 6500 but the graph was still pointed up and making power)

    Don't really have any pics of the camshaft.





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    Last edited by Loudexploder; 12-24-2022 at 11:08 PM.

  10. #10
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Wow. This is a very serious and thoughtful build. I love it. Thanks for taking the time to post up the details with photos.

  11. #11
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Wow. This is a very serious and thoughtful build. I love it. Thanks for taking the time to post up the details with photos.
    Yessir, I appreciate the kind words. More to come, it just takes time to get it all typed out and find the pics through the 1,000's on my phone


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  12. #12
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    The Instigator Build Log.

    A local shop has done all my fabricating for me on other vehicles so I knew this was going to be no exception, plus he likes the oddball stuff so it was a good fit. I dropped the van off to Josh at The Pad OKC here in Edmond OK and pretty much gave him free reign to do what he does. I had some ideas that were must have but he was allowed to put his spice on things. I wanted to move the turbo from under the intake to help with the heat on the intake along with ease of working on this thing and I love the turbo being right up in your face when you pop the hood. He designed me a long tube head with external wastegate. I picked up the flange from Brian Slowe but everything else was done by Josh.

    I also wanted to move the TB from the end of the plenum and center it over the Valve cover. My thinking was it should aide in a more even air distribution to the cylinders. I shot Wallace at Lonewolf a message to see if they had any flanges that I could purchase. Turns out they had one last set so we used the Lonewolf flanges and made a custom center feed intake. The manifold was paired with a 75 mm BBK TB but the flange is 90mm so there is always room to go larger if at some point it is needed.

    The turbo is a Garrett G30-770 (specs can be found here https://www.garrettmotion.com/racing...eries-g30-770/) but basically it is the newest Garret 3071 and is rated to 770HP. I've seen most people go with the .63 ar housings but I felt that may hinder my top end performance and my HP goal so even against the judgement of others I chose to use the .83 and just hoped the motor would spool the turbo soon enough. We're in boost by 3k and its pulling hard.

    Downpipe is 4" stainless Steel with a 4" cutout. It necks down to 3" after the cutout and goes through a resonator and dynomax straight trough muffler then comes out under the sliding door.

    Josh also added a full width radiator that is a cross flow, along with a full size condenser since I wanted to keep AC.

    The intercooler is a frozen boost Type 14 A2W, with a heat exchanger mounted behind the grill, and a 5 Gallon Chiseled Performance water tank mounted between the front seats.

















    Last edited by Loudexploder; 12-24-2022 at 11:32 PM.

  13. #13
    Slugmobile & MeanMini Caretaker Turbo Mopar Contributor wheming's Avatar
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Wow. This is a very serious and thoughtful build. I love it. Thanks for taking the time to post up the details with photos.
    I'm really looking forward to seeing Nick's van at some future event, SDAC or a drag & drive. Cordes, you have missed out on seeing all the lead up teasers/updates that had been on social media, but this is going to be one to watch the progression!

    Sent from my KB2005 using Tapatalk
    Wayne H.

    '91 Dodge Spirit ES 2.5L turbo 5spd
    '05 PT GT 2.4T HO autostick (RIP)
    '89 Plymouth Acclaim 2.5L turbo auto, "Slugmobile" yes, THE Slugmobile!
    '89 Dodge Caravan SE 2.5L turbo auto, "Mean Mini" yes, Gus' Mean Mini! (Current best 11.699 @ 114.43 mph! - Oct 15th, 2022 Cecil County Dragway, MD)
    MeanMini dragracing videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...URZLB1RxGYF6vw
    and other cars, trucks and motorcycles
    https://www.youtube.com/user/SlugmobileMeanMini

  14. #14
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Quote Originally Posted by wheming View Post
    I'm really looking forward to seeing Nick's van at some future event, SDAC or a drag & drive. Cordes, you have missed out on seeing all the lead up teasers/updates that had been on social media, but this is going to be one to watch the progression!

    Sent from my KB2005 using Tapatalk

    Thanks Wayne, I really am hoping to make SDAC in 2023, and possibly do some other drag and drives other than what has been around here. Looking forward to meeting a few of you guys in person. I appreciate all the help and talks along the way!!

  15. #15
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    The Instigator Build Log.

    I'd like to think I am a pretty solid tuner, but after looking at the MP Tune stuff I felt it was going to take more effort and time to learn this program than it would to just swap over to a standalone ECU.

    About this time, Wayne Hemingway was in the process of putting together a crank trigger setup. I jumped in on the group buy and waited for them to be made.

    Snagged an underdrive pulley from Cindy at FWD Performance.

    For the cam sensor I am using a flying magnet Pickup from Holley. I drilled and tapped a hole in the cam sprocket and then mounted the Cam sensor over the end of the pulley. I know people have just repurposed the dist for this but I wanted to have a more solid signal and not worry about any play or lash in the gears or timing belt.

    Had some old LS coils laying around so I just used those for spark.

    I was familiar with the Holley ECU's as I do alot of turbo LS stuff and tons of those are ran on either Holley or Factory ecu. The Terminator X Ecu is holleys bottom of the line standalone but It is very capable of doing what I needed, at least at the moment. I picked up the Terminator and an unterminated harness Then started running wires.

    I am also using the Terminator to control boost with onboard CO2.








  16. #16
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Ivery impressive. I like the cam sensor and I'm impressed that you get that turbo going by 3k rpm. That speaks volumes to what that head is doing.

  17. #17
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Ivery impressive. I like the cam sensor and I'm impressed that you get that turbo going by 3k rpm. That speaks volumes to what that head is doing.
    Thanks, I like to think its more the combination. I will say that with the stock motor and compression it would come in around 4k even with the ported head. Once I got the built bottom end and bumped compression up around 9.2-9.3:1 it made boost come in about 1k sooner.

  18. #18
    Rhymes with tortoise. Turbo Mopar Staff cordes's Avatar
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Quote Originally Posted by Loudexploder View Post
    Thanks, I like to think its more the combination. I will say that with the stock motor and compression it would come in around 4k even with the ported head. Once I got the built bottom end and bumped compression up around 9.2-9.3:1 it made boost come in about 1k sooner.
    Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that's where your compression is at. Regardless, it's going to be a sight to see it run at SDAC. I'm very much looking forward to it.

  19. #19
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Quote Originally Posted by cordes View Post
    Thanks for the info. I didn't realize that's where your compression is at. Regardless, it's going to be a sight to see it run at SDAC. I'm very much looking forward to it.
    Yessir, really hoping to get it to SDAC and race these other vans. I broke the record a few weeks after Wayne, then Jason and Tommy broke the record a few weeks after me, so there should be some good van on van action going on this year!! I went 11.65@119 but im also full weight weighing in at 3355LBS. Working now to shed some weight. Those updates will be posted soon as im not finished yet but currently working on them.

  20. #20
    Supporting Member Turbo Mopar Contributor GLHS60's Avatar
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    Re: The Instigator Build Log.

    Nice build:

    I love Turbo Minis almost as much as Turbo Omnis.!!

    Still have 2 tucked away, 1 runner and 1 non runner.

    Thanks
    Randy


    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

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