I bought my first Talon in May of 1997, it was a red 1990 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD. I bought it to replace a 1986 Camaro, and at first was reluctant. I quickly realized the potential of my car, though, and started slowly modifying the Talon. Being a turbo charged 2.0 liter 4 cylinder, it’s rather impressive that you can easily get 300 horsepower out of one of these cars. I first started modifying the Talon with the simple free modifications.
I replaced the clutch, and went through the 130,000 mile transmission, replacing the blocker rings, and a couple of bearings. The car ran stock times, and I continued with the modifications. By april of 1999, with a full 3″ exhaust, porting, the boost controller turned up, and some good luck led me to high 13 second time slips. Not too bad, considering the car had over 150,000 miles on the original motor.
In June of 1999 The car had a new turbo, bigger intercooler pipes, and about 175,000 miles on it. I managed to squeeze a 12.857 @ 105.39mph out of it. I was more than pleased, but soon began to find drag racing more than just fun. A little obsessed, I made some plans for the car. I wanted to run high 11’s with it; and it looked almost promising; I might have been able to pull it off with a front mount intercooler, a set of injectors, and some cams… but I would never find out.
In September of 1999, on my way home from work, and with 185,000 miles on the motor, the car spun the #4 bearing. It was an awful realization; not only did money have to go into the car if it were to continue; but while I was at it; if I was going for quicker times, it would be a waste to put it back together all stock. I rebuilt the motor with ARP bolts and studs, higher compression pistons, and bored the block. I spent a bit of money on machine work, and got a valve job and a few other miscellaneous things done to the block as well. Now, I had a new motor, which should help me out quite a bit, right? right.
In april of 2000, I bought a monstrous Griffin 24x6x2.75″ front mount intercooler, and spent way too much time making piping for it :p I drove the car around on a daily basis but the clutch started slipping because of the power – stock clutch with a 16G and a front mount don’t mix well, but I still drove the car anyway. I was going to replace the clutch, lighten a flywheel, and see what it would do.
On a visit to the racetrack, and with only a little prodding from Jason V, I was pumping leaded race gas into my gas tank, to see what I could muster with a stock clutch, and unsure feelings because of the 2 year old Magnecore wires on the car (which caused the car to run like crap with anything over 15 lbs of boost.) Getting decent 60 foot times, I managed to click off a 12.75 @ 108.8 mph. Not what I had in mind, but with the clutch and not even applying power in 4th gear on the drag strip, I was determined to fix those problems.
June 16th, 2000 – I decided to drive down to the track to watch some of my fiends. On the way there, I got into a situation, and ended up in a car accident. The newly installed front mount twisted, and me left not knowing what to do. With the frame bent, the insurance company totalled the car. I bought it back from them, and started removing the engine. While looking for a new car, I continued to think about what I wanted to do about having a “race car” – I decided since I didn’t have a daily driver anymore, I would not make my new Talon a daily driver. In August I purchased my red 1991 Eagle Talon TsiAWD, and immediately started tearing it down.
From June through December of 2000, I drove around a black ’91 Talon Tsi AWD that I purchased from a friend of mine, Don. Don bought the car back in 1998, and he had driven the beast since then. It had a few problems, needed a head, and head gasket, and so I put that car together and drove it around while looking for a new Talon to put all my goodies on. In November, I found it. a guy in Sterling Heights Michigan had a Talon he was selling. It didn’t run, had four flat tires, and had been in a garage for the last two years. I bought it; immediately put an alternator and the tires from my wrecked Talon on it, and drove it to Mark Hessler’s house. It’s a good thing, too – The remanufactured replacement alternator I purchased for it was dead on arrival! I actually had to swap batteries mid trip when the car died on Telegraph in Detroit. Thankfully I had brought along a spare battery, so after the quick swap-out, I was all set and ready to go. I made it to Mark Hessler’s house, and met Mark and Jon Stough (who was nice enough to go to a Murrays and pick me up another alternator so I could make it back to Lansing.) After that, the rest of the trip was uneventful.
In December of 2000, we had to move shops, because the owner of the shop we were in sold it to someone who needed it for their business. The Talon wasn’t quite done yet, so I had to get my ass in gear. In two weeks, I completely stripped the engine bay, removed the ABS from the car, replaced all the wearable suspension components, installed a set of Eibach springs, Koni shocks, and cleaned up the car – a lot. After that, I replaced the motor with the relatively fresh engine out of the wrecked ’90. This While I did this, I thought it would be a good idea to replace the ’91 sandwich-style oil cooler with an air-to-oil cooler that I purchased from Summit Racing (funny looking back, I thought
the -6AN line I used on that was expensive at the time.)
I started driving the car in January of 2001. It was still considered it my daily driver, the other Talon needed to be put out of commission. it had an exhaust leak, and needed some other general maintenance that I didn’t want to do, and didn’t feel like paying someone else to do. So, I just drove around the new red car. Minus the interior. Daily :-)
The early part of 2001, I started going to the track again. The car ran great the first time out. 12.8@106mph. I had to shift it at 5300rpm, because it had run out of fuel. I was running stock everything, except the 2G pistons, a 16G, and a 3″ exhaust. I mean, I was on the stock factory IC pipes, stock injectors, stock fuel pump. I was only cutting 1.80 60 foots, too. I was the fastest DSM at the track the first day out, and met some other guys from Michigan. A guy names Tim who lives in Grand Rapids, and a bunch of his friend (Patrick, who drives a nice Galant GVR-4 & a few other people.) Unfortunately, I didn’t race much the rest of the year. I went out here and there, and ended up at the end of the season running a email@example.com or something like that. Fast, but not quite quick. I also bought a new vehicle – a Jeep Cherokee which was able to serve tow-duty for the Talon, and also allowed me to stop driving the Talon on the street.
In early 2002, I dusted off the Talon, and made some changes. The 16G had to go, and I also needed to put a new FMIC on the beast. So, I did all that. I purchased a FP red used from some asshat in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Guys name was Joe somethingorother, with DarkSideRacing. If you ever get the chance, don’t do business with those assclowns. I received a beat up used to death Red that was in no shape to even put on the car. Lesson learned; don’t buy off any of those fucked up parts traders online.
Before the whole turbo ordeal, I decided that the Talon needed a cage since I was already running on the edge of 11.99’s with it. So, I spent the summer getting a mild steel cage made up for the car, and in mid-summer we welded it in (right before the shootout.) and painted it up. Red, of course. through lack of better judgement, I also put the FP Red on the car to see if I could at least make some power with it. It was also the first year I towed the Talon down to the Shootout. That friday night, I T&T’d the Talon, and could not get a clean pass in. The car wanted to make power, but something was definately up – looking back I know it was the turbo; at the time I knew, but I still wanted to do something with the car. After a few passes, though, I put it back on the trailer. Sunday, the day of the shootout, I decided that I was going to race the car anyway, because I rarely race at the shootout, and the car was down in Norwalk so I may as well live it up, right? Nope. Right when I pulled the car off the trailer, I saw a big puddle of gear oil. I immediately put the car back on the trailer. It was done for the season.
I was determined to make 2003 the year for the Talon, and I did. While it was still snowing, I sent the FP Red off to Robert at Forced Performance. In addition to that, I started revamping a lot of things – I got my 5 gallon aluminum fuel tank installed, installed some 720cc injectors, revamped the wiring harness, installed a bunch of autometer gauges, and gutted the rest of the car as much as I could. Now it was war :) Dyno time came early in 2003. First round I popped out 360-some whp. Then, I borrowed a set of Web cams from my brother, which netted around 390whp. Okay, not bad, but I knew I could do better. I ordered some HKS cams, and put a Karmen-Vortex translator on the car from a company in Oak Park Michigan called Pro-M. I wouldn’t recommend doing business with them, either. Nick Walgamott works there, and he’s nice and shady – he also doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground – But, that’s another story. You ever know someone who calls themselves an engine builder, but has actually put a crankshaft in a block backwards, and torqued it down without realizing what they had done wrong? Just curious.
okay, back to the story: The HKS cams and more tuning bumped me up to like 436whp, but that wasn’t enough. I bought a Magnus Intake manifold, and kicked out another assload of power – 491hp to the wheels. On a stock bottom end (okay, it had ARP hardware, but I was using stock rods and pistons.) Sweeet.
At the track, I had a lot of problems with shifting, so over the summer, I installed some new components in the transmission from John Ripple at TRE. After that, I built a stroker for the Talon with Pauter rods and JE pistons. Back at the dyno, hoping to make more power, I ended up ruining the CenterForce Dual Friction clutch that I had put on the car a few years earlier. Okay, time for a new clutch. I installed a sintered iron mystery clutch, and used that for the rest of the season. Amazingly enough, it worked really well. Back on the dyno, I ran a hand ful of 480whp passes, but just couldn’t get past 491whp again. I decided to drop the dyno time, and go to the track. First time out, I mustered up a 11.61@128mph, and was kicked off the track because I didn’t have a fire jacket. Oops :) I also popped something in the motor, so it’d have to come back apart. Well, I ended up popping the rings through my own stupidity. I wasn’t even paying attention, and I ended up putting synthetic in the engine before it was properly broken in. So, I put some regular Dino oil in the car, and beat on it a bit to see if I could get the rings to reseat. I also installed a vacuum pump so see if that’d help the problem out at all. I went back to the track, and clicked off a few more passes. firstname.lastname@example.org and 11.18@131.??mph. So, it’s a solid 11 second car.
2004 started with an ambitious new project.