The Intercooler

The intercooler on the Talon was part of a larger project: The front end of the Talon. The cooling system, more specifically.

We pondered the cooling system. I wanted to do something on the DSM’s that nobody had done – ever. So, we came up with a plan. Instead of stacking everything like a cracker, and wedging it in the front of the car. I didn’t want to go as far as using a shifter cart radiator, and I also wanted to have a reasonbly decent sized IC core, filled with ice and water. So, how would be able to accomplish that? Well, we mounted the radiator and IC horizontally, instead of vertically. Alright, well, the radiator isn’t horizontal, it’s about 30 degrees from horizontal, but it makes more room for the air:water IC that we would up using.

The premise of the intercooler is reasonably simple. Instead of running lines, a high volume pump, and end up with the same effect at the end of the day, the concept is this: Use the mass of the aluminum intercooler along with the ice and water to take the heat of the charge from the turbo throughout the run. It’s complicated to explain, but quite simple when you see it. The core contains an integrated water tank.

Okay, so now that that’s explained – how did we make the IC? Well, Mark pulled up some specs, and through a thermal dissipation formula he used to come up with figures for his air:water intercooler, figured it’d take about 15 pounds of ice to cool the charge we wanted to chill, for one pass :-o So, we got to work. We called up Bell Intercoolers and ordered up a core. Then Mark hand bent up a bunch of 1/8″ 6061 for some end tanks, and some .090″ 6061 for the IC ice tank.

Through a friend, Tom Shwalm, we were able to gain access to a welder that is a little bigger than my little TIG to weld up the core. It was cake; we spent a day out at VT Competition Engine Development in Lansing, Michigan working on the Intercooler, and getting the new block honed. The honing was the easy part; we didn’t have to do that ;-) I didn’t actually use VT to complete the IC, but I did use VT’s Lincoln to weld up the end-tanks, and to weld the tanks to the core. There is a lot of thermal mass in the 30 pound core, so I wanted to make sure that we’d have enough amperage to get the job done. Plus, it was really a lot of fun to hang out with those guys. It’s sad to say that VT doesn’t exist quite in the form that it did back in early 2004, but VT Engines, Inc is still in business.

Here’s the scoop for those who don’t know: VT Competition Engine Development was purchased by a guy named Chris (I don’t remember Chris’s name off the top of my head) – anyway, Chris purchased VT, and changed it’s name to VT Engines, Inc. The old owners moved out, and the new owner took up shop. I’d still recommend going to those guys for Ford mod motor work – Their engine builders kick ass :-) Unfortunately for us, they now focus primarily on Ford 4.6 and 5.4 mod engines.

Anyway, back to the IC, right? So, we got the IC finished enough, and then mounted it to the car. We used 1-1/4″ chromoly tubing to mount the IC right in front of the engine. Unlike any other DSM :-)

Car History

My 1990 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD, when I started modifying it.

my 1990 Eagle – This image has not been modified – it’s out of focus and the sparkles in the picture are from the camera catching reflections from the flash on the rims – I think it’s a pretty cool pic :)

Car History

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 12.34@117.84mph 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. 11.19@132.84mph and 11.18@131.??mph. So, it’s a solid 11 second car.


2004 started with an ambitious new project.

Engine Specifications

I’ve received a bunch of questions about the engine in the Talon, so I thought I’d do a quick write-up about what, exactly, is in the Talon. I’ve mentioned in the past that the goal was to create an 850 horsepower 4G63. While many people’s responses are somewhere along the lines of “@@#!%%@ holy shit!”, the real fact of the matter is that the DSM community, in general, knows how to make power. In addition to that, my Talon’s engine was not underpowered before I ripped the whole car apart.

Every month or so, I hear about yet another 4g63 putting out an insane amount of power – There are now too many to mention putting out well over 500whp. But, I can focus on a few: Dave Buschur of Buschur Racing, Marco Passante of Magnus Mortosports, AMS Motorsports, Brent Rau of OSOFAST Racing, John Shepherd of Shepracing are all people that’ve put out gobs of power using the 4g63 as a platform, without a doubt. At the 2006 Shootout, they all put down respectable passes in their DSM’s. Dan Buschur, Dave’s brother ran the first 8 second pass in a 4g63 powered EVO. Marco not only busted into the 8’s, he layed down some mid 8 second passes. Shep? Yeah, he was running high 7’s. Brent Rau? He topped them all off. I saw him run a 7 flat at 199mph. These guys make mad fucking power. And we’re only talking about a handful of guys here.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – These guys are all shops or professional racers – yes, that’s true. What’s also true, however, is that privateers are following in their footsteps, making assinine amounts of power as well, albiet not quite as much as these guys who either run shops or race the professional circuit. So, we’ll just keep that in mind, and come to my 4g63.

My Talon had a stock-ish 4g63 engine in it back in 2003. This was it’s best year out. The internals were stock parts and pieces, with the exception of some ARP hardware to help keep everything together. I was using stock 2G pistons, stock 1G rods, stock crank, stock rings, and bearings. The engine put 491whp down on a dynojet. Yes, there were extensive modifications to the rest of the setup, but the block, the head, and the internals were stock parts. These engines are strong.

That summer, I put together a stroker motor. This engine was a 2.3 liter, using Pauter rods and JE pistons. This engine put 480+whp down, but I never really ran it that hard. One of the biggest advantages of this engine, even though the power was similar, was the immense gain in torque. This engine put 40 more ft/lbs of torque down to the wheels. Insane :-) It also propelled the car to an 11.19 at 131.94mph. This is the engine sitting in the Talon right now. There is a lot more potential in it. I haven’t even started pushing the components to their edge.

How would I extract the potential that this engine has? I’d use a larger turbo, of course! The 491whp was laid down with a Forced Performance Red turbo. A few other people have blown their way to 525whp or more with this turbo, but it’s not quite large enough to be able to force 850 horsepower out of this engine. What would I have to step up to in order to get to 850 horsepower? A GT42. Garrett’s newest line of turbochargers includes the GT42. While they state that the GT42 is good for 6.0 liters and above, there are quite a few people using the GT42 or some varation of it (the GT42R is another popular option) on their 2.0 liter engines. What’s the downside? Turbo Lag. The upside? Massive power. So, just spin the hell out of the engine to pump the air you need through the turbo, right? ;-)

So, that’s what’s topping it all off. This engine, 2.3 liters, will make 850 horsepower. Even if I have to add nitrous.

Pedals, Throttle and Wiring

Pedals, Wiring and ordering – oh my!

Over the weekend, Mark and I worked on getting the Gas pedal assembly all cleaned up. For the most part, it’s done. I’m waiting on some things from McMaster, and once they’re here, we’ll be able to finish it off. I added two tabs to it for an upper pedal stop, and a lower pedal stop so that I can smash the pedal as hard as I want to and not hurt the throttle body ;-)

The throttle cable is also done – it fits nicely, and even though I’ve tarnished the finish on the intake manifold because I had to weld a bracket to it, it still looks really nice. I’m happy with it.

And the gas pedal? Well, it’s just cool :-) It looks like someone spent way too much time on it – and we did, so it’s about as nice as we both expected it to be. I’m happy with it.

I’m also in the process of wiring up the sensors on the car. I worked on it a little yesterday, but it’s still got a ways to go before it’s finished up. The ignition is well on it’s way, but the injectors need some work, and the CAS will also need some work. It’s wired, but the wiring is way too long for what I want to do with it, so it needs to be shortened. Things in general are coming along well :-)

Random Progress

Cleaning up!

So, we’ve been doing a lot of small things lately. Mark and I made The Master List – basically, a list of everything that had to be done on the car. Then, we started knocking it out. Recently, we’ve finished off the following:

[b]Header[/b]: We needed to finish weld the turbo cflange on the header. There was one weld that needed to be finished up. After that, I cleaned up the ports on the head flange. The only thing we’ll probablt add to it is a stainless EGT bung. Other than that – it’s done :-)

[b]Exhaust System[/b]: The 4″ exhaust was mostly done, but needed to have hangers mounted to it, and we needed to finish integrating the wastegate outlet into the system. This has now been all welded up, and we’ve added stainless hangars to the system. It’s now considered done, too :-)

[b]Wiring[/b]: I haven’t talked about it at all, but the wiring on the Talon is well underway. Originally, it was going to get a Painless Wiring harness, but with the nature of the rest of the car, that just didn’t seem right. So, I took the harness from the Haltech, and integrated it into a bunch of new wiring that I created for the car. This new harness has a switch panel that will mount next to the shifter, well within my reach, and has a 20 circuit fuse panel. It’s been built and mostly tested. There are a few things left to hook to the Haltech harness, consisting mainly of Injectors, AIT, CAS and the ignition system. This stuff will go quickly, but I’m waiting on sensor bungs, and waiting to get some other things finished up before this wiring is finished. After that, I have to manage how I’m going to mount the battery and wire that up to the rest of the electrical system. Cool stuff :-)

[b]Coil on Plug[/b]: This is one of the things that I have to finish up. I bought the coils, and the electrical connector for the setup, along with making a mock up COP plate that will mount to the spark plug cover. I’m in the process of cutting holes in this in order to mount the coils, and have a complete COP setup. This looks very nice so far – I am happy with how it’s turned out. Once this is done, I will be able to finish up the ignition wiring.

[b]Map Sensor / Power Transistor Mount[/b]: I made a nice aluminum plate that the MAP sensor and power transistors now mount to. This plate mounts underneath the engine, and provides not only support for the MAP and transistors, it also hides them, and keeps them close to the engine wiring harness, but out of the way. This looks nice, and is easy to access if I need to unplug things from it. It’s bolted to the block, with the sensors bolted to it.

So, as you can see, we’ve actually accomplished a lot of small, rather mundane stuff. Right now we’re working on the gas pedal, and throttle cable. Can’t anything be easy? ;-)

A New Addition To The Family

An addition to the family!

An addition to the family.

A new Talon!

It’s a 1991 Eagle Talon Tsi AWD from the south. It needs a little work, but it’s reasonably clean. It’s going to stay stock – I have enough work to do on the Talon :-o

Electrical Connections and Car Wiring

Not too much new news to report for the last few weeks. I’ve been having bachelor parties, and other stuff like that. I have, however, spent some time on the wiring for the Talon. I ordered up a few different fuse panels, some weatherpack and metripack connectors, and a whole bunch of pins, plugs, relays, and other electrical things.

Unfortunately, I’m picky about the wiring on the car. Because of that, it’s going to take me a while. I spent a lot of time trying to find places where I could purchase *nice* fuse boxes, which you’d think would be readily available. They’re not. Hrmph. Of course, “nice” to me is much nicer than “nice” to someone else.

Transmission Tunnel, Fuel Pressure Regulator and Line Lock

The results of some Aluminum, a little skill, and hours of work.

The results of some Aluminum, a little skill, and hours of work.

The line lock, mounted to the firewall

The line lock, mounted to the firewall

My SX fuel pressure regulator

My SX fuel pressure regulator – rivet-nutted to the firewall.

The new hood on the Talon

The new hood on the Talon

Over the last week or two Mark and I have been putting some work in on the Transmission tunnel on the Talon. While it would have been really easy to just place a box around the entire damn thing and call it done, we simply couldn’t do just that ;-) So, we made a transmission tunnel that anyone who’s ever played StarFox would appreciate:

So, there you have it. The transmission tunnel is now done :-) That’s a nice, refreshing accomplishment. All in all, I’d say we spent about 10 hours too long on making that. It’s okay, it looks damn cool.

In other car news: The Fuel pressure regulator has finally been mounted, too, along with the permanent mounting of the Line Lock / front brake line distribution block. This thing is actually really neat :-)

The line lock is simply a Summit Racing line lock kit, with some adapters. I mounted it to the firewall of the Talon using some rivet-nuts. If you’ve never seen these things and you’ve fabricated stuff, you’ve been under a rock, my friend ;-) The rivet-nut is just that – it’s a nut that you stick in a hole, and then deform into place. The rivet-nut then stays in the hole, and provides a threaded hole for you to mount stuff to.

Because I wanted to use Stainless screws, I decided to use Zinc coated rivet-nuts. I contemplated aluminum rivet nuts, but I was concerned about corrosion. SS rivet-nuts are also available, but are ~5 times the price of the Zinc coated mild steel nuts, so I just got those instead. All in all, they are awesome. Go out and buy some. Right now. ;-)

I also mounted the FPR, as I said before. Back in the day, somewhere around 1998, I purchased this SX Fuel pressure regulator from Buschur. Sure, the anodizing is a little faded, but it does it’s job, and does it well. So, I’m going to use it. Therefore, it needs to be mounted to the car. Sure, back in the day it hung off the fuel rail (how it never leaked, I’ll never know) and vibrated all over the place. Today though? Sorry, I know this car is going to shake when it’s together, so I focused on making a [b]solid[/b] mount for the regulator. Here’s the end result:

I am very happy with how it turned out – you can see I even broke the top mount so that it’d fit around the brake lines, and that body seam on the firewall. That’s the way to do it ;-) So yeah, now that’s mounted.

Oh, and one last thing. In my last post I mentioned buying a hood off John Shepherd. Well, it’s fiberglass, and has the headlight covers integrated.