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post #1 of (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Turbo 03 LS project

Hey, folks. New member here. One of those that have been lurking and gaining knowledge for over a year now tbh.

So here goes (long post btw):
Bought my Imp just over 2yrs ago now with a hair over 70k on odometer. 03 LS 3.8L and have loved this car since. Haven't had a major issue which I love.

I bought the following about a year ago to prepare for the turbo I'm slapping on her.

Parts list thus far:
-ebay JDM turbo kit
-ARP head studs
-universal stand alone ecu (not optimal for car and have since decided not to use)
-shift kit from ZZP (not using, going with transgo kit)
-Amazon projector headlights (doesn't pertain to build....lol)
-Resonator/cat delete
-Flowmaster Delta 50 (single in-single out) w/ dual rolled tips
-Not sure on the u-bend delete. Exhaust shop that worked on my car was shotty but the downpipe coming directly from the rear manifold looks like a "stretched" S. If that makes any sense to anyone.

The questions I've got for you wonderful people in here.....I plan on doing trans work of course. I was wondering what would be worth doing: $400 trans upgrade kit or buying a trans from an SS? Either way I go, I'll be throwing in the transgo shift kit.

Next is cam suggestions. I'm not looking for "balls-to-the-wall" by any means but maybe a stage 1 type cam would be fine. I've been looking into cams as of late and supercharge cams keep popping up. I did see one "turbo" cam but my knowledge base isn't quite on par enough with camshafts. I do plan on investing on the double-roller timing chain set that's offered for the 3.8 if that helps y'all any.

I've seen on a couple forums that the motor can handle its own and that the trans is the weak link. Also that there's those that run around 8psi or so on the stock trans and get lots of life out of it. I'm thinking with my trans upgrade thinking I could maybe run 12lbs? or so safely, maybe more (what car nut never says "turn er up"?!)

I'll definitely be replacing any/all gaskets and I was thinking along the lines of MLS (multi-layer steel) gaskets but not sure if that'd be good or bad with these motors. I know a lot of V8 guys use em but....let me know I guess.

Any other engine internals y'all can suggest (even if they're not "exactly" needed) would be great too. Really anything "extra" from head to toe would be welcomed.

Any and all info/suggestions are welcome. I've already gotten a lot of useful info from here and y'all are great. I look forward to being more outspoken here lol and seeing where everything goes.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Welcome!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Thank you, Sheila!! Glad to be here
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 2 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Anybody have advice or suggestions to pass onto a fellow car nut?
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For specific engine build questions, I'd head over to the 3800 Performance facebook group. Ton of knowledge on building these engines, and plenty of guys in there running turbos with built motors and can tell what does/doesn't work. My engine is stock internally, so I can't give you a ton of help with that.

What all is included in the ebay turbo kit? I didn't see any mention of what size turbo or what wastegate you'll be using. Also, assuming it's a universal kit, there will be quite a bit of fabrication work needed to plumb it all up. Will you be going intercooled? I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this to see how you make out

~Jeff
*2001 Impala Ls - 141k
Precision 6262 Turbo, ZZP Z3, Tial wastegate and BOV, CXRacing intercooler, ZZP 3" turbo-back w/ muffler delete, Bosch 42.5# Injectors, Bosch fuel pump, CTS-V Brembos, Stainless lines, BC Racing coilovers, Dorman solid sway bar, BMR trailing arms, SPEC-D LED headlights, LED heads and fogs, Quad tails, C5 reverse lights, All LED interior, LED 6 gauge cluster retrofit, LED puddle lights, LED underglow, Debadged, Painted emblems, Color-matched trim, Wrapped dash & door trim, Kenwood DDX271, Polk Audio dxi6500 components, Polk Audio db690, Hifonics GLX100.4, 2x Polk Audio db1240 in custom box, Hifonics ZRX1800.1D, KMC District, Nitto NT555G2, SS tail covers, SS spoiler, SS Lip, 20% tint, Black mesh grille

*1999 Escalade - 150k
Winter daily on 22s

*2001 Dakota - 99k
Custom painted runaround

*2014 Impala LT Limited - 65k
"Dad's ride"

*1992 Caprice Wagon - Sold @ 195k
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply and I'll most definitely be checking out their fb page for info. I'll also post the link to the universal turbo kit below (differences include: Mine didn't come with the downpipe, only the flange to weld a down/up pipe to. I feel like my wastegate is bigger but I'd have to check. Intercooler piping will need fabbed for bov.)

As with the intercooler and piping: I had what "will be" the cold side ran with the intercooler mounted for a few months until I recently uncounted it and turned the existing piping into a fenderwell intake with a cone filter attached inside the bumper/fender corner. Seems to work alright and sound pretty great if I do say so myself lol. I had started mocking up the hot side to see what I needed to do and didn't get too far into it due to not having everything I needed together and tools/knowledge at hand at the time.....but I'm on the brink of that exact moment!!!

I feel like I won't be using this intercooler for too long as it seems fairly small. I'll go day by day with it and see how everything goes.

This entire build will be as safe and as strong as realistically/financially able as possible. I'm not looking to make it all completely indestructible but on that same note I won't be pushing the car to the point that it's "breathing heavy" if that makes sense.

As we all know, and is repeatedly thrown out, the main weak point of the car is the trans. With that, I'll be getting the trans upgrade kit along with installing the TransGo shift kit. I may even spring for a TEP transmission in the future if I truly feel like building this car.

The goal I'd like to hit for now is somewhere in the ballpark of 325hp/10-12psi (whichever is hit first safely). I'll of course turn it up eventually but that's where I'd like to be for this upcoming year.

Again, any and all help/advice/suggestions are super welcome.

Here's the link to the turbo kit I had ordered awhile back:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/JDM-UNIVERS...E/380661303727
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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@RydSlo I looked up the 3800 Performance group on fb and found one with 639 members. Only 8 new posts in the last 28 days. I'm thinking/hoping this isn't THE group you were talking about 🤔
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