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How to turbo your N/A

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So you want to get more bang for your buck and whack a turbo on your skyline….well the following are things I’ve found out on this ever talked about path.

First thing…get yourself an N/A Skyline, if you’re reading this then you too have made this fatal mistake :)

The second thing you should do is get yourself some sort of engine management…one that can adjust airflow maps and injection maps…to a lesser extent timing.

I used the GReddy e-manage as my car is auto and I didn’t have a choice in the matter, even if it had been manual I still think I would have got it, due to the ease of installation and programming.

Other options available are getting the factory ECU…but I’m not sure if it would work as it would not have all the signals coming in that the stock turbo engine would put out.

Next step get the essential engine parts…you WILL need the following.

Turbo (of course) preferably with water an oil lines

Exhaust manifold

Dump-pipe & Front pipe

Fuel Pump (GTS-t one or better, plenty of high-flowing cheap ones out there, walbro etc)

Injectors (stock GTS-t ones or better)

Intercooler and piping (stock or custom)

Alloy cross-pipe with BOV (once again custom jobby will suffice)

All of the above can be the factory items or replacement parts for the turbo model, not a bad idea in the case of the intercooler…as with your 10:1 compression keeping things from going boom is a good idea :mad:

I used a series 1 R33 turbo, ceramic exhaust wheel jobby…you don’t really need anything more substantial as you can’t go too far past 7psi and the ceramic turbo should last indefinitely at this boost.

Almost all of these items went straight into my R34 with only the exhaust requiring an extra section welded in to make it fit.

The oil & water lines were modified and extended with stainless steel braided hose. The water supply was taken from the heater lines…the oil feed had to be taken from near the filter and the return is via a tap into the block..

Standard, the waste gate on the turbo will open at around 5psi..to get 7psi you’ll require either a bleed valve…or the factory solenoid powered by a constant 12v and put inline with the actuator hose on the turbo.

So now you’ve got everything bolted to your engine you need to get a complete dyno tune, where your ignition will most likely be retarded by about 5 degrees just to keep things safe. Once completed you now got a very different car from when you began…it’s actually got some decent power :D

Of course none of this would have been possible without Robin at *perFOURmance Motorsports*

The final tune on my car is Thursday, so I’ll have dyno charts and pictures available on Friday.

Anyone wanting specifics PM for more details.

So let’s see who’s next!


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Ooh price forgot that ;)

Parts would be available for under $1000...maybe cheaper if you can hit up your mates for there old bits

The e-manage you're looking at $750

Installation...including unforseen hassles and some forseen ones too $1300

Dyno tune $200

So definately have $3000 ready.....but you may suprise yourself that it doesn't cost that much :)

My one was a bit of a special case, seeing as I was throwing R33 bits into an R34...some fit some don't

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havent you forgotten to list pistons ?

you need low compression pistons, otherwise using the standard high compression pistons that NA's have will just F*&k ure engine VERY quickly.. although i have heard u CAN run a turbo, low boost (such as 7psi max) and still get a very quick car outta it without changin pistons.

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MirKz: that's exactly what I'm doing I'm running 10:1 compression with low boost...Saab style, gives good results, without killing bits.

Squizz and Crooser did a similar thing to there R33's

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This is a great thread. some very useful info and it would be cool to have a step-by-step guide to turbo'ing an N/A. Some questions though:

Since your running 10:1 on the compression and using quite a low boost setting what kind of performance gains are you likely to get? Approx?

Even at the low boost levels, are there gonna be any long term reliability issues?

Given the costs involved, is it easier/cheaper to do a turbo conversion, or do a complete swap (RB25DE to RB25DET) and then sell the old engine?



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For guys who own R32s and R33s then the engine swap is probably the best way, but getting a cheap R34 Neo RB25DET...and getting it swapped is not a cheap option at all.

As for reliability...I've heard good things from people...and for the realatively low cost of doing it, it's well worth the risk and I'm quite happy to be the Guinea pig on this one :D

Dave: as for performance I'd say at least 50% let's just say it's definately noticable. Using the e-manage and getting it tuned properly will also add to reliability. I'll have power figures and A/F ratios for you guys tomorrow afternoon.


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it would make for a good street motor - strong top end of a turbo motor with low end punch of a NA motor with high compression. oh and VVT as well

wanna swap with my rb20det when your done tuning... heheh

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OK looks like the dyno run on Saturday is out of the queswtion...I'll come along though to see whos' who though.

Todays events were like this: Engine showed good performance until 3500rpm where it started to miss-fire...all indications are on the sparkplugs which have got a nasty heat rating of 5.....not good for this application. I've now got some with a rating of 7 which I'll put in over the weekend...meaning the car can't be tuned for another couple of weeks *sigh*

Another thing that cropped up today....I was getting 147 rwkws at ~3000rpm...so for good measure the old fuel pump has been replaced with a 550hp item....for those who can do the maths, this is a pretty respectable figure for 6.5psi!!! I'm greatly anticipatng the final figure now.

So I'm afraid due to funds drying up this week...I've been put in a holding pattern for 2 weeks.


PS got impatient and changed the spark plugs just before :D

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G'day Dan

Excellent work man, sounds like it'll be a ripper of an engine. I'm slowly getting the parts together to do an NA twincam conversion (RB25/30) to my VL. I'd really like to build an awesome NA motor, but after a certain point, it's just going to cost too much money for the relative gains. I have the intention of going turbo in the future, but am dreading losing some of the the bottom end, so your build is fairly relevant to what I want to do.

Like the others said, post up some dyno results and boast a bit. Well done.

Cheers, John.

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666Dan, how much boost was the turbo making from off idle?

I've worked on a few RB25DE's which have had RB20 turbos fitted to them and they were practically making boost when idling. Massive torque down low but runs out of top end very quick... One of those cars now runs a fairly insane turbo/setup (still high C/R for response), makes about 300 rwkw or so, that was done nearly two years ago and its still going, really needs good tuning to keep them together....

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Cecam: good to hear that you've seen these things working...everyone I've spoken too just dismisses it as a stupid idea...doesn't seem like one from where I'm sitting though :O

I don't actually have a boost gauge on the thing, but yeah it boosts very quickly...sounds like I've got an electric leaf-blower on the engine it's either full or nothing :(

Tuning is still a must...I'm chugging fuel badly at the moment...just waiting for the cash to get it done as I had some very unsuspected costs appear!

The second I get some results I won't hesitate to put them up.


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  • 5 months later...

from reading all this is does sound worthwhile. was the list at the start pretty much all you need as i'm not too mechanically minded so i'l be handing it to my mate who is a mechanic and we can go from there. really appreciate sharing the info however :D

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6 months later and my ignition timing still hasn't been sorted :D this weekend the computer is getting played with some more to squeeze those extra Kws.

hea69d...you'll need a fuel pump too, mentioned that further down the list...and timing control too :rant:

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I'll have a dyno sheet after the 28th...if I can get a coil pack by then. The last of my shitty R34 packs has decided to give up the ghost!!! The Series II R33 ones seem to be built much better for some reason???

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  • 2 weeks later...

28th today :P cant wait to see the dyno results

can you give a bit of a run down on the driving characteristics of the car pre turbo and post turbo and what you think is the biggest improvement after adding the turbo

are you considering further mods?

or does the 7psi boost level seem to be the safest max for preserving the life of the engine?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Never saw this last post :) Yep you're right the 28th has been and gone...and the verdict was....some major boost retarding going on :D

Basically too much timing being pulled by the ECU. I managed to hook up some timing control, but am in the process of getting it tuned to counter the N/A tune on the factory ECU.

Seems to be the timing around 2700rpm which is causing the issue. You can drive around fairly sedately without it dropping the timing...open the throttle to above 85% and a ping at about 2700 will drop power badly.

Ideally it would be nice to have a GT-t ECU to adjust with the e-manage, as the factory tune would be a lot more forgiving to begin with :)

Pre-turbo the power would seem like it was taking forever to move the car from 0-3000rpm...then it'd get going a bit.

With the turbo on the torque seems to have jumped up a fair bit, the car is much more tractive in any gear. From 5000rpm to redline, it lets rip!

Also thanks to another post, here are the cam and lifter specs for most Nissan engines...note that the R33 skyline cams are the same DE & DET...and the R34 has solid lifters.


With respect to the amount of boost being run...it's basically as much as you can run before it pings...if possible with a decent tune you could run 12psi...but it's just *can* it physically be tuned at this level without detonation.

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