The Shadow: September 27, 1999

by on Sep.27, 1999, under Shadow

I finally solved the last of the annoying boost gremlins on this car!  I had yanked the Bosch BOV setup on the upper intercooler hose and replaced it with a stock T2 ribbed upper hose.  I have bad boost stacking without the BOV (very bad for this little turbo), but no more boost drop-off or random boost amounts.  Even though I have already tried removing the BOV and plugging the hole with a piece of wood, I wanted to dump this setup anyway.  First of all, I don’t like using that crazy setup with the two restrictors, check valve, and bleed to keep pressure on the BOV to keep it shut.  Second, I know that my IC has quite a pressure drop at high boost, so the BOV would probably be more effective on the lower IC hose.  Since I am not running more than 14psi (nor do I plan to), the stock BOV is perfect and it will also serve as protection because it will blow off the seat above 15psi in case something goes wrong with boost control.

So, I fabricated a new hose connection on the lower stock hose by cutting out a small section and putting a 1-1/2″ copper drain pipe in its place (the stock lower IC hose is 1-1/2″ ID).  I opted for copper because it was easy to solder on a 3/4″ fitting to attach the BOV hose.  It’s a 3/4″ copper T-fitting that I sliced along the back and spread open to match the curve of the big pipe.  It took some bending, hammering, and patience, but it worked.  I then used a short piece of 3/4″ copper pipe in the fitting to connect the hose to.  I connected the BOV to the copper pipe in the fitting with a short piece of 3/4″ I.D. heater hose and then to the air box with another piece.  I already had a 3/4″ copper pipe fitting on the airbox, so I just put a short piece of 3/4″ copper pipe in it to serve as a reducer.  The Bosch BOV used 7/8″ I.D. hose, so the 3/4″ fittings (not 3/4″ pipe) were the perfect O.D.  I squeezed the fittings so the pipe would fit tightly, sanded the surfaces, and then RTVed them in place.  I didn’t want to solder so that I could switch back easily.  The setup works wonderfully and for the first time, my boost is predictable and solid!  This car SCREAMS!!!

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The Shadow: July 27, 1999

by on Jul.27, 1999, under Shadow

Well, I have separated this car from my older cars because I have been adding more and more info about it.  So, I thought it deserved its own page.  I’ve done quite a bit of work since I last updated these pages.

First off, I finally bought new tires and put my original crab (bottle cap) rims back on.  I was using 14×5.5″ rims with 195/70 R14 Firestone 350 tires.  These tires SUCK in every way, shape, and form.  I have had 70 and 75 series tires before, but these are just junk.  The dry traction was lousy: I could light up the tires on 2nd gear with only 12psi of boost and the car plowed really bad.  In light turns the tires liked to screech.  I even got a full alignment: no change.  Wet traction was like driving on slicks–I almost got into countless fender benders, but got lucky.  Take-offs were impossible.  I won’t even talk about winter driving.  The tires still have 1/2 of the tread left.  I just wanted you to know how HORRIBLE these tires were for me.

ANYWAY, I had replaced my speedo pinion gear to compensate for the larger 195/70 R14 tires and I was enjoying the lower RPMs at highway speeds compared to when I was on my 205/50 R15 Gatorbacks.  So, I decided to use the Plus Rule, and got some 205/60 R15s to maintain that ratio.  Sears had a sale on Falken ZIEX high performance tires in my size, so I ordered a set.  I have to say that these tires are GREAT!  I have over 1000 miles on them already, and they seem like they hook up as good as, if not better than the Pirelli 700s on my CSX, and much better than my old Gatorbacks ever did!  Wet traction is also very good, which surprised me given the large tread block on these tires.  I can go full bore in 1st gear and the tires will keep grabbing.  I can feel the control arms “shimmy” has traction switches back and forth between the wheels: time for some polyurethane bushings.  Understeer has been dramatically reduced, but when pushed to the limit, the car will plow like it is supposed to.  The Falken ZIEX are one of the best performance tires you can get on a budget.  I think I will be putting them on the CSX (in 205/50 form) when the time comes.

Is that a plug, or what!  🙂

Another issue I FINALLY resolved with the Shadow is the sagging rear end.  All of the P bodies (also H bodies) I have ever seen (except for Shelbys) seem to get tired rear springs rather quickly.  The frame in front of the rear tires was about 1/4″ lower than the frame behind the front tires.  Rather than replace the springs with new, marginal ones, I opted for some air shocks since I am always hauling stuff around.  I installed a pair of Gabriel HiJackers and the cheap air line kit (about $60 total) and pumped them up to about 40psi (minimum is 25psi).  Now the car sits 1/4″ higher in the rear than in the front and the car just looks “healthier”.  The best part is that the handling has been improved even more!  Now the car tracks through the corners with a very solid feel (like my CSX) and will take corners even harder than before (not as well as the CSX, though), but will still break loose and plow, as it should (in case you have never driven an ’87-’88 CSX, they tend to oversteer when you REALLY push them).  Also, I can haul heavy items in the rear without bottoming out, and I can accelerate hard without aiming for the moon.

With a cleaned IC and my boost back up to 14psi, the ND T2 SMEC, and the improved handling, my Shadow is just a blast to drive again.  Everything on the car works and is functioning well.  There is only one problem: the poor Shadow is suddenly suffering from the infamous American Car Paint Peel Problem.  The paint has held up well all these years.  Suddenly this summer, it’s peeling off the roof, truck lid, tops of the doors, etc in small chunks.  Grrr…  I’m not sure what to do with it, but I probably won’t touch it this year.  If things are still going well, maybe I’ll get it painted next year.

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The Shadow: Ancient History

by on Jan.01, 1998, under Shadow

About a year and a half after I bought the car, I got into a front-end collision which put the car out of commission for a while.  The front body and chassis was smashed up pretty bad and the radiator and condenser coil was trashed.  Here is a picture after the accident:

The following summer I replaced the bumper beam and struts, hood, left fender, and front grill and repainted them all with original-color paint and clearcoat.  I managed to straighten out the chassis fairly well using my sister’s Shadow as a reference.  We have a neat hydraulic set that’s great for pushing panels and supports out.  The car looks great now, though I wish the paint matched better.  The original paint is not as “orange” as it should be (it has the same paint code as my sister’s Shadow, but doesn’t really match) and the rear, right panel and door don’t match at all (they look almost purple) because the car was obviously in a rear-end collision before I owned it.  But, it’s not all that noticeable.  I had to replace the tires (the primary reason I got into the accident–it still had the original Gatorbacks on it!), but I couldn’t afford a new set of 205/55 VR15s, so I picked up some five spoke rims at a boneyard and put regular 195/75 R14s on it.  I will buy good tires and put the original rims back on when these need to be replaced.  Here is a picture of the car as of the summer of 1998:

I recently (summer of 1998) re-replaced the headgasket, rebuilt the head, and cleaned up the mess I had after an oil line blew under the hood one day.  I also replaced everything in the air conditioning system, put on a new power steering pump, water pump, belts, cap, rotor, wires, and plugs.  I also repainted the intake manifold, throttle body, and valve cover to make it look like a Turbo II (which it eventually will be).

I had also installed a mechanical oil pressure gauge into the dash (the reason for the above mentioned oil mess) along with a remote entry system that I made out of an old car alarm.  In the tunes department, the car has an Alpine 2575 head unit with a 6 disk changer, a line-level equalizer, Polk 5 1/4 speakers up front and 5x7s in the rear powered by a small 50 Watt amp through an electronic crossover, all backed up by a JBL 8 inch subwoofer tube in the hatch powered by Pioneer 160 Watt bridged amp.  This combination, though a bit odd, makes for a very full sounding system.  Here is shot of the dash:

After getting my 1987 Shelby CSX, I decided to go with a different intercooler setup on it.  That gave me the opportunity to install the stock Turbo II intercooler, radiator, and airbox into the Shadow:

It took some time to sort out the plumbing.  The early Turbo II airbox had no accommodations for a BOV or cruise control vacuum supplement vent.  I picked up a Bosch BOV from a SAAB 9000 at a boneyard and installed a hose connection on the curved pipe section of the upper intercooler hose.  See my Blow-Off Valves page for more details on this.  I installed two nipples on the front of the air box, one for the vent, and one for the output of the BOV (the BOV was VERY loud when left open).  This setup works great and I can’t hear the BOV at all.

I then had an ’89 Turbo II SMEC modified by ND Performance for 14.3psi and the usual aggressive fuel delivery and spark curves.  The car smokes the tires in second gear with no problem now and the advanced spark makes a big difference at the bottom end.  When the high boost kicks in at 2800 RPM, my stock Turbo I clutch will occasionally slip.  Next mod will be a Centerforce II clutch.  Right now, I am pretty happy with the Shadow’s setup.  I added an A/F gauge so I can keep an eye on things.  The stock fuel system keeps up with 14.3psi of boost just fine.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make some runs with the G-Tech sometime soon.

One problem with the ND unit is that it can’t control my stock 1988 Turbo 1 turbocharger.  It is the small Mitsubishi TD04 unit and it responds too fast for the SMEC to keep up.  The result was a lot of surging and boost hunting at part throttle.  I resolved this by installing a two-stage bleed with the overboost eliminator.  The first stage is set to about 8psi and the second to 12psi for now (to save my clutch).  The second stage is activated by a WOT switch that I attached to my throttle body.

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