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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Turbo or supercharger recommendations

Hey y'all,

I have a 2007 2.4L base skyline with a k&n tyohoon cae. I'm really just trying to maximize the power output as the base sky is a little sluggish for my liking. What do you recommend for a supercharger or turbo upgrade? I'd preferably like to stay under 4K on the cost but I wanted to get some expert opinions. I've read about the Hahn, ddm, rpm options but admittedly am a little overwhelmed. What do y'all recommend to get this baby a bit more power?

Thanks for all your help!!
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 03:17 PM
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A similar question was just asked on the Solsticeforum, here's my response.

WTB turbo kit for a 2.4L Solstice - Pontiac Solstice Forum

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Originally Posted by ChopTop View Post
Not a turbo but from long time forum vendor DDM Rotrex Supercharger Kit for the 2.4L Solstice/Sky by DDMWorks

DDM also used to offer a roots style supercharger, but it is currently unavailable. A new one is suppose to be in the works, but as of now it is still unavailable.

The next is from a well known Hahn engine builder and has several different offerings: TurboKits.com » Performance Turbo Kits


The third is a hybrid turbo, first offered by GMRoadster, than they morphed into Strictly Aftermarket, and now they are called RPM Motorsports; RPM-Motorsports | Pontiac Solstice & Saturn Sky Performance Parts

And finally Werksperformance: Turbo Kits and Components, Performance Autowerks

Just remember to ask a lot of questions, and research the different power upgrades (and vendors) to decide what's best for you.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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That's really helpful, thank you for all of that information. Is there a general consensus out there on which of those is the best? I'd absolutely love to get my automatic 2.4L up to 300+ HP
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:28 AM
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Best is a relative term.

I went with a turbo setup because I wanted to shoot for 400 whp. Good news for you is the automatic trans is good to well over 300 hp. For me, I had to do a clutch upgrade first and...well...I had a bit of an issue.

The other good news for you is you have a 2007. 2006-7 Solstice and Sky 2.4s came with forged rods and can handle that kind of power. The 2008s couldn't.

So those two things are out of the way, supercharger or turbo. With the power level you want to get to, either option will work. For that low of a power level, turbo and super chargers can be very good daily drivers.

Superchargers are instant power when you hit the gas but a small turbo like the K04 on the 2.4 will get you spooled up REAL quick. I have basically the RPM K04 kit on my car (it uses mostly GM factory parts but the cold pipe and down pipe are RPM and the fuel rail and oil return line are DDM). This "kit" is basically the Redline's LNF K04 turbo and intercooler on the 2.4 LE5 with larger injectors. I've done a lot more to mine and currently am at 260 or so WHP (about what a GM tuned or Trifecta tuned Redline would be at) but that's to support my end goal. I'm in the middle (litterally...) of putting RPMs big wheel K04 in the car and hope to be between 325 and 350 WHP. This will be a kit they offer and I will be dynoing my car when we get the turbo on and tune it so you'll have solid numbers here by May...at least that's the hope. However, the stage 1 kit will net you about 235 whp. Stage 2 will get you about where I am (maybe 20 whp more if you go to 12 psi...I'm at 10) and you can go higher with the big wheel turbo and a return style boost referenced fuel system...but just the stage 2 with the bigger turbo is just under your budget.

DDM's Rotex supercharger will get you about 250 WHP but will break your budget by about $1,000. It's a solid piece and DDM has years of experience with their supercharger systems though this one is their newest.

Hahn offers some great kits too but are a bit more pricey but will come with a better intercooler than the RPM kit (The RPM kit uses the factory IC but Hahn's kit uses theirs. I have the Hahn intercooler on my car and love it.) Their kits will get you a more power than the stage 1 or 2 RPM kits.

Finally you have Performance Autowerks. They have some nice turbo kit options too and can get you closer to the 300 whp range but again, you're going to be way over your $4,000 mark with their Stage 2 kit.

So I know I wrote more on the RPM kit that the rest but that's only because I'm very familiar with it and not the other kits. All these kits are good kits and give you different options. Keep in mind that crank horsepower is always more that wheel horsepower. (BHP is greater than WHP.) Thus when comparing kits be sure you're comparing the same numbers. Even then HP numbers vary widely so if the numbers are withing 20 hp of each other, they're pretty comparable. So while you stated you wanted 300+ HP you didn't mention wheel or crank. Crank is achievable on your budget but 300 whp would be very hard unless you increase your budget.
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Best is a relative term.

I went with a turbo setup because I wanted to shoot for 400 whp. Good news for you is the automatic trans is good to well over 300 hp. For me, I had to do a clutch upgrade first and...well...I had a bit of an issue.

The other good news for you is you have a 2007. 2006-7 Solstice and Sky 2.4s came with forged rods and can handle that kind of power. The 2008s couldn't.

So those two things are out of the way, supercharger or turbo. With the power level you want to get to, either option will work. For that low of a power level, turbo and super chargers can be very good daily drivers.

Superchargers are instant power when you hit the gas but a small turbo like the K04 on the 2.4 will get you spooled up REAL quick. I have basically the RPM K04 kit on my car (it uses mostly GM factory parts but the cold pipe and down pipe are RPM and the fuel rail and oil return line are DDM). This "kit" is basically the Redline's LNF K04 turbo and intercooler on the 2.4 LE5 with larger injectors. I've done a lot more to mine and currently am at 260 or so WHP (about what a GM tuned or Trifecta tuned Redline would be at) but that's to support my end goal. I'm in the middle (litterally...) of putting RPMs big wheel K04 in the car and hope to be between 325 and 350 WHP. This will be a kit they offer and I will be dynoing my car when we get the turbo on and tune it so you'll have solid numbers here by May...at least that's the hope. However, the stage 1 kit will net you about 235 whp. Stage 2 will get you about where I am (maybe 20 whp more if you go to 12 psi...I'm at 10) and you can go higher with the big wheel turbo and a return style boost referenced fuel system...but just the stage 2 with the bigger turbo is just under your budget.

DDM's Rotex supercharger will get you about 250 WHP but will break your budget by about $1,000. It's a solid piece and DDM has years of experience with their supercharger systems though this one is their newest.

Hahn offers some great kits too but are a bit more pricey but will come with a better intercooler than the RPM kit (The RPM kit uses the factory IC but Hahn's kit uses theirs. I have the Hahn intercooler on my car and love it.) Their kits will get you a more power than the stage 1 or 2 RPM kits.

Finally you have Performance Autowerks. They have some nice turbo kit options too and can get you closer to the 300 whp range but again, you're going to be way over your $4,000 mark with their Stage 2 kit.

So I know I wrote more on the RPM kit that the rest but that's only because I'm very familiar with it and not the other kits. All these kits are good kits and give you different options. Keep in mind that crank horsepower is always more that wheel horsepower. (BHP is greater than WHP.) Thus when comparing kits be sure you're comparing the same numbers. Even then HP numbers vary widely so if the numbers are withing 20 hp of each other, they're pretty comparable. So while you stated you wanted 300+ HP you didn't mention wheel or crank. Crank is achievable on your budget but 300 whp would be very hard unless you increase your budget.
That's phenomenal information and detail! Thank you so much I really appreciate it. I think I'll wait until you get the numbers back on the new rpm kit (which will hopefully be released in the somewhat near future). It sounds like yours would be the correct footsteps to follow in on this. Thanks again for all your help! I hope the big wheel K04 goes as awesome as hoped for. I'll be anxiously awaiting your final analysis!
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 02:26 PM
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That's phenomenal information and detail! Thank you so much I really appreciate it. I think I'll wait until you get the numbers back on the new rpm kit (which will hopefully be released in the somewhat near future). It sounds like yours would be the correct footsteps to follow in on this. Thanks again for all your help! I hope the big wheel K04 goes as awesome as hoped for. I'll be anxiously awaiting your final analysis!
Glad to help!

Keep in mind that his kit and where I'm going with it may be very different.

Here is what I currently have on mine and what may be different in his kit:

K04 "big wheel" turbo. It is believed these add flow to increase power by 30-50 whp. The standard K04 from the LNF (2.0 turbo Sky engine) on the 2.4 though sucks a lot of air up top compared to the 2.0 so while I have max boost at 10 psi, that's at 3K RPM. By 6K RPM, that's dropped to 5 or 6. The Big Wheel K04 should reduce that drop and that's my biggest hope. This is an option you can get on his current turbo kit so no need to wait for it to be released.

Charge pipes. You'll get the RPM 3" cold pipe I have but his intake and hot side pipe in the kit are different from mine. Size wise though they are identical and his intake looks a lot nicer. LOL

Intercooler. I have a Hahn Racecraft intercooler while RPM goes with the factory unit. I had the factory unit on mine originally and install of the factory unit is much nicer. With the Hahn though, that's going to work better for my future goals.

Fuel injectors. I have 60# now but may go to 80#. See the next item as to why it's a maybe. His kit offers different options based on your needs.

Boost referenced return fuel system. This is something that you currently don't have. You have the standard returnless style fuel system. Let me explain why this is important. With the stock system, your fuel pressure is set to about 55 psi. Because you're Normally Aspirated (NA), you are always spraying that fuel into a compartment that is at the same pressure as the air outside (0 psi) or in vacuum (up to -14.7 psi). This means your working fuel pressure is between 55 psi (at 0 psi manifold pressure) or up to 69.7 psi (at full vacuum). Now with fuel, the more pressure you have behind the injector the more fuel you're going to be pushing into the engine for a given injector duty cycle. This means an injector at 5% duty cycle being fed by 60 psi of fuel is spraying more fuel than if it was at 5% duty cycle and 50 psi of fuel.

Now, when you boost a car, you're going to see different pressure in the manifold. At 10 psi of boost, that 55 psi of fuel pressure is now like 45 psi of fuel pressure because you're no longer spraying it into a 0 psi manifold, that manifold is now at 10 psi. Thus your injector will spray less fuel at the same duty cycle as before and thus has to work harder (be at a higher duty cycle) to deliver the right amount of fuel. To get the right amount of fuel, you may need to go to bigger injectors. Stock 2.4 injectors are REALLY small...25 lbs or something. Going to 45 lb injectors will work for a small turbo on 5-6 psi. 60 lbs will work on 10 psi. 80s will work for 12+ psi. This is done because you need that bigger injector to overcome the lower fuel pressures with the stock return system.

HOWEVER, at some point even bigger injectors won't help as you go way up in boost. Also, trying to get even the 60 lb injectors to idle smoothly at 69.7 psi of fuel pressure (stock) is near impossible and the 80s get even worse. At that pressure, they just flow too much fuel even at low duty cycles to get a smooth idle.

This is where the boost referenced return system comes in to play. This system regulates fuel pressure at the fuel rail in the engine bay rather than in the gas tank like the stock system. This means the fuel pressure is not significantly affected by acceleration and braking of the car (our stock returnless systems can lose or gain about 3 psi of pressure under heavy braking (3 psi gain) or acceleration (3 psi loss). By moving regulation to the engine bay at the rail, this effect is nullified. The other benefit is that the fuel pressure regulator can now be hooked up to the manifold to read what the pressure is in the manifold. This regulator is set to about 50 psi fuel pressure at 0 psi of manifold pressure. As the pressure in the manifold drops, so too does the fuel pressure. This makes getting the engine to idle smoothly with larger injectors possible as the fuel pressure is below 50 psi under vacuum. More importantly, as the pressure in the manifold rises, the regulator raises the fuel pressure too at a 1:1 ratio. So if you run 10 psi of boost, the regulator increases the fuel pressure from the initial setting of 50 psi up to 60 psi thus maintaining the effective fuel pressure of 50 psi and thus allowing your larger injectors to deliver more fuel under boost than they would on the stock returnless fuel system.

Thus, with this system, I may not need to go to 80lb injectors with the new turbo because my fuel system is going to continue to increase fuel pressure with boost. Now the only question is can the 60lb injectors with this fuel pressure deliver enough fuel without having to work too hard (almost being always on...a duty cycle of 100%) to do so. If they can, no need for bigger injectors. If they can't, I'll need 80s.

The thing is there though, depending on what happens with my dyno run, you may have to run larger injectors to get the same results if you stay with the stock fuel system. My return system had cost about $800 to build because there was a lot of trial and error involved. RPM may be able to do it for FAR less. I used DDM's center feed fuel rail but capped the center feed and had them ship it without the two end plugs in it then got AN and NPT fittings (as necessary...rail plugs are NPT thread, everything else was AN thread) to attach the regulator and fuel lines plus you need about a 12 foot long return fuel line going back to the fuel tank from the regulator. This needs to be a braided line and braided line runs about $9/foot. For more information on how I built it, check out these threads:

How to: Le5 fuel return system.
This is the first thread but the author welded a stock fuel rail. Everything he did at the fuel tank applies to my version.

How To: LE5 Fuel Return System Ver 2 (no welding required)
This is my version and is all done with DDM's fuel rail and AN fittings.

Wide Band O2 sensor. The LE5 comes with a narrow band O2 sensor. The LNF (Lucky bastards) comes with a Wide Band O2 sensor. To really know what air fuel ratio (AFR) you're running, you need a wide band. Why worry about your Air Fuel Ratio? Because if you run too lean, you blow stuff up with boost real quick. I like it because it tells me real quick if something is way off. When I ran my stock fuel system, you could see the AFR jump all over the place while the ECM "hunted" for a good fueling option with the 60 lb injectors at idle. After going to the return system, the Wide Band showed much more consistent AFR readings and thus the smoother idle. At Wide Open Throttle (WOT) you should see much richer AFR numbers and if they're leaner than they should be, you wouldn't know it without the Wide Band reading...and too lean is bad. If the tune is right and the engine is running right, the AFR isn't important but if something goes wrong, it may be the only way you know it's gone wrong. I think of it as a good security blanket.

Boost controller. I have a mechanical under the hood. The stage 2 RPM kit comes with something similar. I've also added a boost gauge (since I needed a 2 gauge pod for the Wide Band gauge anyway) but eventually want to go to the AEM True-Boost gauge and electronic boost controller in that same spot. It's good for detecting problems with the turbo since our boost isn't read or controlled by the ECM like the LNF.

Valve springs. I've been told by RPM I NEED valve springs for valve float at higher that 12 psi boost levels and then been told by DDM I DON'T need them because the LNF uses the same springs and they have no issues with 24 psi of boost. We'll see what happens on the dyno for a definitive answer for this turbo and this setup. Again, RPM does offer the harder valve springs if we find it is necessary.

Many of these items (larger injectors, Wide Band O2, boost referenced fuel system, valve springs) will all increase the cost of the kit he currently offers so it may still swell the cost of the upgrade to 300 WHP to more than your $4K budget. Just be aware of what you may be getting into.

Hope this helps.


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That's really helpful, thank you for all of that information. Is there a general consensus out there on which of those is the best? I'd absolutely love to get my automatic 2.4L up to 300+ HP
Have you watched the recent Supercharger vs. Turbo on MCM? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0NMCMcdVp4

Probably the best empirical test publicly available. The conclusion is, IT DEPENDS. What I think it means is, if you want to seriously track your car, then SC it. Otherwise, a TC won't let you down.
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Have you watched the recent Supercharger vs. Turbo on MCM? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0NMCMcdVp4

Probably the best empirical test publicly available. The conclusion is, IT DEPENDS. What I think it means is, if you want to seriously track your car, then SC it. Otherwise, a TC won't let you down.
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My experience has been observing others install both the SC and TC "kits" on their 2.4 cars.

The SC kit from DDM was installed over a weekend by the owner using his skill, knowledge and a few common hand tools. He started Saturday morning and drove the car to work Monday morning. The power output was comparable to if slightly different than my GXP.

Another friend spent two months installing a TC kit on his car. His observation was the "kit" really wasn't suitable for an owner with only common mechanical skills to self install. it came with no instructions and when he began a dialog with the seller, he was given help but told that the "kit" was designed to be installed by an experienced mechanic who "should know how to do that. and that . . and that"

The TC kit involves more cutting and fiddling than the SC which was much more bolt on.

The TC can give you more peak power, but with that added boost capability came a plethora of tuning challenges. Getting the tune fixed for the TC "kit" turned into basically 18 months of updates and emails and . .. finally a trip to the Nationals where DDM did the hands on tune which cleaned everything up.

The SC kit came with a DDM canned tune.

The TC solution can give more power but it gives different power. I personally like the SC whine and the way it instantly hammers on the power down low. It encourages shorter shifts and up to nearly insane speeds is roughly equivalent to what the TC offers.

If you want easy installation and easy driving. The SC kit is what I would recommend.

If you want LOTS of WHP and like hammering around at high RPM then the TC may be for you.

Both work well, they are just very different in my experience.

I went from TC to NA so maybe I am not a good person to listen to any way.
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RtE, I can see with some turbo kits your friend's experience being spot on but I can say that the RPM K04 kit that mine is basically a clone of (oil return line would be the only thing I don't know if they have setup the same way as mine is) I can tell you would probably be just as easy to do as the DDM SC kit. MOST of the parts are direct bolt on from GM for the 2.0 an mount to the 2.4 in the exact same way. My install happened in a weekend as well. The only cutting that MAY be required would be tying into the water return on the intake side of the head for the turbo. Again, I did mine on my own and I don't know what RPM includes in theirs.

I know the previous DDM kit is pretty easy to install and I'd assume their newer kit is too. DDM's products always come with some very good instructions as well and I have no idea what RPM does with theirs so I cannot comment on that.
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RtE, I can see with some turbo kits your friend's experience being spot on but I can say that the RPM K04 kit that mine is basically a clone of (oil return line would be the only thing I don't know if they have setup the same way as mine is) I can tell you would probably be just as easy to do as the DDM SC kit. MOST of the parts are direct bolt on from GM for the 2.0 an mount to the 2.4 in the exact same way. My install happened in a weekend as well. The only cutting that MAY be required would be tying into the water return on the intake side of the head for the turbo. Again, I did mine on my own and I don't know what RPM includes in theirs.

I know the previous DDM kit is pretty easy to install and I'd assume their newer kit is too. DDM's products always come with some very good instructions as well and I have no idea what RPM does with theirs so I cannot comment on that.
For those that are not as auto mechanically competent, what would you recommend as a mode of installation? Find a local GM dealer that does mods? This might be a dumb question but finding someone in New England that can do it is a major concern for me.
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If your not comfortable with your level mechanical then yes have someone who does SC & TC experience do the install for you. Might find a couple of shops that have done this before, but have they done it, on a Kappa before?

As Robo and RtE have given first hand knowledge of the question, comes down to your budget, time, parts, & installation too lot of questions to be asked, lot of thought to be given on which way to go... SC or TC.

My thoughts... you wanted more grunt out of your 2.4? Ok daily usage a DD or weekend run n gun car? Low end grunt, power right now. Stop light get a way, the on ramp to the interstate merging now move..SC all the way.
Cruising speed, get up and go, passing power.. top speed WOT whoosh away.. TC is the way to go.

Heat, weight, simple clean with in budget, down time during installation, problems after the fact, horsepower has limits to what your budget is, how far are you willing to go with that, towards your goal of 300 whp? All at once, little here little there as much some of these guys that tear their Kappa down on a weekly basis. I have an RL a smaller 2.0 motor, but with the K04 turbo and intercooler. Plenty of both, low end grunt, high speed passing power. Could it be better? Sure aftermarket up everything, and a wheel barrow full of cash... there you go. The 2.4 is different and Robo among other owners with it, can be made to cook ( ah what was that Viper's time? ), when it has too. More air more exhaust. Forced air induction, ram air before turbo's and SC were part of the DD scene out there. First thing I moded on the Firebird was that one feature. More air in, more fuel bigger bang out the back. Small displacement V8, 4bbl. 4 speed. New air in take hand made from the nose with ducts to the air cleaner. New air filter housing, some hood vents mods, lose the stock muffler and piping, a test pipe for the cat, and bingo 4bbl. cop car draw get up and go. Cheap with budget. 4K is big $ for 300 wph. All motor upgrade, or would 4K spread over the whole car, make it quicker? Ask Robo on that one, he has had two, apart built up, torn down again. He would know. Rte TS couple other owners here know the Kappa. I listen when they point this out, or that out. Hmmmm.. scratching my head but I learn, soak it up like a sponge.

You'll get there, keep us posted to the future build.
Find the right parts with in your budget, find the right set of guys who know what they are doing, and you'll find your way to a 300 whp. permagrin whatever your choice you do go with,... TC or SC?

LAC

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For those that are not as auto mechanically competent, what would you recommend as a mode of installation? Find a local GM dealer that does mods? This might be a dumb question but finding someone in New England that can do it is a major concern for me.
Go to the Kappaperformance forum and ask because a lot of it's members are east coasters. Otherwise you're going to have to let your fingers do the walking and hope what you read online matches the experience. You might also try Facebook and look for sports compact type clubs and ask for recommendations. Basically, if you don't know anyone it's a crapshoot in trying to find a competent mechanic or performance shop.
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  Saturn Sky Forums: Saturn Sky Forum > Saturn Sky Discussion > Saturn Sky Performance Discussion

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