Syclone Modification Stages|
optimize your results by building in a logical progression
It makes sense to stop and think about where you and your truck stand
compared to all Syclone/Typhoon tuner/owners. You don't want to bite off more than you can
chew, by throwing Stage 3 parts like ported heads and race cams on your Stage 2 (or 1!) stock turbo
truck, for example. All you'll end up with, is an expensive
truck that underperforms even some Stage 2 trucks and nothing to show for your extra money invested.
I created these "Stages" to match what I believe are the best combos for our trucks, in terms of
skill, bang for the buck, etc.
bone stock plus "free mods" like air filter, thermostat, etc.
|1/4 mi. performance:
13.0 - 13.8 at
95-102 MPH on 93 octane pump gas
Stage 1 means at least the motor, turbo, transmission, torque converter, and chip are all factory stock.
Every Stage 1 truck should have a solid tuneup. Knock retard and boost levels need to be
monitored via laptop datalogger.
See "How to Get Your Stock Truck Deep in the 13's" for a solid
guide on running with the fastest Stage 1 trucks.
||High Boost Stock Motor:
modified chip and boost controller used to run
up to 20 PSI with stock turbo, and up to 25 PSI with larger aftermarket turbo (PT44 - PT54)
1/4 mi. performance:
11.7 - 12.7 at
103-114 MPH on high octane fuel
High octane fuel is used to allow boost beyond the factory 15 PSI level. The stock turbo
typically responds with gains up to 20 PSI boost (12.2 - 12.5's).
Installing a turbo upgrade allows further gains up to 25 PSI (high 11s). Either race fuel, or
alcohol injection will be needed, since 93 octane pump gas is limited to the stock 15 PSI.
The high boost of Stage 2 requires heavy datalogging/monitoring to stay safe. The fastest times will be achieved with
custom chip tuning to really squeeze all possible horsepower out of the stock motor. However, I did
run 11.79 @ 114 (video)
with an off-the-shelf Ultimate chip for stock injectors (no chip tuning whatsoever).
Without chip tuning, the problem you begin to run into is a truck that performs well at WOT but suboptimal
driveability around town (or vice versa). Chip tuning allows you to make necessary adjustments to
"Have your cake and eat it, too".
It will feel like magic the first time you get your truck running properly at 20 PSI on high octane fuel!
Stage 2 is where you get a solid handle on the tools (DataMaster, wideband O2, etc.) for making
safe power, and where you learn to identify & solve problems like what spark plug gap is best,
when your cap & rotor need replacement, and what boost level makes the truck run fastest.
Alcohol Injection is the key for allowing a street truck to run the same high boost tune on the street
as on the track. Low 12s are where the stock 700-R4 transmission begins to fail more rapidly. Once yours
wears out, you'll need to upgrade to either a well-built SyTy 700-R4 ($2000), or the superior
4L80-E ($5000). Bigger turbos also require a high stall (2500-2800 RPM) torque converter, which also
requires a transmission rebuild. (High stalls on stock transmissions don't work very well.)
||Modified Heads and Cam:
stock block/crank running L35 or Vortec cylinder heads with aftermarket camshaft,
raising shift RPM from stock 4500 to 5000-6000 RPM. Large turbos in the PT51 - PT72 range, chip
tuning, and Wideband O2 sensor are all mandatory. This stage is typically the limit of
1/4 mi. performance:
12.0 - 12.7 at
104-112 MPH on pure 93 octane pump gas
10.2 - 11.6 at
115-130 MPH on high octane fuel
A heads & cam upgrade is what will really transform your stump-pulling 4400 RPM
stock motor into a well balanced midrange screamer! It also "automatically" makes your truck
faster on pump gas (or any boost level for that matter), since the heads & cam determine the
base horsepower at the engine (before boost).
A high stall (2700-3500 RPM) torque converter is mandatory at this level, along with an extremely
well built transmission. Your local transmission shop's 700-R4 doesn't stand a chance behind a high
boost Stage 3 motor. Only a few well built 700-R4s will live a decent length life here.
The BEST solution is a 4L80-E conversion! The 4L80-E is a direct descendant of the mighty TH400,
and can handle up to 1600 HP / 1600 LB-FT TQ, with electronic shift programming, still a fully streetable
I don't recommend ported/upgraded heads and camshafts until Stage 3. In fact, I specifically
recommend against it for Stage 1 or 2. It's a very uncommon combination and few people have well
established tunes for it. One of the worst combinations (in terms of reaching maximum horsepower)
is a heads/cam Stage 3 motor, crippled with a stock turbo.
Want to read about tuning a Stage 3 modified motor for high boost? Check out:
Real World Tuning Example: Vortec Heads/412 Cam PT67GTQ Syclone on VP C-16 at High Boost
aluminum heads, headers, strokers, engine transplants (small block chevy),
shift RPM in the 6000-8000 range, turbos in the 74-88mm range, boost 20-35 PSI on race fuel,
lots of custom fabrication.
1/4 mi. performance:
8.50 - 10.50 at
125-160 MPH on high octane fuel
At this point you will need to either be, or in intimate contact with, an accomplished EFI tuner
as well as have (or have access to) strong fabrication skills. I would estimate that 9 out of 10
trucks that start building this stage, never even get completed due to the overwhelming amount of
money and work required. Only the most strongly committed with strong resources will see single