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My Holden Cruze 1.8 Turbo Project!

11342 Views 52 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  F18D4T
I thought I'd start my own thread, mainly so I can try to have a post with all (that I can remember) the steps I've taken to get to where I'm at with my car. Anybody whos been following Crewz's/Matt's build thread may have seen some of my posts and if not I'd highly recommend checking out his thread and YouTube channel.


Flex Fuel Mod:
Before I even had dreamed up the turbo project I thought it would be cool to add flex fueling capabilities to my car for performance and at the time cost savings on fuel. A great thread for anybody wanting to do this to their car can be found HERE.

Injectors Mod:
There are some Cruze specific vendors offering injector upgrades but they are expensive and I'm not sure if their injectors are flow tested etc before sending them out... I decided to contact FIC to see if they had some drop in injectors for my car and they got back to me rather quickly with a set of injectors so I bought them. They're a set of 650cc injectors and haven't given me any grief at any stage :) HERE are the ones I used. I opted to use the solder in pigtails as to avoid another point of failure with the adapters.

Tuning new fueling and injectors is basically impossible without a way to accurately measure AFRs so I decided to go with an AEM wideband which is able to communicate with HPTuners over CAN. There are other widebands available but the fact that this passively connects to your OBD port and doesn't require other methods of connecting to your laptop meant it was a no brainer... Not really a fan of dash mounted gauges, and police are very strict with mods here so I decided to mount it lower in the useless coin tray lol.

Strut Braces Mod:
Whilst browsing Facebook marketplace I came across a deal too good to miss... Poor guy wrecked his Cruze and was selling front and rear strut braces for $40AUD I HAD TO HAVE THEM. The car is noticeably stiffer around corners, probably more so in the rear where it used to be very floaty.

Intake Manifold Mod:
By this time I was starting to plan my turbo build and was interested in finding a better flowing intake for the car and one that would allow me to route my intercooler opposite to the direction the stock air comes in... As it turns out in Australia we have a 1.6T(A16LET) Cruze which is essentially the same block as the 1.8(F18D4) and they so happened to have an aluminum intake manifold that would suit my needs perfectly. I made a post HERE explaining how I installed it.


Turbo Setup Mod:
Having tried welding my own turbo manifold with little success I decided to get all the fabrication work done by a professional. I wanted this thing to be reliable as it's my daily and decided spending the extra cash for a well made setup rather than a cobbled together one to save me headaches in the long run. I have a friend with a few GTRs that have all been worked and I got in contact with the guy responsible as I heard he likes working on weird/unusual projects lol. If you're in Sydney Garage48 is a great option for this type of work, I was nothing less than impressed with the work carried out on the car :) I decided a Garrett GT2560R would be a nice sized turbo for the car, offering potential for good power and nice responsiveness... Manifold and exhaust are full stainless and the intercooler pipes are aluminum.


Dump Pipe:

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Exhaust cont.:

Intercooler and Pipes: Went with a mishimoto intercooler as they were on sale at the time of the build and got the IC pipes powder coated black.


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At this point all that was left to do was tune the car. The wastegate was set at 7PSI and held that pressure nicely whilst tuning. The car has only been road tuned, so I dont have any figures on power but it is a hell of alot quicker than its' previous naturally aspirated self lol.

The car was running great for about 5000KM then something gave in...

Transmission upgrade: My stock 6T30 could only hold up to the abuse for so long and decided that the diff didn't want to rotate anymore and exited the case. I realized this was inevitable and had already planned on a trans upgrade but what to swap in? Once again the 1.6T comes to the rescue sporting a 6T45 which is rated to ~320Nm opposed to the 170Nm that the old one was rated to. I expected this to be a major PITA but everything directly swapped in and didn't even require reprogramming of the TCM. I picked a trans from the same year as my car but with much lower mileage with only 40K KMs and it had the exact same OS as my old TCM had. Another benefit of this transmission is it allows for a much higher top speed with different gearing, unfortunately at the sacrifice of a bit of torque but oh well...

New Trans:

Transmission installed:
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The final mod completed are larger front brakes. The newly installed transmission uses different axles which use different bearings which use different bearing hubs lol. Luckily when I purchased the new axles they came with all of this for free! The new brakes are 300MM and the old 276MM so I painted them up and got them installed so I could get the car going again. With the extra power this thing is making its nice to know I have more stopping power available. The 1.6T Cruze also has MUCH larger rear brakes so I'm going to try and track some down and get them installed.
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:DNice. There are more enthusiasts left than I thought.
Thanks! I wish there were more, I really enjoy how the Cruze drives and looks it just never really kicked off in the aftermarket department :(
But that would be boring....
Couldnt agree more!
Wish we could find an aluminum one to bolt to the 1.4.. you guys over in Aus seem to get all the luck in this department.. My other project had the same thng happen, As it turns out you guys had an actual multiport injection intake from the magna i believe it was that just so happen to fit the mitsuxplode 2.6 in the Starion/Conquest 80's car
We're lucky in some ways where we get a mixture of vehicle variants from different regions but we get absolutely wrecked on pricing compared to you guys! I actually bought my manifold from the UK as they're really hard to get here without being attached to a motor :(
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Ali express sells metal valve covers, water outlets and such, but not for the 1.4
I have a metal valve cover waiting to be installed. Getting a second pcv outlet welded on soon, have an issue that arose which requires a fix from my fabricator and going to get some extra stuff done whilst its' in the shop.

Some videos if anybody hasn't seen them yet
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You need to turn the bunker into a Skunkworks lab!
Wow I was so young in that video! I had a crack at clearing it out but never decided to do anything with it as when it rains it fills with water and water proofing it would be beyond my skills.
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Update on the car:

Drove over a faulty expansion joint which flicked up and ripped my exhaust back :( broke the dump pipe and put a hole in my oil pan...


I like to see the positive side of things so this gave me a chance to put my oil drain plug in a better spot on the new pan, and the car park owners’ Insurance should be covering the damage.

While looking for some other parts I needed at the wreckers I grabbed some bigger brakes and the watts link suspension from a 1.6 they had there! Can’t wait to get it installed it should only need slight modification to bolt up :)
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Got it in, only required 2 holes to be drilled and some longer M12 bolts. Can’t wait to see if there’s much difference just need to get my exhaust remade :/
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Little update:

The rear suspension upgrade was a huge success, cornering and really givin' it to the car in bends and sharp turns the car feels unbelievably more planted. The body roll in the rear was previously horrid and that is all but gone. Highly recommend this upgrade as you'll get larger brakes too and it is a really easy and cheap mod with great performance gains.

At the end of the week I'm finally getting my exhaust redone and getting some sensor flanges welded into my ic piping. The car doesn't open the throttle more than 65% without a TIAP so I'm adding one and a BARO sensor. I had to pin them into the ECU, I simply found a wiring diagram from the 1.4 with the same ECU and not so simply unwrapped the entire loom. I also used this opportunity to remove things the car no longer has like the variable intake plug. The loom is wrapped more neatly now so the engine bay looks cleaner :)


The final change I have made is colder spark plugs. I was still using the stock IR 6 heat range plugs and was getting weird hesitation in low load situations. I upgraded to ones designed for the 1.4 which are NGK IR 7 heat range plugs and all the issues have gone away.
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I must have missed something. Did you install a Z-Link rear or what?
Sure did!
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Thought I'd post an update, hopefully the info further down can help at least 1 person! Finally got the car repaired and to a point where it drives perfectly now with my added TIAP and BARO sensors. Its' got a full 3" exhaust this time with a high flow cat. The only thing letting me down is the stock fuel pump... It is dropping pressure badly on e85, tuning around it is easy but its' not consistent so I'm looking into dropping in an AEM 340LPH pump which I have sitting around. @Crewz do you know if the stock FPR in the tub will handle such a high flow pump, I know you have a similar sized one but not sure if you've tested it yet...



For anybody looking to turbo your 1.8 Cruze with a torque based ECM EG: E78 you absolutely need to install an additional TIAP and BARO sensor. Without it your throttle will only open WOT to ~60%, your low throttle will command too much throttle causing high boost and really low spark to compensate and tuning VE will be impossible to get right as your BARO which is calculated will be completely wrong. The BARO just needs to hang somewhere in the engine bay, and the TIAP needs to be post turbo/pre throttle body. To do this you need to pin the ECU as follows:
X1 Pin #25: 5V REF
X1 Pin #11: Pressure Signal
X1 Pin#39: Low Ref/GND
X2 Pin #46: IAT 3 Signal
X1 Pin #37: Low Ref/GND
X1 Pin #23: 5V REF
X1 Pin #09: Pressure Signal

Then in your tune (I use HPTuners) you need to switch the sensor config in Engine>Airflow>General>Sensor Config. This will enable the TIAP and BARO sensors and you need to adjust AAP1 for the TIAP sensor offset and AAP2 for the BARO offset which depends on which sensors you chose.

And you need to change the induction type under Engine>Torque Management>SC/TC General> Type fitted. This will use the TIAP for throttle calculations instead of BARO.

Your throttle will now operate correctly, your fueling will be able to be tuned accurately and the car will be so much nicer to drive!
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Got the new AEM 340LPH pump installed with an AFPR. My fuel pump assembly is a bit different to the ones I have seen on YouTube, with the venturi jet being separate to the fuel pump in the fuel filter. I decided to ditch the venturi for now which means I have to be careful with low fuel. I was going to keep the venturi but broke one of the hose connectors and just wanted the car to be running again. I installed a return bung in the fuel hat and ran the FPR near the charcoal canister (not boost referenced as of yet). Car runs great now that fuel pressure doesn't fall on its face WOT :D

OEM style fuel pump:

How I installed the pump:


How/where the AFPR is mounted:
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Finally working on the car again! Have installed a paddle shifter steering wheel, which suits my large hands better than the skinny stock one. Have got my ac working with custom lines I made and installed a stock air box from a 1.6 to get some nice cold air as my IATs sucked when stationary/slow moving.
Car Speedometer Motor vehicle Automotive design Trip computer

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior Hood

Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design Vehicle
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Turned up the boost to 14psi let’s see how the stock block takes it… running fine after a few hard pulls but watch this space for a blown engine update lol
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What compression ratio are you running?

14 psi seems low.
Unopened 1.8L 10.5 CR. I actually think it's pretty up there for a NA motor haha
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What vehicle is the steering wheel out of?
Holden SSV Redline Commodore
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Hi mate, I am doing a similar build on an Insignia 1.8 (so same engine). I am good with all the mechanical bits, but I was hoping you can give me a bit more info in regards to the electronics. What did you use and what it took to make it right for the boost. Am I right to think , that with this HP tuners kit, all I need is to plug it in, calibrate the fuel maps and the ignition and it would be job done? If I can somewhat use the original ECU I would definitely prefer that. Also what car have you selected as I can't find 1.8 petrol Cruze or Insignia? Thank you in advance. I will post in Matt's thread as well. I love what you guys are doing, thank you for the information, as what you 2 did is pretty much what inspired me to do this build.
Hey and welcome! I use the stock ECU which is an E78. I needed to add some sensors (in an above post) to get it to run right. The same ECU is used to control the turbocharged models so there were no problems there. You will definitely need a wideband to tune the car and its a little more involved than tweaking fuel and spark with this ECU as it's torque command based. Probably best off to see what ECU is in your car and see if it's compatible with HpTuners.
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