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2012 Chevy Cruze 1.8 (soon to be 1.8t) LS... white
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Discussion Starter #1
Project 1.8 Turbo (Turdbo)

I'm back, after a long time not owning a Cruze. Bought a 2012 1.8 LS with manual trans in 2016. Got an itch for a turbo 4 cylinder project. Thought about going the Honda route, but 'Merica, uniqueness, and with these times, I thought "why not turbo what I have, my daily driver, and make it more fun? This will definitely be a BUDGET minded build. These **** kids are costing me about $1M a piece x 3.

I know what you're thinking... there's very few that have turbo'd a 1.8... which has been a big reason why I haven't moved forward sooner and the lack of aftermarket support. With a little research, and the help of some good friends, this is the plan I have laid out. Check it... and feel free to chime in if you could be of help to make this project come to life.


Stage 1? - Underlined Parts Purchased Aside from UniChip..
Ebay T04E v-band turbo - $117
Ebay oil feed and return lines - $32
Ebay K&N style air filter - $10
Ebay 3" MAF mount before the turbo - $26

Tial knock off BOV 35 psi.
Custom SS exhaust manifold to be fabricated
3/8 SS head flange - $24
1/4 T3/T4 flange - $25
Custom charge pipes / eBay intercooler / eBay fittings.
Aftermarket OBDII catalytic converter (car still needs to pass inspection)
The exhaust I may leave stock, or get something very mellow. I'm not sure I want to listen to a performance exhaust every drive. Maybe an exhaust valve to give me the open turbo exhaust sound when I feel like it?
Larger cc injectors, or an additional injector(s) before the throttle body mounted with an injector(s) bung.
UniChip 4 - $379 and Unichip 2.5 Bar MAP sensor - $65.
Upgrade fuel pump?
Tune.


I know the debate will be, the stock internals are weak. Yup... although I've seen the mass of the crank. I'm thinking it'll hold up to my goals. The stock pistons and rods should be fine to about 250hp... and if not, who cares? I can grab a 1.8l junkyard Ecotec engine for $300 and they're plentiful because they're not desirable. The block is cast iron, so I'm not worried there. Win!!!?

The drivetrain... I think the stock transmission will hold up fine the way I drive. Smooth shifts without dumping the clutch. If the axles break, I'll grade some up from your favorite neighborhood autocrats store with a lifetime warranty and be covered there... aside from time spent replacing axles.

My initial plan is / was to install the turbo, run the car on 5-8 pounds of boost, 93 octane, stock quiet exhaust with around 150whp. Pretty achievable and the car will be going Choo Choo... until I talked to a bored friend of mine with nothing to do this quarantine. That's when things got that much more interesting... He (Wayne) has access to a full automotive machine shop and dyno (a close friend of his). He races pro stock dragsters. We talked and his friend can get unmachined forged castings, and we're kicking around the idea of making A LOT of custom parts. This is the plan we came up with.


Stage 2 - No Parts Purchase Here...
Buy an additional 1.8, valve cover to pan, from the boneyard for $299.
Machine custom forged pistons for the stock 80.5mm bore. CR TBD based on hp goals.
Machine block for ARP studs.
Forged MaXpeeding connecting rods - $209 (more about this below)
Clevite bearings.
Create custom aluminum intake.
Throttle body... TBD
Create custom fuel rail.
Port & polish head.
Valve job.
Springs and Camshaft TBD. (more below)?
2200cc Bosch injectors - $81
Stage 3 Clutch
Walbro 450?


Research, oh the research...
Thus far what I've found out about the Chevy Cruze 1.8 is it's an Opel 2HO. The engine was developed by Opel (a subsidiary of General Motors). The Opel A18XER (manufactured since 2008) is the same 1.8l found in a Cruze, as well as the Opel Z18XER (manufactured since 2005). Well, as far as the internals go. I'm sure there are some slight emissions differences.

After Cruzin' (pun intended) around some of the Opel/Vauxhall forums, and the interwebs, I've found turbo kits across the pond for the Z18XE made by DBilas range from 190hp to 250hp with similar mods above.

Camshaft and springs. I'd have to cross reference whether the Z18XER stuff is a direct drop in for our Opel 2HO. Don't see why they wouldn't be, but again. Keeping things budget minded.

Connecting rods... the 1.6 version of the 1.8 made by Opel has the same size rods, from what research I've done. Luckily, good ol MaXpeeding rods makes a set of H-beam con rods with ARP 2000 bolts, rated 800-1000 hp. Not sure the quality of them, but from comparison videos I've seen side by side next to a set of $1k rods, they're just as good. Not too sure about that brass bushing? Any feed back on their rods is more than welcome. When what I read on the forums is correct about sizing, who knows. Maybe we can machine them to work...

Tuning. I hear good things about UniChip. Finding a tuner around my parts, not easy to come by. Buying their software to tune it myself is around $650. At that point, Haltech might be a better option? Again, trying to keep this budget minded, but I'm sure the biggest expense maybe the management.

That's all I got for now... I may have missed something, but I need to get out from behind the computer. Thoughts welcome.

-Matt
 

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2014 LT program car, Pull Me Over Red
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8,808 Posts
Project 1.8 Turbo (Turdbo)

I'm back, after a long time not owning a Cruze. Bought a 2012 1.8 LS with manual trans in 2016. Got an itch for a turbo 4 cylinder project. Thought about going the Honda route, but 'Merica, uniqueness, and with these times, I thought "why not turbo what I have, my daily driver, and make it more fun? This will definitely be a BUDGET minded build. These **** kids are costing me about $1M a piece x 3.

I know what you're thinking... there's very few that have turbo'd a 1.8... which has been a big reason why I haven't moved forward sooner and the lack of aftermarket support. With a little research, and the help of some good friends, this is the plan I have laid out. Check it... and feel free to chime in if you could be of help to make this project come to life.


Stage 1? - Underlined Parts Purchased Aside from UniChip..
Ebay T04E v-band turbo - $117
Ebay oil feed and return lines - $32
Ebay K&N style air filter - $10
Ebay 3" MAF mount before the turbo - $26

Tial knock off BOV 35 psi.
Custom SS exhaust manifold to be fabricated
3/8 SS head flange - $24
1/4 T3/T4 flange - $25
Custom charge pipes / eBay intercooler / eBay fittings.
Aftermarket OBDII catalytic converter (car still needs to pass inspection)
The exhaust I may leave stock, or get something very mellow. I'm not sure I want to listen to a performance exhaust every drive. Maybe an exhaust valve to give me the open turbo exhaust sound when I feel like it?
Larger cc injectors, or an additional injector(s) before the throttle body mounted with an injector(s) bung.
UniChip 4 - $379 and Unichip 2.5 Bar MAP sensor - $65.
Upgrade fuel pump?
Tune.


I know the debate will be, the stock internals are weak. Yup... although I've seen the mass of the crank. I'm thinking it'll hold up to my goals. The stock pistons and rods should be fine to about 250hp... and if not, who cares? I can grab a 1.8l junkyard Ecotec engine for $300 and they're plentiful because they're not desirable. The block is cast iron, so I'm not worried there. Win!!!?

The drivetrain... I think the stock transmission will hold up fine the way I drive. Smooth shifts without dumping the clutch. If the axles break, I'll grade some up from your favorite neighborhood autocrats store with a lifetime warranty and be covered there... aside from time spent replacing axles.

My initial plan is / was to install the turbo, run the car on 5-8 pounds of boost, 93 octane, stock quiet exhaust with around 150whp. Pretty achievable and the car will be going Choo Choo... until I talked to a bored friend of mine with nothing to do this quarantine. That's when things got that much more interesting... He (Wayne) has access to a full automotive machine shop and dyno (a close friend of his). He races pro stock dragsters. We talked and his friend can get unmachined forged castings, and we're kicking around the idea of making A LOT of custom parts. This is the plan we came up with.


Stage 2 - No Parts Purchase Here...
Buy an additional 1.8, valve cover to pan, from the boneyard for $299.
Machine custom forged pistons for the stock 80.5mm bore. CR TBD based on hp goals.
Machine block for ARP studs.
Forged MaXpeeding connecting rods - $209 (more about this below)
Clevite bearings.
Create custom aluminum intake.
Throttle body... TBD
Create custom fuel rail.
Port & polish head.
Valve job.
Springs and Camshaft TBD. (more below)?
2200cc Bosch injectors - $81
Stage 3 Clutch
Walbro 450?


Research, oh the research...
Thus far what I've found out about the Chevy Cruze 1.8 is it's an Opel 2HO. The engine was developed by Opel (a subsidiary of General Motors). The Opel A18XER (manufactured since 2008) is the same 1.8l found in a Cruze, as well as the Opel Z18XER (manufactured since 2005). Well, as far as the internals go. I'm sure there are some slight emissions differences.

After Cruzin' (pun intended) around some of the Opel/Vauxhall forums, and the interwebs, I've found turbo kits across the pond for the Z18XE made by DBilas range from 190hp to 250hp with similar mods above.

Camshaft and springs. I'd have to cross reference whether the Z18XER stuff is a direct drop in for our Opel 2HO. Don't see why they wouldn't be, but again. Keeping things budget minded.

Connecting rods... the 1.6 version of the 1.8 made by Opel has the same size rods, from what research I've done. Luckily, good ol MaXpeeding rods makes a set of H-beam con rods with ARP 2000 bolts, rated 800-1000 hp. Not sure the quality of them, but from comparison videos I've seen side by side next to a set of $1k rods, they're just as good. Not too sure about that brass bushing? Any feed back on their rods is more than welcome. When what I read on the forums is correct about sizing, who knows. Maybe we can machine them to work...

Tuning. I hear good things about UniChip. Finding a tuner around my parts, not easy to come by. Buying their software to tune it myself is around $650. At that point, Haltech might be a better option? Again, trying to keep this budget minded, but I'm sure the biggest expense maybe the management.

That's all I got for now... I may have missed something, but I need to get out from behind the computer. Thoughts welcome.

-Matt
Sounds like a lot of work, but I'm sure others will join in if you are somewhat successful.
 

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2012 Chevy Cruze 1.8 (soon to be 1.8t) LS... white
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622 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Sounds like a lot of work, but I'm sure others will join in if you are somewhat successful.
The amount of work isn't too bad.
I'm proceeding with "Stage 1"... I purchased most of the rest of the mechanical parts.

Intercooler and piping
HKS BOV
BOV Flange / pipe
Oil Catch Can

The turbo manifold will be pretty simple. A couple 90º elbows, a couple tee fittings, and a 2.5 coupler... things which I still need to get. I'm waiting on the rest of the parts to come in which will arrive this week.

I have decided that HP Tuners will be the best way to go for tuning the car once all the mechanical parts are together.
 

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Super Moderator
2014 LT program car, Pull Me Over Red
Joined
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8,808 Posts
The amount of work isn't too bad.
I'm proceeding with "Stage 1"... I purchased most of the rest of the mechanical parts.

Intercooler and piping
HKS BOV
BOV Flange / pipe
Oil Catch Can

The turbo manifold will be pretty simple. A couple 90º elbows, a couple tee fittings, and a 2.5 coupler... things which I still need to get. I'm waiting on the rest of the parts to come in which will arrive this week.

I have decided that HP Tuners will be the best way to go for tuning the car once all the mechanical parts are together.
They make headers for the 1.8 that may be a good place to start.
 

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2012 Chevy Cruze 1.8 (soon to be 1.8t) LS... white
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622 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
They make headers for the 1.8 that may be a good place to start.
I happened to get a closeout SS flange from ZZP off eBay. Apparently they stopped making them.
 

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2012 Chevy Cruze 1.8 (soon to be 1.8t) LS... white
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Update...
Rather than upload a bunch of pictures, which for me, the link tends to break after years of the post up... Here's a YouTube video of me vlogging the project.

 

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Super Moderator
2014 LT program car, Pull Me Over Red
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Update...
Rather than upload a bunch of pictures, which for me, the link tends to break after years of the post up... Here's a YouTube video of me vlogging the project.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Looks good so far Matt.
 

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2012 Chevy Cruze 1.8 (soon to be 1.8t) LS... white
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Discussion Starter #9
Most of the turbo parts are here! Here's the latest update.

 

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Hey, i'm new here...i have an cruze 2014 1.8l in Brazil and i'm intend to made it turbo aroud 250 HP. Don't leave your dream cause anothers opinions. The car will be really nice to drive and like you see, there's an 1.6l Turbo in Europe.

Let me know your updates!!!
 

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I saw the Unichip and thought why splice all the wiring. HP tuners can do everything. The old cavalier guys used to get 250+ hp on the old 2200/2.2l with out much trouble.
I will suggest you get some proper sized injectors (2200cc sounds big maybe its not haven't done the conversion) if the fuel pump provides enough output.
I know my single ohc 2.0l sunbird makes 165hp stock, with the fmic and t28 and 3" exhaust should be over 200 easy.
Install a wide band and tune it yourself! A buddy had one of the first 2.2l ecotec turbo Cavaliers. It some how ran great on a rising rate fmu and an Apex'I safc2 for fuel correction because he took the time to dial it in. Granted it was way smoother when he upgraded to hp tuners and tuned it. He still has this same setup nearly 18 years later and it is still fast. (Built 2.2l with 125 shot of nitrous) 325-350 whp before nitrous.
286545


All I'm saying is it seems you have the drive to be able to tackle the tuning yourself.
 

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2012 Chevy Cruze 1.8 (soon to be 1.8t) LS... white
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Discussion Starter #12
Hey, i'm new here...i have an cruze 2014 1.8l in Brazil and i'm intend to made it turbo aroud 250 HP. Don't leave your dream cause anothers opinions. The car will be really nice to drive and like you see, there's an 1.6l Turbo in Europe.

Let me know your updates!!!
Thank you! I'm going to see this through and make it happen. :) I'll keep you updated.
 

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I bet you will make some good power... definently subscribing to this.
 

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2012 Chevy Cruze 1.8 (soon to be 1.8t) LS... white
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622 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I saw the Unichip and thought why splice all the wiring. HP tuners can do everything. The old cavalier guys used to get 250+ hp on the old 2200/2.2l with out much trouble.
I will suggest you get some proper sized injectors (2200cc sounds big maybe its not haven't done the conversion) if the fuel pump provides enough output.
I know my single ohc 2.0l sunbird makes 165hp stock, with the fmic and t28 and 3" exhaust should be over 200 easy.
Install a wide band and tune it yourself! A buddy had one of the first 2.2l ecotec turbo Cavaliers. It some how ran great on a rising rate fmu and an Apex'I safc2 for fuel correction because he took the time to dial it in. Granted it was way smoother when he upgraded to hp tuners and tuned it. He still has this same setup nearly 18 years later and it is still fast. (Built 2.2l with 125 shot of nitrous) 325-350 whp before nitrous.
View attachment 286545

All I'm saying is it seems you have the drive to be able to tackle the tuning yourself.
After I discovered HP Tuners, I decided that's the route I'm going to go. I plan on getting an AEM X Wideband and HP Tuners MPVI1 2. The wide band plugs right in to the OBDII port and then you can plug in HP Tuners so AFR / Lamba can be logged.



As far as tuning goes, I'm on the fence about tuning it myself. Perhaps I will, but I just need to research it quite a bit.

I'm going to get a set of larger injectors and see if the stock fuel pump runs out of duty cycle. If it does I'll upgrade it to a Walbro 450. There will be a lot of trial and error when it comes to turboing the 1.8 Cruze since there's little to no info out there.

Here are the stock injectors...


Does anyone know what injectors will work? I take it they have to have the long nozzles as well?

Your 2.0 sunbird should make 250 easy with 5-7 lbs of boost.
 

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It runs 7-10 from the factory and its low compression, simple boost controller probably will turn it up to about 12-13.

Cool thing you may want to look into is the Lund N-Gauge, it can flash tunes in and out with HP tuners and datalogs as well.

Really wonder what duty cycle the stock injectors on the 1.8 max out at while the car is NA? Excited to see where this goes. Lots of pics and videos please!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Oh, nice! I'm not that familiar with Sunfires, but that's awesome.

I'll check out Lun N-Gauge. See what it's about.

You and me both. Guess we'll find out cause I'm a cheap ******* and won't install some unless it needs it for 5-8 lbs of boost. lol. I'll be sure to post some videos and snap shots once I get a moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I started working on the turbo manifold this past weekend for the 1.8 cruze. I wish I had bolted the manifold down to something, but I think it'll be okay with some machining to the flange. I'm using a stick welder and some 308L stainless rods. It's been about 7 years since I've last welded, but it's coming out alright. Definitely not a show piece. lol
Video coming soon.
286613
286614
 
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