Installing the manifold is a straight R&R affair. The swap can be performed in a couple of hours with simple hand tools. With some finessing we removed the manifold without removing the turbocharger. Once installed, the manifold adds some eye candy underneath the hood. As with any stainless-steel exhaust piece, wipe down the manifold with brake cleaner before starting the vehicle to avoid unsightly blemishes.
On the dyno the DC Sports turbo manifold truly shined, generating an additional 10.9 hp and 4.2 lb-ft of torque to the wheels. Since we data-logged the boost pressure, we determined the boost levels were actually lower with the DC manifold than the stock counterpart. With the manifold boost, pressure peaked at 219.6kPA (17.58 psi); the stock manifold peaked at 222.8kPA (18.05 psi), about 0.5 psi more than the DC manifold.
One reason for the stock manifold's higher peak boost pressure is the thermal mass of the cast-iron manifold. Due to the improved flow of the DC Sports piece, the engine loses less power trying to push the exhaust gases through the manifold, in turn generating more power.
For the second performance upgrade we added five gallons of 104-octane VP Racing unleaded racing gas. High-octane gas is extremely important when fine-tuning the ignition and fuel maps for maximum output. Ninety-one-octane juice lacks stability under boost pressure. By using higher-octane fuel we can run more timing and run a slightly leaner fuel mixture for maximum horsepower output.
Greg Nakano of AEM worked his magic on the laptop, and we were able to generate an additional 14.2 hp and 11.9 lb-ft of torque by just adding the high-octane fuel. We spent about $8 per gallon on the VP Racing gas, but for $40 the five gallons generated 14-plus hp. Pretty good horsepower-to-dollar-spent ratio.
In the end we were able to squeeze another 24.2 hp and 16.1 lb-ft of torque from two go-fast goodies.
For the next installment we are looking to add larger injectors, performance camshafts from Buddy Club and possibly a larger front-mount intercooler. This is just the beginning of the Evolutionary process.