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    420A upgrade path


    Car : 96 RS
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    Join date : 2011-11-30
    Location : Boise, ID

    420A upgrade path

    Post by Shake_Zulla on Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:59 pm

    I thought I would take the time to do an upgrade path tech article for all you guys with the 420A. Most 420A guys are just starting out in the DSM world and are still learning. This should help you out alot!
    Stage 0

    Cost- $15-100
    Power Gains- Very little gain in HP but your car should run smoother and be more tolerant to higher power.
    Difficulty Level- 1
    In any vehicle, maintenance is the very most important thing before modding your car. If you skip this step, your car will most likely be very unreliable.

    Step 1- Spark Plugs
    Cost- $5-8
    The best spark plugs for out DSM's are NGK's. NGK-BKR6E is stock temperature range and NGK-BKR7E is one range cooler. Select one of these sets of plugs. NGK-BKR6E are most likely your best bet.

    Step 2- Spark Plug Wires
    Cost- $30-45
    Once again, NGK plug wires are the preferred brand for our cars. NGK's will cost you just shy of $50. You could also buy Bosch spark plugs for around $30 at any parts store. But they won't be as good as the NGK's. Spark plug wires are very easy to change. You don't need any tools, just your hands.

    Step 3- Air Filter

    Cost- $20-150
    Replacing your air filter will greatly help your engine breathe in more air. More air = more power. Just with a new air filter, you could see anywhere from 5-10HP gains. The filter of choice for our DSM's is the K&N air filter. You could find one cheaper on ebay. Depending on how much you would like to spend thus far, you could upgrade to a short ram air or cold air intake now. The Stage 1 upgrades below suggest upgrading the intake system. You might as well do it now. Prices will vary depending on which manufacture you go with or where you purchase if from. Ebay is your best bet.

    Step 4- Oil Change

    Cost- $20-60
    The type of oil you choose will mean alot down the road. If you know which brand/weight of oil was used in your last engine change, you should go with the same. The mileage on your car will also be a huge contribution as to which oil you choose. You could use conventional oil or a synthetic oil like Royal Purple, Valvoline, or Brad Penn. You will also need an oil filter. I have used K&N oil filters on every oil change but they cost almost $16. Any oil filter will work. A good oil filter for the money is a Fram oil filter. The Fram oil filter part number is PH16.
    Step 5- Thermostat
    Cost- $5-10
    A thermostat is what allows the engine to warm up properly before circulating hot coolant through the radiator and heater core. If your engine has a good amount of miles on it, the thermostat could be bad causing it to not open/shut correctly and will cause overheating issues. Remember to replace all gaskets when replacing the thermostat.

    Step 6- Timing Belt
    Cost- $100-150 if you DIY. Shops will charge near $800 to do it.
    Our timing belts in our DSM's tend do "snap" which forces us to have AT LEAST bend/broken valves in the head. Sometimes, you will need to rebuild the bottom end as well. When replacing your timing belt, be sure to replace ALL OF YOUR TENSIONERS AND PULLEYS. The most common reason for timing belt failures is due to the auto tensioner going bad. This would also be a great time to replace your water pump. Timing belts are very difficult to change unless you have done them a few times before. It is suggested that you find a friend that is mechanically experienced if changing the timing belt yourself. The timing has to be PERFECT or else you will bend/break valves. It is suggested you go ahead and replace your stock crank pulley with an aftermarket underdrive pulley as staged in the Stage 1 mods.

    Step 7- Other Belts
    Cost- $30
    There are two accessory belts on the 420A engine. One for power steering and A/C, and the other for the alternator. Changing these out is a great idea as the belts tend to ware out and crack leading to failures.

    Step 8- Radiator Cap
    Cost- $5-10
    Like the thermostat, radiator caps tend to wear out too. This is very easy to replace. If your radiator cap is worn out, it will not seal properly and will leak pressure from the cooling system. Thus causing overheating issues.

    Step 9- Coolant
    Cost- $12-15 per gallon.
    Draining out your coolant is very easy to do. Find the drain plug and safely drain the radiator. Re-install the drain plug and fill the radiator back up with new anti-freeze.

    Step 10- Fuel Filter
    Cost- $15-40
    This is a much overlooked part that can cause several issues if it does not get replaced over time. It's purpose is to make sure the fuel in the car stays clean. It can get clogged over the years and cause alot of aggravation.

    Step 11- Transmission Fluid
    Cost- $20-50
    If you have an automatic transmission, you will need ATF. Go to the parts store and tell them your make and model of your DSM and they will tell you which ATF to get. Drain your fluid from your transmission fluid pan. For a manual transmission, it is highly recommended that you go to the dealership to get your fluid flushed.

    Step 12- Brakes
    Cost- $70-150
    Replacing your brake pads and rotors are very important for safety reasons. Pads and rotors can be found for pretty cheap at any parts store.

    Step 13- Clutch and Brake Fluids
    Cost- $5-30

    Changing the brake and clutch fluid are not hard tasks. But it is going to require a buddy to help bleed out the systems. Both systems use DOT3 brake fluid.

    Stage 1

    Step 1- Air Intake
    Cost- $50-200
    Power Gains- 5-15HP
    Difficulty | 1
    If you have not upgraded the air intake yet, it is the first thing you need to upgrade when modding your car. I suggest a short ram air intake. You could also get a cold air intake, but you would run into the possibility of water getting sucked up through the air filter and this can hydrolock your engine. There are covers that you can buy for the filter. Another issue you will run into is your air filter may scrape the ground and/or get extremely dirty from being so close to the ground. I would suggest a short ram air intake.

    Step 2- Exhaust manifold/Headers
    Power Gains- 5-15HP
    Difficulty | 3
    Buying an aftermarket header will allow the exhaust fumes to flow smoothly out of the engine. You may see small HP gains and a tad bit better throttle response. You should find a used header for under $100. Craigslist is probably your best friend.

    Step 3- Exhaust
    Power Gains- 15-30HP
    Difficulty | 2
    The best value for a 2GNT exhaust system is a GST cat-back. You can't use the engine out of the turbo cars, but you CAN use the entire exhaust system from the catalytic converter back off the FWD turbo cars. They have an additional resonator in the mid-pipe and a better flowing muffler with two tips that reduces back pressure and sounds great. Shop around and you can get the entire system for under $100. You could also find an aftermarket cat-back exhaust system for a descent price. You will have to do some shopping around, but there are many great deals out there. Keep in mind you do not want your exhaust to be over the 2.5” mark due to the naturally aspirated engines needing backpressure.

    Step 4- Underdrive Pulley
    Cost- $50-125
    Power Gains- No HP gain
    Difficulty | 3
    Although the aftermarket underdrive pulley does not give you a gain in HP, it is said to be one of the most noticeable mods you can do to your car. An aftermarket underdrive pulley will give you better throttle response by spinning the PS and AC slower and weighing much less than the stock pulley, and it allows the engine to transfer more power to the wheels. It is a good idea to do this when replacing the timing belt.

    Stage 2

    After you have done all of the Stage 0-1 mods, you are at about max HP (bolt on parts wise). There is still a few things you can do if you would like to make more power with your 420A.

    1) You can turbo your engine. It is alot of work and a majority of your bolt on mods can NOT be used and this would be a huge waste of money. I advise you to get a 4G63 powered DSM if you want to make bigger HP numbers IF you have done your homework on DSM's.

    2) Nitrous Oxide. You can always get some nitrous for your 420A, but this is also considered a waste of money when you can get a 4G63 DSM.

    3) All motor build. You could rebuild your 420A with forged internals and bored out. But, this will cost you alot of money and will limit you after this is done.

    The smartest thing to do IMO is to buy a 1G or 2G 4G63T DSM. There are endless possibilities and you will go MUCH farther than your 420A could ever do. I would either sell your 420A or keep it as a quick, sporty daily driver.

    I hope this write up helped you guys out. Now start turning those wrenches!

    Please note that this article was writen by dsmdude90 and moved from our old site.
    The Demon
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    Car : 97 Talon ESi
    Posts : 11
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    Join date : 2012-07-27
    Location : Antelope, .CA

    Re: 420A upgrade path

    Post by The Demon on Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:22 am

    if you would like a better write up for 420a motors from someone that owns one then let me know.

    - The Demon

    97 Eagle Talon ESi - Demon
    goal weight: 2,000 lbs
    goal WHP: 250

    Car : 95 Talon TSi AWD
    Posts : 684
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    Join date : 2012-01-18
    Location : Athens, PA

    Re: 420A upgrade path

    Post by AJracer33a on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:55 pm

    Shake Zulla, owns one. He is very knowledgeable with the 420A powerplant.


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    Re: 420A upgrade path

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