Having fended off the social media rivalry between himself and BMW 3 Series owners, Linstead-based Roland Crawford went back to the drawing board and returned with his most unusual automotive project so far, a turbocharged Toyota Mark X.
Earlier this year the CEO of Elite Performance used his skills to unlock the potential of the meek Japanese sedan after being motivated by friendly online banter between the owners of both models. The rivalry had made it to the real world and using his IT knowledge Crawford cracked the engine management unit of the Toyota Mark X to begin his master plan, beat the BMWs. Two bottles of nitrous oxide, a few keyboard clicks later and Crawford fended off the heat directed his way with a decisive win.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Crawford wanted to push the boundaries of the Mark X and after finding a willing client he dove headlong into the process of adding a turbocharger to a vehicle that comes naturally aspirated from factory.
“This is actually the same car that used to run nitrous. The customer wanted more power, so we decided to turbocharge it,” he explained.
There, however, was a twist.
“The customer wanted to retain a factory look and as much as the factory setup as possible,” he said.
Like a mad scientist in a children’s cartoon Crawford had a eureka moment. If he couldn’t mount the turbocharger under the bonnet in a traditional manner, he’d mount it under the car. A very rare solution, nigh unheard of in Jamaica. Standard turbocharging not only requires the exhaust energy of the vehicle, but its oil and water for lubrication and cooling. With the turbocharger under the car, plumbing the latter elements would be a difficult automotive challenge.
Not one to shy away, Crawford did his research and found his solution, an oil-less turbocharger from Comp Turbo Technology, Inc. The American company’s turbocharger is a self-contained unit, requiring no connection to an engine’s oiling system, able to lubricate itself.
“It’s self-contained, so all you have to do is change the oil in it like you would your engine at pre-set intervals.”
Being self-oiling the turbocharger has a maximum pressure rating of around 14psi. Low for a modern turbocharger, but given Crawford’s ultimate goal, it was perfect.
“Since we wanted to retain as much factory drivability as possible, I didn’t want to lower the engine’s compression ratio and make it sluggish off boost. Keeping the boost pressure low and the engine compression high means the car will still behave like factory when the turbo isn’t operating.”
Under the Mark X, in the middle of the exhaust system, Crawford found a space and added the turbocharger. There’s an external wastegate and a front mounted intercooler only made noticeable by the gigantic red blow off valve on one of its pipes.
“The setup required some out of the box thinking and some non-traditional engineering.”
When stock the Mark X made 289 horsepower at its rear wheels. On its old nitrous oxide setup the power figures were 340. Now with 6psi of positive manifold pressure the car makes 433 horsepower. All on Jamaican 90 octane fuel.
The story doesn’t stop there. There were some factory items that didn’t need to be upgraded. The Mark X came with Toyota Electronically Modulated Suspension, TEMS. This system continuously adjusts the shock absorbers to the driving mode as selected by the driver and road conditions, keeping the 18-inch wheels in contact with the tarmac. Also from factory are large Brembo brake callipers for stopping power.
“We upgraded the rotors to cope with the increase in speed.”
So impressed with the modifications, the customer has asked for more, moving the horsepower target to 500. For that Crawford says injectors are next on the list to reach that goal as at 8psi of boost they’re at their maximum flow rate.
“We will be upgrading the injectors and possibly building a transmission to take the excess power,” said Crawford.