Drive Reports
Home What's a T-115? Photo Gallery Project Boost Dyno Data Drive Reports Reference Links The End



100 bhp per Litre

24 April 2007

First Impressions

We've owned our present 1993 2.5L Gen-2 since new when it replaced our original 1984 T-115, 2.6L (Mitsu)-powered 3-speed auto Voyager. That's right 22-years of continuous Mopar 4-cylinder, short-wheelbase Minivan ownership.

On our first family vacation trip, in the '93 Gen-2 , we're cruising south on I-15 and my wife gives me a "what's-up-with-that look," and says, "what happened -- it's so hot in here?" It took me about thirty seconds to realize we'd been climbing a small grade (in 3rd gear, no less!) and the ECM's A/C WOT cut-out relay had been trying to conserve a couple of the measly 100 horses, of the TBI 2.5L four.

horizontal rule


Fun, Fun, Fun -- The sure cure for the "minivan blues."

After the TBI conversion to Turbo II, I'm pleased to announce the R-134a A/C rarely gets a chance to enjoy WOT cutouts. Although, I have to admit that I was a bit amused when I first changed the A/C mode controls while in boost and I noticed them finally "catch-up" when I shifted the A-568's gears (and vacuum momentarily returned).

But seriously folks, you didn't come here to hear A/C stories. This vehicle has simply been transformed, period. It's a friggin' hoot to drive. Growing tired of your old minivan? This is the sure cure for the "Minivan Blues."

Power and torque are doubled and occur at half the RPM of the old TBI. You literally had to flog the old TBI all the time (a lot like the 34 hp/850 cc Austin Mini Estate wagon, I once had). It's hard to believe, but now it's like having the smooth torque of a small-block V8 instantly available. Passing is effortless, even in fifth gear.

Stoplight-to-stoplight is fun, but rowing the five speed up an on ramp is even more addictive. Gear changes at 5000 - 5200 RPM drop the engine speed into a range delivering 260 ft-lb of wheel-measured torque. Put it this way, on a 1-to-10 FTD scale (Fun-To-Drive) this minivan is right up there. It's hard to beat the combination of high-stealth married to high-torque! 

Starting and drivability is vastly improved over the old TBI. The exhaust tone is unique and hard to describe. It almost sounds a little like a tractor married to an airplane. Turbo "whine" can be heard, but just barely.

Passing Utah's annual emissions test was a no-brainer, with all (turbo) measurements cleaner than in past (TBI) years. The sequential multi-port injectors are simply more precise and efficient than the original throttle-body injector. US EPA Fuel Economy ratings were 20 MPG (city) and 30 MPG (highway) for the original 2.5L/5-speed drivetrain. Over the years our mostly city-driving TBI habits would yield an 18-19 MPG average. When we did go out on the highway the underpowered TBI was working so hard it barely saw highway mileage above 20-21 MPG.  With the Turbo, we now see 18-21 MPG in city, with 24-25 MPG on the highway (mileage will no doubt improve once the novelty of boost-enhanced driving wears off! (ed. Yeah, right).

horizontal rule


Most people just don't get it. But that's OK. It's really hard to pigeon-hole a Mopar Turbo Minivan, as after almost twenty years they have become the automotive equivalent of INVISIBLE (especially here in Utah!).  As Patrick Bedard, says, in the April 2003 issue of Car & Driver: 

"Those fearing they'll be seen in a minivan have it all wrong. Nobody will see you. Nobody will even look. Minivans are invisible. Nobody wants to see them."


horizontal rule