CABBIN’ FEVER

CARNAGE

STORY SCOTT TAYLOR PHOTOS SCOTT TAYLOR & MICHELLE POROBIC

> WE SLOWLY GET TO GRIPS WITH THE ENGINE SWAP ON OUR TURBO TAXI PROJECT

EVER since we announced our Turbo Taxi project, we’ve been flat stick making it all happen within a fairly tight video deadline. It’s been a busy few weeks.

For those late to the party, here’s the spiel.

We’ve bought a 2010 FG Falcon ex-taxi, and we want to make it run 10s on LPG. When we say it like that it all sounds easy, but we’re discovering that it’s anything but.

We paid $2750 for the 577,000km ex-cab, which was probably on the high side of things, but by spending a little more initially we ended up with a better car and it had no trouble getting a roadworthy certificate. On the other side of the ledger, the engine came with a fairly loud bottom-end knock, and while it wasn’t immediately terminal we knew we were going to have to replace the engine prior to any boost being introduced to the equation.

On the chassis dyno at MPW Performance, the taxi made 191.2rwhp, before we headed to Calder Park and ran a very disappointing 17.29@83mph – and that’s where we left things last month.

We knew the taxi was capable of more, so we headed back out to Calder and immediately dipped into the 16s with a 16.82@83mph, followed by a pair of 16.74s, with me behind the wheel. Then Aiden jumped into the driver’s seat, and with a decided weight advantage, he reeled off a 16.71 and then a best of 16.70@83.4mph – almost six-tenths better than our initial foray onto the drag strip, and more in line with where we expected the car to be.

With all that out of the way, we started collecting parts for the taxi. First up was a new motor. We stumbled across a 142,000km petrol FG motor for $200 on the internet and foolishly jumped on it. The guys at MPW

Performance graciously loaned us a hoist for what was supposed to be a one-day engine changeover. It became a four-day marathon.

Having not been on the spanners for a while, we underestimated just how big a job an engine swap is in an FG Falcon if you’ve never done it before. We’re sure that the experts can probably do it in a standard workday with two identical engines, but we struck problem after problem after realising just how many differences there were between the petrol and LPG engines. Everything off the petrol engine had to be stripped and all the ancillaries from the LPG donk had to be added; this even included the rocker cover. We learned more about FG Falcon engines than we ever really wanted to know.

To make matters worse, we forgot that the new engine was from a manual and tried to bolt it in place with the input shaft bush still in the back of the crank. In many cars this isn’t really a problem, but with the FG Falcon it’s a major issue and the engine and trans wouldn’t pull together completely. That meant we had to drop the transmission out – we didn’t want to pull the engine out again – and Adam from MPW used his slide hammer to remove the bush so we could put it all back together.

So you can see why the whole job took us four days from start to finish, but hitting the key and having it fire up first go was a joyous moment.

So right now we’ve got parts piling up in the office, with a Garrett GT35/84R from GCG Turbos, plus a bunch of gear from Turbosmart and Haltech, including an Elite 2500 ECU.

We’re also expecting a delivery from Plazmaman as well. It’s all getting bolted on shortly – in fact we’re hoping the car will be turbocharged by the time you read this.