New to building and have a few questions

I’m new to building cars and have a basic understanding of engines and etc. I have a 2012 chevy cruze 1.4 L with a manual transmission. I bought this car in hopes of making it some kind of sleeper build. The issues I’m having is finding aftermarket parts, and what parts I should upgrade. Currently I’m wanting to get a better turbo set up. My current factory set up the turbo is integrated with the exhaust manifold. My question is, is it possible to just get straight pipe headers and put a turbo into later? Is there a better turbo exhaust manifold out there?

Found a company that caters to this platform and engine and it looks like the upgraded turbo’s a bolt on affair.

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Welcome to the CarTalk forum… but it isn’t really populated with many modification and performance minded folks. If you are looking for Cruze specific help, search for a Cruze specialty forum. It will get you in touch with people who have actually modified one and can advise you. We can give general advice but I don’t think any of the regulars even own a Cruze.

That said, you have a few problems you might not be considering. Your turbo 138 HP four may be capable of more power, but at what cost? Parts are expensive, as you can see from the link @wolyrobb gave you. $1100 for a bigger turbo and manifold. To make use of that, you will need a bigger intercooler, the turbo-tune for the ECU, I’d suggest an E85 upgrade kit, and a bigger fuel pump, injector set, the big downpipe and a full exhaust with cat for starters.

Now let’s talk about getting all that new-found power to the ground. The open differential will spin up one tire and just make smoke instead of speed. Good for the stock clutch and transmission but a waste of several thousand dollars spent on the engine mods. So you need a limited slip diff. That’s another $750. Better get an up-rated clutch and a light aluminum flywheel while you are at it (another $1000). Now some wheels and performance tires. Another $2000. The labor for all this, if you can’t do your own work, will be substantial.

All this work to boost a 138 HP engine not known to have a particularly strong block. If the engine has normal miles for a '12, 90-120K miles on it. The pistons and rings will shortly find a way out of the engine block if the rods don’t beat them to it. Do you really want to put $10K worth of parts on a tired engine with stock rods and pistons? You need forged pistons and better rods at the least and we haven’t even touched the head.

Not trying to be a wet blanket, but you need to know what you are getting into.


Honestly it’s a lot more then what I thought. I bought this car of being some kind of project I could modify and I’m willing to put money into it as my first project, mainly for learning purposes. My end goal with this car is just see if I can make it reach 200-210 hp while having a stylish daily driver after getting all the fenders and all that changed. Thank you form your help, Ill head to the chevy forms and see what all I can find there.

Here is where you need to go…

Seems like 190 ft-lbs and 152 HP at the wheels (so 174 hp and 221 ft-lbs at the crank) is possible with a basically stock engine and an ECM tune… 1.4 L turbo engine boost pressure | Chevrolet Cruze Forums

This will shorten the life of an already worn engine. But you’ll have fun 'til she pops. And it is somewhat close to what you want.

What you’ll learn is how much potential improvement in power there is in a turbo engine simply by raising the boost. Way more potential than a non-turbo engine with a “tune”.

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