Due to my increasing e-mail traffic and decreasing free time I have decide to put up this list of things to please do before e-mailing me with a question. You see, it isn't that I am unwilling to answer them, but there is just such a wealth of information out there that most of you haven't even learned of yet. So I will tell you where it is. Once you have done these few things, if you still have any questions feel free to e-mail me. Those who know me, know that I love helping out new people.

Note: none of this will cost you anything. It is ALL free.

  1. Go To Club DSM
  2. Subscribe to the Talon Digest (found on Club DSM)
  3. Read, at a minimum, the last year of back Digests. Preferably all the way back to the year of your car. IDEALLY ALL OF THE BACK ARCHIVES. I have read through them all TWICE and learned more the second time around then on the first.
  4. Go to the Club DSM Vendors page, find a few of the DSM shops and see what they say about modding and the path to take.  Many of them also have very good informational sections
  5. Get involved with DSM Chat at . . . I go by Jumper. We are pretty laid back, and are always willing to answer questions (though they will be better received if you have already performed steps 1-3).  A good program to use is mIRC

Now onto the show:


The following web pages are geared mostly to people who are fairly new to the car modding scene to those who have done some modding to their previous car but are not experienced with the Talon/Eclipse line of cars and the 4g63 motor.  If I seem like I'm talking down to your or assuming you know less than you do realize that I have to assume most people reading this know next to nothing.  In places where you know you can do something yourself better (like welding up your own exhaust) etc I encourage you to do so.  Creativity in your mods are encouraged and will make you all the more proud of your work.  Just please make sure you understand how what you're doing might differ from what is the normally accept mod.

Modding Paradigm

Understand that many of the modifications discussed here will interact with each other hopefully making them worth more than the sum of their parts. So take any HP claims with a grain of salt. It is very hard to quantify exactly the gains of a single mod when so many other factors are involved (can you say chaos theory).

The following mods are roughly broken out in order and in stages to give you some stepping stones to aim for.  Know this now, I don't like "stages" because they lend themselves to so much interpretation.  There is however a logical progression of modifications and the logic in choosing it is based on two very simple principles:

1) The weakest link - That means at all times you find the part of your car that is holding you back the most and improve that.  Generally this will ensure your greatest price/performance ratio except in those rare cases where it can be better to mod what you can afford knowing that latter you would have bought it anyway
2) Its a system stupid or ISS - By this I mean there are a few mods which you will perform which in some cases are really needed to make another mod "come to life," and there are yet others (BOV) which are down right MANDATORY to be performed before you proceed any further. 

I will of course try to guide you as best I can with the knowledge I have but don't be a mindless lemming.  The ultimate responsibility of understanding what you are doing is up to you.  That means fully understanding how to do what I recommend, why you are doing it, how it will effect your car, and what complications will arise.  Again I'll try my best to give you all the info I can but it's your car so you should know what you're doing before hand or at least think through what can go wrong so you can catch it before you have problems.   It is an unwise person who moves forward on the basis of one man's opinion without first understanding why. The key here is that your car is a system, and not just a bunch of parts haphazardly thrown together.


Before we jump right in and start modifying your car, there are a few things you need to consider. First of all some of the things mentioned here may void your warranty or at least make it a fight to get the work covered. So you may want to contact your local service manager and find out their feelings about mods. Also, keeping stock parts around for those visits to the dealer will make it possible to return your car to near stock condition for the visit. 


The next thing you have to consider is how far you want to go.   If you don't know your goal how can you ever obtain it.

Is your goal a mean street machine that you maybe take to the track for an occasional grudge match against your buddies Mustang GT or your boss in his Vette.   Or do you want to build a fire breathing Viper Killer (yes it can be done since there are daily driven DSM's in the 11's).  Maybe you like to actually turn the wheel and your thing is autox or road racing.   If so that entails a fairly different approach balancing power (low and top end) against the need to improve handling and braking. 

There will be come a time in the mod process when you must choose between current cost or future potential. This is when knowing your goals is essential.  If you don't, you may find yourself buying parts twice or wasting money buying a part that is more than you need. Our goal is to reduce the number of parts that need to be "trashed" as you move up through the power levels. Where there is a choice to be made between present cost and future performance I will attempt to let you know; but only you can decide.  I will only say this: realize that nearly EVERYONE'S goals inflate as they get a taste of what they can make their car do.  Just remember that the next time you say, "Oh I'm only going to add this to my car and that is it." :).

Also, if you have any interest in competing in Autox for actual points, and not just for fun, get your hands on an SCCA rule book and decide what class you want to run in and make your mod choices accordingly.   My recommendation is to run GS to start with then move into SM


The 1/4 miles times are estimates based on my times (AWD) and other members times. I have also made the assumption that you will be getting about a 1.900 launch. For every 0.1 sec slower or faster your time is in the first 60ft, adjust your ET accordingly by 0.175.  Please note that I stopped drag racing a while ago and have spent more time autoxing and road racing (hot lapping).  So while my car has gotten faster a few mods have hurt my ability to launch very hard not least of which is my left foots ability to make my car leap off the line.  That coupled with the complete lack of desire to wait for 5 hours after paying $25 to make 2 runs in my current location (Las Vegas).  Besides, after a point the variability in the mods make any estimates as to possible drag times complete and utter bullshit; and I'm not being paid enough to blow smoke up your arse :)


The cost estimates are based on the best deals I can find at the time for basically bolt on upgrades with the install being done yourself. This means you can save money in several places if you are willing to do some of your own fabrication, wait for sales/group deals, or buy used. Except in unique circumstances where there is only one known supplier I am not going to give a source for the parts.  You are going to have to search for the best deal at that particular time.   But the prices I list will likely still be available from someone.  The best place to start looking is at the Club DSM Vendors Page.   I have some preferred vendors but don't want to be biased here.  One look at my own personal car page will make it clear enough but please shop around because shops are like religion: Everyone thinks theirs is the only one.

Getting started

I highly recommend you get your hands on the factory service manual.  It might seem like it costs a tad much ($90-ish) but that cost is made up the first time you perform a mod yourself rather than pay some clue-bag speed shop $50+/hour to install your upper intercooler pipe.  Please just don't be cheap and try to survive with out it. If you can't afford $90 for something as useful as this then perhaps you should consider not modifying your car.  And don't think you're going to get the answers you need from people online.  Most Club DSM members have little to no patience for questions that have no response other than RTFM (read the f^ck1ng manual)

The same goes for tools.  If you don't have them buy them.  Period, end of story.  Unless you really have the cash to burn paying someone to install and maintain your car you are simply foolish otherwise.  For the cost of paying someone to do the first few installs you can buy tools and the next few mods are "free".  At least the labor is :)  Remember labor costs = mods :)

I suggest to start out with at least the following tools:

Try your best not to skimp on the tools.  I know it is hard to resist the local hardware store special, but you do get what you pay for especially in the socket and wrench area.  The last thing you need to do is be stripping the nuts and bolts on your car.   Although they are not really considered the BEST by mechanics, Craftsman tools are damn good.  They tend to be on the pricier side but you get a Lifetime Warranty.  Don't be afraid to use it.  That screw driver you used as a pry bar: return it for a new one.  Take the torque wrench there every 6 months to get it tested and replaced if out of spec.  It really is worth the $$$ IMO.