Probe Performance Upgrades

Being listed here does not imply suitability for your application. I may post parts of email messages I receive. If the author objects to this policy, I will re-edit or remove the text to satisfy you. - A new tuner company devoted to the Probe and KL series motors.  A must for modified KL motors. 14Jul03

Ok, so you are ready to spend some money and time to improve the performance of your car. Where do you start?

First off, it's not safe to explore the performance limits of any car on the street, much less a performance car like a V6 or turbo Probe. Autocross and road race schools (see the Racing Page) are a much, much safer (and legal) way to test the limits of you and your car.

There are also lots of different ways to change your car depending on what your goal is.

Measuring Performance

So you've just installed your new exhaust/headers/tint, etc. and you want to test it out. So you back out of the driveway, slam it into 1st and floor it. Wow you say- that's really great!

What's wrong with this picture? Well, first, the car is probably cold. The 93-97 GT is much peppier cold than hot. Second, many mods increase the sound level of the engine. This is make it seem more powerful. Third, you are probably revving it a lot harder than you usually do, and most of the HP is between 4K and 6K RPM. Fourth, you really want to believe that the $500, 2 bleeding knuckles and 4 hours you spent made a difference!

Geez, you're thinking, what a wet blanket! But the performance parts industry is full of claims that don't translate to the dyno. I hear so much: 15HP for exhaust + 10 for intake + 15 for headers means I have 40 more hp. But it doesn't show up on the dyno. Check it out on the Dyno Page. Well, the real measure is if you think the car is more fun to drive.

The Driver

Improving your driving skills will make the biggest improvement in the performance of your car. I thought I knew a lot of driving a car fast. I was wrong. If you haven't done any racing, neither do you. When I started racing autocross and road race, I realized that I had never even approached the real limits of a car on the street. You can't, really, not without crashing once a week.

Racing autocross will change the way you see corners, and will give you lots of practice with feeling the car at the limit of grip and speed. I highly recommend this book: Secrets of Solo Racing : Expert Techniques for Autocrossing and Time Trials by Henry A. Watts.

Ok, ok, let's get to the part where you get to spend some $$ on a 4 inch exhaust tip... :)

The Car

The 93-97 GT is a pretty well balanced car straight out of the box. Braking, acceleration, handling are refined and inspired. The 89-92 turbo GT is maybe just a little faster in a straight line than the later GT. The published horsepower figure of 145 for the turbo is generally considered NOT to be the peak horsepower, which may peak at about 190. The 89-92 Mazda turbo (GT) in particular is a great sleeper- fast enough to beat a VTEC Integra.


Check out the Parts Page for more info.

Here's the skinny on upgrades

I make a distinction between appearance and performance. So I'm not going to talk about tint on this page. There are lots of ways to make your car look different, and everybody has a different idea about what looks good. I'm going to try to distill the effect of the many products available for (mostly) the 93-97 GT into those that affect the acceleration, cornering, ride, braking and feel of the car.

Lead weights

Controversial/Misleading/Snake Oil

Basically immeasurable gains

Some measurable benefit

Now we're talking

Fender Rolling

A while back I sent a message asking for a place to roll my fenders. I got responses ranging from "do it with a baseball bat" to "take it to Dinan". I picked the middle ground and had somebody do it cheaper than Dinan. Since then I have found the perfect solution. It's too late for me, but I think some of you will benefit from this.

I picked this up on the M3 mailing list. TireRack will loan you a very professional piece of equipment that would roll your fenders nicely. You have to pay for the shipment both ways, but it's well worth the price. The only catch is, they will charge your credit card $750 which they with credit back when you return the equipment. Some people on the M3 list in the same area have gotten together and shared the cost. Here are some pictures of it in action:

Heavy aftermarket wheels (Back to Index)

Spoiler (Back to Index)

Body Kits (Back to Index)

Spiral Intake a.k.a. The Tornado (Back to Index)

Synthetic Oil (Back to Index)

Drop-in K&N filter (Back to Index)

Plug Wires (Back to Index)

Tires (Back to Index)

Suspension (Back to Index)

Exhaust (Back to Index)

Intake (Back to Index)

Reduce Weight (Back to Index)

    Reducing weight will increase acceleration, improve braking and cornering.

    The 93-97 PGT weighs approximately 3000lbs, dividing by the horsepower of 165, we get about 18lbs/hp. So roughly every 18lbs removed from the car's weight will add an effective 1 HP.

    Gas weighs about 8lbs/gal so 16 gallons in the tank weighs 128lbs. If you have only 1 gal in the tank, is it almost a 7 hp equivalent difference. A passenger can make even a bigger difference, not to mention the driver's weight.

    You can remove things like the spare tire and jack, the floor mats, the rear seats, interior panels and anything else.

    Here are some easily removable items:

    1. Pass. seat: 37 lbs
    2. Rear Seat: 29 lbs
    3. Rear cushion: 10 lbs
    4. Floor mats: 6 lbs
    5. Tire floor cover: 3 lbs
    6. Spare tire and jack: 32 lbs

    Removing air conditioning is another extreme possibility.

    You could replace the heavy power seat with a manual one or a lightweight racing seat. See the Performance Parts Page for lightweight seats. Replace the battery with a smaller one.

    However, most of the things that came with the car have some important function; if you really want to rip out all the insides it's kind of a shame to do it such a nice car as a Probe. May I suggest a turbo'd Civic? =), ok, i'll stop now.... :)

Chips (Back to Index)

Underdrive pulleys (Back to Index)

Lightweight Flywheel (Back to Index)

Lightweight Wheels (Back to Index)

Headers (Back to Index)

Front Strut Brace (Back to Index)

Rear Strut Brace (Back to Index)

Superchargers (Back to Index)

NOS - Nitrous Oxide (Back to Index)

Limited Slip Differential (LSD) (Back to Index)

Japanese Spec KLZE motor (Back to Index)

The Bay Area Probe Owners Club does not endorse or avoid any specific automotive business or product. Use this information and these links at your own risk. I may post parts of email messages I receive. If the author objects to this policy, I will re-edit or remove the text to satisfy you.

August 1998

Bay Area Probe Owners Club Website