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Reliving my youth - 94 Talon TSI AWD

Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland


I have been keeping an eye out for a 1G DSM in good condition, that runs fairly well, and didn't have the interior all chopped apart. I wanted the car to look like my first DSM back in college in the early 2000's. So this past weekend, I found a 94 Eagle Talon TSI AWD for sale in Orlando, FL, so I flew down, purchased the car, and drove it home to Baltimore, MD. Other than a worn out upper radiator hose, nothing was leaking, and no signs of leaking anywhere under the hood.

I'm not a car mechanic, but I like to believe I'm sharp enough to be able to follow instructions and learn what I need to repair a car. I've always performed my own maintenance tasks over the years, and even replaced a timing belt a while back on my first 1G DSM. So if you decide to follow my journal, I'll be thinking out loud at times to justify what I'm doing to fix/troubleshoot issues with the car, and will always appreciate any feedback the gurus have to keep me on course.

Quick side note: Thank you state of MD for having a "historic" registration option! This allowed me to register the car and get tags without having to get the car inspected. I could only imagine what the list of fixes would be to get the car to pass this "shady" MD inspection process. Now I can skip some things like a new windshield because of a very minor chip, and dive directly inside the car.

So far, here are my goals. First off, I want to give the car a once over, and identify everything under the hood that is not functioning properly and repair it. As I do repair things and require new parts, I will be on the lookout for potential upgrades from the stock parts, so any input in that area is welcome! In between the process of troubleshooting/fixing/waiting for parts to get delivered, I'll also be cleaning the the interior of the car to get it shiny any new looking. Exterior cleaning will likely come last, after the car is running as I want it.

(as I make progress on these, I will update the list below)
  • Stage 1
    • Fix whatever problems the car has under the hood, and update parts as needed based on the age and mileage of the engine
      • First up, Boost Leak troubleshooting
      • Small leak in rear differential (fixed)
      • CV boot rip in front passenger (fixed)
      • Do something about the large exhaust pipe, and lack of a muffler
    • Interior
      • Carpet Cleaning (done)
      • Headliner repair (done)
      • Rear Hatch Leak
      • Rear Hatch struts (replaced)
      • Warping dash pads on driver side and passenger side (fixed)
    • Exterior
      • Roof Rack Removal (removed)
      • Make shiny! (done)
      • Replace crappy alloy wheels
  • Stage 2
    • All systems are a go! Now what? More power obviously!
      • Free Mods, first
      • Turbo upgrade - 14b to small 16g
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Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland
It was a perfect holiday weekend to work on the Talon. Well, perfect to work on the car, but not perfect to expect a quick turnaround from ordering parts online. After building a boost leak tester from scratch, I was quickly able to identify a few different places where we were leaking. Right now, boost doesn't hold at all, and I cant get it to build up any pressure past 7-8 psi.

Just to take a step back, my original issue is that at WOT, the car bogs down and stutters after building up boost greater than about 6 psi (according to the stock gauge), while not really getting above roughly 4000 rpm. I'm guessing this is a boost leak issue, and not something exhaust related. I do see some minor exhaust manifold cracks, but I dont know if that is the issue or not. I am in the market for a 2G manifold, so when I find one, that will get replaced.

In general, anyone that purchases a 23 year old stock DSM and has expectations to have a perfectly functioning turbo, is crazy. It should be expected to have to replace a handful of gaskets and rubber parts under the hood to get this working properly.

The first leak that I found was occurring at each of the 4 fuel injector lower insulator gaskets. I ordered a new set of o-rings for the injectors, new rubber gaskets, and new insulators. After replacing them, the problem is much better, but not fix completely. It just doesn't seem that the fuel injectors are being tightened down hard enough to really create a good seal. I'm going to move on for now, and revisit this after I fix the other leaks.

The second leak was from the throttle body BISS screw. The screw has an o-ring on it and it was completely non-functional and hard as a rock. The screw moved pretty easily and was leaking a ton of air under pressure. I was also missing the BISS screw cap, which after ordering a new one, noticed that its a rubber piece as well and helps to seal this up as well.

Our boost still isnt holding, but we can now at least get the pressure up to about 15psi, but it still leaks right out. I can still hear air exiting out from somewhere back by the intake manifold.

The third leak I identified was actually from the throttle body itself. I suspect its not from the throttle body gaskets, but from the two shaft seals that are internal to the throttle body itself. If I touch the spring, the sound changes. Also get some bubbles from the soapy water test around the black electrical pieces on the TB. A few forum posts mention that if the air is getting past the seal, than this could happen as well. Got these parts ordered from ExtremePSI, and should be in later this week.

At this point, I've got almost the entire intake system dismantled under the hood, from the MAF all the way up to the intake manifold. I did label all of the vacuum hoses so that I know where they go. A bit nervous about re-assembly at this point. Also nervous about fixing these issues, and what that is going to do to the idle. Will it be effected? Will I need to somehow adjust it? We shall see, I guess. Plus, curious what sort of shock its going to be to the engine once the turbo is actually working correctly again.

ALSO this weekend, I took a trip to a "Pick-your-Part" junkyard. I havent done this since I was a teenager, and let me tell you, it was everything I thought it was going to be, and more! I was lucky to find both a 1G eclipse and laser at the yard, but they were both non-turbo. There were also 2 2g Eclipses, which i thought I may be able to find a 2G MAF, but figured out that there is no MAF in a non-turbo 2G DSM. Regardless, I had a short list of interior parts that I was interested in replacing, or just wanted to have a spare in my posession, based on frequent reports from the forums of certain parts deteriorating or breaking. To get interior parts off of ebay are just stupid expensive and overpriced, IMO.

My goal is to keep the car looking 100% stock, in great condition. Here's what I got:

- New valve cover (figured why not, I can practice painting it)
- Headliner/sun visors
- OEM stock radio w/ EQ (missing one EQ button, anyone have one?)
- Lower windshield air grill - driver side
- Cargo cover (this was my favorite find)
- New battery terminal connector
- Stock shift knob
- Fuel injector wire harness pieces (I broke one when I was trying to figure out how to remove those damn metal clips)
- Dashboard pieces for around the instrument panel and around the dash center console (Mine are both showing signs of starting to peel along the back, and these were in a bit better shape, but not perfect. At a minimum I have something to test out some various glues and/or epoxies for repairing this common issue)
- Wheel center caps (Was missing one)
- Interior molding around driver door (I have a small crack in my current piece right below drivers head where the clothing hook is)
- Door speaker grill covers

I might return in a week or two and grab a few more things. After I get my boost issues resolved, I'm going to troubleshoot the non-functioning A/C, and if all goes well, do the conversion to R-134a in the process. Plus, the blower doesnt blow very well, so there may be some parts related to that that I could use (ducting, fan motor etc.). I'm also interested in restoring my rusty lower windshield molding (the metal piece that lines the lower front windshield and the wipers). May get another one from the yard just to practice sanding and painting on.

Other things that have found their way onto my to-do list are paiting my brake calipers red (an obvious upgrade from rusty orange), as well as re-finishing the stock talon wheels. The paint is just old and faded, so a fresh coat may be nicer and cheaper than trying to find new OEM wheels. ALthough the 95 - 97 wheels look good based on some youtube videos from Tom's Turbo Garage.

Will post some final boost leak fixing results over the weekend. Thanks for reading.


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Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland
Boost problems solved! The rest of my parts came in this week, which allowed me to replace the throttle body shaft seals, and just do a thorough cleaning of the TB. Also replaced the TB gaskets. Re-ran a BLT, and now we can easily get a solid amount of pressure built up, without it leaking out right away. Took the car out for a test drive, and the stuttering is gone and I actually feel the acceleration when the boost kicks in.

So this wasn't as easy as it sounds. Throttle body plate screw removal are definitely worth researching before you embark on trying to take them out. Both of mine stripped right away, and I ended up having to replace them. Fortunately I found exact new ones at home depot.
I was able to remove them by using a dremel to make a cut across the top of each screw, and use a flathead to get them out.

I also grinded off the other end of the screw, but not sure if that ultimately had an affect on getting the screws out. Reinstallation was easy, and I used some red loctite on the new screws.

A quick test drive after making these changes was not positive, so I disconnected the negative battery terminal for a bit, and then re-drove it. Guessing something computer related needed to be reset. Now the car was feeling good!

The last thing I did was re-adjust my BISS screw, and I got my idle down from 1500 to ~800rpm.

This should be the end of my boost leak troubleshooting, for now. By the end of this weekend, I should have some new plugs and wires installed with a new K&N air filter. I'm also going to drill a bunch of holes in my MAF air can to get some more air in.

Next up from my list is some aesthetics. I'd like to give the car a nice exterior cleaning, as well as refurbish the pain on the wheels.

On my list is addressing the exhaust. After further inspection, it looks like I've got nothing but a resonator under the car. No cat, or muffler. I was able to pickup a mig welder for cheap on craigslist, so I may pracice a bit , and try adding a muffler to quiet the car down.

It was also recommended to start thinking about adding a manual boost controller next, and bump the boost up to about 15 psi. Sounds like I should also get a new boost gauge to go with that.

Stay Tuned! THx for reading..


Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
I always grind the back of the screw where it is "staked" off with a dremel and they come out a lot easier but you must always use the correct size Phillips head screwdriver or you will strip them. Old carb rebuild trick. :)

Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland
Took a stab this weekend at stripping and repainting one of the wheels. After using paint stripper and sanding down what was remaining, I sprayed a few coats of primer, and then a few coats of paint and some clear coat. This was a very time consuming process. Not looking forward to the other three wheels.


I also painted the brake caliper red, which I think looks pretty good. I'm still on the fence with how the wheel came out. In my opinion, I chose paint that was too silver. I used the DupliColor Hyper Silver Kit. I may try a different color for the next wheel, or try my luck at some black matte plasti-dip, but I'm on the fence with that. (Edit: Found a graphite Duplicolor HP Wheel Coating color that looks good on a few youtube videos. GOnna try that next) I may just stick to the original plan of keeping it as stock looking as I can. My main take away from doing the first wheel, was to make sure the prep work of sanding and primer is absolutely perfect. 3 coats of primer and paint and clear coat still didn't hide the imperfections of a not perfect quality sanding/prep job. Will put more effort in on the next wheel. Wish I had a sandblaster of some sort ;)

Also this weekend, I replaced the passenger side CV Driveaxle. Figured why not. I had the wheel off and the brake calipers, might as well do the CV axle since it was on my short list of things that needed to get repaired. Will work on the drivers side in another week or two. Ended up just getting carquest parts from advanced auto parts.

Got that ugly roof rack removed too. Left some marks from being on there for 20 years, but I think I may be able to buff them out.

Replaced the rear hatch struts. Now I can open the trunk without having to support it with a pole!

Also on a side note: I made a trip with my boys to the Mason Dixon Dragway this weekend to check out the action. Its been at least 30 years since I'm been to one of these places, and it was freaking awesome. If theres ever something to give you the bug to want to upgrade the HP of your car, this was it. I'm very interested to go back with the Talon, and sign-up for a "Test & Tune". Running the car stock not only would be fun, but would give me a baseline to compare to whenever I do start making performance improvements. I guess my Talon, in its current state, is just considered a Street Car? Will need to read up on the requirements to pass the tech inspection.
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Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland
Spent a good few hours watching some youtube content and reading a few other build threads yesterday. I'm having the internal battle with myself to determine where I want to be with this car in the short term. I want it to be a daily driver to offset mileage on my jeep, but since the A/C doesnt work atm, its sort of not realistic in the summer months. I'm also pondering my loud 3 inch straight exhaust issue, and trying to decide if I want to get back to stock or spend close to the same amount of money and keep the pipe diameter big, but add back the cat and the muffler. Then along came some Velocity Labs videos, which pointed me towards @ErikTande 's build. I think I'm convinced based on his information that I should get DCM Link before I start really making any type of performance modifications. He's also got the exhaust that I think is a good compromise between daily driver and dragway racer.

I'm really itching to go make some baseline pulls at the dragway just to see where I am at. Looking forward to this experience.

So anyway, I spend some time yesterday on a search to see what my ECU situation was. On the way towards removing it, I found the remnants of an old security system, as well as one of the worst wiring jobs on a car stereo system that I have ever seen. Exposed power wires everywhere. Lucky the car didn't catch on fire. SO I ripped both out.

No DSM build is complete without one of these pictures:


Once I got rid of that crap, I removed the ECU, popped it open, and this is what I found:



At first, I was hesitant in making the choice to invest in ECMLink, mostly due to being a novice with performance tuning, plus the fact that by itself, its not going to be the best bang for my buck at the moment. But the engineer in me just wants some metrics available so I can continue learning, and be able to make some more conscience decisions, and monitor what I'm doing so I don't ruin my engine.

My other small project I'm looking to tackle soon (while I save up some side cash to pay for DCMLink) is to re-do my headliner. I picked a spare up from the junkyard a few weeks back, and I'll work on that one. I did call around to see the going rate for headliner re-upholstery, and I was surprised that all of the estimates were $250 and up. So that easily has persuaded me to just do it myself. How hard can it really be to prep the old headliner, buy new fabric, and trim it? I've already found some main threads about other DSM'ers experiences. Glue seems to be the debated topic, so I'll have to do some research so I choose the right products. (

Will try this first. Found it on amazon: 3M 38808 Headliner and Fabric Adhesive

Stay Tuned for my results. Thanks for reading!
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Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland
Quick update on my headliner project. I was able to find some identical headliner fabric at JoAnns Fabric store, on sale for 12 bucks. I also did end using the 3M 38808 Adhesive. Here are some pics of the process and end result. One trick I did find useful was to use a clean paint roller to apply even pressure to the fabric so it adheres nice and solid.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 6.56.42 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 6.56.51 PM.png

Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland

So as I've been replacing my CV axles, I've been testing out some different paints to refurbish my wheels. So far, I've had no luck in finding a silver color that matches the factory color. Each time it just looks cheesy and obvious that I painted my wheels, and thats not the look I'm going for. I've one more color silver picked out that I'm going to try, and if that doesn't look right, I think I'm just going to go with the factory white look, and be done with it.

Also this week I picked up a second 1G DSM. SO the focus on this build is going to shift slightly more towards getting everything back to a stock look and feel. (Looking for interior rear speaker panels and rear seat mounting brackets, if anyone is parting out and looking to sell. Hit me up!)

Air Conditioning!

Friend of mine is a home A/C guy, and recently purchased a 86 Pontiac Fiero GT, with 15k miles. He was able to pull the R12 from his system and replace it with 134a. I figured what the hell, maybe I just need a charge, so we ended up doing the same thing to mine. It worked! Ice cold A/C! Now, I have no idea when the last time the A/C was working in this car. The compressor is now alive again, but it is not very happy to be back in action. Lots of noise when it cycles, so I guess I'll just run it till it dies and then replace it.

SO now that the car is running great, and the A/C works, the next thing I really need to do to it to feel comfortable driving it is to quiet down the exhaust. Since I've now got a separate "track" car, I think I'm going to just get this one back to a stock exhaust setup. If anyone has any recommendations other than a junkyard to find stock exhaust parts, please let me know. Now I do have a 3" Megan downpipe that I'd like to use so it doesnt go to waste, but after that, I'm gonna add the cat back in, not sure if the stock intermediate pipe came with a resonator, but maybe add one, and add a muffler. I want this thing to be quiet. Any suggestions are much appreciated!

Billy Ciano

Proven Member
Apr 25, 2017
Sykesville, Maryland
This past week, I was lucky enough to find an OEM muffler on amazon (used) for $20 bucks. Although when it arrived, it really does look brand new. So now that I've got a downpipe and a muffler, all I should need is a cat, intermediate pipe and some random pipe and reducing couplings to get everything together. I had mentioned I purchased a mig welder from craigslist a while back, and I'm waiting on a welding helmet to get delivered. Should be interesting, at the least!

So, A/C is working, but the air doesn't blow very hard, even when turned up all the way. I pulled the motor out and everything looks good on that end. Question for the masses, whats left to really look for? Doesn't matter if its set to recirculate or outside air. Investigating the black boxes under the dashboard suggest that something may be clogged up in there maybe?

Also this weekend, I plan on trying to do a crinkle red paint job on my spare valve cover. Will post pics when its complete.

Looking for leads on the following parts as well:
WTB - rear seat side panels, both sides (big ones covering speakers)
WTB - rear seat back attachment brackets


Probationary Member
Sep 6, 2017
Roseville, Minnesota
This is awesome, great looking car! I am doing the same thing. I have some suspension issues to workout, mine also has a laughably loud exhaust that need to be corrected and I have to address my paint. But your headliner piece just got added to my to do list!
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