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Proton with Pounce

A Proton Satria GTi crammed with the best bits from Mitsubishi - and more from the aftermarket!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

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At a glance...

  • Proton Satria GTi with 'Evo 0' 2.0 litre turbo conversion
  • Custom intake and exhaust manifolds
  • KAAZ front LSD
  • Evo 3 brakes
  • Awesome front-wheel-drive performance
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The Proton Satria GTi is a car with great performance potential. It handles well outa the box, it’s practical and well equipped for the money. But straight-line performance? Well, there’s plenty of room for improvement...

Caleb Prescotts of Brisbane bought this Satria GTi new in 2003 and it wasn’t long before he started wishing for more grunt. In standard form, the Satria GTi’s 4G93 1.8 litre engine spits out 103kW at the flywheel - not bad for an atmo engine but hardly the stuff to scare the owners of WRXs, Skylines and S13s. But the tables were turned when Caleb whacked in a 55hp nitrous shot to help the little Satria blast out about 100kW at the wheels (measured on a Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno).

The nitrous kit gave plenty of bang for buck. Unfortunately, there was some extra bang that Caleb could’ve done without – the engine ran lean and died.

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At this point, Caleb looked in the direction of the Mitsubishi parts bin and there was one stand-out engine conversion – ditch the existing atmo 4G93 for a turbocharged 4G93 (ala Mitsubishi Lancer GSR AWD).

"The GSR turbo engine was really easy to fit," says Caleb.

"It went in using the standard engine mounts and we got it up and running with the standard Mitsubishi computer. It all plugged in nicely."

At this point, the standard Satria GTi gearbox was retained. The only associated change was a hydraulic clutch system.

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With turbocharged power, Caleb’s Satria GTi cranked out an easy 120kW at the front wheels. This was later increased to 170kW at the treads thanks to a MicroTech LT8 programmable management system, Evo high-flow turbo and custom intake manifold.

With a massive 170kW at the wheels, the Satria was an electrifyingly quick machine. But unfortunately, this mechanical incarnation also came to a premature end – a cam belt was thrown, resulting in a collection of bent valves and one big mess.


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A rebuild was on the cards but Caleb saw our article Satria VR4?! and though it’d be cool to drop in the mighty 4G63 2.0 litre turbo engine. But not just any 4G63 – a Japanese-spec VR4 ‘Evo 0’ motor! The conversion to Evo power was a relatively easy process requiring a custom front engine mount and a slice out of the bonnet frame to clear the valve cover.

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Engine internals are stock except for a pair of AEM adjustable cam gears. At the time of writing, these were set at the standard cam timing – some experimentation was yet to be carried out. Output is increased beyond standard using a Turbonetics T3/T04E turbo with a 38mm Tial external wastegate mounted on a custom tubular exhaust manifold. A screamer pipe accepts gasses from the wastegate while a 3 inch exhaust accepts gas flow from the turbine.

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A big Hybrid air-to-air intercooler lives in the nosecone and you’ll find a TurboSmart Type 3 blow-off valve incorporated into the custom plumbing. The standard intake manifold has also been discarded for a custom set-up that employs a Ford XF throttle body.

A set of Mazda RX7 Series 5 injectors (rated at 550cc) replace the already high-flow Evo injectors while a SX regulator, braided lines and Walbro pump complete the fuel system. The ignition system retains the standard VR4 Evo 0 coil pack. Fuel and ignition are controlled using the MicroTech ECU fitted in the Satria’s previous incarnation. Boost pressure is adjusted to a maximum of 18 psi using a TurboXS manual bleed valve. Warren Molloy Motorsport can be thanked for much of the set-up and tuning.

Interestingly, the standard Satria driveline stood up to the output of the tuned 4G63. But only for a short while...

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Caleb says the standard ‘box did about 4000km kilometres with the 2.0 litre turbo before the synchros died and he was locked out of all gears. The solution has been to drop in a Mitsubishi Lancer GSR AWD gearbox with a custom shaft to take drive to only the front wheels. A KAAZ mechanical LSD and brass button clutch have also been slipped in. So far, there haven’t been any problems with this combo except for one snapped CV joint.

The brakes have also been improved with parts from Mitsubishi. Caleb says Lancer Evo 3 276mm discs and 2-pot calipers were a bolt-on upgrade using Lancer GSR hubs. The standard Satria discs remain at the rear. The handling balance is pretty well sorted from factory so all Caleb has done is switch to Hot Bits adjustable coil-overs – standard swaybars and bushes remain.

Visually, the Satria GTi is pretty eye-catching for a hatchback. Caleb’s example stands out even more thanks to a custom front bar, Buddy Club Civic side skirts and clear lens taillights. The factory flared wheel arches are filled by attractive 17 inch X1 rims wearing 215/40 rubber.

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Proton gave the Satria GTi cabin plenty of go-fast gear but Caleb has added more for good measure. Additional gauge-ware includes a MicroTech dash, A’PEXi EL boost gauge, Rev/Speed meter, EGT display (which has shown a 710 degrees Celsius peak measured post-turbine), AutoMeter monster tacho and shift light. The sound system kicks off with a Pioneer CD/tuner head unit wired to two amplifiers, 6½ inch Focal splits and a 12 inch sub-woofer.

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Despite the extra mass of the 2.0 turbo engine, bigger brakes and sub-woofer, Caleb says his Satria GTi weighs in at under 1100kg. An ATW power figure hasn’t been recorded because nobody can prevent the little Proton from wheel-spinning on the dyno rollers. But whatever the output figure is, it’s obvious this is one sensationally quick machine.

"It’s just crazy," says Caleb.

"It comes on from about 3600 rpm and lights up the tyres in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear."

The best quarter mile time to date is a 13.4 at 116 mph (achieved with street tyres and a relatively poor launch). A low 13 is nothing to be sneezed at but you can expect to see this car go even faster with its new owner at the helm. That’s right. Caleb has recently sold his modified Proton to a mate who is shooting for the Australian front-wheel-drive quarter mile record.

Caleb? Well, he’s quite happy riding his new 10 second sports bike!


WM (Warren Molloy) Motorsport                           +61 7 3205 1951

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