P-Body Engines

The standard engine on the base Sundance was the inevitable corporate 2.2, with the (again inevitable) 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine as an option. Both engines were served by a single computer-controlled throttle body fuel injector, more advanced than the competing Ford Escort's injection and probably similar to the Saturn SL1's. Air went through a tortuous route to get into these engines, and you couldn't just take off the air hose because the computer was cooled by the incoming air stream.

The 2.5 may have provided more low-end torque and quieter operation, but it seemed to be less willing to go through the high revs. The 2.2 also audibly let the driver know when to shift; a tachometer was needed more for the 2.5. Oddly, tachometers generally weren't available even on the five-speeds, except on top-end models (ES, RS, and Duster) - even there it was usually an option.

The P-bodies never had carburetors, and all four-cylinder engines were made by Chrysler, not Mitsubishi (which did make the V-6).

Though the 2.2 was generally reliable and had more torque than most of its economy car competitors (Civic, Tercel, Polo, Escort, SL1), the 2.5 had a bit more low-end power and was helpful for steep hills and air-conditioned shifting.

Turbo engines (or a V-6) were usually available, providing about over 140 hp rather than the stock 93-100 hp. One of the more interesting features of the model and engine mix was the sunglass bin on low-end, post-1988 models (replacing the boost gauge and/or vehicle information center). Turbo engines came with multiple-point fuel injection, which increased power and fuel mileage. The 2.2 turbo (146 hp) was available in 1987 and 88, a smoother and quieter 2.5 turbo (150 hp) then taking its place in 1989 and 1990. 1990 also brought in a 174 hp Turbo IV engine with variable-nozzle technology which reduced turbo lag. The Turbo IV also came with a Getrag five-speed.

The best performance in Shadows and Sundances came with the Shelby models, named the CSX and CSX-T. On the other hand, for those not fortunate enough to pick up the CSX, there was a Duster/ES model with a 3.0 liter V-6 (made by Mitsubishi) which provided quarter-mile times in the mid-16s.

Sundance/Shadow performance never matched that of the Omni/Horizon or Neon (with comparable engines) because the Sundance is, frankly, heavy. One magazine said it was essentially a shortened Lancer/LeBaron GTS, and it shows in the 2500lb-plus weight. It also shows in a nicer ride than most small cars had, though. The Omni 2.2 was actually quite a good performer with a 5-speed due to its low weight.

If you have any turbo engine, check the fuel fittings periodically for leaks.

 Drew Beck <dbeck@ci.madison.wi.us> wrote: The 3.0L was capable of getting a '93 Sundance Duster to 60 in 7.8 seconds with an auto trans; and back in '89.

hart.86@acs.ohio-state.edu says: The Shadow was economical at $12,000 new, two years ago. I like to race a lot, and with 1/4 mi times of 15.3 I can stomp or at least run with all my friends' old Z-28s and 5.0 GTs. It handles pretty good, competing well in the OSU autocross I usually attend. I feel that '94 may be the best year for the 3.0 Shadow, the V-6 seems refined.

Performance: racing Dodge Shadows and Plymouth Dusters

Angelo Thomas wrote about his:

1990 Dodge Shadow turbo....was a 2.5, now has a 2.2 from a 87 CSX in it and has the infamous S60 package to boot! This car is about 600 lbs heavier than the GLH listed previously, but has ran 12.95 with NO nitrous and with only a 100 hp shot ran 11.98 this year!!! Pulling 20 psi of boost compared to only 16 on the GLH makes the difference. As the norm for me....3 speed automatic with COAN 3500 stahl converter.....basic NOS kit from NOS with only different jetting. Car has only 103,000+ miles on it.

1994 Plymouth Duster....3.0V6 with 4 speed automatic. Car is now barely out of warranty with 71,000+ miles. This car has ran the best 1/4 mile of 15.19. At present the tranny and converter and gear ratio are all stock.

The following mods have been done to it and the economy has increased as has the HP!:

  • Throttle body from 87 3.0 minivan increased economy nearly a full 2 mpg and 1/4 mile ets dropped by .25 second.
  • Underdrive pulley kit also gained a nearly 2 full mpg pick up and another .25 second improvement in the 1/4!
  • I have totally gotten rid of the stock air filter set up...put a motorcycle racing ram air horn directly into the throttle body.....this has a very fine wire mesh in it to keep the crap out of the motor.....it has been on it for over 70,000 miles. This was worth almost 1 mpg economy gain and a nice (cheap) .3 1/4 mile improvement.
  • The exhaust has been modified 3 times....when the car was 1 week old I took it to the drag strip with a hack saw, a Super Trapp muffler, extra length screws and 2 extra packs of discs for it. After three consistant passes I cut off the stock muffler right behind the rear axle. Three more passes showed it slowed down a lot!! I put on the ST with no discs and it ran quicker, but still slower than stock.....put in the 12 discs it came with which again made it a bit quicker, but slower than stock.....kept adding discs and it kept getting quicker....then it started to slow down again (24 discs)....the quickest times were achieved with 20 discs in it.....I noticed no improvement in economy. Even though the ST is advertised as stainless steel, after 1 year on the street the screws that hold in its guts rusted out (unknown to me) and the entire guts were blown out on the interstate and promptly crushed by a semi...I was back to being down on power and had a neat and $$$ stainless steel megaphone! The next day a two chamber flowmaster was installed....it was a bit slower than the ST, but equal to the stock muffler and sounded nicer. (the ST was a bit load with 20 dics) Within a few days I added a Hooker twin tip resonator at the end....now the car came back to the same ets as the ST with 20 discs....economy is still as it was with the stock muffler, but smooth sounding note.

Jay Storm wrote:

The Shadow is my daily driver and weekend SCCA soloII racer. I was in GS until recently when I added the pulley. Now I don't have to keep swapping airboxes, and coils, etc. I was misinformed about the spring rules for stock class, but I was giving up alot of HP, and traction to other cars in that class, so I kept quiet about them and blamed the stance on my tires and agressive alignment settings (compared to a stock Duster that usually parks next to me). The car has really improved with the pulley, so my heart tells me to go step up into the street touring class and beat on the stickered up Hondas.

    Intake

    • 58mm throttle body
    • Pipercross cone airfilter (foam)
    • ported T-body mouth on intake to make it smooth

    Ignition

    • Accel supercoil from GM hei
    • moved coil to front of intake plenum (super short coil wire now)
    • MSD 8.5mm wires
    • Bosch platinum plugs gapped @ .039"
    • timing bumped alot (know only that 87 octane makes it knock)

    Exhaust-

    • 2.5" custom stainless cat back exhaust
    • 16" glasspack Other motor mods-
    • Forward Motion underdrive pulley
    • 180* thermostat drilled for my pleasure

    Suspension-

    • Mopar Performance roadrace springs
    • welded plate to rear axle to stiffen the swaybar
    • -1.5* front camber,1/16" toeout and -1* rear camber, 0 toe

    Other-

    • RJS 5pt. racing harness
    • -race tires:BFG Comp T/A R-1 225-50/R15 on A.R.E. 15x7 wheels
    • -street tires: Sears/Bridgestone Roadhandler GT 205-60/R15 on steelies.

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P-Body (Plymouth Sundance, Dodge Shadow, Shelby CSX, Plymouth Duster) engines and other specifications