Over the last few years, TSP has been working hard behind the scenes and with the community to obtain and share new R&D. As of lately, we have been really invested in the 11th gen Civic / 5th gen Integra 1.5T and 2.0T platforms. For the sake of this article, we are focusing on the 1.5T here. The L15 impressed us in the previous generation, and continues to do so; it loves the bolt-ons and practically begs for ethanol.
As more time passes, more customers are able to get their hands on these vehicles and the itch to start modifying them. Popular performance-oriented manufacturers, like 27WON Performance and RV6 Performance, took their knowledge of the previous generation Civic to develop quality, aftermarket parts for the newer generation. One of the (many) new go-fast parts that captured the eyes of power-hungry customers are, of course, the turbocharger upgrades. Since the release of these turbos, a comparison of OEM, RV6 Performance's R365 RED, and 27WON Performance's GIN has been repeatedly requested by numerous customers. We have had the pleasure of testing all 3 of these turbos on our shop full bolt-on ‘23 Civic Si and I would like to share our data, as well as my experiences, preferences, and other relevant information.
L15CA Turbocharger Overview
Starting off with specs on each of these turbos for your convenience:
(C & T)
(I & E)
(I & E)
OEM IHI Unit
36.3mm (I) 47.7mm (E)
RV6 R365 RED
50.4mm (I) 68mm (E)
47mm (I) 58mm (E)
C = Compressor, T = Turbine, I = Inducer, E = Exducer
Honda/Acura IHI Turbo
This OEM unit is pretty impressive for what it is. Believe it or not, this is the same unit found in the 2018+ Accord 1.5T. It features a twin-scroll design, journal bearing CHRA, but rather small compressor and turbine wheels. This turbo is reliable for a daily driver and robust enough for the spirited driver that wants a little more spice from our TSP tunes. We developed our TSP tunes with the help of Derek Robinson at Innovative MotorWorks and were impressed with the results. With an E30 blend, the Si put down 254WHP and 308TQ. Not bad for the factory turbo!
The R365 RED for the 2022+ Civic/Integra 1.5T is the successor to the R365 for the 2016-2021 Honda Civic 1.5T. RV6 took the previous turbo’s design and simply improved upon it; featuring a dual ceramic ball bearing for a faster spool, oversized thrust bearings for high loads, lightweight high flow compressor wheel, and an inconel alloy turbine wheel. After a few revisions with DRob, we were able to push 335WHP and 301TQ on an E30 blend.*
This was a completely new design from 27WON, but they are no strangers to developing turbos. These guys took their knowledge from developing the Kuro, W1, and W2, to develop the GIN. This new drop-in unit also features ball bearings with enlarged turbine and compressor wheels. We worked with DRob to tune the Si once again, and it put down a solid 341WHP and 304TQ on an E25 blend.*
*The power output was limited by the factory fuel system, and this does not indicate the R365 RED or GIN’s full potential.
All turbos are well constructed with high quality materials. They are fantastic and brought a smile to the face of the driver and passengers. A few thoughts and some information:
- The IHI unit is reliable, spools quick, and reliably handles abuse. My biggest knock on this unit is that it becomes almost useless at the top-end of the powerband.
- The R365 spools later than the GIN, which makes the GIN more enjoyable to scoot around town or make a few trips down the Mexico backroads due to the improvement of the mid-range.
- The GIN did not come with an oil feed line, and you are required to bend the existing oil feed line in a rather tedious, time-consuming manner. The RV6 kit comes with a braided oil feed line that was very simple to install. To 27WON’s credit, they have heard the concerns of the customers and are working on including a braided oil feed line into new kits.
- While the R365 and GIN are drop-in turbos, a custom tune is highly recommended to get the most out of them. The Si is pushing 30psi, and due to that, upgraded dual MAP sensors were required. We opted for the 27WON 4 Bar MAP sensors.
Adding more power doesn’t come without responsibility. The following are required to get the most out of your modifications, and to avoid causing a headache:
- The OE clutch is laughable at best; it showed signs of slipping after an intake and TSP Stage 1 Tune (Map 3). The clutch surviving Stage One+ is questionable, and will NOT survive TSP Stage 2. I highly recommend installing the RV6 FK8 Retro Flywheel + Stage 0 Clutch Kit. It feels OE and takes the abuse like a champ.
- This is not shameless plugging; this is a legitimate concern. The more power you add, the more likely you are to stretch those weak, factory head bolts. Once you stretch those, you’re a ticking time bomb for a head gasket failure. Do yourself a favor and save the headache. The TSP Head Stud Kit can be installed one-by-one without lifting the cylinder head. Please note that this is the only kit on the market that is the proper length without all the stacked washers and large spacers. Check out our video here!
- The OE intake isn’t inherently bad, but it definitely could use some improvement. As short ram intakes (SRIs) are more prone to heat soaking, consider grabbing a cold air intake (CAI) to keep those IATs lower. Lower IATs = more power potential. Is the intake sound or power potential more important to you? Just something to consider.
- The L15 loved to heat soak in the previous generation and continues to do so in this generation. Help your little 1.5T out by upgrading that intercooler and charge pipes. It’s fighting for its life out there.
- One of the biggest restrictions on this platform is the OE downpipe. It’s big, it’s ugly, and it robs you of power. Toss it out and upgrade your downpipe for one like our TSP HEDP so your motor can breathe a little easier.
- If you drop in one of the upgraded turbos and opt for a Custom E-Tune, then you will quickly realize that your OE MAP sensors tap out at ~26-28 psi. That’s no bueno when you want to get the most out of your new turbo. Fortunately, a solution can be found via the 27WON 4 Bar MAP Sensors. Please note that these sensors must be enabled in your tuning software.
- For the IHI turbo, 0W-20 is fine, but 5W-30 certainly couldn’t hurt anything. However, with the 27WON and RV6 turbos, it’s HIGHLY recommended to run an oil with a higher viscosity like 5W-30.
Something important to consider is your intended use for the vehicle. Is this a daily driver, a street car, or on the track constantly? Do you want a journal bearing, or do you want to upgrade to ball bearing? It is crucial to figure that out prior to purchasing a turbo. Check out this blog post dedicated to helping you make the right choice.
All of these turbos have been great to install, tune, and overall enjoy. I’ve taken them both to a ¼ mile drag strip and to the Tail of the Dragon. The Si is not built to be a drag car, but more for touge runs, spirited street drives, or hugging turns on the track. Are the R365 and IHI turbos bad? No, not at all. They’re very well built turbos and do exactly what they’re supposed to do while putting a smile on your face. For me, I prefer the increase of the mid-range that the GIN provides. This turbo allows me to scoot around town or exit a corner a little quicker than the R365 due to quicker spooling. It does exactly as 27WON describes; it “can take all you throw at it and then ask for more.”
Something interesting I found about the R365 is that while it does spool a bit later than the GIN, it feels like the torque hits harder when boost kicks in. All in all, I’d highly recommend upgrading to the GIN or R365. They’re nicer to the connecting rods than the IHI, make more prominent turbo noises, increase power output through the powerband, and of course are more fun to drive with. I have no doubt that you will be exceptionally happy with the product. Some last parting advice: Buckle up. They’ll throw you back in your seat.