The use of turbochargers has risen in popularity for many car owners. It’s no surprise that many car owners want one installed; they provide fuel efficiency, emit lower carbon emissions, and provide cars with extra torque. You hear so much about them, but you may be unsure what they are and whether one would benefit you.
Thankfully, turbochargers aren’t complicated and can last as long as your engine. So, here’s a brief overview of turbocharger kits and everything you need to know to make your decision easier. Before you know it, you’ll have a a clearer understanding of turbochargers and an idea of how they can impact your engine.
What are Turbochargers?
A turbocharger is a fitted device that you can have installed on your vehicle’s engine. It’s designed to improve your engine’s overall efficiency and performance, resulting in an optimized vehicle. Many manufacturers have begun to install turbochargers in their cars in recent years, but aftermarket turbo kits remain popular among consumers.
Something to know about turbocharger kits is how they operate. A turbocharger consists of two halves: a compressor side and a turbine side. The turbine housing guides exhaust gas into the turbine wheel. The exhaust gas creates energy, turning the turbine wheel and causing the gas to exit the turbine housing through the exhaust outlet. The turbine drives the compressor wheel to spin, transforming low-pressure air into high-pressure air and then gets pushed into the engine. This burns more fuel, thus creating more power.
Pros and Cons of Turbochargers
While turbochargers can add a lot of benefits to an engine, there are a couple of downsides to be aware of. Luckily, many downsides can be resolved with little issue.
A notable pro for turbochargers is that they can be installed in any vehicle: passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, ships, and more. So, it’s possible to use a turbo kit if you want a power boost for your boat.
An additional advantage is that they can help save on fuel because they burn more oxygen. As a result, they burn energy more cleanly, producing less air pollution and making for an eco-friendly add-on to your vehicle.
While turbochargers make a fantastic addition to your engine, a slight disadvantage is that they can occasionally be unreliable. When you install a turbo kit, it has an additional layer of mechanical complexity. As a result, there’s a higher chance of issues occurring and causing a domino effect of problems.
Another problem is that the fuel efficiency car owners seek is sometimes not as beneficial as expected. There’s a chance that turbochargers can make a vehicle less fuel-efficient after installation. So, consider what might or might not work for your engine.
Picking the Right Turbo Kit
Before you choose a random turbocharger for your vehicle, it’s essential to look over the qualities you want for your engine. In addition, understanding the complexities of your engine will give you a better idea of how to improve it.
Air Density & Volumetric Efficiency
Naturally aspirated engines rely on the quality of internal pumping capabilities. While their inner parts rotate and spin, air intake and volumetric efficiency keep a turbo optimal. Forced induction systems, like turbochargers, fill in voids of wasted space and create more power in the process. So, having a turbo with proper volumetric efficiency and air density control is essential.
Kit Manifold & Downpipe
Many car owners overlook turbo manifolds and downpipes, strictly looking at the turbocharger itself. Supporting products like turbo manifolds and downpipes play a critical role in the overall makeup of the turbo.
Turbo manifolds allow exhaust gases to flow to the turbo, determine placement, and restrict turbo size. The downpipe links the turbocharger to the rest of the exhaust piping, creating a seamless connection to the rest of the car’s exhaust system.
Oil Supply Lines
Unfortunately, many turbocharger kits don’t include turbocharger oil feeds and drains. In some cases, the kit consists of generic oil feeds and drains that might not work for your turbo. So, finding the right supply lines for your oil matters.
Too small drain lines can cause oil to clog, creating unwanted pressure. This can result in catastrophic failure and harm to the turbo seals. Oil supply lines help keep bearings cool and lubricated for years to come.
Turbo Kit Installation
Installing a turbocharger can either be done by you or a professional. Before installing it yourself, ensure that all gaskets are ready, along with the bearings and lubrication.
First, you will remove the turbo from the header. Then, you should make sure that all interior parts are clean before reattaching the housing to the header. Lastly, you’ll install a wastegate and ensure that it functions.
Once your turbocharger and your engine are ready to go, mount the turbo to the exhaust. It will then connect to the intake manifold or intercooler if either is installed.
Once the turbocharger unit is set up, connect the turbocharger to the air filter housing. Ensure that you check that all the hoses and gaskets are properly connected and fitted. This will guarantee minimum air leaks, reducing the chances of damage and turbo malfunction.
If you notice that your turbocharger is failing upon initial start-up, you will have to investigate a few possibilities. Failure can result from improper installation, such as foreign contaminants entering the compressor housing. Loose particles can get sucked up from old air filters or pipes at start-up.
Turbocharger installation failure can also result from improper oil priming. Without necessary pre-priming, the bearings can fail. Additionally, oil seals can leak due to incorrect pressure on oil lines or pumps. Complete turbocharger failure can result from shaft breakage or oil starvation, unresolved foreign contaminants, or loose nut holdings. Ensure that you check every detail and step thoroughly before further damage occurs.
Turbochargers aren’t as complicated as you might have thought. When you’re ready to invest in your first turbocharger kit, we at TurboTurbos have you covered. You can browse our online catalog for any turbo-related product you need, from turbochargers to repair kits. Need Holset turbo parts? We have them! If you have any inquiries about our products, please contact us today, and our experienced team will gladly help you.