The turbocharger uses multiple different parts to function reliably, but there are times when we want to adjust the performance of the turbo and its output. The turbo's actuator is an essential part of the device that controls boost. It plays a primary role in adjusting the boost pressure in your turbo and affecting the engine's performance.
What Is the Actuator?
Every turbo has an actuator that connects to the turbine. The actuator, or wastegate actuator, acts as an opening for exhaust. Actuators come in different sizes depending on the turbo's size and the manufacturer. Therefore, if you are looking for a turbo actuator for sale, make sure you look at the manufacturer's details before buying. These openings are adjustable to increase or decrease the boost in a turbocharger.
Why Is the Actuator Important for Adjusting Boost?
The actuator plays an essential role in ensuring the pressure in a turbine remains within a specific limit. As exhaust comes from the engine, it causes the turbine wheel to spin, which in turn causes the compressor wheel to spin. As the compressor wheel spins, it draws in more cool air and compresses it, so there is a larger amount to transfer into the engine's combustion chamber for a larger and cleaner boost.
However, if there is too much exhaust, the turbine wheel will continue to gain speed and cause the compressor wheel to match that speed, causing it to take up too much air that may eventually damage the engine with too large of combustion.
The actuator acts as a release valve that prevents the pressure from the exhaust from building up to a certain point. The limit is set during the turbo manufacturing, and the actuator opens when the limit is reached and keeps the turbine wheel spinning at a constant rate.
The Importance of Adjusting Boost Pressure
Boost pressure is an important part of the turbo and creates the setting for how much boost you will get from your turbocharger. Some people may need to adjust their boost pressure for the sake of their engine if there has been extensive damage and it's unable to handle the force of the increased burst.
Some people may want to adjust the boost pressure of the actuator to have a larger boost and may replace or enhance parts so that the turbo will handle the larger amount of pressure. Regardless of the reason, it's important to make sure that your turbo boost pressure is at a level that is safe enough to keep the engine intact and efficient enough to give it more power. Make sure that the turbo is doing its best for the engine, and adjust the boost pressure when necessary.
Parts of the Actuator
As the turbo is made up of numerous parts, the actuator has a variety of intricate pieces that allow it to open and close when there is too much pressure. Each of these parts is responsible for the actuator's safety, performance, and ability to adjust when necessary.
The housing is where a specific part is located for storage and safety. The housing keeps multiple parts of the actuator safe and in an organized fashion that will cause the actuator to release the exhaust.
Inside the housing is the rod guide which connects to the rod outside of the housing to the release valve; the spring system that expands and retracts to allow the actuator to open and release the exhaust; and the diaphragm that cushions the upper spring support to reduce wear. These parts work with the rod outside of the housing to control the opening of the valve.
The rod of the actuator is one of the essential pieces of the actuator system and plays an important role in adjusting the boost pressure. The rod connects the actuator to the turbo area where the turbine housing is located, allowing it to release any excess exhaust.
The rod is a small beam that transfers the mechanical energy of the actuator so it will activate when the exhaust pressure has reached its limit. The rod is the part of the actuator that does most of the adjusting to increase or reduce pressure, so this part must remain intact.
There are two jam nuts along the rod. These two nuts are close together and are responsible for the rod staying connected to the actuator, which is the duty of the lock nut, and adjusting the boost pressure that the rod handles, which is the duty of the adjustment nut. Both nuts are essential in the format of the actuator to ensure the pressure is adjustable and the rod can function properly.
This part of the actuator is connected to the rod and is the portion that connects to the lid that releases the exhaust. The preload connects to the lid by having a raised part of it go through the hole of the preload and stay in place with an E or R clip. The clip is very small and essential for keeping the preload connected and the entire actuator, so keeping track of it as best is a priority.
How To Adjust the Actuator's Boost Pressure
Adjusting the boost pressure of the actuator is relatively simple. As mentioned before, the nuts along the actuator's rod will lengthen or shorten the rod. When the rod is lengthened, the boost pressure decreases to divert more exhaust away from the turbine wheel and shorten it to increase pressure, improving the boost.
Turn the adjuster nut, or the nut closer to the actuator, counter-clockwise to decrease the length and clockwise to increase the length. You will need to take the clip off the preload and disconnect the preload from the lid before adjusting. And when you are finished, put everything back into place and ensure your turbo has the boost you want.
The Effects of Too Much or Too Little Pressure
It's important to understand the effects of too much or too little pressure so that you can make the best adjustments to your actuator's boost pressure. As stated before, too much pressure may cause overexertion from the engine, and the chemical reactions in the combustion chamber may have a significant impact on the interior of the engine.
If there is too little pressure, you may experience a decrease in performance from the engine and other effects such as smoke or an increase in the exhaust fumes. Make the best adjustments to your actuator to ensure the turbo functions properly. The actuator plays a primary role in the function of the turbocharger and the engine, so use this information to get a quality boost in your car.