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How to Install a Turbo in a Car

How to Install a Turbo in a Car

DIY fanatics and car enthusiasts understand the importance of quality craftsmanship. That’s why some DIY car owners enjoy the thrill of installation, maintenance, and repair of their vehicles. One aspect of this relates to turbochargers. Turbochargers are turbine-forced induction devices that improve the internal combustion of the engine and power output through compressed air. Anyone who wants to install their own turbocharger, read this guide on how to install a turbo in a car. You’ll see how turbocharged and non-turbocharged cars benefit from this performance part.

First Steps

Before you install the turbocharger into your vehicle, you must take these initial steps. First, research your vehicle. It might help to look at forums and blog pages or to reach out to your manufacturer or dealer to see which turbo will suit your power needs. You should also research any supporting modifications that will help your turbo’s reliability and performance. Once you’ve done this, purchase the supplies, including a new turbocharger, gaskets, and new supporting parts.

After you’ve done your research and purchased the right supplies, make sure each piece is ready for installation. If you need to, spray the nuts, studs, and bolts on your exhaust manifold with a penetrating lubricant for easy application. Then, disconnect the negative battery cable. With a floor jack, raise your vehicle off the ground so you can work underneath the vehicle and reach the exhaust manifold and turbocharger from the engine bay. Place jack stands under the car to secure it in place and then remove the jack.

Steps-by-Step Instructions for Turbo Vehicles

These steps will detail how to install the turbo in your car. While you’re likely replacing an OEM turbocharger, it’s crucial that you follow each step as written so that your installation is successful with no further problems. Once you secure your vehicle, locate the downpipe, and remove the bolts holding it in place. The downpipe is the exhaust pipe that connects your turbo to the exhaust system. Loosen the clamps holding the intake and intercooler piping to the turbo, and remove this piping. The intercooler piping is the plastic or rubber pipes used to improve engine response. These pipes improve the air intake and compression in the turbocharger.

Then, locate the coolant and oil lines that would connect to the turbo. Disconnect and clamp these fluid lines so no leakage occurs. Disconnect the vacuum line connected to the wastegate. Once you’ve done this, loosen the exhaust manifold bolts. However, do not fully remove them until you can support the turbo and manifold. Lift the turbo slowly through the top or the bottom of the engine bay. Remove the fasteners holding the turbo to the exhaust manifold. After that, remove the old turbocharger and install the new one. Tighten the fasteners once the new turbo and exhaust manifold meet the new gaskets.

With that, raise the new turbo and exhaust manifold into the engine bay. Check if the exhaust manifold gaskets are securely in place. Fasten these manifolds to the engine. Unplug the coolant or oil lines, and fasten them to the new turbo and gaskets. Additionally, fasten the intercooler and intake pipes to the new turbo. Reconnect the vacuum line to the wastegate, and secure it with a hose clamp or small zip tie. Once you’ve done this, fasten the downpipe to the new turbo. Make one final inspection that everything is in place. It should look the same as it did beforehand. Lower the vehicle, and reconnect the negative battery cable. You may have to consult a mechanic or engine calibration tuner to ensure your turbo performs reliably and strong in your vehicle.

Steps-by-Step Instructions for Non-Turbo Vehicles

The instructions for non-turbocharged vehicles differ slightly. First, research your vehicle for the best turbo for you, depending on your power needs. Purchase all supplies as needed, which typically includes the turbocharger, intercooler, intercooler piping, blow off valve, exhaust manifold, oil lines, coolant lines, injectors, fuel pump, boost controller, downpipe, tapped oil pan, air/fuel ratio gauges, and boost gauges. Once you’ve done that, spray the nuts, studs, and bolts on the exhaust manifold with a penetrating lubricant. Then, disconnect the negative battery cable. Use a floor jack to raise the vehicle, and once you can work underneath the car within reach of the exhaust manifold, place jack stands to keep it raised.

Remove the bolts that keep the exhaust manifold pipes together. Loosen the clamp holding the intake and intercooler piping, and remove these pipes. Lower the manifold from the engine bay, and drain any oil from the oil pan. Remove all bolts holding these pieces to the engine block. Then, tap the stock oil pan for the oil return line and reinstall a new gasket onto it. Install the proper fitting siphon oil flow for the oil feed line. After all that, you’re ready to install the turbo.

Remove the front bumper. Then, install the intercooler and bolt it to the front of the radiator core support. Match the turbo and manifold with a gasket between them. Attach the oil and coolant pines to the turbo for proper flowage. Lower the turbo and exhaust manifold into the engine bay, and check to make sure all gaskets are in place. Fasten the manifold to the engine to be safe. After that, connect the oil and coolant lines from the turbo to the engine. Fasten these pipes to the new turbo, while also making sure the other end of the intercooler pipe connects to the intercooler. Fasten these pipes and the air filter to the turbo. Bolt one side of the downpipe to the exhaust side of the turbo, and bolt the other side to the rest of the exhaust. Securely mount the boost controller, but make sure to follow the instructions for routing the vacuum lines.

When ready, lower the vehicle. Safely reinstall the front bumper covers. If needed, remove the stock injectors and replace them with larger ones. The same goes for the stock fuel pump. Make one final inspection so that everything is securely in place, and then fill the engine with oil. Re-connect the negative battery cable. If needed, consult with an engine calibration tuner to see if you properly set up your vehicle.

If you’re in the market for an MHI turbocharger, check us out at Turbo Turbos. Our selection of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries turbos offers high-performance OEM products. Their high-tech, compact, reliability gives unprecedented performance for your vehicle. We specialize in OEM, aftermarket, remanufactured and replacement turbos, actuators, repair kits, and more.

How to Install a Turbo

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