The use of turbochargers has improved over the years with new additions to the technology, leading to better benefits for combustion engines. Like any technology, turbochargers come with risks, such as boost creep. Many people may not be aware of this issue, and understanding it will help decrease the chances of it occurring.
What Is Boost Creep?
When an engine produces exhaust, the turbo will take and use it to spin the turbine. The turbine has a set limit on how fast it may spin; once it reaches this limit, the wastegate opens to release the excess exhaust and maintain this limit.
When the total amount of exhaust isn't released, the turbine will spin faster, exceeding its limit and causing a creep in the boost. Boost will cause the compressor wheel to spin in response to the turbine wheel spinning faster, increasing the air intake and creating more compressed air. Together, they will create a greater boost than normal.
What Causes It?
Boost creep has various causes, but an ineffective wastegate is the most common. Occasionally, the wastegate is too small and may not be able to handle the excess exhaust it needs to release to maintain the turbine's speed limit. As the wastegate remains open, releasing insufficient exhaust, the turbine will gain more speed and cause boost creep.
New additions to the turbo may also cause boost creep, such as a new exhaust manifold or components that may obstruct the wastegate. Using quality parts from turbo manufacturers such as Garrett will decrease the likelihood of negatively affecting these parts. Looking into the stock of Garrett turbo dealers will give you the best chance of finding quality items.
How To Avoid Boost Creep
The most common way to avoid boost creep is to increase the size of the wastegate port to allow more exhaust to pass through. Putting less stress on the engine will also prevent boost creep. If the engine burns more fuel, it will create more exhaust, and the wastegate may have trouble keeping up with the excess. Decreasing the car's weight, not remaining in a higher gear for long periods, and keeping your car out of colder temperatures will help your vehicle use less fuel and create less exhaust.
Can Boost Creep Be Fixed Once It Starts?
It is possible to reverse boost creep in a vehicle with the above recommendations of how to avoid it. Any damage to the engine or turbo may not be reversible and require replacement or repair, so it's best to avoid boost creep before it happens.
Boost creep is an important issue to understand to help you keep the reliability of your turbo. Avoiding boost creep will give your engine and the turbo a fighting chance and ensure you have the right boost for your vehicle.