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Turbo [How To]

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  • Turbo [How To]

    [HowTo] Turbocharging

    This will be a guide to turbo's. Please hold your questions untill you finish reading.

    I write this from personal experience, and ofcourse, Nobody, not me, not MCM, nobody but you will be responsible for anything you do to your car, I did not tell you to do it, I'm merely telling you how I'm doing it.
    In most countries, theres rules about car modifications. Before you begin, check your local regulations on what is legally possibe, what is legal after inspection, and what is not.

    It is often said "if you need to ask this on a forum, you're not ready".. Wise words, but I'll try to teach you some things anyway. This how-to also requires lots of self-research (with google), as details vary greatly from car to car.

    Tubocharging, should you?
    An interesting question. Its a good way to gain a lot of performance from an existing car, after you explored most or all other options.
    First, start with some basic questions:
    • You're on P plates?
    • You hate reading and doing lots of research?
    • Does your car have a performance version? Yes? Buy one instead.
    • Does it share a platform or engine series with a car that has an even better performing engine? Engine swap instead.
    • Do any of the cars that share the platform have a turbo already? Engine swap instead.
    • Are there any GOOD Naturally Aspirated tuning parts availible for your engine type? Go N/A tuning instead.
    • You DO NOT have 3 right hands? You are afraid of oil and grease? You you don't have at least a couple 1000 $/€ to spend?


    If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you DON'T need to turbocharge your car, but sell it and buy the performance version, or do an engine swap.
    Engine swaps are sometimes difficult, they seem expensive, and you have to consider the legalities too. But all that fades in comparison to the price and difficulty of turbocharging.

    However, if your answer is no to all the above, and you already have the fastest availible engine on your car, and you don't want to straight up buy something better, then turbocharging (or supercharging, more on that later) might be the next step.

    Research
    You then go to the research stage, research that would make your turbo-setup work.

    First things first, you have to set a realistic performance goal. All your work will be based on this, and the result will depend greatly on how well you did your initial research.
    As a rule of thumb, (cutting a few corners here, but you'll have to individually research (with Google) the math anyway!!!)

    (Goal power/Original power) - 1 = turbo boost in bar. (roughly) So from 100 to 150 HP, would need about 0.5 bar boost.

    Your goal power requires a certain amount of airflow to go through the engine to combust the fuel. (Look up air to fuel ratio.)
    As a rule of thumb, about 150 CFM per 100 HP..
    With those numbers, you can do a reasonable turbo selection, you can look at 'turbo maps' untill your eyes bleed to figure out how efficient the turbo will run at the goal airflow and pressure. the goal is to end up right in the middle of the map, not near the surge or stall lines where the turbo can not produce the pressure or flow required.
    (Or you can cheat by using the Garrett turbo selector app, yeah! )

    After you know this, research the engine itsself.
    Did anyone turbocharge this engine before? How did the results turn out? Does the engine have weak points?
    Are there performance components availible? (like better pistons, better 'rods, headgaskets, head studs)
    Does the current ECU understand turbocharging? does it have a MAP sensor? If so, what happens if you put pressure on the MAP sensor instead of vacuüm? Is it remappable?
    From all the parts on the parts-list, research what specifications they would need to have. This alone is at least half of the work of building a turbo car.
    Not a single dollar spent, just research first.

    Compression
    A very important factor when turbocharging a car is the compression. fuel spontaneously ignites when a certain temperature is reached. On a petrol car, this is bad, we only want the fuel to ignite and burn in a controlled way when the spark plug is fired. If the fuel does ignite prematurely, it creates pinging or knocking, if it burns too fast, detonation. These things do severe damage to the engine.
    Theres several ways to prevent the fuel from going off too soon.
    -Control the spark timing, running near knock conditions requires later spark timing, which in turn reduces power and efficiëncy.
    -Use premium fuel with higher resistance to knock. Very important on a turbo car. (Google fuel octane rating)
    -cool the air (1)
    Lower the mechanical compression of the engine. (google compression.)
    By compressing air, you heat it up. The turbo does this, but the engine as well. If you want more compression (=boost) from the turbo, you might need to reduce the compression from the pistons to compensate. There is a trade-off, less compression = less power.
    -cool the air (2)
    Use an intercooler, this takes away a significant amount of the heat generated by the turbocharger, thus requiring less reduction in compression on the engine. (Yay! More power.)
    -cool the air (3)
    Inject a liquid into the engine, the change from liquid to vapour takes heat away. There is 2 ways to do this, one is to inject a seperate liquid (water or methanol for example), which is done on some very high performance engines.
    There is another way, a dirty hack, just inject a lot more fuel, fuel is a liquid that evaporates too. And that is exactly the reason why a lot of turbocharged cars eat so much fuel compared to their non-turbo brothers.

    Garrett has a nice bit on their site:
    There are numerous factors that affect the maximum allowable compression ratio. There is no single correct answer for every application. Generally, compression ratio should be set as high as feasible without encountering detonation at the maximum load condition. Compression ratio that is too low will result in an engine that is a bit sluggish in off-boost operation. However, if it is too high this can lead to serious knock-related engine problems.

    Factors that influence the compression ratio include: fuel anti-knock properties (octane rating), boost pressure, intake air temperature, combustion chamber design, ignition timing, valve events, and exhaust backpressure. Many modern normally-aspirated engines have well-designed combustion chambers that, with appropriate tuning, will allow modest boost levels with no change to compression ratio. For higher power targets with more boost, compression ratio should be adjusted to compensate.
    There is also a lot of math involved in this subject, and a bit of guesswork maybe, just use google and read a lot!

    Parts
    You then need to make a long list of parts. Here are (most of) the things you need: (You need almost everything.)
    • Upgraded brakes, suspension, tires, weight reduction, etc. Do all that first.
    • ECU, check if yours is programmable or if you need a different one or aftermarket one.
    • Turbo suitable for your engine. (Rather buy a good 2nd hand than a knock-off chinese copy)
    • Exhaust manifold
    • Dumppipe (=tube from the turbo to the rest of the exhaust)
    • Pressure oil feed to the turbo
    • Hot oil return from the turbo, and a return welded in the oil pan.
    • Oil cooling (often needed)
    • Additional sensors and gauges (Wideband O2, Oil pressure, Boost pressure, Exhaust Gas Temperature, to name a few)
    • An intercooler
    • Hoses to put the pressure air from the turbo, through the intercooler, to the intake
    • A blowoff valve (recirculating or atmosferic, depending on the ECU and its sensors, and on legality in your location.)
    • Hose clamps and other small fittings, little things quickly add up in the price.
    • A remap for the ECU, often on the rolling road, and you can't go driving without, because the engine will fry.
    • -Bigger injectors
    • An uprated fuel pump.
      Depending on how much boost you want to run, and how strong the stock engine is:
    • Uprated (=MLS) head gasket + uprated head studs
    • A "decompression" plate (aka thick head gasket) or better yet,
    • "decompression" pistons
    • Uprated engine mounts.


    Open up Ebay, and start looking up some of these parts, get a feel for the prices.. Some parts are better bought from other sources, as Ebay tends to have a lot of cheap copies that are not reliable.
    Last edited by AlexanderB; 06-01-2013, 02:17 PM.
    Modifying is a lifestyle!
    Originally posted by milkchicken
    Oh man I hate it when the bolts on my car decide to strip, its so awkward.. I'm like dude I've got a partner I can't be seen doing this...

  • #2
    Other tips
    MCM already did a video where they turbocharged a car, this was in the Showcar Build.

    I can't stress this enough, have your ECU mapped as soon as you install everything on the car, or you will damage the engine.

    If something goes wrong, be prepared to strip down the engine and replace its internals, or replace it as a whole. Not cheap.

    If you complete the project, and reach your desired horsepower, don't go upping the boost again without checking your calculations, or your engine will soon become the victim of 'boost increase addiction'..

    If there is no turbo engine in the lineup, sourcing fitting components (like an exhaust manifold) can be difficult, and some parts will have to be custom made.

    Some (usually performance-) cars have complete sets availible, so called "turbo kits", that are a bolt-on upgrade. You could buy one and hope its quality is good, or at least have a good look at what parts are in it, and start collecting all those yourself.

    Exhaust before the turbo has to be made of thick-walled tube (for example, steam pipe) or it will crack/melt/fail very very quickly.

    Installation is certainly not a one day job, things will go wrong, or not as expected, there will be setbacks and delays.

    You probably want to borrow, buy, rent or steal(J/K, DON'T!) a temporary second car, for like, going to work, groceries, getting components, and you might be stuck with it for some time untill the build is done.

    Superchargers
    For the fans of superchargers, its a simple trade-off, you don't have to do all the oil lines and exhaust stuff, but you do get to make a sturdy way to mount the thing to the engine, so you can drive it with a belt.
    In practice, a supercharger gives slightly poorer fuel economy, but better throttle response (No turbo-kick, but also, no turbo-lag)
    Superchargers are a lot easier to set up.
    The same calculations apply for boost & compression, but keep in mind the 'charger itsself has a significant power draw on the engine, you might need a little more boost than expected.

    Electric superchargers are (99.99%) bogus. See the relevant sticky topic, don't ask questions.

    Glossary (a.k.a. Difficult Words)
    • CFM, Cubic Foot per Minute, crazy American way of measuring airflow, but it works..
    • ECU, Engine Control Unit, computer thing.
    • MAF, Manifold Air Flow, a sensor that measures the amount of airflow through it, this goes before the turbo, and is used to determine how much fuel is to be injected.
    • MAP sensor, Manifold Absolute Pressure, measures the pressure in the intake, an alternative setup to the MAF sensor.
    • MCM, where you are reading this.
    • MLS, Multi Layer Steel, these are performance head gaskets, when applied properly, can handle higher pressures without failure.
    • N/A, Naturally Aspirated, as opposed to forced induction.
    • OEM, Original Equipment Manifacturer, this refers to original parts (see Stock) or parts specified by the manifacturer.
    • Stock, as delivered from the factory.
    • VGT, A turbo that does not have a wastegate, but uses moving vanes to change the flow through the exhaust turbine to control the boost. This needs to be controlled from the ECU.
    • VNT, see VGT.


    End
    OKay, this is it so far, I'll probably add some more soon.
    I hope you had as much fun reading as I had writing, any questions and suggestions can be posted below, and will be answered or put in this post.

    No, I can not tell you in great detail how to cheaply turbocharge your car. That requires research, by you. And lotsa money.
    Last edited by AlexanderB; 06-01-2013, 01:38 PM.
    Modifying is a lifestyle!
    Originally posted by milkchicken
    Oh man I hate it when the bolts on my car decide to strip, its so awkward.. I'm like dude I've got a partner I can't be seen doing this...

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice post man!

      Comment


      • #4
        Excellent writeup, hopefully people take the time to read it before making "how do i turbo xxxx car" threads
        1998 5DR Glanza V Replica
        1990 Mazda MX5 NA6C
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Great post for someone interested in this, however:

          Originally posted by AlexanderB View Post
          [HowTo] (Goal power/Original power) - 1 = turbo boost in bar. (roughly) So from 100 to 150 HP, would need about 0.5 bar boost.
          is completely false. Every engine reacts differently to positive pressure (boost). One engine may gain 50 HP and another 75 and yet another 25. There are too many factors to even begin to get an idea or rule of thumb.

          Just keep that in mind. Everything else looks good.

          Oh, and you need A LOT OF MONEY. Think you have enough? Double it.


          Its 1000000000 times easier (and cheaper!) to tune and upgrade a car that came with a turbo from the factory.
          Boosted 98 s70 t5: FWD muscle car FTW ~280whp and ~400wtqs= FUN
          "Akin to being strapped to a nice leather office chair and being round-house kicked off a cliff by Chuck Norris" -Friend describing boost onset.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bewsted View Post
            Great post for someone interested in this, however:

            [...]

            is completely false. Every engine reacts differently to positive pressure (boost). One engine may gain 50 HP and another 75 and yet another 25. There are too many factors to even begin to get an idea or rule of thumb.

            Just keep that in mind. Everything else looks good.
            Is it really? In theory, if you double the absolute pressure at the throttle plate @ wide open, given a good enough intercooler to have the air at the same temperature in both cases, double the amount of air will go through. Add double the fuel, get double the power.

            In reality, things might indeed not work out so well, a poorly functioning intercooler, having to reduce mechanical compression and timing all kill off a lot of power, but hey, thats where tuning in the true meaning of the word comes in, improving those things so you do get the power. Also, if the mechanical compression was quite low to start with and no reduction is required for the desired boost level, the power gain might be bigger than expected indeed..

            Yeah, I guess you are right, but as an order-of-magnitude rule of thumb, it probably works still works?
            No need to run 2 bar of boost to get only 50% increase, or vice versa..

            Originally posted by Bewsted View Post
            Oh, and you need A LOT OF MONEY. Think you have enough? Double it.
            Exactly.

            Originally posted by Bewsted View Post
            Its 1000000000 times easier (and cheaper!) to tune and upgrade a car that came with a turbo from the factory.
            Yeah, way easy indeed.
            Also, thats why I recommended swapping in a complete turbo engine if one is availible..
            Modifying is a lifestyle!
            Originally posted by milkchicken
            Oh man I hate it when the bolts on my car decide to strip, its so awkward.. I'm like dude I've got a partner I can't be seen doing this...

            Comment


            • #7
              I always recommend the book "Maximum Boost" by Corky Bell. It helped me get started on building my own turbocharged vehicle. This led to me building another 25. Cost me too much money and 3 girlfriends. Now I get paid to design and build turbo engines.
              '98 Dodge Neon - 2.4, 3 speed, Megasquirt, 50 trim
              '97 Dodge Neon - 2.0 turbo, 5 speed, Megasquirt (girlfriend's car)
              '94 Ford Ranger - 4.0, 5 speed, MS, soon to see boost
              '04 Dodge SX 2.0 - 2.0 5 speed daily driver

              Comment


              • #8
                Great post, rep points coming your way
                Smile sponsored by DD Evo goodness

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AlexanderB View Post
                  Is it really? In theory, if you double the absolute pressure at the throttle plate @ wide open, given a good enough intercooler to have the air at the same temperature in both cases, double the amount of air will go through. Add double the fuel, get double the power.

                  In reality, things might indeed not work out so well, a poorly functioning intercooler, having to reduce mechanical compression and timing all kill off a lot of power, but hey, thats where tuning in the true meaning of the word comes in, improving those things so you do get the power. Also, if the mechanical compression was quite low to start with and no reduction is required for the desired boost level, the power gain might be bigger than expected indeed..

                  Yeah, I guess you are right, but as an order-of-magnitude rule of thumb, it probably works still works?
                  No need to run 2 bar of boost to get only 50% increase, or vice versa..


                  Exactly.


                  Yeah, way easy indeed.
                  Also, thats why I recommended swapping in a complete turbo engine if one is availible..
                  Different turbos have different cfms, and therefore more or less power at the same psi. But the double fuel/air= double power makes sense. At least with the low boost you would run on an N/A, as there are diminishing returns.

                  But awesome write up. +1 indeed
                  Boosted 98 s70 t5: FWD muscle car FTW ~280whp and ~400wtqs= FUN
                  "Akin to being strapped to a nice leather office chair and being round-house kicked off a cliff by Chuck Norris" -Friend describing boost onset.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This should be stickied to prevent newcomers to the forum from starting their own thread in regards to this. Not many of them use the so-called search function.
                    http://codegen.tumblr.com

                    My Honda Integra Type R

                    I smoked your V8 and you called me a cheater? You're just mad you can't catch a 2 litre.

                    Originally posted by milkchicken
                    Drive like everyone else out there is out to kill you

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AlexanderB View Post
                      Is it really? In theory, if you double the absolute pressure at the throttle plate @ wide open, given a good enough intercooler to have the air at the same temperature in both cases, double the amount of air will go through. Add double the fuel, get double the power.
                      In a perfect world it would be true, but unfortunately it isn't meaning you can never get that efficiency. An Awesome write up though
                      1982 Toyota Corolla KE70 - Build Thread
                      2004 Subaru Liberty Sedan EJ25 5sp Manual - Current Daily Thread
                      1994 Toyota Corolla Hatch Csi Ltd. 4AFE 4sp Auto - Sold 25/01/13
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                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Great post man!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You can always do things the good old fashioned way and install a rising rate FPR until you can properly tune the car

                          Actually I've known some people to run off a RRFPR only... its generally the euro community who have bosch DME III and under as they didn't use a crank sensor (meaning the MS conversion is harder)

                          Its not the most efficient way of tuning but you can usually get your AFR to stay out of the danger to manifold zone

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bumping this because i was about to write the same thing but actually used the search feature which so many users have forgotten about.

                            May i also request that this thread be stickied?
                            Originally posted by ADowbs
                            He lives in Australia, it's a felony for thinking about doing a motor swap, let alone actually doing one.
                            sigpic
                            My S13 build_________________Brothers 180________________S-Chassis Thread #3_________________How to Turbo a Car

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by villain View Post
                              Bumping this because i was about to write the same thing but actually used the search feature which so many users have forgotten about.
                              Good job searching, was it easy to find?

                              Originally posted by villain View Post
                              May i also request that this thread be stickied?
                              I tried, but they don't want a forest of stickies at the top of the forum, so that probably isn't going to happen..
                              Modifying is a lifestyle!
                              Originally posted by milkchicken
                              Oh man I hate it when the bolts on my car decide to strip, its so awkward.. I'm like dude I've got a partner I can't be seen doing this...

                              Comment

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