If you love speed and want to boost the engine power of your car, installing a turbocharger is a great way to get more power from the engine. It pumps the exhaust gasses with the turbine to the exhaust manifold.
But installing a turbocharger requires some specifications to your car like turbo size, engine power, compress ratio, fuel delivery system, etc. although installing a turbocharger to your engine is not that simple. You need to know some basic things and prepare your car for it.
Speed and power are the most valuable thing about the car. A faster vehicle can give you a feeling like you are flying. The turbo is not directly connected to the engine. It just compresses power to it. To know how to install a turbo, follow the steps below.
Things to Do Before You Turbo Your Car
First of all, you need to prepare your car for turbocharging. So that you need some unique tools and time. Also, you need to invest some money in better preparation.
Understand How Turbocharger Works
Here is the process of how the turbocharger works in the turbo system:
- The exhaust turbine spin with the exhaust gases and the intake turbine follows the spin.
- The air then flows into the intake side of the turbo system and goes into the intercooler pipe with the intake turbine force.
- Then the exhaust flow goes into the cooler and reduces its temperature. It allows more air into the combustion chamber for better ignition.
- Then with the boost pressure situation, the cool airflow runs to the central intake manifold of the car.
- Then through the vehicle’s intake manifold, it is forced into the engine. Afterward, the pressured air reached into cylinders.
Choose the Right Turbo Charger
It would be best if you had a good turbocharger with a kit for your car, or it is tough to boost the engine. Some turbo compressor is different so it will work best if you choose a good quality turbo.
Also, some turbo is made for a specific engine so you can select them for your car. Depending on the types of car model and the engine speed type, you should choose a large turbo or a smaller one.
Also, make sure you have the right turbine housing that suits your engine and needs. A more significant turbine housing with a turbine wheel will have a better impact but may not fit with the car models.
So, choose the turbine housing correctly with sizing with the turbine wheel. The compressor wheel works with good volumetric efficiency.
If you cannot find out which one is perfect, you can ask any car mechanics about it, and they will assure you which turbo s best for your car engine.
Upgrade the Fuel Component
After selecting the turbo, you need to upgrade the fuel components because a standard fuel pump and the injector will be not enough for your engine to pump fuel when you install the turbocharger.
The turbocharger boosts the engine so that your car speed increased, so the engine will need more fuel and pressure to maintain it. The more power you use, the more energy (octane or diesel) it will need.
Compression Ratio Upgrades
When you try to understand the differences between a naturally-aspirated engine and turbocharged one, you will have the understand the effect of compression ratio with some other factors like ignition timing, wastegate control, fuel ratio, piston types (forged pistons), etc.
To boost the pressure or power of the turbo system, you need to have a better aftermarket engine.
Since you are investing money for installing a turbocharger, you should use the best fuel or highest octane so that you do not have to worry about pre-ignition or knock occurring. It will avoid turbo lag or any other volumetric efficiency problem.
Proper Engine Management
The third thing you need to do is the management of the engine properly. The air and fuel demand should be appropriately monitored. So, set a computer that can monitor these things properly. All you need to do is install a chip in your car.
If your vehicle has an ECM tuned, you need to open it and add a ground wire, or plug it and change the mapping. So, the computer will know your car’s airflow will increase, so the timing of fuel will need to change. Although it depends on how much boost you will use from the turbocharger.
Proper Cooling is Needed
Adding a turbocharger means your engine will work more than the previous time, it will need more fuel, more charge, and many things will be changed.
Because of those, the engine will be heating more than before. Most of the turbocharger companies provide a charge cooler, which is not necessary but id you add this, and it will be suitable for the process.
Also, it will have a better fuel mixture and more compressed air pressure in the compression section. Just use the appropriately sized cooler and keep in mind that it should not block too much area of the radiator.
Some Other Things
You should consider changing other things like the radiator, check to leak with a sealant of the radiator, change the plastic end tanks to aluminum tanks, add more cooling fans so it can flow more air, brakes, good tires that can handle power, clutch, spark plugs, etc.
Also, some of the experts say turbo lag happens if you didn’t position the turbo system properly. Other experts suggest the term turbo lag doesn’t exist. To be assured, you can keep this in your mind before making a turbocharged vehicle.
Turbo Installation Guide on How to Install a Turbo Charger
Things you will need for turbo installation guide
- A new turbocharger system
- The complete turbocharger kits
- Scissor or hydraulic jack
- Socket wrench set
- Jack stands
- Oil pan
- New oil and fuel
- Fuel injection
- turbo kits
- Safety equipment
Check Engine Diagnostic and Turbo Troubleshooting
Before installing a turbocharger system first, you should do a diagnostic check of the engine system if there is any lack of power, or any noisy operation, or any other fault. Also, check the injector, air filter, or lubrication.
If you have confusion, you can do extensive troubleshooting analysis by a computer. This is an essential inspection because, most of the time, the turbo will damage because of those underlying problems.
Use Turbo Installation Diagram
You need to have a turbo installation diagram before installing a new turbo system. There are manuals of the car company or the turbo system that works on different engines. You can also find those over internet.
You need to have this to avoid any mismatching and this creating problems in the installation process. Here is a diagram you can look at.
Proper Handling of an Aftermarket Turbocharger
Now, buy an appropriate turbo for your car engine. Because if you install an incorrect turbo, and it will damage the turbo as well as the engine too.
You should handle the turbo carefully because some turbo system is quite heavy with turbo lags. Just take out the turbo from the box and lift it by your hand. Do not grab it by the actuator rods, connecting rod or hoses; otherwise, it may get damaged.
Also, do not roll around the turbo on a workbench or flat ground. It also damages the gearbox inside the actuator. Turbo has some electronic connectors. Do not touch the connector pins with your finger.
Preparing for Installation
When you are installing a turbocharger system, you should change the old air oil and fuel filters. Also, clean the engine oil because the aftermarket turbocharger will need fresh oil and fuel for the first start.
Try to backfill the pressure line because this is important for a high mileage engine with doing the boost pressure process. When you are changing the oils, the pressure line may be empty.
The air hoses which you have to connect to the turbocharger should be clean and leakage-free. So check the hoses to the control valve and the actuator. Also, check the vehicle’s wiring loom and connectors if there is and short circuit or damage.
The wires will be applied to pneumatic actuators with position sensor connectors. Clean the air filters and its housing too. Then clean the breather system and other parts until they are all free of debris.
Turbo Installation Guide on Setting and Calibration
You should strictly follow the rules of turbo installation and do not change the settings and any calibration of a turbo. Otherwise, you may damage the turbo or unintentionally change the engine and voids warranty.
The Turbo system is a susceptible device, so it does not adjust any wrong circumstance. So it could cause severe damage to it.
The gasket must be set and perfectly aligned to the center hole of the flange. Do not use any liquid gasket or sealants to the oil inlet or outlet. Otherwise, the liquid may enter the turbo and reduce the oil flow.
Remove Gasket from Exhaust Manifold
Now remove the old gasket from the exhaust manifold. Remove all the plastic and foam blanking plugs from the turbo. You can raise the car using a tire jack in case you need it.
Also, put an oil pan under the engine so that it can hold any extra oil while you are working.
Integrating the New Turbo
After removing the gasket from the exhaust manifold, you need to integrate the new turbo. Now position the turbo under the manifold or the engine block. Use a new gasket or o ring and reconnect the exhaust side pipe.
Properly tighten the nuts and bolts and make sure there is no hose liner and oil feed. The line is not close to any heat, although it is difficult to detect without cutting any pipe.
Oil Drain Line and Post Installation Test
You should set a new oil inlet exhaust pipe when you are installing a turbo. Now connect the oil drain line to the aftermarket turbocharger then pour new engine oil into it. The post turbo test is needed for better performance.
After that, connect the oil feed line, spin the compressor wheel by your hand a few times. It would help if you spun it freely. Do not worry if you feel any up and down movements of the Compressor wheel.
With the compression ratio increased and decreased, the engine will gain and lose power.
Keep in mind that you should wear hand gloves when you are working. Hold the inlet and outlet air hoses and connect it to the turbocharger compressor housing. It will increase compressor efficiency.
The connection should be airtight properly. Now test the turbocharger system by starting the engine for a couple of seconds. This will pass the oil to all the needed places.
Now let the engine start for 3 to 4 minutes for proper inspection of oil gas. You will also notify if there is any air leakage. If you find any leakage, fix it.
Check Actuator Operation and Oil Level
Check the actuator if it operates correctly after start up the engine. The movement may vary according to the vehicle types. Check the actuator vein arms and vein mechanism. If you hear a high pitched noise from the actuator, your turbo is installed correctly.
The gear is a self-blocking thing, so it is not possible to move the actuator operating arm. Do not force it by hand, or it may break the gears and make the unusual turbo damage.
Stop the engine and recheck the engine oil level. The oil should be the middle of the minimum and maximum levels. For better understanding, read the manual and follow the steps carefully.
Estimated Turbo Installing Cost: How to Turbo a Car Cheap
The turbocharger adds horsepower to the engine, but it will not come free. You need to invest a significant amount to get the best speed.
You have to add lots of stuff on your list. So, start with the fueling system. Although you do not have to upgrade lots of things like a fuel pump or fuel pressure regulator. But to boost pressure, you need some stuff.
Now go to the whole turbo system. The whole turbo system will cost around $1400+ if you set it up cheaply.
- Turbo Manifold $100+
- Intercooler piping $200
- Internal wastegate $250
- Depending on car or engine, mass airflow sensor or a map $100. It is compatible with the engine management system.
- Rom tune or chiptune $400+
- Those are the main stuff. The options are,
- Downpipe and exhaust system $200
- Radiator and fan $150. It will keep your engine nice and cool.
- Boost controller $80. It is important because those higher boost levels and boost pressure going on an engine.
- A blower $30. It will push oil out of your engine.
- Water $50
- AFR $150
- Boost gauge $50.
- Feed lines $100
- A more reliable clutch $400.
So total stay stock $4060 with rebuilding $5400.
How to Add a Turbo on a NASP Engine
Adding a turbo to a naturally aspirated engine is not that simple. It has many differences from a turbocharged engine like compressor ratio, fueling, ignition, etc.
Install Perfect Turbo
You need to select the right turbocharger for your engine. Adding a turbocharger means not only increase the engine compression but also increase efficiency.
Check the Fuel Requirement
Also, check the fueling requirement and throttle position of a car engine from the start of the boost and off from that situation. The high-powered engine has a plenum for adapting the throttle body, but in most cases, understanding fuel requirement is essential.
In this time phrase, the fuel requirement may change, and you may seem different throttle position after adding the turbo on the NASP engine.
Reaching the Expected Volume
Having a turbocharger is not like the video game that you start the engine, and your car will run like a pro. You need to consider a lot of issues for a NASP engine. If you add turbo in a NASP, it will increase only 60% volume of the engine.
So, a NASP car engine will not reach your expectation properly. A more tuned engine is more efficient, as a torque car. A torque car engine has 85% efficiency. Also, adding a turbocharger to a low powered engine will create many complications.