How to Install a Turbo in a Car

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How to Install a Turbo in a Car

A lot of car enthusiasts love tinkering with their vehicles. Whether it’s adding a better sound system or upgrading the exhaust system for better performance, car aficionados can think of nothing better than spending a weekend fixing up their beloved ride. One popular upgrade for cars is adding a turbo. A turbo or turbocharger is a device that increases the power of a car’s engine. Car turbo kits are widely available, and many people can install one in their car if they have the right tools and knowledge.

This document aims to educate readers on how to install a turbo in a car. Installing a car turbo doesn’t require any formal education, but a basic knowledge of cars will help. First, the common technical terms related to turbos will be enumerated and defined. Then, the exact process of what a turbo does will be summarized, including how it can intensify the strength of an existing car engine. Finally, the steps of installing a turbo in a car will be listed in an easy to understand, non-technical manner, so even the most novice of car enthusiasts will be able to follow along.


Car Turbo Glossary

Before learning how a turbocharger works, it’s best to learn the different technical terms one may encounter when learning how to install a turbo in a car. These words and phrases are summarized in the chart below:
 

Term

Definition

Bar

Measurement of pressure, like PSI; one bar equals 14.7 PSI

Blow-off Valve

Releases excess pressure in the intake system

Boost

Measure of the air moving from the compressor to the combustion chamber; measured in PSI or bar

Downpipe

Siphons the exhaust fumes from the turbocharger to the exhaust system

Trim

Measurement of the turbine wheel and compressor

Turbo Lag

A pause in the system when trying to produce boost; a common problem among turbochargers

Wastegate

Removes superfluous exhaust pressure from the turbine


When learning to install anything in a car, knowing the definition of terms isn’t enough. The car owner should study the manual carefully, and try to consult with experts or experienced people before making any major changes.


How a Turbo Works in a Car

A turbocharger can increase an engine’s capacity without adding significant weight to a car. Most car manufacturers improve an engine’s power by making it larger, or adding more cylinders.. However, this also means that the car will be larger or heavier. Turbochargers are used in many race cars, when every fraction of a pound counts, but can also be added to almost any vehicle to extend its performance.

Internal combustion engines work by using the air pressure created by a piston as it does an intake stroke. This action pushes the air and fuel into the cylinders. The turbo is a forced induction device, meaning it uses compressed air that is pushed hard through to the internal combustion engine. Compressing air allows the engine to propel more air into the cylinders, which in turn increases the amount of fuel used, raising the engine’s power. Normally, air pressure (at sea level) has a PSI (pounds per square inch) of 14.7. This is the amount of pressure an engine gets when the piston completes and intake stroke. A turbocharger can add about six to eight more pounds of pressure. This means that with each boost, a turbocharger can increase an engine’s capacity by up to 40 percent.

The Turbocharging Process

The two main parts of a turbocharger are the turbine and the compressor. The turbine captures the kinetic energy of the exhaust gas. The movement of the gas causes the turbine blades to spin. The blades spin very fast, between 150,000 rpm to 250,000 rpm. The compressor then takes the air generated by the blades and drives it into the cylinders.

The speed of the turbine can make it very unstable, and thus the turbine shaft needs to be supported well. This is done with a fluid bearing, and the shaft is basically supported with a thin oil layer. This oil is continuously pumped around the turbine shaft, cooling the turbocharger and reducing friction.


Types of Turbochargers

Turbochargers are available in different sizes and designs, and each caters to different types of engines and car owners. There are several types of turbochargers available today and these are the standard, ball bearing, twin-scroll, and variable geometry turbos.

Standard Turbo

The standard turbo is the basic type of turbo used in many trucks and cars. The compressor is made of lightweight aluminum, and the compressor housing is constructed out of steel or cast iron since this part experiences a lot of wear and tear. This type of turbo has one inner channel where the air is compressed by the turbine blades. As described earlier, the shaft uses engine oil for cooling and stabilization.

Ball Bearing Turbo

The ball bearing turbo uses two ball bearing assemblies to keep the shaft steady, while reducing friction. This type of bearing can be found in more advanced vehicles. The ball bearing assemblies allow the turbine blades to spin faster without losing stability, thus allowing a more powerful boost with less turbo lag.

Twin-scroll Turbo

Twin-scroll turbochargers (not to be confused with twin turbochargers) utilize two exhaust gas inlets inside the housing. These passages are regulated by the wastegate. Sometimes, cylinders can interfere with each other, making gas collection difficult for the turbo. The two chambers (divided by split walls) in the twin-scroll turbos are able to compensate for this and efficiently accumulate more exhaust than the standard turbo.

Variable Geometry Turbo

The variable geometry turbo uses variable (or moveable) vanes to pump the air more efficiently. The problem with regular turbochargers is that when the engine is running slowly, the exhaust cannot move the turbines swiftly. The vanes in the shaft of a variable geometry turbo are able to move and shift the direction of the exhaust gas to optimize the system. These vanes are able to guide the exhaust towards the turbine, and adjust their angles to compensate for the slower engine speed.


How to Install a Turbo in a Car

Installing a turbocharger is one of the most common upgrades car enthusiasts perform on their cars. While those who are doing it for the first time should study the steps carefully and consult with experts if necessary, non-professionals shouldn’t feel intimidated at the prospect of installing a turbo. Most turbo kits will have all the necessary parts, fittings, and rubber hoses needed to install the turbocharger, but it’s best to take stock of all the materials before proceeding. The steps are outlined as follows:

  1. Use a hydraulic lift or jack stands to raise the front part of the car. Secure the lift or jacks to prevent any accidents.
  2. Place an oil pan under the engine and remove the oil plug. Allow the engine oil to drain completely before inserting the plug back in place.
  3. Remove the bumper and install the intercooler or air cooler.
  4. Attach the turbocharger to its accompanying turbo manifold or header. Take out the existing exhaust header and replace it with the turbocharger and manifold system. Connect the turbo manifold to the engine’s exhaust. If the turbocharger kit has an oxygen sensor, attach it to the mounting hole.
  5. Make a tap in the vehicle’s oil filter line. Connect this tap to the turbo’s oil feed line, and then attach the return line to the engine oil pan.
  6. The next step is to connect the turbo’s air outlet to the engine’s intake. Join the hoses and metal pipes to the turbo’s compressed air outlet, and then attach these pipes and hoses to one side of the intercooler. Remove any filters or tubes from the engine’s air intake. On the other side of the intercooler, affix any remaining hoses and pipes, and then connect these to the engine’s air intake system.
  7. Check to make sure all the fittings, bolts, and taps are secure.
  8. Add new engine oil to the car. Remove the car from the lift or stands and take it for a test drive.


Buying a Turbo on eBay

Turbo kits, parts, and accessories are available from a variety of websites on the Internet. However, you can save yourself the trouble of going to different websites by going straight to eBay Motors, which has a large selection of car parts.

Searching for a Turbo on eBay Motors

Finding a turbo on eBay can be simple, especially if you use the search box on any page on eBay. However, eBay Motors provides a more targeted approach when it comes to searching for anything car-related. You can use the “Find a part or accessory” option on the front page to specify which make and model of car you own. Enter the key terms in the box below this option as you would on any search engine. You can use anything related to the type of turbo you want, like “turbo supercharger” or “turbo kit intake pipe.”

Selling a Turbo on eBay Motors

If you have a new or used turbo kit or parts to sell, then selling it on eBay is even easier than buying it, especially if you have an existing eBay account. First, you’ll have to create a listing for your item. Click on the “Sell” button at the top of most pages on eBay. Describe it thoroughly and make sure you get a good, clear picture. eBay will then guide you on finding the right category for your item. Preview your listing and then finalize it by clicking on the List button. There may be some fees associated with listing your item, so check this carefully before making a listing.


Conclusion

Adding a turbo to a car is one of the most popular types of modifications many car owners make. A turbocharger is a type of forced induction device that can improve the performance of a vehicle’s engine. This works by pushing compressed air into the internal combustion engine’s intake, increasing its fuel use (and power) by as much as 40 percent. There are different designs and types of turbos today, but the most popular ones are the standard, ball bearing, twin-scroll, and variable geometry turbos.

While this is not a job that can be done in one step, installing a car turbo can be easy for anyone who really wants to do it. With the proper equipment, and careful study of the step-by-step instructions, anyone can learn to upgrade their vehicle with a turbo charger. When searching for turbo chargers, kits, and other parts, buyers should go to eBay Motors. This site is easy to navigate and use, and finding the right car part and accessory can be done with little difficulty.

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