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Beginner's Guide: Turbo Kit Basics

October 25, 2022  -  Power Adders

4 People Found This Article Helpful

Even though turbocharging sounds extremely difficult and complicated, it isn't all that bad. A turbocharger makes your car more powerful than a naturally aspirated engine of the same capacity, and that’s what you’re after when exploring turbo kits.

Although this article won't explain how to turbocharge your specific vehicle, it will explain what turbocharging is, how it works, and what a basic turbo kit looks like if you're looking to purchase one. If you’ve ever wondered how a turbo works, this article is for you.

How Does A Turbo Work?

Naturally aspirated engines suck in air at atmospheric pressure, creating a fuel/air mixture that ignites in the cylinders and produces power. Obviously, this setup is somewhat limited since you can only cram so much air into the engine. This is where turbochargers come in.

The turbocharger is a device that looks almost like a snail and is responsible for forcing more air into the engine. This allows the car's computer to add more fuel to the mixture resulting in more power being created. Turbochargers use exhaust gasses to spin a turbine that compresses the intake air.

What Is A Turbo Kit?

A lot of people wonder what does a turbocharger do without realizing just how many components are involved in a turbo kit. If you're looking to turbocharge your car, that’s exactly what you’ll need though. Aftermarket turbo kits are usually vehicle specific though some components can obviously be universal.

Most turbo kits include the turbo itself, which consists of the turbine and the compressor, the intercooler which is responsible for cooling the intake air, wastegates, blow-off valves, and the associated piping and manifolds required to install said turbo kit.

Choosing A Turbo Kit

When selecting a turbo kit it's very important to buy one that was designed to fit your vehicle. Although you can purchase just about any turbo kit on the market and make it work, it would require much more custom work as opposed to buying a vehicle-specific turbo kit from the start.

The next thing you'll want to consider is what size of turbo you'll need. The larger the turbo, the more power it'll be able to produce. Larger turbochargers cause greater turbo lag, so they are typically only used when you want to produce an insane amount of power. Larger turbochargers will also raise reliability concerns as well since they’re creating more pressure and compression inside the engine itself.

You also have to consider whether you want a single turbo kit or a twin-turbo kit. Twin-turbo kits are usually more expensive and more complicated to set up, but they result in less turbo lag. You’re also more likely to install a twin-turbocharger setup when you’re working with a V-shaped engine that has two different banks of cylinders.

The Set Up Process

Fitting a turbocharger kit to a naturally aspirated engine is a difficult process and one that requires significant mechanical knowledge. If you're not confident when it comes to working on your own car, let alone causing irreversible changes to the engine, then it's best to take your car to a professional mechanic shop and let them do the work.

The turbo setup involves finding a spot for the turbo to sit in, mounting it, fitting the intercooler and associated piping, as well as drilling a hole in the oil pan for the turbocharger to drain its oil into.

Cars that are already turbocharged are much easier to work on since you'll probably only replace the turbocharger with a larger one or fit a much beefier intercooler in place of the factory one.If you're looking for a turbocharger kit for your vehicle, JEGS has you covered.  From complete turbocharging kits to gaskets, intercoolers, and individual turbochargers, JEGS has everything you need to make your car perform the way you want it to.

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