How to Install a Turbo in a Car

by Contributor

You have decided you want to add some horsepower to your car by installing a turbocharger. While, true a turbo kit can add a lot of horsepower to your car, keep in mind there are several things that go into installing a turbocharger like the size of the turbo, how much boost your engine can handle, how much torque can your axles handle, will you need to modify your fuel intake system etc. The following is a guide on how to install a turbo in a car that has been properly prepared for a turbocharger.

Be sure the Jack and the Jack stands are rated to support the weight of your vehicle

First raise the front end of the car with a hydraulic jack or a scissor jack and place the two jack stands under the car. Raise the stands as high as possible and lock them in place while under the car and then slowly lower the car on top of the jack stands

Let the oil drain into the oil pan

Now that the car is on the jack stands place the oil pan under the engine and drain the engine's motor oil. Once the oil has finished draining replace the oil drain plug.

Intercooler

After you have replaced the oil drain plug remove the front bumper of the car and then install the changer air cooler or the intercooler.

Turbo header with turbocharger attached

Next make room for the turbocharger by removing the exhaust header. The turbocharger manifold will replace the stock exhaust header and connect to the car's exhaust system. Attach the turbocharger to the turbo header before you install the turbo header. Once the turbo charger is attached to the header connect the turbo header to the engine's exhaust system.

Oil return line

After the turbo header is in place create a tap in the car's oil filter line and connect the tap to the turbocharger's oil feed line and connect the turbocharger's oil return line to the engine oil pan. If your car does not have an oil tap in the engine oil pan you may need one fabricated.

Completed turbocharger setup

Once you finish with the oil lines connect the rubber hoses and metal pipes to the turbocharger's compressed air outlet and connect that set of pipes and hoses to one side of the intercooler

Make sure your turbo hat fits your carburetor correctly

Locate the engine's air intake and remove any filters and tubes attached to it. If your car has a carburetor you will need a turbo hat

Take the other side of the intercooler and attach the remaining hoses and pipes and connect those set of pipes and connect them to the engine's air intake system.

Double check everthing

After you have connected the turbocharger's compressed air outlet to the engine's air intake double check all the bolts and oil taps and make sure they are secure.

Fill the car up with new oil and take the car off of the jack stands. Your car is now ready to go.

Tips

  • check If you can not find a manufacturer that makes turbo headers for your vehicle take your stock header to a metal fabricator or machine shop and have them turn your stock exhaust header into a turbo header. Remember to take the turbocharger with you so the fabricator can make the manifold fit the header exactly.
  • check If you want to get the most power out of your turbocharger you should install a wastegate.
  • check If you want to monitor how much boost your turbocharger is producing install a boost gauge
  • check If you want to be able to control how much boost your turbocharger produces install a boost controller

Warnings

  • close Always park a vehicle on level ground before you jack it up.
  • close Never jack up a vehicle without blocking the wheels.
  • close Be sure that your gearshift is in Park (or in First if you have a manual transmission) and that the emergency brake is on before you jack it up.
  • close Never drive your car without any oil in it.

Items you will need

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.