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How to Spool a Turbo

by Dale Yalanovsky

A turbo is an addition to automobiles to increase the horsepower of the engine. They are powered by scavenged exhaust gases that turn a turbine. The exhaust turbine is connected to an air pump that compresses atmospheric air before it enters the combustion chamber. This action works off the rpm of your engine and the load that the engine is under. The higher the load on the engine, the more exhaust gas available to spin the turbine, the more power that can be obtained.

Automatic Transmissions


Place your left foot on the brake, and push firmly.


Place your right foot on the gas pedal and depress slightly. If you have a tachometer, put a load on the engine under braking to about 2,000 rpm. This will cause the turbine to spin at twice normal speed and, in essence, be "spooled up."


Release the brake and accelerate with the gas pedal. The turbo will provide extra horsepower for certain situations, such as merging onto the freeway.

Manual Transmissions


Push in the clutch, and shift into first gear.


Rev the engine up to about the 2,000 rpm line with the gas pedal. Hold it there.


Release the clutch and accelerate away from the 2,000 rpm point.


  • Manual transmissions are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to spooling up a turbo. An engine with no load, which is exactly what a manual transmission engine is when the clutch is pushed in, produces far less exhaust gases than a car with any type of load on it. Therefore, automatic transmission cars have the advantage of braking first to get the engine under load before driving away.


  • Never rev any car past its indicated red line, or serious and fatal engine damage will result.

Items you will need

About the Author

Dale Yalanovsky has been writing professionally since 1978. He has been published in "Woman's Day," "New Home Journal" and on many do-it-yourself websites. He specializes in do-it-yourself projects, household and auto maintenance and property management. Yalanovsky also writes a bimonthly column that provides home improvement advice.

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