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How to Make a Turbo for a Car

by Francis Walsh

Engine performance is what developers of turbo powered cars say they want most from the upgrade. Turning a stock engine into a race ready competitor takes time and knowledge of combustion engines to make them run harder than their stock brethren. The most available ingredient for more horsepower starts with air. The introduction of more air into the intake vales and combustion chamber will produce extra horsepower than an engine without an air induction system. A turbo charger uses exhaust gases to spin a compressor fan which injects pressurized air into the engine. Make a turbo for a car and get reliable horsepower from an engine that will run faster and harder than before.

Disconnect the cables from the battery. Raise the car high enough off the ground that there are at least two feet from floor to exhaust pipes and that the car is supported all around by four jack stands. This height should allow you easy access to the undercarriage as well as inside the engine compartment. Remove the factory air box and filter system that is connected to the intake manifold.

Position a turbo mounting bracket so that the air outlet of the turbo will be in easy reach of the engine's air intake or carburetor. Attach a turbo mounting bracket in the appropriate location and secure to the engine or manifold body. Use existing anchor points, or adapt the anchors to receive the mounting bracket. The bracket must be able to support the turbo and its vibrations, so be sure that, when mounted, the turbo is secure and seated well.

Cut the exhaust piping on the side where you will install the turbo exhaust manifold. Cut enough piping so that when the turbo down pipe is installed, the cut end of the old exhaust is as close to the down pipe's location as possible. Remove the exhaust header or manifold. Soak the studs with WD-40 or penetrating oil to help loosen these fasteners. Remove the header or manifold and discard. Clean around the gasket seat and replace a new exhaust gasket prior to installing the turbo exhaust manifold. Install the manifold and secure tightly. Once the job is finished and the vehicle is warmed up, retighten these bolts for the best results.

Secure the turbo to the mounting bracket, and connect the exhaust gas inlet to the exhaust manifold piping. Turbo piping straps only need to be tightened evenly to create a secure bond between pieces. Run the turbo down pipe down the firewall and connect at the cut end of the existing exhaust system. Use a flexible elbow or tubing to connect the turbo air outlet to the intake manifold or carburetor. Tighten all connecter with a screwdriver, wrench, or socket to create a leak free exhaust gas exchange system.

Run hosing from the bottom of the oil pan up to the turbo. Drill and tap the oil pan to receive a fitting for the hose to connect to. Seal the hose with hose clamps and connect the new oil line to the turbo. Mount a boost gauge to your dashboard, and connect the sender unit hose to the engine compartment through the firewall. Run a "T" tap into a vacuum hose line, and wire the gauge to the radio power supply. The turbo will now operate to push more cool, dense air into the engine via the compression wheels inside the equipment. The boost gauge will permit you to observe the way the turbo works in order to prevent internal engine damage as a result of the increase use of horsepower and heat.

Test the operation of the turbo after installation. Create driving conditions to observe the turbo reaction and performance increases this upgrade will deliver. A properly sized turbo will generate up to 200 extra horsepower and must be managed properly to avoid internal combustion damage due to overheating. Learn to use the boost gauge well and understand the meaning of the readings as it relates to your turbo charger's performance.

Tip

  • A custom exhaust shop can fabricate a turbo exhaust manifold to build a turbo for a car. Because you only need one manifold for one turbo, the cost can be quite low. Expect to pay for one turbo manifold what you would pay for two regular ones.

Warning

  • A turbo that is lubricated by oil must receive oil. Check oil pressure coming from the pan to the turbo through the added oil line you created. Make sure there is enough oil pressure to send oil to the turbo, or your turbo will burn up after only a short time without lubrication.

Items you will need

About the Author

Francis Walsh has been working as a freelance writer since 2003. He has contributed to websites such as Shave, Autogeek and Torque & Chromeas, as well as provided content for private clients. Walsh has worked as a performance part-packer and classic car show promoter, now serving as crew chief for Nitrousfitz Racing.

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Photo Credits

  • Jashil