By using a turbocharger you are not only making your engine more powerful, but you are also making the engine perform more efficiently while making it more environmentally friendly.

In exhaust gas turbocharging, part of exhaust gas energy, which would normally be unutilised is used to drive a turbine.  The turbine shaft is connected to a compressor; which draws in air and delivers it at high pressure to the engine.

The increase air supply enables more fuel to be burnt so that the engine develops higher power.  Increased air availability improves combustion of fuel, shut leading to lower fuel consumption and less emission.

What are turbochargers?

Turbochargers contribute significantly to the protection of the environment and better unitisation of energy resources.

Advantages of a turbocharged engine.

  • Lower fuel consumption
  • Lower emissions
  • Better driveability
  • Lower weight & a smaller engine size
  • Lower noise
  • Reduces power loss at high altitude

One of the best ways to instantly improve the performance of your engine is by using a turbocharger. A turbocharger consists of a pair of rotating turbines which are designed to convert waste exhaust air pressure leaving the vehicle into fresh air pressure entering the vehicles combustion cycle. Waste air leaving the engine flows through the turbine wheel of the turbocharger and out the vehicle. The Turbine wheel converts exhaust energy into shaft energy which then turns the compressor wheel. The compressor wheel then pumps high pressured fresh air into the engine. This process increases air pressure in the combustion cycle which increases performance, acceleration as well as fuel efficiency.

When a vehicle is giving off exhaust fumes, that smelly, black smoke which can almost choke the people in the car behind it, you can tell that the vehicle doesn’t have a turbocharger. Not only will the exhaust fumes end up adding a certain amount of pollution to the environment, but it is also affecting the performance of the engine. What many people don’t realise is that the exhaust fumes consist of a mixture of hot gases as well as force or energy, which is constantly being pumped out. A turbocharger is designed to recycle wasted energy, transforming more of the fuel energy consumed into power. A turbocharged engine, therefore offers improved fuel economy, less CO2 emissions and better performance over a non-turbocharged engine.

That is the purpose of a turbocharger, in a nutshell. The actual chargers, as well as the processes involved, are a little more complex but the end result is undeniable: your vehicle performance will improve.

Guidelines for Turbocharged engine use.

Operation guidelines:

  • DO NOT accelerate the engine immediately after starting.
  • Allow the engine to idle for a minute or so before shut down.

Maintenance guidelines:

  • Use of recommended grade and periodic change of Engine Oil and Oil Filter
  • Regular maintenance of air cleaner and periodic replacement of filter element.
  • Regular inspection of oil, air & exhaust connection of the turbocharger to prevent leakage.

Reasons why a turbocharger might fail

  1. Impact damage.

Impact damage by foreign material entering the turbine housing or compressor cover is clearly visibly on the turbine and compressor wheels.  It is important that the air intake & exhaust manifold are carefully checked when fitting a replacement turbocharger.Never attempt to straighten blades as they will fail later in service.

Never continue to operate turbocharger with damaged blades as the motor will be affected and impact service life.

  1. Dirt in oil.

Dirty oil damages the turbocharger with heavy scoring of critical bearing surfaces.

To avoid damage, oil and filters should be of good quality and changed when a new turbocharger is fitted and at regular intervals according to the vehicle/engine manufacturers specification.

  1. Oil delay.

Interruption of the oil supply for repetitive short durations (4-5 seconds) causes polishing and burnishing to the turbocharger bearing surfaces. This would normally result from failure to prime or pre-crank the engine after; Re-fitting a turbocharger, oil & filter change, long period of non-use, incorrect start-up procedure, low engine oil pressure or oil contamination.

  1. Oil starvation.

Severe shortage of oil (in excess of 8-10 seconds) will result in turbocharger bearing system showing signs of heat discolouration, in addition to polishing and burnishing  of critical surfaces. Oil starvation is a more severe form of oil delay and can result from;  broken or restricted oil feed pipe, oil pump failure,  low or no oil in sump, excessive engine operation angles losing lube system prime and air leaks in oil system.

Failure from excessive exhaust temperatures or shutting the engine down without allowing time for the turbocharger to cool down results in carbon build-up.

It is recommended to idle engine for 2-3 minutes to cool turbocharger before shutting down. Turbine end heat soak into the bearing housing which results in oil carbonisation and corrosion of the bearing system.  The main damage occurs to the shaft seal ring and grooves, turbine end bearing and bearing housing oil drain cavity blockage.

Time to service or replace your vehicle’s Turbocharger?  our expert team at Turboformance will gladly assist.  Get in touch with us to find out more about our selection of turbochargers and Turboprotects.

TIP:  NEVER continue to operate an engine with a suspect or noisy turbocharger as this could result in total engine failure.