Preps for Upgrading a Naturally Aspirated to a Turbocharged Car
Often times we have customers with questions like, will this turbo fit my car? Although customers usually provide us his/her specific car model, we’re unable to figure out exactly whether it will fit or not. Every car has different setups, even the same model when selling in different countries, the engine configuration might be different. Today we’re going to give you a guideline on how to choose a turbocharger if you’re driving a naturally aspirated car.
You attach manifold with turbine inlet, therefore the first step would be to determine what flange type would you prefer to use both for your turbine inlet and manifold, it makes things much easier if you match them with the same flanges. The most common flange types are T25, T3, T4, and vband.
Next you may choose whether you’d like to install a turbocharger with internal actuator or external wastegate. Actuators are built in on the turbochargers and for wastegate it is a separate part that you’ll need to get additionally. They are boost regulators that control turbo boost. Arashi recommends T25 or vband flange to match with actuator if you’d like your car to spool faster with less horsepower increase; but if you’d like to upgrade your vehicle to massive horsepower, Arashi suggests using T3 or T4 flange with wastegate.
Once you’ve decided on the above, you may choose between a journal bearing turbo or ball bearing turbo. Journal bearing has higher durability and stability, it handles shock and high boost better. In general it is also more affordable than the other systems. However, if you care more about spooling faster, ball bearing would be a better choice, it also consumes only half of the oil compared to journal bearing.
Followed by bearing system is the turbo size. Based on the current stock horsepower, you may evaluate how much horsepower would you like to increase in order to choose the appropriate turbo size. If you choose to go with a bigger sized turbo, make sure you reinforce your engine to prevent engine failure.
Finally, for the compressor end, a larger airflow air filter increases air flow into the compressor inlet to create efficient boost, therefore you’ll also upgrade piping with larger tubes.
Hopefully this guideline gives you a brief idea of what to consider when you are interested in upgrading a naturally aspirated engine into a turbocharged engine. There are a lot more details to consider for each part, please ensure that you consult with a professional tuner before your installation.
Photo credits to @skulldrift