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How to Install Your First Turbocharger on Any Engine?

There are two main ways to get more power from your car’s engine. The first is to increase the capacity of the engine. The second is to increase the amount of fuel going into the cylinder.

Generally, when more fuel goes into the cylinders, the engine produces more power. So part of the solution is to tune the carburetor, cylinder head & intake manifold to allow the engine enough room to ‘breathe’ more freely. Still, there are limits to how much power can be extracted from an engine while maintaining the engine’s reliability and flexibility at the same time.

Alternatively, you can get more fuel/air mixture into the cylinders by installing a turbocharger.




What is a turbo?

A turbocharger, or a turbo, is a turbine-driven, forced induction device that can increase the engine’s efficiency & power output by forcing the extra compressed air into the combustion chamber. It consists of a wheel with vanes, and the turbine, which fits inside the housing in the exhaust system. It also has a short central drive shaft that runs from the turbine to a vanned wheel called the compressor, which feeds into the engine’s air intake.

Installing a Turbo

Finding where to place all the parts of a turbo system may pose a problem for you. Turbochargers become very hot, so remember shielding the heat-sensitive parts, and supplying the fuel by a continuous-loop system to avoid vaporization problems. And place the intercoolers in an airstream while keeping their pipework as short as possible.

Plump the turbo unit into the exhaust system near the engine as possible. This helps in keeping it compact and also helps prevent turbo lag. If there is a long length of exhaust pipe between the engine and the turbo, the time between the accelerator being pressed down, the engine speed increasing, and the turbo accelerating would be delayed, and the effect would be like having an elastic throttle cable. Perhaps, this is why the turbo is often bolted directly on to the exhaust manifold.

Also, the exhaust outlet is in the center of the turbine housing and leads off to the exhaust pipe. On the oil inlet side, the pressurized air leaves the compressor via a large-bore pipe, runs through the intercooler (if fitted), and then moves on to the inlet manifold, or occasionally the plenum chamber, where the fuel is injected before the air enters the engine.

When you finally decide to add some horsepower to your car by installing a turbocharger, you have to keep several things in mind. For instance, how much boost your engine can handle, the size of the turbo, how much torque your axles can handle, will you need to modify your fuel intake system, etc.?

The following guide will tell you how to install your first turbocharger in a car:


Steps by step guide to install your first Turbocharger


Step 1

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

Step 2

After the car is on the jack stands, drain the engine’s motor oil by placing the oil pan under the engine. Replace the oil drain plug, once the oil has fully drained.

Step 3

After replacing the oil drain plug, install the changer air cooler or the intercooler by removing the front bumper of your car.

Step 4

Next, make room for the turbocharger system by removing the exhaust header. Replace the stock exhaust header with the turbocharger manifold and connect it to the car’s exhaust system. You’ll have to attach the turbocharger to the turbo header before installing the turbo header. Once the turbocharger is attached to the header, you can connect the turbo header to the engine’s exhaust system.

Step 5

When the turbo header is in place, create a tap in the car’s oil filter line, and connect the valve to the turbocharger’s oil feed line along with joining the turbo’s oil return line with the engine oil pan. If your car doesn’t have an oil tap in the engine oil pan, you may need to fabricate one.

Step 6

Once you are done with the oil lines, connect the metal pipes and rubber hoses to the turbocharger’s compressed air outlet and connect the set of pipes & hoses to one side of the intercooler.

Step 7

Your next task will be locating the engine’s air intake and removing any filters and tubes attached to it. You might need a turbo hat if your car has a carburetor.

Step 8

Now, take the other side of the intercooler and attach or connect the remaining pipes and hoses to the engine’s air intake system.

Step 9

By now, you would have connected the turbocharger’s compressed air outlet to the engine’s air intake. Also, double-check all the bolts & oil taps to make sure they are secure.

Finally, fill up your car with new oil and take the car off of the jack stands – your car is now ready to go.

After installing the Turbo: 

  • Test the engine by cranking it for 10-15 seconds to prime the oil feed without starting the engine.
  • Start the engine and leave it for 3-4 minutes to allow for proper inspection of oil, gas, and air leakage and to boost your turbocharger.
  • If you detect a leakage during engine start-up, please fix the issue immediately.
  • For VNT turbo, please ensure that the actuator operates correctly after starting up.
  • If no movement is detected, please investigate the cause behind it, as the actuator operations have been set and tested before it left the factory.

Benefits of installing a Turbo

The most obvious benefit of having a turbo car or a turbocharged engine is that of increased performance combined with the economy. A turbocharged two-liter engine gives the same performance as an un-turbocharged three-liter one without burning more fuel than a two-liter.

We at Diesel Components, Inc. offer new or rebuilt turbochargers, and when it comes to turbochargers, we have what you need.  Since the beginning, Diesel Components, Inc. was intended to be a regional warehouse distributor & authorized turbocharger repair facility for Garrett, AiResearch & Schweitzer, to name a few. We also have a wide variety of Turbochargers or turbo kits available for you, including BorgWarner Turbocharger, and Mitsubishi 49173-04501 Turbocharger, among others.