Turbochargers are centrifugal compressors driven by an exhaust gas turbine and installed in engines to boost the air entering the cylinders. Turbocharger performance influences all the vital engine parameters, such as power, emissions, and, most importantly, fuel economy. Turbochargers are sometimes installed aftermarket by car tuners and enthusiasts, while many cars come with them stock from the manufacturer.
All turbochargers allow for increased power output from an engine that would otherwise be restricted to less. As a result, an engine of small size can produce as much power with a turbocharger as a larger engine without one.
Before moving on to discussing what the main functions of turbochargers are, it is essential to understand several fundamental concepts. We’ve all heard of turbos, but let’s find out how exactly they work?
How do Turbochargers work?
The turbo is made up of two halves that are joined together by a shaft. On one side, hot exhaust gasses spin the turbine connected to another turbine, which sucks air in and compresses it into the engine. This compression gives the engine extra power and efficiency because as more air goes into the combustion chamber, you can add more fuel.
Functions of a Turbocharger
The function of a turbocharger is to increase the power output of an engine without adjusting the engine itself. An engine would usually have to be made larger and heavier to gain power. On the other hand, a turbocharger is much smaller and lighter. Additionally, it is powered by the exhaust gases of the engine, which would usually leave the engine and vehicle unused.
You can think of the function of a turbocharger as beginning at the exhaust opening. Exhaust gases from the engine go through the turbocharger before exiting through the vehicle’s exhaust system. The flow of these gases causes a turbine wheel inside the turbocharger to spin. On the same axis and the other side of this turbine is a different wheel at its intake opening.
There is a 2nd wheel at the turbocharger’s intake opening called the compressor or impeller wheel because when it spins, it compresses the air coming into the turbo on the intake side. This 2nd wheel spins whenever the exhaust-side turbine wheel spins since they are connected by the same shaft. This compressed-air feeds more air into the engine intake. And since the higher density of oxygen molecules in compressed air instead of uncompressed, the engine throws in more fuel for each piston stroke, resulting in increased power.
Exhaust Opening (Again)
The compressed air that enters the intake of the engine burns off inside and becomes exhaust gas. This exhaust gas has more energy than before because the intake air has now been compressed and burned with more fuel; thus, it spins the exhaust-end turbine of the turbocharger faster than before. This, in turn, spins the compressor wheel faster than before, which compresses the intake air more than before.
The increase in air compression results in more oxygen molecules and more fuel for each piston stroke. As this cycle continues, the turbocharger can easily continue to increase the intake air’s compression further. However, too much air compression combined with excess fuel can result in too much power that damages the engine.
Controlling Air Pressure
The turbocharger compresses the intake air to limit the amount of air pressure. This happens through a mechanism called a “wastegate” that, when open, typically allows some exhaust gas to bypass the exhaust-side turbine wheel to limit how fast the wheel can spin. If the speed of the turbine wheel is limited or controlled, it limits the speed of the intake-side compressor wheel, which limits the amount of air compression.
Where does the extra power come from?
Turbochargers give your car more power, but that extra power is not coming directly from the waste exhaust gas, which sometimes confuses people. With a turbo, we harness some of that energy in the exhaust to drive the compressor, which allows the engine to burn more fuel per second. This extra fuel is where the car gets its extra power.
How much extra power can you get?
If a turbocharger gives an engine more power, theoretically, you could keep improving your turbocharger to make your engine more powerful, but you’ll eventually hit a limit. The cylinders are only so big, so they can only burn so much fuel.
There’s a limited amount of air that you can force into them through an inlet of a specific size, and there’s a limited amount of exhaust gas you can expel too, which limits the energy you can use to drive your turbocharger. Simply put, other limiting factors come into play that has to be taken into account as well because you can’t simply turbocharge your way to infinity!
Advantages of a Turbocharger
Apart from the extra power turbochargers provide, they are sometimes referred to as devices that offer “free power.” Unlike a supercharger, it doesn’t require power from the engine to drive it. The hot and expanding gasses coming out of the engine powers a turbocharger and doesn’t let the engine’s power drain. Turbocharged engines are also not affected the same way as naturally aspirated engines are when they go at higher altitudes.
The higher altitude a naturally aspirated engine climbs, the harder it becomes for it to get oxygen due to the thinning atmosphere. A turbocharger gets around this problem because it forces the oxygen into the internal combustion engine chamber, sometimes at 2 times the pressure of the atmosphere.
Looking for Turbocharger repair services in Minnesota? Diesel Components, Inc. has got you covered
Now that you know the main functions of Turbocharger, you know that a lot can go wrong with it. When it comes to turbocharger repairs, we at Diesel Components, Inc. do not cut corners.
Diesel Components, Inc. was intended to be an authorized turbocharger repair facility for Garrett, AiResearch, and Schweitzer, to name a few. As a factory-authorized repair facility, rest assured we will only use high-quality parts and the most up-to-date repair techniques because we firmly believe in doing every job right the first time.
If you need Turbocharger repair services in Minnesota, call us now.