Essential Things You Need to Know About Turbochargers

Turbochargers play a significant role in the efficiency of diesel engines. Moreover, these particular engine components produce even more power regardless of the type or class of the engine. In general, a turbocharger is a device that's used as a forced induction system. This process increases horsepower, while not adding any more weight, which has led to its overall popularity among drivers and car aficionados. That said, in the simplest of terms, turbochargers work by allowing cool air to enter an engine's intake valve and move toward the compressor. Once there, a fan sucks the air in, allowing it to make its way to the compressor. The compressor heats up the air, and the hot air passes through the engine's heat exchanger. This exchanger cools the once hot air and redistributes it. Clearly, this is a very basic breakdown of what happens, but regardless, this process provides extra oxygen, which in turn burns fuel at a faster rate. The more rapidly fuel is consumed, the more energy it produces, which is extremely beneficial for diesel engines and fuels. Now that you have a slightly more in-depth understanding of turbochargers, let’s go over several important engine turbocharger facts.

Original use

Turbochargers were originally created to provide extra power for vehicles competing in hill climbs. Both gasoline and diesel engines are affected by changes in altitude. Gasoline-powered engines, in particular, lose power or lack better performance due to the lack of oxygen/thinning of air at higher elevations. Thus, automotive engineers decided to come up with a way to combat this issue. However, today’s diesel engines perform just fine in higher altitudes, so you might be wondering why exactly turbochargers are still used today in both types of engines? Well, the answer is simple—it's power. Turbochargers increase horsepower, and everyone wants more power. If you're in the market for a new turbocharger, but want one at a reasonable price, go to https://goldfarbinc.com/products/2853198n-3779708-holset-hx35-turbocharger-new.

More power

As previously stated, turbochargers equal more power. By using the exhaust gas to drive the turbine, more energy is generated. A turbine is essentially a metal windmill, and that simple brush of cool air that passes through the heat exchange is enough to power even the largest machines, even jet engines. Another power-inducing component is the supercharger, which uses a comparable process. Instead of cool air passing through the turbine, this additional power is generated by the vehicles rotating crankshaft. Note that while a turbocharger helps repurpose wasted energy, a supercharger actually draws on the vehicle’s energy, making it less advantageous.

Multiple applications

Often, when people think of turbochargers, they automatically think of vehicles or even sports cars. But then, the truth is there are various applications. Since turbochargers play a vital role in most engines, increase volumetric efficiency, and control emissions, it's not too surprising that there are several everyday applications. A few notable applications include marine, aerospace, the energy sector, and of course, automotive.

Types

Yet another interesting fact is that there are six different types of turbochargers. The most widely-used and simplest is the single turbo. This particular turbocharger is also the most affordable, but not necessarily the most efficient. The second type of turbo is the sequential turbo. The sequential turbo has two turbos—one large and one small. This allows for a better wide yet flat torque curve. Nevertheless, this turbo option is slightly more expensive. Number three on the list of turbochargers is the twin-scroll turbo, which works best in a four-cylinder vehicle. The last three are the more advanced/complex—the variable geometry turbo (VGT), variable twin-scroll turbo, and electrical turbo. These turbochargers are more expensive, and allow for a decent to virtually instant boost of power while having less lag.

Advantages

The clear benefit or pro for all types of turbochargers is more power. Plus, thanks to the overall lightweight design, turbochargers are practically defying the law of conservation of energy by making vehicles more fuel-efficient (improving fuel economy, while reducing fuel consumption). Turbochargers also help to improve emissions and enhance performance at higher altitudes.

Disadvantages

However, there are a few disadvantages or cons to turbochargers. For instance, as briefly touched upon, turbo lag is a real issue for most drivers.  Moreover, turbochargers tend to create an excessive amount of heat and can cause engine damage if improperly installed. Some vehicles may also be unable to handle such power, which can lead to a system malfunction. Along those same lines, some drivers struggle with the increase in power and unknowingly put themselves in harm’s way by traveling at high speeds, while climbing steep hills or driving recklessly. Finally, turbochargers are costly. In fact, they can easily cost you thousands of dollars (parts, installation, maintenance, repair, etc.).

Signs of trouble

Another disadvantage here is the fact that turbochargers are like any other mechanical component, and are therefore susceptible to failures, breakdowns, and damage. A few telltale signs to look for, then, to ensure you can fix your turbochargers in a timely fashion, include poor acceleration and excessive exhaust smoke. You should also be mindful of increased gas consumption, strange noises, blue or black exhaust smoke, and everyone's favorite—the "check engine" light. Being able to notice these signs of trouble can save you a lot of money when it comes to repair costs and help to prevent potentially dangerous driving situations. Note that it's often difficult to estimate the cost of turbo repairs due to the potential parts needed or the amount of labor involved. Therefore, it's highly recommended that you address any signs of trouble early on with professional assistance.

Takeaway

Ultimately, turbochargers are a thing of wonder, simple yet complex, and real game-changers. Moreover, most vehicles have them nowadays. Thus, it's beneficial to know about them and how they work. If you're interested in learning more about these mechanical masterpieces or need some assistance finding the right turbocharger, don't hesitate to reach out to an experienced engine parts supplier in your area.

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