A Nissan Sentra Forum banner

1 - 20 of 51 Posts

7,399 Posts
YouTube - How Turbochargers Work

How a Turbo System Works
Engine power is proportional to the amount of air and fuel that can get into the cylinders. All things being equal, larger engines flow more air and as such will produce more power. If we want our small engine to perform like a big engine, or simply make our bigger engine produce more power, our ultimate objective is to draw more air into the cylinder. By installing a Garrett turbocharger, the power and performance of an engine can be dramatically increased.

The components that make up a typical turbocharger system are:
  • The air filter through which ambient air passes before entering the compressor (1)
  • The air is then compressed which raises the air’s density (mass / unit volume) (2)
  • Many turbocharged engines have a charge air cooler (aka intercooler) (3) that cools the compressed air to further increase its density and to increase resistance to detonation
  • After passing through the intake manifold (4), the air enters the engine’s cylinders, which contain a fixed volume. Since the air is at elevated density, each cylinder can draw in an increased mass flow rate of air. Higher air mass flow rate allows a higher fuel flow rate (with similar air/fuel ratio). Combusting more fuel results in more power being produced for a given size or displacement
  • After the fuel is burned in the cylinder it is exhausted during the cylinder’s exhaust stroke in to the exhaust manifold (5)
  • The high temperature gas then continues on to the turbine (6). The turbine creates backpressure on the engine which means engine exhaust pressure is higher than atmospheric pressure
  • A pressure and temperature drop occurs (expansion) across the turbine (7), which harnesses the exhaust gas’ energy to provide the power necessary to drive the compressor

Blow-Off (Bypass) Valves
The Blow-Off valve (BOV) is a pressure relief device on the intake tract to prevent the turbo’s compressor from going into surge. The BOV should be installed between the compressor discharge and the throttle body, preferably downstream of the charge air cooler (if equipped). When the throttle is closed rapidly, the airflow is quickly reduced, causing flow instability and pressure fluctuations. These rapidly cycling pressure fluctuations are the audible evidence of surge. Surge can eventually lead to thrust bearing failure due to the high loads associated with it.
Blow-Off valves use a combination of manifold pressure signal and spring force to detect when the throttle is closed. When the throttle is closed rapidly, the BOV vents boost in the intake tract to atmosphere to relieve the pressure; helping to eliminate the phenomenon of surge.

On the exhaust side, a Wastegates provides us a means to control the boost pressure of the engine. Some commercial diesel applications do not use a Wastegates at all. This type of system is called a free-floating turbocharger.
However, the vast majority of gasoline performance applications require a Wastegates. There are two (2) configurations of Wastegates, internal or external. Both internal and external Wastegates provide a means to bypass exhaust flow from the turbine wheel. Bypassing this energy (e.g. exhaust flow) reduces the power driving the turbine wheel to match the power required for a given boost level. Similar to the BOV, the Wastegates uses boost pressure and spring force to regulate the flow bypassing the turbine.

Internal Wastegates are built into the turbine housing and consist of a “flapper” valve, crank arm, rod end, and pneumatic actuator. It is important to connect this actuator only to boost pressure; i.e. it is not designed to handle vacuum and as such should not be referenced to an intake manifold.

External Wastegates are added to the exhaust plumbing on the exhaust manifold or header. The advantage of external Wastegates is that the bypassed flow can be reintroduced into the exhaust stream further downstream of the turbine. This tends to
improve the turbine’s performance. On racing applications, this Wastegated exhaust flow can be vented directly to atmosphere.

Journal Bearings vs. Ball Bearings
The journal bearing has long been the brawn of the turbocharger, however a ball-bearing cartridge is now an affordable technology advancement that provides significant performance improvements to the turbocharger.
Ball bearing innovation began as a result of work with the Garrett Motorsports group for several racing series where it received the term the ‘cartridge ball bearing’. The cartridge is a single sleeve system that contains a set of angular contact ball bearings on either end, whereas the traditional bearing system contains a set of journal bearings and a thrust bearing


Ball Bearings

Reduced Oil Flow – The ball bearing design reduces the required amount of oil required to provide adequate lubrication. This lower oil volume reduces the chance for seal leakage. Also, the ball bearing is more tolerant of marginal lube conditions, and diminishes the possibility of turbocharger failure on engine shut down.
Improved Rotordynamics and Durability – The ball bearing cartridge gives better damping and control over shaft motion, allowing enhanced reliability for both everyday and extreme driving conditions. In addition, the opposed angular contact bearing cartridge eliminates the need for the thrust bearing commonly a weak link in the turbo bearing system.
Competitor Ball Bearing Options – Another option one will find is a hybrid ball bearing. This consists of replacing only the compressor side journal bearing with a single angular contact ball bearing. Since the single bearing can only take thrust in one direction, a thrust bearing is still necessary and drag in the turbine side journal bearing is unchanged. With the Garrett ball bearing cartridge the rotor-group is entirely supported by the ball bearings, maximizing efficiency, performance, and durability.
Ball Bearings in Original Equipment – Pumping up the MAZDASPEED Protegé’s heart rate is a Garrett T25 turbocharger system. With Garrett technology on board, the vehicle gains increased acceleration without sacrificing overall efficiency and it has received many rave reviews from the world’s top automotive press for it’s unprecedented performance.

Manifold design on turbocharged applications is deceptively complex as there many factors to take into account and trade off
General design tips for best overall performance are to:
  • Maximize the radius of the bends that make up the exhaust primaries to maintain pulse energy
  • Make the exhaust primaries equal length to balance exhaust reversion across all cylinders
  • Avoid rapid area changes to maintain pulse energy to the turbine
  • At the collector, introduce flow from all runners at a narrow angle to minimize "turning" of the flow in the collector
  • For better boost response, minimize the exhaust volume between the exhaust ports and the turbine inlet
  • For best power, tuned primary lengths can be used
Cast manifolds are commonly found on OEM applications, whereas welded tubular manifolds are found almost exclusively on aftermarket and race applications. Both manifold types have their advantages and disadvantages. Cast manifolds are generally very durable and are usually dedicated to one application. They require special tooling for the casting and machining of specific features on the manifold. This tooling can be expensive.
On the other hand, welded tubular manifolds can be custom-made for a specific application without special tooling requirements. The manufacturer typically cuts pre-bent steel U-bends into the desired geometry and then welds all of the components together. Welded tubular manifolds are a very effective solution. One item of note is durability of this design. Because of the welded joints, thinner wall sections, and reduced stiffness, these types of manifolds are often susceptible to cracking due to thermal expansion/contraction and vibration. Properly constructed tubular manifolds can last a long time, however. In addition, tubular manifolds can offer a substantial performance advantage over a log-type manifold.

Compression ratio with boost
Before discussing compression ratio and boost, it is important to understand engine knock, also known as detonation. Knock is a dangerous condition caused by uncontrolled combustion of the air/fuel mixture. This abnormal combustion causes rapid spikes in cylinder pressure which can result in engine damage.
Three primary factors that influence engine knock are:
  1. Knock resistance characteristics (knock limit) of the engine: Since every engine is vastly different when it comes to knock resistance, there is no single answer to "how much." Design features such as combustion chamber geometry, spark plug location, bore size and compression ratio all affect the knock characteristics of an engine.
  2. Ambient air conditions: For the turbocharger application, both ambient air conditions and engine inlet conditions affect maximum boost. Hot air and high cylinder pressure increases the tendency of an engine to knock. When an engine is boosted, the intake air temperature increases, thus increasing the tendency to knock. Charge air cooling (e.g. an intercooler) addresses this concern by cooling the compressed air produced by the turbocharger
  3. Octane rating of the fuel being used: octane is a measure of a fuel's ability to resist knock. The octane rating for pump gas ranges from 85 to 94, while racing fuel would be well above 100. The higher the octane rating of the fuel, the more resistant to knock. Since knock can be damaging to an engine, it is important to use fuel of sufficient octane for the application. Generally speaking, the more boost run, the higher the octane requirement.
This cannot be overstated: engine calibration of fuel and spark plays an enormous role in dictating knock behavior of an engine

The compression ratio from the factory will be different for naturally aspirated engines and boosted engines. For example, a stock Honda S2000 has a compression ratio of 11.1:1, whereas a turbocharged Subaru Impreza WRX has a compression ratio of 8.0:1.

There are numerous factors that affect the maximum allowable compression ratio. There is no single correct answer for every application. Generally, compression ratio should be set as high as feasible without encountering detonation at the maximum load condition. Compression ratio that is too low will result in an engine that is a bit sluggish in off-boost operation. However, if it is too high this can lead to serious knock-related engine problems.
Factors that influence the compression ratio include: fuel anti-knock properties (octane rating), boost pressure, intake air temperature, combustion chamber design, ignition timing, valve events, and exhaust backpressure. Many modern normally-aspirated engines have well-designed combustion chambers that, with appropriate tuning, will allow modest boost levels with no change to compression ratio. For higher power targets with more boost , compression ratio should be adjusted to compensate.

There are a handful of ways to reduce compression ratio, some better than others. Least desirable is adding a spacer between the block and the head. These spacers reduce the amount a "quench" designed into an engine's combustion chambers, and can alter cam timing as well. Spacers are, however, relatively simple and inexpensive.

A better option, if more expensive and time-consuming to install, is to use lower-compression pistons. These will have no adverse effects on cam timing or the head's ability to seal, and allow proper quench regions in the combustion chambers.

Air/Fuel Ratio tuning: Rich v. Lean, why lean makes more power but is more dangerous

When discussing engine tuning the 'Air/Fuel Ratio' (AFR) is one of the main topics. Proper AFR calibration is critical to performance and durability of the engine and it's components. The AFR defines the ratio of the amount of air consumed by the engine compared to the amount of fuel.

A 'Stoichiometric' AFR has the correct amount of air and fuel to produce a chemically complete combustion event. For gasoline engines, the stoichiometric , A/F ratio is 14.7:1, which means 14.7 parts of air to one part of fuel. The stoichiometric AFR depends on fuel type-- for alcohol it is 6.4:1 and 14.5:1 for diesel.
So what is meant by a rich or lean AFR? A lower AFR number contains less air than the 14.7:1 stoichiometric AFR, therefore it is a richer mixture. Conversely, a higher AFR number contains more air and therefore it is a leaner mixture.

For Example:
14.0:1 = Lean
12.0:1 = Stoichiometric
10.0:1 = Rich

Leaner AFR results in higher temperatures as the mixture is combusted. Generally, normally-aspirated spark-ignition (SI) gasoline engines produce maximum power just slightly rich of stoichiometric. However, in practice it is kept between 12:1 and 13:1 in order to keep exhaust gas temperatures in check and to account for variances in fuel quality. This is a realistic full-load AFR on a normally-aspirated engine but can be dangerously lean with a highly-boosted engine.
Let's take a closer look. As the air-fuel mixture is ignited by the spark plug, a flame front propagates from the spark plug. The now-burning mixture raises the cylinder pressure and temperature, peaking at some point in the combustion process.

The turbocharger increases the density of the air resulting in a denser mixture. The denser mixture raises the peak cylinder pressure, therefore increasing the probability of knock. As the AFR is leaned out, the temperature of the burning gases increases, which also increases the probability of knock. This is why it is imperative to run richer AFR on a boosted engine at full load. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of knock, and will also keep temperatures under control.
There are actually three ways to reduce the probability of knock at full load on a turbocharged engine: reduce boost, adjust the AFR to richer mixture, and retard ignition timing. These three parameters need to be optimized together to yield the highest reliable power.

The pressure ratio at this condition can now be calculated:

26.7 psia / 14.7 psia = 1.82
However, this assumes there is no adverse impact of the air filter assembly at the compressor inlet.
In determining pressure ratio, the absolute pressure at the compressor inlet (P2c) is often LESS than the ambient pressure, especially at high load. Why is this? Any restriction (caused by the air filter or restrictive ducting) will result in a “depression,” or pressure loss, upstream of the compressor that needs to be accounted for when determining pressure ratio. This depression can be 1 psig or more on some intake systems. In this case P1c on a standard day is:

14.7psia – 1 psig = 13.7 psia at compressor inlet​

Taking into account the 1 psig intake depression, the pressure ratio is now:

(12 psig + 14.7 psia) / 13.7 psia = 1.95.

That’s great, but what if you’re not at sea level? In this case, simply substitute the actual atmospheric pressure in place of the 14.7 psi in the equations above to give a more accurate calculation. At higher elevations, this can have a significant effect on pressure ratio. For example, at Denver’s 5000 feet elevation, the atmospheric pressure is typically around 12.4 psia. In this case, the pressure ratio calculation, taking into account the intake depression, is:
(12 psig + 12.4 psia) / (12.4 psia – 1 psig) = 2.14
Compared to the 1.82 pressure ratio calculated originally, this is a big difference.

As you can see in the above examples, pressure ratio depends on a lot more than just boost.

Mass Flow Rate
  • Mass Flow Rate is the mass of air flowing through a compressor (and engine!) over a given period of time and is commonly expressed as lb/min (pounds per minute). Mass flow can be physically measured, but in many cases it is sufficient to estimate the mass flow for choosing the proper turbo.
  • Many people use Volumetric Flow Rate (expressed in cubic feet per minute, CFM or ft3/min) instead of mass flow rate. Volumetric flow rate can be converted to mass flow by multiplying by the air density. Air density at sea level is 0.076lb/ft3
  • What is my mass flow rate? As a very general rule, turbocharged gasoline engines will generate 9.5-10.5 horsepower (as measured at the flywheel) for each lb/min of airflow. So, an engine with a target peak horsepower of 400 Hp will require 36-44 lb/min of airflow to achieve that target. This is just a rough first approximation to help narrow the turbo selection options.
Surge Line
  • Surge is the left hand boundary of the compressor map. Operation to the left of this line represents a region of flow instability. This region is characterized by mild flutter to wildly fluctuating boost and “barking” from the compressor. Continued operation within this region can lead to premature turbo failure due to heavy thrust loading.
  • Surge is most commonly experienced when one of two situations exist. The first and most damaging is surge under load. It can be an indication that your compressor is too large. Surge is also commonly experienced when the throttle is quickly closed after boosting. This occurs because mass flow is drastically reduced as the throttle is closed, but the turbo is still spinning and generating boost. This immediately drives the operating point to the far left of the compressor map, right into surge.

    Surge will decay once the turbo speed finally slows enough to reduce the boost and move the operating point back into the stable region. This situation is commonly addressed by using a Blow-Off Valves (BOV) or bypass valve. A BOV functions to vent intake pressure to atmosphere so that the mass flow ramps down smoothly, keeping the compressor out of surge. In the case of a recirculating bypass valve, the airflow is recirculated back to the compressor inlet.
  • A Ported Shroud compressor (see Fig. 2) is a feature that is incorporated into the compressor housing. It functions to move the surge line further to the left (see Fig. 3) by allowing some airflow to exit the wheel through the port to keep surge from occurring. This provides additional useable range and allows a larger compressor to be used for higher flow requirements without risking running the compressor into a dangerous surge condition. The presence of the ported shroud usually has a minor negative impact on compressor efficiency.
The Choke Line is the right hand boundary of the compressor map. For Garrett maps, the choke line is typically defined by the point where the efficiency drops below 58%. In addition to the rapid drop of compressor efficiency past this point, the turbo speed will also be approaching or exceeding the allowable limit. If your actual or predicted operation is beyond this limit, a larger compressor is necessary.

Turbo Speed Lines are lines of constant turbo speed. Turbo speed for points between these lines can be estimated by interpolation. As turbo speed increases, the pressure ratio increases and/or mass flow increases. As indicated above in the choke line description, the turbo speed lines are very close together at the far right edge of the map. Once a compressor is operating past the choke limit, turbo speed increases very quickly and a turbo over-speed condition is very likely.

Efficiency Islands are concentric regions on the maps that represent the compressor efficiency at any point on the map. The smallest island near the center of the map is the highest or peak efficiency island. As the rings move out from there, the efficiency drops by the indicated amount until the surge and choke limits are reached.

Plotting Your Data on the Compressor Map
In this section, methods to calculate mass flow rate and boost pressure required to meet a horsepower target are presented. This data will then be used to choose the appropriate compressor and turbocharger. Having a horsepower target in mind is a vital part of the process. In addition to being necessary for calculating mass flow and boost pressure, a horsepower target is required for choosing the right fuel injectors, fuel pump and regulator, and other engine components.

Estimating Required Air Mass Flow and Boost Pressures to reach a Horsepower target.
· Things you need to know:
· Horsepower Target
· Engine displacement
· Maximum RPM
· Ambient conditions
(temperature and barometric pressure. Barometric pressure is usually given as inches of mercury and can be converted to psi by dividing by 2)

Engine Volumetric Efficiency. Typical numbers for peak Volumetric Efficiency (VE) range in the 95%-99% for modern 4-valve heads, to 88% - 95% for 2-valve designs. If you have a torque curve for your engine, you can use this to estimate VE at various engine speeds. On a well-tuned engine, the VE will peak at the torque peak, and this number can be used to scale the VE at other engine speeds. A 4-valve engine will typically have higher VE over more of its rev range than a two-valve engine.

Intake Manifold Temperature. Compressors with higher efficiency give lower manifold temperatures. Manifold temperatures of intercooled setups are typically 100 - 130 degrees F, while non-intercooled values can reach from 175-300 degrees F.

Brake Specific Fuel Consumption (BSFC). BSFC describes the fuel flow rate required to generate each horsepower. General values of BSFC for turbocharged gasoline engines range from 0.50 to 0.60 and higher. Lower BSFC means that the engine requires less fuel to generate a given horsepower. Race fuels and aggressive tuning are required to reach the low end of the BSFC range described above.
For the equations below, we will divide BSFC by 60 to convert from hours to minutes.

Boost controlle comparison

Wastegate sizing

Engine Management comprarison

How to choice a fuel Pump

How to choice a intercooler

9,641 Posts

393 Posts
Can we get an update on this one? That link goes nowhere anymore...Maybe we could have a separate write up in it's own thread?

2,442 Posts
Can we get an update on this one? That link goes nowhere anymore...Maybe we could have a separate write up in it's own thread?
There is already a treadstone turbo write up and a turbonetics turbo write up. use those both with the help of a qr25de FSM

19,790 Posts
busty babe on boost

history and all
i was there
only i had the 4 carb [na] spyder

[140 under rated hp, stock ran 16s, j gasser ran 2sec quicker;
ultimate drag car, rwd and rear engine]
the turbo car won the nats in 1964 [h stock iirc]

"In 1962, GM released two turbocharged cars- the Oldsmobile Jetfire and the Corvair Monza Spyder. The high 10.25:1 compression ratio V8 engine paired with a Garrett turbo was quick to self-destruct when it didn't run the suggested "turbo rocket fuel," a mixture of distilled water, methanol, and a corrosion inhibitor. The Jetfire's production was short lived at 2 years and selling just under 10,000 units."

the corvair went on for years

19,790 Posts
i admit, i was dragged here [pun intended]

i tried, really, i tried
many different setups and tunes

never reached the magical 200 hp

so it is in desperation, i appear in your hallways

i know nothing of boost
cept what i read in b15u

and i read in b15u
9lbs boost on a qr25

could have some hustle, finally, sakes alive.

19,790 Posts
back again

for the BUILT NA guys there are surprises here

way less dollars per hp
same built short block [just different CR]

no porting, really necessary, to exceed twice the power you had before

all standard parts on the the head will work
[that cuts costs substantially, cnc porting on the vq [4.1] was 1700 bucks]

i used 2jr valve springs and kept the C1 cams
[stock valves and head, intake manifold too]

unlike NA work this has been done a 1000 times [exaggeration but you know what i mean]
no 40 hours on the dyno to find what works

nor going thru four exhaust systems to gain 10hp and 20lb of tq

already done
[for 400 hp, if you are used to less than 200, this is big stuff, lol]

[actually came in the upgraded 2jr kit
3" down and mid pipe
it runs into the standard 3" side exhaust with optional KAT]

2jr worked very closely with me trying to develop NA parts and tune
it was endless,
many, many setups and 5 dyno runs in one season

i'm not kidding now
this was turn key

i'm still in shock

and you end up with a MUCH quieter, smoother car [at 400 hp and less]

19,790 Posts
recently there have been significant changes possible
by tuning alone

and for the drag people this is a 1st

we have tried many things
to try to adapt this cars gearing to 1/4 mile runs

maxima gearing and larger diameter tires
are two common attempts to get more appropriate drag gearing

to my knowledge, no one has tuned the engine to the gearing
[except the factory which had auto-x more in mind]

the turbo with a suitable engine management system
[capable of changing more than afr]
can put power almost anywhere you want it

making possible, matching engine power and gear spacing and ratio

i'm at power peak thru the finish lights
and launch at the tq peak
in the 1/4
[and the 1/8]

look at the graph
bary 275s by Barry Belgard, on Flickr

19,790 Posts
so now car has been beat for over a year [1st post july 2014]

what would you do as a long milage check 7000-10,000 miles of sporting use

would you
retorque the cylinder heads?

or just go as far as normal fluid exchange and maybe check the cam chain parts?

with the roll bar on the way getting ready for next season


still scoots
tuned a 7.9 in the 1/8

19,790 Posts
still here
even joe is surprised

makes more power than ever

i think we are at peak usable track power
approx 360hp, 370 ft lb tq [361,374 on joes dyno]

for the maintenance
i red locktited the cold side turbo bolts
no more loosening

changed the oil before and after, every track event
no oil was left in the engine for longer than 3000 miles

3 sets of spark plugs
finally settled on ngk iridium, one step colder than stock

the car imo
when only 93-91 octane gas is available
benefits greatly from the use of e85/gas mix 50/50

it seems to love the stuff

using the mix
cruising got me 21mpg

pressing hard, keeping it just below 4000 rpm
approx 16 mpg

but the power [tq] starts at 2700 rpm

i am using 925 injectors and uprev to control timing

pure e85 is not run
as i have to go considerable distance to get it

and my current injectors[for my tune] would be inadequate

these are my feelings running the stuff on the track

I love the 85 mix
Love the smell

The open exhaust sound and crackle
Love the powa and the down and dirty grunt

Feels nasa, gone country
Hauling that white lightning home
And burning it too

just the tq
catch the jump on e85 mix [red line]
DSCN1348 by Barry, on Flickr

19,790 Posts
however, the list of supporting mods,
to actually make the car pleasant to drive,
seems immense.
given the suspension mods this car already had

see next post

car already had
bc's [7/8 kg springs]
nismo bars front and rear
pro bushed lca's

solid mounts

lowered 2+ inches
8" wheels

panhard bar
wilwood 11" brakes

fender,trunk,strut tower bars
harness bar

19,790 Posts
The evolution of a beast built for the dragon’s tail

In the past

I have always choose a middle road
Just enough camber, caster, toe in or out
Moderately sprung and dampened
High end but still realistic tires

For Moderate success on the drag strip and still fun in the mts

When joe detuned the turbo to almost exactly the vq output

I started to get comfortable with the car
Unaware of how much more power this could generate,
compared to a built and cammed vq

When the car peaked
And optimum track/drag power was reached

I no longer could ride that middle road
Much of the previous drag setup had to be changed
Just to drive it down the road

To make it a pleasurable mt car,
not scare you to death,
shake and threaten to pitch you right out of the car

Took many things, here are a few

4 point roll cage added to above bars
stopped the chassis twisting
roll cage by Barry, on Flickr

New 12kg springs
And dampening tuned to accommodate

Return to Stock toe in [1/4"]
Increased caster [to about 1.5*]
Almost 2* neg camber
20160516_124600 by Barry, on Flickr

9” wheels
And 255/235 premium tire combo
DSCN1328 by Barry, on Flickr

Seemed minimum,
to handle 370ft lb of tq

Car is still un manageable at wot
Never runs more than a few seconds at full boost

And is easiest and for me, fastest to drive, in the 3500-4500 zone

This inability to use the upper ranges on the street or mts
Probably is responsible for this engines long life

The na version was long gone by now

So with careful throttle control
I may actually enjoy this dragons run
Rather than soil my pants
1 - 20 of 51 Posts