March 16, 2023
If it’s your race car, there should be something outstanding about it!
And what can be better than a powerful and ingenious engine? It makes your sports car capable of giving a feisty performance on the race track and a winning moment in the end.
Modern cars, including sports cars, or drag racing cars, need modern engines. They got to be stylish by appearance, sturdier by body strength and should have a dynamic turbo engine to perform. This is the main reason behind the leap in the sales of turbo engines over recent years.
So, what is a turbo engine? How can you build custom turbo kit for your race car? Well, we have all that answered here for you!
Read through this blog to learn what a custom turbo kit is, decide which type of kit fits your car, and how to fit it.
A lot of race car owners are crazy about installing full custom turbo kits without realizing what components it includes or how it works. They just know that a turbocharger makes their engine more powerful than ever and help them outperform other racers on the track.
Adding a custom turbo kit isn’t just choosing a turbocharger for your engine to achieve a projected horsepower. But, it is the “full turbo equipment” that consists of several ancillary components. Together they help the turbocharger adapt to the car engine and become one system with it.
The sole purpose of building a custom turbo kit for your car is to gain horsepower. Originally, the engines of the car draw in air at the given atmospheric pressure, which creates a fuel mixture that ignites in the cylinder and generates power to drive the engine. However, this capacity to generate power is restricted, and that’s why full turbo kits came into existence.
They consist of a turbocharger, which is responsible for sucking in more air into the engine, allowing the engine to add fuel to the mixture and generate additional power. They use the exhaust gases for rotating the turbine that subsequently compresses the sucked-in air.
The key components included in a custom turbo kit are:
Cars with custom-built turbo have unparalleled power even if the engines are smaller in size. When you need to build a custom turbo kit, you can optimize your engine with an appropriate turbo setup. There are single-turbo arrangements and twin-turbo arrangements. So, deciding which one is ideal for your car is the first thing to do.
Of course, you need to learn the differences between the two to understand which one is apt for your race car.
They are generally more used than the twin turbos because of their smaller size and cost-effectiveness. A single turbo is your ideal choice if your race car does not have sufficient space in the bonnet or car hood.
Single turbo has comparatively more power band than the twin-turbo setup and hence, is capable of delivering more horsepower. They also develop boost slower, which makes them a better option for muscle cars that need to uplift their engine performance.
Twin turbo kit has a few disadvantages; a larger size is the prime one. That is why they need more space in your car engine. Usually, everyday cars have enough space in their bonnet and hence, they are great options if your regular vehicle needs an upgrade in performance. Also, in the case of a twin-turbo set, the turbine wheel operates within two turbines which results in higher turbine flow. This results in a lowering of the total turbine efficiency.
Twin-turbo set operates the exhaust from four cylinders and that’s the main reason they are super-fast. If you want to avoid the frustrating turbo lag and want your engine to run faster than the single turbo, the twin one is for you.
So, which one to choose between single and twin turbo?
Keeping aside the size and efficiency differences, if you want to choose between the single and twin turbo setup, then it is wise to choose the latter one if it’s a street car. Go for it simply because it builds boost faster and provides a better response. However, if you are into drag racing and need a top-notch performance car, a single unit is the one for you.
A sports car that is powered with a single large custom turbo kit lets you take advantage of advanced features like an anti-lag system, which ensures enhanced efficiency.
Before you dive into the steps of building a custom turbo kit for your race car, learn how turbo kits work in race cars and make them run faster. The installation of a full-race turbo kit is no doubt a methodological process requiring sufficient mechanical knowledge about the parts or components. That’s why to build your turbo kit, professional expertise is necessary!
Expert race car builders have significant knowledge of the turbo setup and its intrinsic components. They better know where the turbo kit will sit, how to mount it, fit the intercooler and ensure the appropriate associated piping.
To help you better in the installation of the custom turbo kit in cars, our experts have explained how the process works. Here are the steps they follow.
The first step is about picking the right turbocharger for your race car. Most of the aftermarket turbo kits available are for specific vehicles and include some common components. Generally, it’s hard to find a universally available turbocharger that fits rightly into your race car. It may need specific components and a tuning mechanism. Besides, it should be able to blend with the rest of the engine parts and play well to give the projected horsepower.
Here are some of the major aspects that you need to consider to choose the right turbocharger.
Both of these are essential factors that make the turbo kit perform well. Volumetric efficiency (VE) measures how well the engine pump can move the fuel or gas. The turbocharger aims to increase volumetric efficiency. Hence, the higher VE of the turbocharger, the better it is. Air density is the oxygen amount or specifically the air mass per cubic feet of volume used by the engine. It is the fundamental measurement of your engine performance and determines the amount of oxygen that can be forced inside the combustion chamber. So, the greater the density, the better it is for the engine.
It comprises all the vital components of the turbocharger that undertakes huge mechanical stress. Ensure that your chosen custom race car builder gets the strongest and high-quality center cartridge to use.
It is an essential device used for injecting a gas stream or airflow into the engine’s cylinders with a wheel. They drive the power of the engine and so make sure to choose the best compressor that does its functions well.
The turbine comprises a turbine wheel and a housing that guides the exhaust gas into the wheel. Consider the strength or resilience of the turbine while choosing the turbocharger.
Check for the pressure ratio, which is the ratio of exhaust pressure to the inlet pressure of the compressor. Generally, the optimum pressure ratio of 4.5:1 to 4.6:1 is preferred for race car turbochargers.
It is the relation between the diameters of the inducer and exducer of the turbine, and affects the turbocharger performance by changing the airflow capacity. Try to choose a higher-trim wheel.
It stands Area over the Radius of the turbocharger, which affects the power capacity and response of the engine. The larger the ratio, the more airflow. Professional car builders will help you choose the ideal A/R for your turbo, according to your vehicle requirement.
If your car needs a wastegate, then buy it once the turbocharger is finalized. Mostly, turbos have internal wastegates but many times they are replaced by an external wastegate. If your chosen turbocharger has a proper internal wastegate, then there’s no need to purchase an external wastegate. Otherwise, choose to purchase it from an aftermarket builder.
Next, you should decide what type of intercooler system to use for your turbo kit. It’s an air-to-air radiator that regulates the charged air from the turbo and cools it down before it flows into the engine. While various types of intercooler systems with front-mount are available in the market, there are varieties available with vehicle-specific piping and no piping at all.
Instead of buying, having custom piping manufactured by your chosen custom turbo kit manufacturer is cost-effective.
According to your car’s specifications, you might need supporting modifications for your turbo kit. An intake solution, oil, and coolant lines are some of the additional modifications you might require for your turbo kit.
If your manufacturer feels that these modifications make sense after evaluating your vehicle’s power and engine specifications, they will fit them in a customized way.
Next, you need to choose an exhaust manifold, and other modifications required when you are building a custom turbo kit. There are many manifolds sold by aftermarket manufacturers according to different car models or types.
However, here in this case too, it is better to have your unit custom-made by the race car manufacturer, which you have chosen for fabricating your turbo kit.
This is the last step of manufacturing your custom-built turbo, and it involves building a suitable downpipe for the exhaust system. It fixes the manifold with the rest parts of the exhaust system.
Even if there are many options provided by the aftermarket manufacturers, make sure to get your custom downpipe manufacturer that fits perfectly to your car.
Finally, tune your custom-made full race turbo kit with necessary engine management software such as ECU reflash. Changing the settings of the software helps in upgrading the performance of the engine and driving capabilities of the car.
To know how to build your turbocharger, you also should be aware of its difference from superchargers.
Turbochargers and superchargers- both are powerful forced induction systems that draw compressed air into the engine with the help of a compressor. The compressed air lets the engine receive extra oxygen, which resultantly boosts its power.
The key difference between the two types of engines arises due to their energy/fuel source.
This turbocharger gets the energy from the exhaust gas when the two fans, known as a turbine fan and a compressor fan rotate.
In contrary to this, superchargers get their power directly from the engine when the belt pulley causes the compressor fan to rotate by driving the gear.
Since you have learned about the steps on how to build a custom turbo kit, it is also crucial for you to know how the kit performs to give the desired results. Technically, it works on the principle of internal combustion, when a lot of small explosions take place simultaneously within each of the cylinders.
The kit works by inducing more air within the engine while consistently increasing the amount of fuel injected into it. This results in the engine adding more fuel and creating more power to drive the car.
Also, the turbo kit needs a wastegate or system of bypass valves to redirect away the exhaust gases from the engine to control and balance the boost pressure. The bypass valve can be attached internally or externally but it always remains as a part of the turbo kit.
Most turbo system also needs some sort of boost management system along with an upgrade system for the engine to handle the excess pressure of the cylinder.
There are primarily two benefits of building a custom turbo kit for your race. Firstly, it assures greater power density, and hence, the engine becomes more efficient giving an impeccable performance on the road. Even a car with a smaller engine will be able to put in additional horsepower.
Secondly, the turbochargers enable the engine’s expelled air to rotate the compressor wheel and draw air from outside. This helps to reduce the amount of fuel waste. Hence, with a custom turbo kit, you are not only able to run your race car faster but also efficiently!
A. One of the easiest ways to find out whether your race car is ready to be turbocharged is to examine the badges provided on the rear of your car. Look for words like Turbo or simply the letter “T”. These usually denote that your car is ready to be turbocharged.
A. In that case, the turbo kit will fit only if the engine used in your car is the same as the ones used in past models. However, in most cases, there are slight or major changes in the body or style of the car and hence, you are required to do a bit of modification to the component to get the custom turbo kit fitted.
A. You need a ‘Tuner’ solution when you plan to source and supply your fuel system upgrade, i.e., do the tuning separately according to your needs. On the other hand, a complete kit has a fuel system upgrade and its tuning software is adjusted to run the turbo engine at a desired boost level.
A. Usually, it is not! All the components are chosen by your car manufacturers specifically for a reason when you choose to build a custom turbo kit. The wastegate is put in because it does not need water cooling which is a necessary condition when there is less space in the engine for the compact blow-off valve.
A. It depends on a lot of factors, including the race car you own, what type of performance you want, and the resources available at your end. Generally, the average cost of installing a custom turbo kit varies between $500 and $5000. You should try to find a reliable race car manufacturer who can ensure a low-priced custom turbo kit for your car without compromising on the quality.
A. A turbo kit generally fails for reasons that are beyond the scope of the turbo system. Some of the most common reasons that car experts found out are: