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After much picking of the forums members brains, we have new technical features each week within the actual technical forums area. Here you will find the archive of all the old tech features. The current feature is at the top and past ones continue down the page. If you would like to have your tech article featured, please email me.

How easy is it to turbo a NA engine?

Written by Big Affari

So you want to add a sprinkle of boost to your N/A powered vehicle. Nice idea, but what needs to be done to make it work. Many people will tell you to grab yourself a turbo and manifold and bobs your uncle. Well unless bob knows something I donít this is never going to work. Lets look at the areas that will need attention.

First we need to make it clear that if you desire power increases of more than 100% then forget this approach, you will either need to spend thousands on strengthening your engine or simply buy an engine that was meant for turbocharging. This guide is to look at the feasibility of adding a low boost set-up to your modern fuel injected 4 banger. Eg swift, corolla, excel etc etc.

Fuel Ė Your current fuel set-up will supply enough fuel for maybe a 30% increase but when we talk about a 60% increase donít kid yourself. The standard fuel supply system isnít up to scratch. However this is a very easy thing to fix. Larger fuels pumps are readily available with items such as those found on VL turbos and GTRís being popular upgrades. The Bosch unit (VL) will provide all the flow youíll need in this type of set-up. Just like the pump your stock injectors will never keep up. Solution, head to your local Jap wrecker and find yourself a factory turbo 4 that makes around the same power as your hoping for. Eg series 5 turbo injectors are very popular. Just make sure they are going to fit your rail, as some are side mount others top mount.

Engine management Ė This is the lucky country. We have so many widely available a well priced after market management systems you would be crazy to do anything but go out and get yourself one. The factory parameters of a N/A engines computer are never going to keep up with forced induction. Itís also important because of dealing with things such as bigger injectors and air flow meters. The full control of your engine means you can achieve the most important thing in turbocharging your car. Tune ability! You can spend all the money you like on forged pistons and efficient turbos but your engine will blow quicker than moby dick unless your car is tuned properly by a professional. A simple boost control device is also a good idea.

Cooling Ė ďyou donít need an intercoolerĒ some will say if you are only going to run low boost. Nonsense, thereís a reason factory turbos come out with an intercooler these days and thatís because the engineers at the big companies know best. Donít be a daft and fit one. If you canít afford it, you canít afford a turbo set-up.

Breathe baby Ė The turbo itself. This will be largely dependent on your budget and the size of your engine. But anything bigger than a T28 in this situation is just too big. Weíre not after horsepower here but drivability and fast boost response. The exhaust is also another area that will need addressing obviously an exhaust manifold to mount the turbo, dump pipe and full system will need to be fitted. Whether you adapt a factory system or have one custom made depends on your engine and budget, but this is a job for your local exhaust shop. BOV, why not!

Where are the forged pistons, the new rods and crank? Why didnít he mention a ported head? Why, because most people going down this road are doing it on a budget. This is not one for you big horsepower boys. Far more important in this equation is providing the right amount of fuel, spark and cool air, just what any engine loves. Have the car tuned by an expert to the boost level they deicide is the most appropriate for your situation. There isnít time to talk about brakes and clutches etc etc. But it should give you an idea of just what you need to build a boosted bundle of joy thatís as good in traffic as it is hosing off that bogan in mumís VT Berlina.

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