How to Buy Turbochargers and Parts on eBay

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How to Buy Turbochargers and Parts on eBay

Vehicle owners use turbochargers to give their vehicles that extra boost of power. The resulting increase in horsepower boosts the overall power of the engine, leading to an increase in speed. When first buying a turbocharger, car owners have a lot to consider. They need to decide how much of a horsepower increase they want, as well as the actual type of turbocharger they need. They also need to consider if the engine needs modification to handle the turbocharger. Owners should check with an automotive professional to find out their options and for more information.

In order to better understand a turbocharger, vehicle owners need to know the types of turbochargers, how they work, the different parts that make up a turbocharger, and considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a turbocharger. Shoppers should also understand the importance of using a boost gauge and how to maintain a turbocharger. They should likewise have an idea of the turbochargers and parts available on eBay.

Types of Turbochargers

When buying turbochargers or turbocharger parts, vehicle owners can often find a variety of turbochargers available for sale. Most of these specialty turbochargers feature design elements that help alleviate turbo lag or increase longevity and performance. The following table lists some of the more common turbochargers.

Turbocharger Types

Description

Standard Turbocharger

Traditional turbocharger; exhaust-side composed of cast iron for longevity; cool side formed from aluminium

Ball Bearing Turbocharger

Spins more freely due to the ball-bearing centre section; decreases low-RPM turbo lag; increases high RPM potential

Twin-Scroll Design Turbocharger

Has centre dividers that forces exhaust to move through channels faster; increased pressure on impeller greatly reduces turbo lag

Variable Geometry Turbocharger

Allows changing of the vane angles electronically; improved high RPM efficiency; can get up to speed quicker

Vehicle owners can use the above information to help them decide which turbocharger type provides the extra horsepower they want. They can take that knowledge and weigh it against the cost, ultimately making the decision that best fits their budget.

How a Turbocharger Works

Turbochargers come in hundreds of sizes and orientations for various driving applications, such as high-performance sports cars and racing cars. Manufacturers also integrate them into large diesel engines. A turbocharger significantly boosts an engine's horsepower, but it does not significantly increase its weight.

Basically, turbochargers operate as a forced induction system that compresses the air flowing into an engine. This allows the engine to squeeze more air into a cylinder, enabling drivers to add more fuel. This results in generating more power from the engine. The turbocharger utilises the engine's exhaust flow to spin a turbine, which then spins an air pump. In fact, a turbocharger's turbine spins about 30 times faster than most car engines.

Parts of a Turbocharger

Understanding how a turbocharger works gives vehicle owners a good idea of what capabilities they need when buying one for their engine. Knowing about all the various parts involved and how they all work together helps shoppers while making a purchasing decision. The section below details the different parts of a turbocharger.

Turbocharger Parts

Description

Turbine

Exhaust gasses drive the turbine; turbine drives the compressor that pumps air into the cylinders

Compressor

Pumps air into the cylinders; this creates higher compression and raises overall horsepower, increasing engine power

Wastegate

Allows excess exhaust to bypass the turbine blades; helps in the reduction of turbo lag

Fluid Bearings

Most common type of turbocharger bearings; allow the shaft of the turbine to turn smoothly

Ball Bearings

Used instead of fluid bearings; allows the turbine shaft to spin quicker with less friction; a lighter shaft can also be used reducing lag

Turbine Blades

Blade material plays an important role in turbocharger speeds; ceramic blades, being lighter, allow the turbine to spin faster

Intercooler

Cools the pressurized air from the compressor; the denser, cooler air increases the compression and thus the engine power

All of the various systems of a turbocharger work together to increase engine power. The reduction of turbo lag provides the driving force behind such systems as the intercooler, the use of ball bearings, and lighter materials in turbocharger blade construction.

What to Consider When Buying a Turbocharger

After deciding to buy a turbocharger, shoppers need to keep a few things in mind while shopping. The following sections list some considerations when buying a turbocharger, including setting a budget, doing research, and preparing to buy.

Budget

Vehicle owners looking to buy a turbocharger should set a budget. The bigger the budget, the better the turbocharger. When shopping, vehicle owners should stay within whatever budget they set. Owners can even buy a turbocharger that costs less at the expense of purchasing an intercooler at the same time. This gives vehicle owners the option to upgrade once their budget allows for it, using the intercooler with both turbochargers to provide more overall power.

Research

Compare various turbochargers before buying. Shoppers should always make sure that the turbocharger bought provides the power they seek. This keeps vehicle owners from having to upgrade to a more powerful turbocharger down the road. Another area that shoppers need to research before buying involves what modifications, if anything, an engine needs before installing the turbocharger.

Preparations

Preparations can include having the head sent for porting and polishing or at the very least cleaned up. Rods and pistons might also need upgrading to account for the improved performance, as well as the crankshaft resized. All of this might seem like a lot to do before installing a turbocharger, but talking with a mechanic beforehand should go a long way toward educating vehicle owners on the impact that a new turbocharger has on their engine. This helps shoppers decide which turbocharger they ultimately want to buy.

The Importance of a Boost Gauge

If a car or truck owner drives a vehicle running a turbocharger, they should know the importance of a boost gauge. The boost gauge represents the most important pressure instrument vehicle owners can select for their turbocharged vehicle. It allows drivers to monitor an engine's vacuum and compression levels, which can help avoid engine damage. A typical boost meter range is 0 to 30 pounds per square inch of boost pressure.

Usually mounted on the driver's side dashboard, boost gauges come in different designs and models. When selecting a boost gauge, drivers should make sure to find one that includes the features they needs, such as electronic sensors, calibration start up, an easy-to-read digital LED display, and ultra-thin design.

How to Maintain a Turbocharged Engine

Turbocharged engines provide a big performance boost compared to vehicles without the technology. However, they also require regular maintenance so they maintain a superior performance level. Owners of a turbocharged vehicle should regularly check lubrication, maintain the fuelling system, flush the cooling system, and check for leaks.

Lubrication

Using good-quality oil in a turbocharged engine makes a big difference in keeping parts running effectively. In fact, the oil inside a turbocharged engine lubricates and cools the turbocharger. Always use full synthetic oil instead of conventional motor oil. While more expensive, full synthetic oil keeps overheated turbocharger bearings from turning the oil into sludge or even causing engine failure. If a vehicle owner is using a conventional oil in a turbocharger engine, he or she should fully flush the oil and replace it as soon as possible.

Fuelling

Because turbochargers apply a great amount of stress on the fuel system, vehicle owners should run a fuel system cleaner regularly. Because turbocharged engines are sensitive to irregularities in the fuel supply, use a quality injector cleaner along with every other tank of fuel. Also make sure to change the fuel filter every 40,000 miles, at least.

Cooling

Because turbocharged engines emit a large amount of heat, a vehicle's cooling system needs to continually shed that heat. Make sure to flush the cooling system every 20,000 miles, at least, and definitely invest in high quality antifreeze. Antifreeze not only prevents freezing but also lubricates the cooling system's parts and assists in preventing leakage caused by high heat.

Check for Leaks

Owners of vehicles with a turbocharged engine should regularly check the pressurized intake system for small leaks, which do develop over time. These leaks can bleed off boost pressure and reduce the vehicle's power. To properly check for leaks, while the engine runs spray soapy water around the rubber coupling of the engine's turbo-to-intake manifold ducting. Any bubbling indicates leaking, which should be fixed immediately.

Conclusion

Turbochargers can give a vehicle added horsepower without having to replace the engine. While using a turbocharger in a vehicle, owners must monitor the operation of a turbocharger using a boost gauge. A boost gauge allows drivers to monitor the air intake, in PSI, that the engine is undergoing at any given time while running the turbocharger. When installing a turbocharger in a vehicle, shoppers should make sure that the engine can handle the extra compression created by the turbine. This might require an engine upgrade. If unsure about what an engine requires before installing a turbocharger, consult with an automotive specialist.

Upon installing a turbocharger, vehicle owners must maintain the turbocharged engine, including maintaining proper oil levels, cleaning the fuel system on a regular basis, flushing and maintaining the engine cooling system, and looking for leaks in the intake system. Doing all this should keep the turbocharger running for a long time to come.

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