November '15

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66 The Shop November 2015 performance A s the turbine wheel spins, so have the fortunes of turbochargers, which have blown in and out of fashion since their mid-1970s reintroduction to the OEM segment. Now and for the foreseeable future, how- ever, the wind of OEM technology is defi- nitely blowing in the turbocharger's favor. A REAL BOOST While U.S. automakers are right now building their most powerful V-8 engines ever (many of them supercharged), the global trend is toward smaller displace- ments, often depending on turbocharging to boost performance. "Worldwide, the OE automakers pro- duced nearly 39 million turbocharged engines in 2014," observes John D. Norton, staff engineer at BorgWarner Turbo Systems in Ashville, North Caro- lina. Growth in small-displacement tur- bocharged gasoline engines is particularly strong in the U.S. and Asia, "and by 2020, that number will approach 60 million units annually," he says. "This, of course, pro- duces a ripe market for upgrades." In fact, the fastest-growing segment of the turbocharger market is bolt-on upgrade turbos and intercoolers, says Reggie Wynn, sales/marketing manager for Turbonetics Inc. in Moorpark, California. "More and more vehicles are coming from the factory turbocharged—and most gearheads immediately want to push the factory turbo past its intended limits. And it can go without saying that once you upgrade your turbo, the next logical step is to go with a larger and more efficient intercooler. Many enthusiasts clearly don't care about their factory warranty and start modifying their new vehicles immediately. We have also seen a spike in sales of turbos and intercoolers for vehicles that are on their second owner, or just out of war- ranty." This, by the way, includes diesel buyers, who represent one of Turbonetics' largest market segments. And an intercooler isn't the only potential add-on sale. "Aftermarket turbos have the potential to significantly increase engine power," adds Norton, "and often the added airflow from an aftermarket turbocharger system requires multiple upgrades to ancillary systems, such as fuel delivery and engine management, specifically boost control." Meanwhile, development at both the OEM level and in top-tier drag racing has resulted in street-performance turbochargers that are better engineered than ever. "Advances in software and CNC machines are allowing new and more compressor-wheel designs, which equate to more power," notes Ron Olsen, R&D engineer at Hypermax Engineering in Gil- berts, Illinois. Similarly, advancements in core design have improved flow efficiency in intercoolers, again permitting increases Keeping Up the Pressure Today's turbochargers & intercoolers are more sophisticated than ever By John F. Katz Hypermax intercooler kits are available for 1994-2002 Ford diesel pickups. (Photos courtesy Hypermax)

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