November '15

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November 2015 The Shop 71 performance Whether adding a turbo or upgrading a stock unit, "one needs to consider whether the motor is receiving an adequate fuel supply, if the oil system is appropriate for the setup, whether the cooling system is up to par, if the vehicle's brakes are sufficient, and if the drivetrain (transmission, clutch, axles, etc.) can support the extra power. What people often don't realize is that it is far less expensive in the long run to spend a bit more up front on quality parts and installation than to have to fix or replace pieces later on." Olsen agrees that "it's always a good idea to add an exhaust system, gauges, and an air inlet system." And Garrett by Honeywell's Stepanyan adds, "There are many add-ons needed to make the best use out of a turbocharger. You've got the potential to sell intercooler kits, intake systems, manifolds, downpipes, silicone clamps, various fittings and clamps, engine management, gauges, exhaust sys- tems, etc. Even with a complete kit there are more opportunities, because not every stock engine is capable of supporting the long-term use of high-performance kits." On the other hand, Jacobs also cautions against over-selling when "installing rela- tively low-level turbo kits that run only a few psi." "Often only small supporting system upgrades can be made without running the risk of hurting something. The perfor- mance shop doing the installation should be able to make accurate recommendations as to what exactly will need to be replaced, and at what cost." We also asked if turbo systems require any special service or maintenance, and found a general consensus that they do not. They do, however, require particular attention to the maintenance that any car should typically receive. "The most critical component to keep an eye on is the oiling system," Jacobs believes, "as contaminated oil (or a lack of oil) can significantly damage a turbo." Also key is "ensuring that the engine's air intake system is free of debris that can damage the turbocharger's compressor wheel and bearing components." Wynn also advises turbo buyers to "stay on top of oil changes." And Olsen reminds us that since "turbo- chargers can be damaged by air filter failure and/or extended oil changes," repairs to damaged units might represent a retail service opportunity. John F. Katz is a freelance automotive journalist and histo- rian. He is a regular contributor to THE SHOP as well as other automotive industry publica- tions. He lives and works in south-central Pennsylvania. Many of the latest develop- ments in turbo- charger technology include the aerodynam- ics of the compressor stage. (Photo courtesy Garrett by Honeywell)

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