Can you add a turbo to an automatic car? This is what you need.

Improved efficiency is every car owner’s dream. There are different aftermarket options they can employ to meet this goal. Turbocharging is the most common option, immediately it hit the market, the turbocharger attracted a distinct partiality from car enthusiasts.

A turbo utilizes the simple concept of compressing air and using it to improve combustion pressure. It takes the shape of a pipe that compresses the gas and delivers it to the engine’s cylinder.

Fuel combined with compressed air equals improved pressure which enables the car to burn more fuel and faster, this makes the engines more powerful. Some cars leave the factory already turbocharged while others have to install the turbo manually and this is not an easy job.

Many people ask the question, can you turbo an automatic car? The answer is yes, definitely yes. The transmission does not in any way affect the car’s ability to host a turbocharger.

What Do You Need When Installing A Turbo In An Automatic Car?

1. The Compressor

It sits on the pressure side of the turbo. There are two options you can choose from, the big one or the small one.

The exhaust turbine wheel harvest spent gases exiting the engine and converts them into energy to spin itself. The exhaust turbine wheel, turboshaft, and compressor wheel are all connected. When the exhaust wheel turbine spins, the turboshaft and compressor wheel spin with it.

As it spins the compressor receives and compresses the recycled gases. When purchasing a compressor it is advisable to consult about the best option that delivers the most efficiency for your type of car.

A small compressor is beneficial in low rpm but tends to create too much-unwanted heat when you cruise when on the fast lane. A large compressor will deliver exceptional results at high speeds but boost lag and compressor surge are just among the problems you can expect.

2. The Turbine

This is the part that spins the compressor wheel. It needs to be small enough to improve response. It however must be large enough to produce enough energy to spin the compressor wheel.

It must deliver sufficient spinning power if the compressor wheel is to have enough boost pressure with minimal backpressure. The basic rules recommend that you select the right size with the output and efficiency in mind.

Some turbo options accommodate turbine customization. If yours does not deliver the right power you can always change it.

3. Bypass Valves and Wastegate

The turbo creates the pressure from exhaust gases and the risk of there being more pressure than an engine can accommodate is very live. To avoid this possibility engineers developed waste gates that redirect excess gases back into the exhaust path.

Turbo systems use these gases to produce power. When waste gates control the amount of gas fed to the system they are actually controlling the turbo’s boost production. A waste gate’s design and location are determining factors for how the turbo system will behave.

During high-boost scenarios, the amount of pressure in play is usually high. If in a situation like this you get your foot off the gas pedal, a lot of pressure will remain unused. This pressure will fill the system and probably cause a surge; the bypass valve works to prevent this from happening.

It provides the system with a way to vent out the unwanted boost to prevent it from stalling the compressor wheel as it reverses from the closed throttle. It produces a chirping sound especially when shifting gears, you might have heard these sounds emanating from a car before.

4. Intercooler

The process of converting waste gases to engine boost power results in high heat production. If not dealt with it could lead to detonation. This is one swift and effective way to kill your engine.

Some options to cool the system include the introduction of methanol into the intake. The intercooler is however a more efficient and effective option for boosted engines.

It is where compressed air runs through before hitting the intake. Cooled air delivers more power and can run smaller a turbo on an oil-cooled engine. Its main role is to prevent detonation which results from excessive heating during air compression.

5. Fuel systems

Even as the turbo creates more boost, it cannot do it with air alone, the engines need more fuel to deliver the extra power. There are several options available but consultations before purchase are advised.

Some of these fuel systems create problems for the turbo by running air mixed with fuel through the compressor. Others do not accommodate intercoolers which is another risk to the engine.

6. The Actual Turbo

An offer from the junkyard for a turbo going for as low as $70 is almost irresistible. There are multiple second-hand parts shops selling turbo systems but before buying you should consider factors like performance and longevity. There are some features you should look out for in turbo before buying.

  • It should be lightweight
  • The lower the number of separate components the lower the chances of component failure.
  • It should have tight bearings to prevent oil leaks that could contaminate your engine oil.
  • The turbine wheels should be able to deliver sufficient power without overheating or experiencing lag.
  • The turbine outlet should be wider than the inlet.

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Turbo In An Automatic Car?

Different turbo manufacturers offer different qualities and prices. One thing to note however is that high price tags are usually on high-quality products. Different types of cars also need different expertise to install turbo systems.

The cost of installing a turbo on a car is dependent on these two factors, the cost of the turbo system and the labor costs.

The average cost of a reliable turbo is $390. The labor cost will depend on the amount of time spent working on your car, the average installing time for a turbo is 1 hour 30 minutes with every hour costing you around $100.

This article will explain in more detail the costs of turbocharging a car

What Are The Risks Of Turbo Charging Automatic Cars?

  • Unsafe operation of a turbo can result in permanent damages to the engine
  • If the intercooler fails the car could have a detonation
  • Turbo lags can prove to be dangerous when navigating sharp corners at high speeds
  • If not installed properly a turbo can result in engine faults which might require replacing an entire system.

Bottom line

Turbo installation is a smart way to get the best out of your car. Its design and subsequent improvements make this car booster very effective in both the short and long term.

There are several options as far as turbo systems are concerned but due diligence is necessary before decision making. Proper installation is the last but equally crucial factor in the whole turbo installation process.

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