6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing a Turbocharger Kit

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing a Turbocharger Kit

If you’re looking to boost the power of your engine, turbochargers are one of the best options. Turbo Kit popularity is souring among drivers because of their ability to boost power without raising fuel bills.

However, with all that said, installing a turbocharger—especially if you’re not experienced with cars—isn’t always a simple process; in fact, it is important to follow strict guidelines. Common mistakes can cause weak performance or even engine failure.

In this important BLOG, we’ll discuss the common mistakes to avoid when installing turbochargers:

1. Picking the Incorrect Turbocharger for your Kit

Perhaps the most significant mistake people make when installing a turbocharger kit is picking the wrong package for their vehicle. An improperly sized turbo can severely damage your engine and/or only provide lackluster performance. Your primary importance is to choose the right turbocharger for the engine’s power output, size, and intended use.

One popular mistake made is picking a turbocharger that’s too big or small. If your turbocharger is too large, you may experience a slow throttle response because the engine might not be able to spool the turbocharger at an acceptable RPM. In contrast, if your turbocharger is too small, you won’t provide enough airflow for your engine, resulting in weaker power output and excessive exhaust gas temperatures.

Moreover, choosing the wrong compressor or turbine wheel size is a major mistake people make. The compressor wheel size selection determines the amount of airflow through the turbocharger, whereas the turbine wheel size determines the amount of exhaust gas required to make the turbocharger spin. If you choose the wrong turbine wheel or the wrong compressor wheel, you’ll damage your engine and performance will suffer.

Another common mistake when picking a turbocharger is not considering the power band of the engine. For instance, the power band is the range of RPMs when the engine produces the most power and the turbo is working efficiently. Also, consider the engine’s intended use when picking your turbocharger. If your turbocharger is designed for low-end torque and towing, the same turbo might not be an ideal choice for a track driven race car.

Always conduct research before purchasing a turbocharger and free to ask us any questions based on your vehicle, intended use, and budget.

2. Lack of Supporting Modifications

Installing a turbocharger kit requires more than bolting a turbo onto your engine. Wouldn’t it be great, if it was that simple?! Matching and upgrading your fuel system to the power you plan to make is critical. Equally essential is and upgraded ECU or tuning system. Whether you choose a basic fuel and ignition controller or go with a full featured standalone computer, tuning is a MUST.

If making huge power is your plan, don’t overlook strengthening your engine internals. Connecting rods, pistons, hardware, performance bearings, and valve train components are crucial for turning up the boost! Most factory stock, healthy motors can handle the 6-8 PSI level with proper tuning, but much past that, and you’ll want to consider beefed up internals.
If you neglect your supporting modifications, you can cause engine damage, poor performance, and potentially engine failure

3. Improper Wastegate or Settings

One of the most crucial parts of your turbocharger installation is the wastegate. Controlling and regulating how the turbocharger produces boost pressure is critical to optimizing power, performance, and reliability. Contact TurboKits.com for proper sizing and sourcing a quality gate to guard against over boost and potential engine failure.

A boost controller is NOT a necessary addition to most turbo kits. Unless you plan to adjust your boost pressure often or have a need exceed the base wastegate spring pressure, adding to the complexity of your turbo kit by introducing a boost controller (manual or electronic) is not necessary.

4. Poor Oil Supply

Poor oil supply wreaks havoc on turbochargers. Dirty or restricted oil flow will result in the early death of your expensive turbocharger. The oil fed to your turbo has the critical task of keeping the bearings and turbine shaft lubricated and spinning freely! Over oiling or lack of oil are both situations you want to avoid.

Keep oil free from contaminants, dirt, and other unwanted particles by changing your oil and filter often, especially in instances of aggressive or off-road use.

5. Don’t Ignore Safety Precautions

Anytime you’re working with tools in a shop environment, ignoring safety precautions may cause injury, property damage, and even death. Don’t make the mistake of not using adequate safety equipment! Jack stands, gloves, eye and ear protection, as well as having adequate ventilation is key to a successful turbo kit install and maintaining good health.

Fire safety should also be at the top of your list if welding is required for kit fitment. Please also ensure there are no weak connections or leaks in the exhaust system when installation is complete.

In addition, it’s essential to not rush the installation process because that can lead to mistakes and hazardous situations. Please follow the proper installation process, seek assistance through the installation guide and don’t hesitate to contact the kit manufacturer if you have questions.

6. No Tuning after Turbo Installation

I can’t stress enough the importance of tuning your vehicle after a turbo kit has been installed. The turbocharger will add a tremendous amount of airflow to your engine so the addition of fuel once the turbo starts to build boost is crucial. Having a tuning system capable of adjusting your ignition advance and retarding the timing is also a necessity for durability. Don’t minimize the importance of engine calibration once your turbo installation is complete.

Confirming your wastegate is functioning properly and providing the adequate boost level also equally important. Over boosting can mean the wastegate has the incorrect spring installed or isn’t connected properly. Under boosting can mean you have a leak in a coupler or clamp.

Check for leaks! You have just introduced oil and or coolant lines and fittings to your vehicle so insuring those connects are leak free is important to the reliability of your engine and the performance of your turbocharger.

Final Thoughts

Installing turbochargers is a complex process, and you should hire a professional if you lack the knowledge or tools for the procedure.

There are many benefits to using turbochargers, such as increased power output, improved engine efficiency, a better throttle response, reduced emissions, and enhanced towing capabilities, but when the project isn’t handled with care, costs can increase, frustrations can mount, and your satisfaction with the process will suffer.

At TurboKits.com, we design, develop, and market turbo systems for the automotive, industrial, commercial, and recreational markets. Since 2001, our devotion to customer support and outstanding quality has been our primary focus. If you have questions about the most suitable turbo kit for your vehicle—get in touch with us.