Ever Wondered How Turbochargers Work

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Turbochargers you may think are relatively recent invention that have only just started to make their way into more mainstream cars and into this year’s Formula 1 line-up but actually its origins can be traced all the way back to 1885!

When we hear that a specific car is turbocharged our minds instantly jump to conclusions that the car is going to be extremely powerful and plus it just sounds cool when you say your car is turbocharged. But what are turbochargers and how they do actually work. Well let’s find out.

The exhaust fumes coming out of your car are pretty much completely useless, they comprise of waste product (gases like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon particles etc.) and energy in the form of heat and the kinetic energy of the gases. What a turbocharger basically does is that it uses the exhaust gases to spin a turbine that in turn pumps more air into the cylinders making it burn fuel at a faster rate and much more efficiently thus producing more power and at the same time cutting down on waste product. A standard turbocharger is comprised of a shaft that is linked to a turbine wheel on one end and a compressor wheel on the other end, these components are cased in a housing that takes the shape of a turbocharger that we are all familiar with.

                   turbine housing


The exhaust gases enter in through the inlet port of the turbine housing, due to the constriction in the turbine housing the gases cause the turbine to spin and consequently as the turbine is linked with the compressor wheel through the shaft, it spins at the same rate as the turbine wheel. The compressor wheel thus starts to suck in cool air and compresses it and it exits through the outlet port in the compressor housing and supplies the engine with air (oxygen).

Though there is one slight problem you have with compressing air and that it causes the air to get hot. So before the air is allowed to enter the engine it passes through an inter-cooler to cool the air, ensuring maximum amount of Oxygen enters the engine. Putting it simply, cooler air means denser air, and dense air means more volume of air in the cylinder. Now as more oxygen is going into the cylinders fuel is burnt at much faster and more efficient rate which in turns increases the power output of the engine.



Hopefully this clears up any questions you had about what a Turbocharger is and how it actually works. If you would like to add anything to this, please feel free to express it down in the comment section below for other readers.

Pictures: TS

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  1. Ali says

    Just to add up a little more. Some people confuse a turbocharger with a supercharger. Although, a supercharger does the same, it’s mechanically driven by the crankshaft via belt, gear or a chain. But, it cannot induce as much air as a turbocharger. So why use a supercharger when a turbo can help produce more horse power? The answer’s simple, a turbo takes a little time before it can speed up and induce air, and so “turbo lag” is produced. A supercharger doesn’t lag because it’s directly driven to the engine. But it also puts a little more burden on the engine.

    Turbo>> Great horsepower at higher RPMs.
    Supercharger>> Good horsepower increase, at all RPMs

  2. Usman Burki says

    cool now from where can i get one 😀

  3. Omer Ansari says

    I need a turbo for suzuki K6a engine where can i get one can anyone help me on this

  4. Syed Hussein El-Edroos says

    Thanks for adding the video. To get longer life out of a turbocharger one has to follow certain precautions. When the engine is started it takes sometime for the oil to reach the turbocharger. Keep the engine at low idle for a while so that the turbocharger is properly lubricated. At the time of stopping the engine the same applies. Allow the RPMs to drop and also for the turbocharger to cool down by running the engine at low RPM. At high engine RPM the turbocharger is rotating at 150,000 RPM. Switching off the engine in this case would mean the the turbocharger would be rotating without lubricating oil.

  5. Faizan Khalid says

    whats a difference between turbo charger and super charger

  6. Muhammad Younus says

    I wonder if I can install a turbocharger in my Baleno and where can I get it?

  7. Ali says

    I don’t really quite know. But try to contact one of those “Peshawar Underground” guys. They’re always using such lethal stuff.

  8. Ali says

    Try to contact one of the “Peshawar Underground” guys. They use it in their cars a lot.

  9. Ali says

    Contact one of the “Peshawar Underground” guys, they might be able to help.

  10. Omer Ansari says

    Where to find pershawar underground

  11. Abdul Hannan says

    moreover turbo causes lag and unstable idle ….whereas supercharger depends on its type roots supercharger give good low end torque usually used in american musclesand centrifugal give better high end response usually used by GM Chrysler

  12. Abdul Hannan says

    first check whether its simple k6a or k6a turbo…..if its turbo then u can try ur luck at junkyards….and also check that ecu should be of turbo k6a

  13. Abdul Hannan says

    even if u install turbo charger how can u install oil lines to turbo and how can u change fuel trims of that engine……and have u imagined what will be impact on those small rocker arms aka tappet at high compressions and rpms…….if u want more power install g15 or g16 bolt on swap or try your luck to find j18……but you can find g15 because its still present in apv locally and internationally.

  14. Abdul Hannan says

    Nice article bdw :)…….please also enlighten people about blowoff valve and wastegate :P………and also tell about effect of turbo on diesels 🙂

  15. Abdul Hannan says

    and also check for sooty exhaust otherwise primary impeller will be like black round wheel.
    check for degraded oil and replace ASAP.
    Avoid installing such “pokemon” air and oil filters….They will Clog everything.
    Try using Synthetic oil to keep oil lines clean.

  16. MBilal Zahid says

    How would it effect the fuel efficiency?

  17. Omer Ansari says

    its k6a a turbo with an overhead intercooler

  18. Ali says

    I’m not sure. Try to contact them through Pakwheels forum.

  19. Muhammad Younus says

    I just wanted to know if by any chance you know where can I find j18. Let be get benefited by your knowledge.

  20. Abdul Hannan says

    it was scarcely present 2 years ago in shoba peshawar but was not in immaculate condition….parts wud be issue for that also…………..but you can safely use g15 or g16 and if u can do cuts or welds then m16a but i will nor recommend it coz it will make that poor car paper boat.

  21. Abdul Hannan says

    depends on where u live……in lahore,karachi,and peshawar bilal gunj,shershah,magazine line and shoba respectively can be ur last resort……otherwise u can try ur luck in changing turbocharger of same psi….but it wud require modification and may throw CEL in the end.and clean the intercooler and whole apparatus wid acetone to have good result.but remember turbocharger will require “tappet settings” as mentioned in its manual and it require less spark plug gap….so adjust it accordingly 🙂

  22. Omer Ansari says

    Sir are you located in pershawer ??

  23. Abdul Hannan says

    nop m located in lahore

  24. Abdul Hannan says

    it increases power to fuel consumption ratio……so engine becomes more efficient………but if we take 2 same engines one natural aspirated and other turbocharged then irrespective of power turbocharged will consume more fuel but if we compare power to fuel consumption efficency then ofcourse turbocharged takes the lead…….it works so by giving more air so more fuel can be burnt in a small chamber to produce more power…..thats why turbocharged engines have less Compression ratio to compensate it with turbocharger 😛

  25. Faheem Tahir says

    Dude….I think you copied these pics from a youtube video…do you need a permission to use that…?..(if yes)do you have one….from that person..?..Is it right for pakwheels blog to do that…?

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