Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

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Buster65
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Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Buster65 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:47 pm

I noticed that many car manufacturers (i.e. Lexus, VW, Infinity) use turbo or twin turbo engines. I also noticed Subaru uses a straight boxer engine, and Honda accords are not turbo engines. That got me thinking that maybe that is the reason these cars tend to make it to 100,000+ miles more often than other cars. What do you think? Avoid turbo engines?

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by N10sive » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:50 pm

This topic was talked about quite a bit earlier this year in this thread,

viewtopic.php?t=210951

Turbo vehicles have a lot of time over in Europe and other countries. Companies are going to turbo 4 cylinder engines to keep up with the CAFE rules. Subaru has a variety of vehicles with a turbo. The new civic is a turbo car.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:55 pm

Turbo has come a long way. They seem to be much more common and reliable now. A friend had a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird Turbo. The turbo needed replacing about as frequently as an oil change. :oops:

That same friend now has a 2017 VW GTI Turbo 4cyl. If you use premium fuel and stomp on the accelerator you can hear/feel the turbo kick in. I practice Boglehead-ish driving techniques (55 to stay alive) so I wouldn't forsee the turbo being used much. :D
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Morik » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:57 pm

I can't speak as to reliability. I can say that I enjoy driving turbo cars more than non-turbo cars.
I test drove cars with roughly similar horsepower (testing turbo vs non-turbo) and the turbo engine really gives it a kick for torque.

That said, the experience isn't for everyone. There is a slight lag before the turbo kicks in, so a regular V8 vs a V6-turbo, for instance, the V8 may be a bit more immediately responsive to your foot pushing down, while the V6-turbo will have a split-second of lag (where the V6 part is kicking in but not the turbo), then go into high acceleration. (A lot also depends on how it is tuned...)

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by tim1999 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:06 pm

As I said in the other thread, if you dislike turbo cars, don't delay, buy a non-turbo now or in the next year or two. Thanks to increasing government fuel economy standards, turbos are probably going to end up in most vehicles besides low-volume sports cars or exotics.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:20 pm

Turbos are everywhere. From the Fiesta ST to the Ford F150 ecoboost and Ford Mustang ecoboost. Turbos have come a long way since the crap that was in 80's Saabs and Porsches. I know Subarus all have oil fed bearings AND passive water cooling (continues to cool even when the car is shut off). The advantage of a turbo car is that when you don't need a lot of power, the mileage is like a small engine will deliver. When you are into the gas, the turbo helps the car deliver much more power. A 2017 Subaru Impreza with a 2.0L non-turbo engine produces 152 HP. A 2017 Subaru WRX with a 2.0L turbocharged engine produces 268 horsepower. With emissions requirements and market push for horsepower at a low MPG cost, I'd expect to see more turbos.
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Tamales » Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:43 pm

Both turbocharged and supercharged engines are becoming pretty standard across all engine sizes. Direct injection is also becoming pretty common for fuel efficiency reasons. But it can also have its downsides with carbon buildup, which can be pricey to get cleaned on forced induction engines.

I just hope that silly engine start/stop "feature" doesn't become common, or at least that it can be disabled.

OP: I'm sure there must be articles on naturally aspirated vs forced induction engine costs and reliability if you do a search. Forced induction is bound to cost more in the long run. Not only are there a lot more parts to fail, but the turbo/super charger often has to be removed to get at other parts of the engine for other repairs, which increases labor hours.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by onourway » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:38 pm

In my experience Subaru's engines are minimally reliable by modern standards turbo or no. Otherwise, turbo's can be plenty reliable - I have on car with well over 200k on the stock turbo, or they can be a mess, depending on implementation. Overall I'd say they probably lower the car's reliability a bit - but it really depends on the particular car.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Blueskies123 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:50 pm

Automakers valuing mileage and performance over reliability and cost use Turbo's.

Automakers valuing reliability and cost over mileage and performance do not use Turbo's
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by likegarden » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:04 pm

Car engines with turbo chargers are nothing new. In 1968 I once owned a Corvair Corsa with a turbo-charged 180 hp 6 cylinder air cooled engine.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by investingdad » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:41 pm

Turbo point of failure is almost always the bearings.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:54 pm

Cost, repair cost, complexity, HP per displacement = Turbo (YMMV)
Less complexity, reliable conventional design = non Turbo (YMMV)
The Subaru flat "boxer" design is also used in small engine airplanes, as an example of proven design reliability (VW, Porche, etc)
The Honda Accord, asian design DOHC inline 4 front engine modular typical to Toyota, Honda, etc, has a long track record of reliability, from the days of carbs, to FI.
The enemy of the exhaust driven Turbo is heat.
Most modern cars will easily exceed 100's of thousands of miles if properly maintained. The difference is the costs along the way to get there.
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by yatesd » Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:59 pm

From a reliability perspective, I prefer non-turbo cars. That said, I have a few thoughts.

All cars are trying to get better gas mileage:
- Turbo
- CVT or extra gears
- stop/start
- direct injection
- lighter weight

Not sure there is a perfect combination. I bought two new cars in the past two years and like them for different reasons.

- Infiniti QX60 (traditional proven engine, CVT, lighter weight than truck frame 7-passenger options, decent value)
- VW Passat 1.8T (turbo with decent torque, traditional 6-speed auto, reasonably light weight, decent value)

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by bubbadog » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:35 pm

The Volvo XC90 SUV is both turbo and supercharged. I wonder how reliable it will be long term.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by bhsince87 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:08 pm

For 30+ years, I've said I would NEVER buy a car with a turbo!

I just bought an F-150 with a twin turbo.

Technically, I haven't broken my vow!!! ;)
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by yatesd » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:10 pm

bubbadog wrote:The Volvo XC90 SUV is both turbo and supercharged. I wonder how reliable it will be long term.
I have the same concern. It's impressive to see over 300hp from a 4 cylinder and the car magazines have given favorable reviews. However, I would be concerned about a turbo & supercharged 4 cylinder moving a 2-ton SUV over 100,000 miles reliably.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Kevin22751 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:15 pm

Buster65 wrote:I noticed that many car manufacturers (i.e. Lexus, VW, Infinity) use turbo or twin turbo engines. I also noticed Subaru uses a straight boxer engine, and Honda accords are not turbo engines. That got me thinking that maybe that is the reason these cars tend to make it to 100,000+ miles more often than other cars. What do you think? Avoid turbo engines?
Buster.... I just purchased a new Honda Accord V-6 (my second). My 2007 Accord ran like a top for 205,000 and hummed all the way to the trade-in. Honda is a great engine company.... my new Accord turns off cylinders when not needed, to improve fuel economy and engine wear. As for turbo versus engine size.... a wise man once told me, "there's no replacement for displacement" !!

Good luck to you.... Kevin

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Incendiary » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:25 pm

bhsince87 wrote:For 30+ years, I've said I would NEVER buy a car with a turbo!

I just bought an F-150 with a twin turbo.

Technically, I haven't broken my vow!!! ;)
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by CorradoJr » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:00 pm

Blueskies123 wrote:Automakers valuing mileage and performance over reliability and cost use Turbo's.

Automakers valuing reliability and cost over mileage and performance do not use Turbo's
Can you provide examples?

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by anoop » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:19 pm

N10sive wrote:This topic was talked about quite a bit earlier this year in this thread,

viewtopic.php?t=210951

Turbo vehicles have a lot of time over in Europe and other countries. Companies are going to turbo 4 cylinder engines to keep up with the CAFE rules. Subaru has a variety of vehicles with a turbo. The new civic is a turbo car.

I think it also has to do with cost savings. Most manufacturers seem to have standardized on using ~500 cc cylinders and then serving them up in 3 cylinder, 4 cylinder, 6 cylinder, and 8 cylinder configurations (last one is very rare). Previously there were many different cylinder sizes.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by tractorguy » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:37 pm

The trend is to smaller engines to save weight (fuel economy), save space (also fuel economy, more passenger & cargo space in same size vehicle), and reduce the cost of manufacturing more engine lines. Broad brush, it costs a manufacturer somewhere between 2/3 to 3/4 to make a 4 cylinder engine vs a six. It can also be packaged into a smaller space and weighs less. A turbo eats up some of this cost advantage but not all of it. A turbo 4 cylinder will cost less to manufacturer than a six. The cost of developing and tooling up for a new engine line is huge. (several 10's of millions, maybe 100's of millions). If a car company can avoid the bulk of this by bolting a turbo on to a smaller engine line that they already have, they will do this whenever possible.

Saying this, I've been avoiding buying a turbo car since a bad experience with a Chrysler product in the 90's. As an engineer friend of mine said to me once, "Every change is a chance for error." Although it is possible to design a turbo engine with the same reliability and durability of a larger engine, it isn't necessarily easy. I'm letting other folks verify that the designers of the current crop of engines have got it right.
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:58 am

bloom2708 wrote:Turbo has come a long way. They seem to be much more common and reliable now. A friend had a 1985 Pontiac Sunbird Turbo. The turbo needed replacing about as frequently as an oil change. :oops:

That same friend now has a 2017 VW GTI Turbo 4cyl. If you use premium fuel and stomp on the accelerator you can hear/feel the turbo kick in. I practice Boglehead-ish driving techniques (55 to stay alive) so I wouldn't forsee the turbo being used much. :D
If you live in an area with a lot of entering onto busy highways you do tend to floor it, even if you are not a habitual speed daemon.

Generally when there's a fair degree of traffic, because you need to merge with busy lanes, or get ahead quickly. I agree there's ways not to lead foot it, but it's handy to have that power in reserve.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by stoptothink » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:20 am

CorradoJr wrote:
Blueskies123 wrote:Automakers valuing mileage and performance over reliability and cost use Turbo's.

Automakers valuing reliability and cost over mileage and performance do not use Turbo's
Can you provide examples?
Since the two car manufacturers most associated with reliability and cost (Honda and Toyota) are moving very much towards using turbos like everyone else, you aren't going to get an answer.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by alfaspider » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:42 am

yatesd wrote:
bubbadog wrote:The Volvo XC90 SUV is both turbo and supercharged. I wonder how reliable it will be long term.
I have the same concern. It's impressive to see over 300hp from a 4 cylinder and the car magazines have given favorable reviews. However, I would be concerned about a turbo & supercharged 4 cylinder moving a 2-ton SUV over 100,000 miles reliably.
Subaru and Mitsubishi have made 300hp 4 cylinder engines for well over a decade. Lots of boost doesn't necessarily kill reliability as long as the motor is designed for it and the thermal management is good.

As another poster mentioned, turbos have come a long way. Better oil, better turbos, and computer control over all aspects of engine management have really changed the game. They are still a potential point of failure as compared to an NA 4 banger, but nothing like what Turbo owners had to deal with 20 or 30 years ago. Off-bost performance is also MUCH better with today's direct-injected engines, twin-scroll scroll turbos, and high compression ratios. You used to have to run 7:1 compression ratio to run a turbo back in the early days. This meant the car was a slug until boost hit at 4K RPM, then you got the power all at once (the old 911 turbo was considered a widowmaker for this reason as the slug of power often meant a spin). Today's turbos can run 10:1 compression (higher than many NA cars of old), which means they drive great off boost, and boost now comes on at 2500rpm or less.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Fletch » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:59 pm

I had a 1995 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo for over 210,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo.

My wife still has a 1996 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo with over 100,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo

I currently have a 2012 Volvo 6 cylinder turbo that replaced my 1995. It has about 46,000 miles with zero issues related to engine or turbo.

We use (used) full synthetic oil for all the above with the factory oil change recommended frequency or sooner. All the vehicles were purchased new.

The only thing I noticed with the turbo is significantly more power and low end torque than the non-turbo equivalent model.
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by alfaspider » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:09 pm

Fletch wrote:
The only thing I noticed with the turbo is significantly more power and low end torque than the non-turbo equivalent model.
I think for most people, this is going to be the biggest thing they will notice. Many of the new generation of small turbo engines don't actually make much more power compared to their immediate NA predecessors. But they make the power where most drivers will actually use it. Automatic transmissions in most consumer cars are tuned for fuel economy, which means that they keep the car at low RPM where possible. If you decide you need to pass, for example, it's going to take time to get the engine into the power band, which is at high RPMs in a naturally asperated car. Modern turbo engines hit peak torque as low as 2500 RPM- so they will respond immediately.

On the other hand, the low torque peak means the fuel economy gains from turbochargers often don't exist in the real world. Turbochargers can be incredibly efficient if you always stay out of boost. But only hyper-miler types and EPA fuel economy tests will drive that way.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:42 pm

Fletch wrote:I had a 1995 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo for over 210,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo.

My wife still has a 1996 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo with over 100,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo

I currently have a 2012 Volvo 6 cylinder turbo that replaced my 1995. It has about 46,000 miles with zero issues related to engine or turbo.

We use (used) full synthetic oil for all the above with the factory oil change recommended frequency or sooner. All the vehicles were purchased new.

The only thing I noticed with the turbo is significantly more power and low end torque than the non-turbo equivalent model.
I can't remember who Volvo shared engines with? Peugeot-Citroen? Or was it just Ford (ie corporate parent?).

Anyways generally they don't have a great reputation for reliability, I don't think?

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by yatesd » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:20 pm

alfaspider wrote:
yatesd wrote:
bubbadog wrote:The Volvo XC90 SUV is both turbo and supercharged. I wonder how reliable it will be long term.
I have the same concern. It's impressive to see over 300hp from a 4 cylinder and the car magazines have given favorable reviews. However, I would be concerned about a turbo & supercharged 4 cylinder moving a 2-ton SUV over 100,000 miles reliably.
Subaru and Mitsubishi have made 300hp 4 cylinder engines for well over a decade. Lots of boost doesn't necessarily kill reliability as long as the motor is designed for it and the thermal management is good.

As another poster mentioned, turbos have come a long way. Better oil, better turbos, and computer control over all aspects of engine management have really changed the game. They are still a potential point of failure as compared to an NA 4 banger, but nothing like what Turbo owners had to deal with 20 or 30 years ago. Off-bost performance is also MUCH better with today's direct-injected engines, twin-scroll scroll turbos, and high compression ratios. You used to have to run 7:1 compression ratio to run a turbo back in the early days. This meant the car was a slug until boost hit at 4K RPM, then you got the power all at once (the old 911 turbo was considered a widowmaker for this reason as the slug of power often meant a spin). Today's turbos can run 10:1 compression (higher than many NA cars of old), which means they drive great off boost, and boost now comes on at 2500rpm or less.
Back when I bought my CTS with a 300HP DI V6, I was also looking at Subaru. One thing that scared me away, was back then the normal engine had 5,000 mile oil change interval & the turbo versions were every 3,750. I didn't even check to see what they recommended for the STI, but they must have had some reason for increasing the maintenance cycle. My new 1.8T VW has a 10K oil change interval and uses about 6qt. of oil.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Quickfoot » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:21 pm

Any modern car should easily make 100k miles, it just isn't very many miles. Over all brands the average before major problems few years ago was 150k for cars and 200k for trucks and that's probably gone up.

The general rule is simpler designs last longer and have fewer problems and that extends to cars too, engines without turbos will probably last longer but unless you are going to put more than 150k miles on it it won't likely matter.
My new 1.8T VW has a 10K oil change interval and uses about 6qt. of
Synthetic oil lasts 10 to 12k miles in basically all cars but do be careful about factory recommended maintenance periods a lot of companies have decreased recommended maintenance to make it look like the car needs less than it does. They do this because they know most people will only keep them to 50'or 60k miles and get rid of them before problems appear that could have been prevented with better maintenance.

My truck manufacturer says I don't need to change transmission. Fluid for 100k miles which isn't true, it needs to be done at least every 60k and shops recommend 30k (this is aggressive 50-60k is probably about right)
Last edited by Quickfoot on Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by ClevrChico » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:24 pm

I had a Nissan 300ZX Turbo. At 140k+ miles it still produced full boost and burned no oil. The rest of the car was falling apart, but turbos should last the life of the car with proper maintenance.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Cruise » Wed Mar 08, 2017 1:06 am

Had a 1996 Volvo 850 with Turbo. Lasted 14 years with no turbo-related problems...

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by alfaspider » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:52 am

yatesd wrote:
alfaspider wrote:
yatesd wrote:
bubbadog wrote:The Volvo XC90 SUV is both turbo and supercharged. I wonder how reliable it will be long term.
I have the same concern. It's impressive to see over 300hp from a 4 cylinder and the car magazines have given favorable reviews. However, I would be concerned about a turbo & supercharged 4 cylinder moving a 2-ton SUV over 100,000 miles reliably.
Subaru and Mitsubishi have made 300hp 4 cylinder engines for well over a decade. Lots of boost doesn't necessarily kill reliability as long as the motor is designed for it and the thermal management is good.

As another poster mentioned, turbos have come a long way. Better oil, better turbos, and computer control over all aspects of engine management have really changed the game. They are still a potential point of failure as compared to an NA 4 banger, but nothing like what Turbo owners had to deal with 20 or 30 years ago. Off-bost performance is also MUCH better with today's direct-injected engines, twin-scroll scroll turbos, and high compression ratios. You used to have to run 7:1 compression ratio to run a turbo back in the early days. This meant the car was a slug until boost hit at 4K RPM, then you got the power all at once (the old 911 turbo was considered a widowmaker for this reason as the slug of power often meant a spin). Today's turbos can run 10:1 compression (higher than many NA cars of old), which means they drive great off boost, and boost now comes on at 2500rpm or less.
Back when I bought my CTS with a 300HP DI V6, I was also looking at Subaru. One thing that scared me away, was back then the normal engine had 5,000 mile oil change interval & the turbo versions were every 3,750. I didn't even check to see what they recommended for the STI, but they must have had some reason for increasing the maintenance cycle. My new 1.8T VW has a 10K oil change interval and uses about 6qt. of oil.
My STI has a 6,000 mile change in the manual. Most do say the EJ series motors do better with frequent oil intervals, however. They are not expensive at the dealership.

There are a decent number of damaged Subaru EJ257 motors (the 300hp variant), but most are from kids cranking up the boost way beyond factory spec. The Japan spec EJ207, with the same power rating, is usually considered a bit more reliable. Mitsubishi's 300hp 2 liter was generally regarded as more reliable than Subaru's EJ series. Both company's motors are pretty outdated at this point. The 300HP EA888 Gen 3 in the Golf R (which also makes 300hp) is a much more modern engine and though fairly new is generally regarded as bulletproof. Tuners get 400+ hp out of these reliably.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:59 am

You mentioned Subaru - note they do have turbo-engine options. I have no idea if there are statistics whether or not the Turbo options last as long - that would at least me a like-for-like comparison with a single manufacturer.
Someone mentioned Turbo engines help gas mileage? Is this true or, even if some turbos do get better gas mileage, isn't that offset with the need to buy premium gasoline (last I knew Turbo engines require higher-octane).
Not a car guy so forgive me if these questions seem ignorant.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by tim1999 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:03 am

DaftInvestor wrote: Someone mentioned Turbo engines help gas mileage? Is this true or, even if some turbos do get better gas mileage, isn't that offset with the need to buy premium gasoline (last I knew Turbo engines require higher-octane).
Not a car guy so forgive me if these questions seem ignorant.
Some turbos require or recommend it, some don't. Ford's turbos (like 2.0 Ecoboost in Fusion, Escape, etc. and 3.5 Ecoboost in F-150, etc.) for example do not require premium. Audi recommends premium for the 2.0T engine. It will run on regular, but will get worse fuel economy than using premium, so you really aren't saving money by running regular. Performance will be worse on regular but most people who drive the car lightly won't notice.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by fittan » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:21 pm

Buster65 wrote:I noticed that many car manufacturers (i.e. Lexus, VW, Infinity) use turbo or twin turbo engines. I also noticed Subaru uses a straight boxer engine, and Honda accords are not turbo engines. That got me thinking that maybe that is the reason these cars tend to make it to 100,000+ miles more often than other cars. What do you think? Avoid turbo engines?
I had a 2010 A4 once...turbo went at 80K miles (something about the wastegate). Cost $1500 to replace. I would avoid turbo going forward.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by alfaspider » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:50 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:You mentioned Subaru - note they do have turbo-engine options. I have no idea if there are statistics whether or not the Turbo options last as long - that would at least me a like-for-like comparison with a single manufacturer.
Someone mentioned Turbo engines help gas mileage? Is this true or, even if some turbos do get better gas mileage, isn't that offset with the need to buy premium gasoline (last I knew Turbo engines require higher-octane).
Not a car guy so forgive me if these questions seem ignorant.
A turbo version of the same car as opposed to a non-turbo may or may not be quite a fair comparison. Some motors are designed from the ground up for forced induction, other motors started out naturally aspirated but were adapted for forced induction. The former is going to generally be more reliable than the latter.

Just adding a turbo to a given engine won't help fuel economy. In fact, it will hurt it (but add significant power). But what a turbo allows is using a smaller engine than would otherwise do. For example, a v6 will be replaced with a 4 cylinder turbo- a v8 will be replaced by a v6 turbo. A 200hp turbo engine will usually perform better in fuel economy tests than a 200hp naturally aspirated motor.

On fuel type: higher grade gasoline is used to avoid detonation (basically, fuel igniting at the wrong time/place inside the engine). Whether detonation is likely to occur will be dependent on how much boost the turbocharger is running (what pressure it is forcing into the engine's intake), the compression ratio of the motor, air/fuel mixture, and ignition timing. Many modern turbo engines get away with running regular 87 octane because modern engine computers and sensors can protect against detonation by adjusting timing and/or reducing boost if necessary and because of the use of direct injection (fuel squirts directly into the combustion chamber). Bottom line: you just have to look at the specific model. Many high-performance engines still require premium as that allows maximal power even with the modern tricks.
Last edited by alfaspider on Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alfaspider
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by alfaspider » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:51 pm

fittan wrote:
Buster65 wrote:I noticed that many car manufacturers (i.e. Lexus, VW, Infinity) use turbo or twin turbo engines. I also noticed Subaru uses a straight boxer engine, and Honda accords are not turbo engines. That got me thinking that maybe that is the reason these cars tend to make it to 100,000+ miles more often than other cars. What do you think? Avoid turbo engines?
I had a 2010 A4 once...turbo went at 80K miles (something about the wastegate). Cost $1500 to replace. I would avoid turbo going forward.
A turbo engine does have that additional failure point, but I would keep in mind that using a larger engine with additional cylinders also introduces additional moving parts and failure points. More opportunities for bad valves, bad coils, etc.

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Fletch
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Fletch » Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:46 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
Fletch wrote:I had a 1995 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo for over 210,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo.

My wife still has a 1996 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo with over 100,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo

I currently have a 2012 Volvo 6 cylinder turbo that replaced my 1995. It has about 46,000 miles with zero issues related to engine or turbo.

We use (used) full synthetic oil for all the above with the factory oil change recommended frequency or sooner. All the vehicles were purchased new.

The only thing I noticed with the turbo is significantly more power and low end torque than the non-turbo equivalent model.
I can't remember who Volvo shared engines with? Peugeot-Citroen? Or was it just Ford (ie corporate parent?).

Anyways generally they don't have a great reputation for reliability, I don't think?
If I recall correctly, the 5 cylinder Volvo engines of my vintage were designed by Porsche (pretty sure on this) and made in Germany (not as sure on this). I think my 6 cylinder is made in England, don't know about the design. Here is an interesting timeline of the T5: https://www.carthrottle.com/post/volvo- ... n-wrapper/

Obviously, my data base is only three Volvos and is not necessairly representitive, but my three Volvos have never broken down or stranded us anywhere in almost 43 Volvo-vehicle-years of driving. I keep my fingers crossed I can say that in another year or two. :sharebeer Reliability is rock solid. Durability is rock solid. Overall maintenance costs have been probably a tad higher than the Japanese makes I've owned but that is likely due to my taking the vehicles to the dealer as I age vs. doing most of my own maintenance in years past. YMMV
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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:16 am

Fletch wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:
Fletch wrote:I had a 1995 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo for over 210,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo.

My wife still has a 1996 Volvo 5 cylinder turbo with over 100,000 miles with zero issues related to the engine or turbo

I currently have a 2012 Volvo 6 cylinder turbo that replaced my 1995. It has about 46,000 miles with zero issues related to engine or turbo.

We use (used) full synthetic oil for all the above with the factory oil change recommended frequency or sooner. All the vehicles were purchased new.

The only thing I noticed with the turbo is significantly more power and low end torque than the non-turbo equivalent model.
I can't remember who Volvo shared engines with? Peugeot-Citroen? Or was it just Ford (ie corporate parent?).

Anyways generally they don't have a great reputation for reliability, I don't think?
If I recall correctly, the 5 cylinder Volvo engines of my vintage were designed by Porsche (pretty sure on this) and made in Germany (not as sure on this). I think my 6 cylinder is made in England, don't know about the design. Here is an interesting timeline of the T5: https://www.carthrottle.com/post/volvo- ... n-wrapper/

Obviously, my data base is only three Volvos and is not necessairly representitive, but my three Volvos have never broken down or stranded us anywhere in almost 43 Volvo-vehicle-years of driving. I keep my fingers crossed I can say that in another year or two. :sharebeer Reliability is rock solid. Durability is rock solid. Overall maintenance costs have been probably a tad higher than the Japanese makes I've owned but that is likely due to my taking the vehicles to the dealer as I age vs. doing most of my own maintenance in years past. YMMV
Interesting. The 140 Series Volvos were good although road salt ate them. The 240s with fuel injection were often total junk-- a friend of mine's father went through 12 fuel injectors and discovered that Volvo Canada didn't have a complaints department. It was the last Volvo they ever owned.

Since then, the basic experience of my friends (80s & 90s & 00s) was unreliable and gas guzzling. For a long time they sold themselves on being much safer than North American or Japanese cars (I think they were the first to have rear shoulder belts?) but that advantage eroded.

In the 1990s, everybody switched to Honda. At least that was the experience I saw. Honda Accord just cleaned out the market. Then Honda changed them and made them too wide for city driveways...

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Swansea » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:08 am

The BMW N54 twin turbo six has had reliability issues. BMW extended the warranty on its waste-gates to make things right. There is no lag with that engine.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by jharkin » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:17 am

Some good discussion above.


First off, I assume that you understand the basic theory about what a turbo does? It simply a pump that crams more air and fuel into an engine so it makes more power than the same size engine without a turbo. The trick is that it does this by using energy in the exhaust that is otherwise lost - so there is a net efficiency gain in the amount of fuel burned per horsepower/hr delivered. (As opposed to a gear/belt driven supercharger that does the same power boost by robbing energy directly from the crankshaft).

So why do we use turbos? In the past it was all about performance. Take an engine like the 3 liter flat 6 in the Porsche Carrera, hang a turbo on it and suddenly you have a fire breathing 911 Turbo with a lot more power without adding much weight :)


Today, manufacturers across the board are using turbos for the reason N10sive first brought up - to improve fuel economy. They play here is not to take the existing engine and add a turbo, but rather to put in a smaller engine but add a turbo to that to achieve the same power. Same power, smaller engine, lighter car in theory equals less fuel burned.

Example of this - Ford F150 pickup truck.

Used to be you put in a 5.0L V8.
Take that out, and put in a 3.5L V6 with a turbo instead.

Same horsepower (or even more), but a much smaller and lighter engine. This translates, in theory, to less fuel burned for the same performance.

Honda did the same thing to the civic. Replace a 1.8L or 2L engine with a 1.5Lturbo.
BMW did it to the base model 3 series - the old 3.0L straight six was replaced with a 2.0L straight 4 turbo.
And so on...


In the EPA tests, changes like this invariably give better fuel economy numbers. In the real world it depends. If your brain goes into boy racer mode because "I gots a turbo man!" and you keep the right foot buried all the time your real world fuel usage might not be so great.


The other issues with turbos where driveability (the dreaded "lag" before the power comes on) and reliability....

Manufacturers have done a lot to reduce or eliminate lag using waste-gates, variable geometry turbos, sequential multiple turbos etc. Modern turbo cars are nothing like a 1980s Porsche where the gas pedal was an On/Off switch. some implementations are so good the average Sunday driver wouldn't even know it was there if you dont tell them.

Reliability has come a long way also. The bearings are much better now... and manufacturers are doing things like adding oil coolers and systems that keep circulating the oil for a few minutes after engine shutoff (so you dont have to idle the engine to cool the turbos) to keep the bearings cool.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Frisco Kid » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:11 am

Interesting thread here. alfaspider made some good points, +1 on those. Think of an engine as an air pump. Turbos and for that matter any power adder(superchargers, nitrous oxide...) allow more air/fuel to go through the motor. It would be a valid argument that a turbo makes an engine think it has larger displacement buying into the there is no replacement for displacement argument. Turbos are popular as they are exhaust driven and do not take horsepower to drive as a supercharger does. In today's CAFE mandated world EVERYTHING matters from a mileage standpoint. This is also why modern cars all look the same, it is all about aerodynamics. Turbos are efficient and modern engine management make them more reliable than in days gone by. There are however no free lunches as maintenance is a factor. Turbo's nemesis is heat, keep in mind engine oil cools an engine too. Synthetics hold up better at higher temperatures. So for me having owned turbo cars back to the 70"s, use a good synthetic oil and filter adhering to the manufacturers SEVERE maintenance intervals to include cooling system,etc, always top tier premium fuel and respect the engine when driving. By that I mean let it reach normal operating temperature before leaning on it, let the turbo cool down before shutting it off, etc. If you just want basic transportation, ignore maintenance, don't open the hood ever your needs will be better served with a normally aspirated motor. As for oil change lights, they do have their place as a reminder however I change by mileage and time.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by zkzkzk » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:26 am

I just recently purchased a non turbo Subaru Outback with the boxer 6 in it. I chose the Subaru over a new Honda CRV with the 1.5 turbo. The main reason I did was because the Honda engine with the turbo is relatively new and the turbo lag was awful. Thing went like hell for such a small engine, but it felt like I was killing it to get it moving. Subaru even with the 2.5 non turbo 4 cylinder engine felt much smoother than the turbo Honda to me. Could have been the difference between the Honda and Subaru CVT transmissions, but I couldn't see myself dealing with that for the next 10-15 years. I wanted to like the Honda since I own 2 already that have been extremely good cars, but that turbo engine ruined for me.
If you do go turbo I would suggest using the best synthetic oil and filter you can find and be meticulous with maintenance.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Swansea » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:58 am

zkzkzk wrote:I just recently purchased a non turbo Subaru Outback with the boxer 6 in it. I chose the Subaru over a new Honda CRV with the 1.5 turbo. The main reason I did was because the Honda engine with the turbo is relatively new and the turbo lag was awful. Thing went like hell for such a small engine, but it felt like I was killing it to get it moving. Subaru even with the 2.5 non turbo 4 cylinder engine felt much smoother than the turbo Honda to me. Could have been the difference between the Honda and Subaru CVT transmissions, but I couldn't see myself dealing with that for the next 10-15 years. I wanted to like the Honda since I own 2 already that have been extremely good cars, but that turbo engine ruined for me.
If you do go turbo I would suggest using the best synthetic oil and filter you can find and be meticulous with maintenance.
+1 on the synthetic oil. Do not use a synthetic blend.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by alfaspider » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:20 am

Frisco Kid wrote:. By that I mean let it reach normal operating temperature before leaning on it, let the turbo cool down before shutting it off, etc.
Letting the engine reach normal operating temperature before leaning on it is a good idea for any engine. Turbo cooldown is a lot less important than it used to be. Modern synthetic oils don't cook onto bearings and many modern systems continue cooling the turbo after shutdown. Also, regular daily driving tends not to stress the turbo much as you are only in boost during harder acceleration. You don't need to leave the car running after dropping off the kids from soccer practice :happy

As an aside on oil, I think synthetic oil should be pretty much standard on every engine by now.* Mobil 1 is only about $15 more expensive per oil change than cheapo non-synthetic, but it will last at least a few thousand miles longer. If you aren't changing your own oil, any savings will be eaten up by additional labor costs.** In the end, it's not really much more expensive, allows for fewer changes, and is better for your engine.


*Caveat that some old, tired engines that have run dino oil for hundreds of thousands of miles probably shouldn't switch. The detergents in the higher quality oil will dislodge gunk, which may actually be a bad thing due the potential for leaks and big chunks getting dislodged at once.
**Caveat that some luxury makes absolutely gouge owners for synthetic oil changes. However, those owners don't really have much option on oil type if they are staying with dealer service.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by marcwd » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:29 am

alfaspider wrote:
Frisco Kid wrote:. By that I mean let it reach normal operating temperature before leaning on it, let the turbo cool down before shutting it off, etc.

As an aside on oil, I think synthetic oil should be pretty much standard on every engine by now.* Mobil 1 is only about $15 more expensive per oil change than cheapo non-synthetic, but it will last at least a few thousand miles longer. If you aren't changing your own oil, any savings will be eaten up by additional labor costs.** In the end, it's not really much more expensive, allows for fewer changes, and is better for your engine.

My Honda Accord owner's manual states that synthetic oil may be substituted for conventional oil but that the change interval should not be increased.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by alfaspider » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:37 am

marcwd wrote:
alfaspider wrote:
Frisco Kid wrote:. By that I mean let it reach normal operating temperature before leaning on it, let the turbo cool down before shutting it off, etc.

As an aside on oil, I think synthetic oil should be pretty much standard on every engine by now.* Mobil 1 is only about $15 more expensive per oil change than cheapo non-synthetic, but it will last at least a few thousand miles longer. If you aren't changing your own oil, any savings will be eaten up by additional labor costs.** In the end, it's not really much more expensive, allows for fewer changes, and is better for your engine.


My Honda Accord owner's manual states that synthetic oil may be substituted for conventional oil but that the change interval should not be increased.
Two reasons:

1) Honda doesn't want to deprive the dealers of revenue by recommending a longer interval.
2) If the engine is consuming oil and the owner does not regularly check levels, the motor could be run low from a long service interval.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by marcwd » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:25 pm

alfaspider wrote:
marcwd wrote:
alfaspider wrote:
Frisco Kid wrote:. By that I mean let it reach normal operating temperature before leaning on it, let the turbo cool down before shutting it off, etc.

As an aside on oil, I think synthetic oil should be pretty much standard on every engine by now.* Mobil 1 is only about $15 more expensive per oil change than cheapo non-synthetic, but it will last at least a few thousand miles longer. If you aren't changing your own oil, any savings will be eaten up by additional labor costs.** In the end, it's not really much more expensive, allows for fewer changes, and is better for your engine.


My Honda Accord owner's manual states that synthetic oil may be substituted for conventional oil but that the change interval should not be increased.
Two reasons:

1) Honda doesn't want to deprive the dealers of revenue by recommending a longer interval.
2) If the engine is consuming oil and the owner does not regularly check levels, the motor could be run low from a long service interval.
What about the need for contaminants to be flushed from the lubrication system on a regular interval regardless of the type of oil used? Maybe this is Honda's position.

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by tetractys » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:37 pm

Blowers provide direct high volume air, so why settle for a puny lagging turbocharger? -- Tet

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Re: Car engines. Turbo vs no turbo

Post by Atilla » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:53 pm

My wife's car is a 2007 G35X. 300+ horsepower V6 with no turbo. My friend has an Impreza WRX of similar vintage - or probably a few years newer - 4 cyl. motor with turbo. Definitely not 300 horsepower.

On a long road trip in the Impreza, he was keeping an eye on his cruising speed to keep it below the point the turbo would start to spool up and turn his mileage to crap.

Claimed city/highway mileage in both vehicles is similar. All things being equal I'll take a non turbo engine of larger displacement. The Infiniti has more power and no lag.
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