Turbochargers

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fandango
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Turbochargers

Post by fandango » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:17 pm

I have noticed a number of new cars that I am interested in now have turbochargers as standard equipment (eg. Honda CRV). Seems to be a trend in the auto industry.

What are the pro's and con's of turbochargers? Any comments on maintenance and reliability?

Thanks.

researcher
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by researcher » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:30 pm

fandango wrote:I have noticed a number of new cars that I am interested in now have turbochargers as standard equipment (eg. Honda CRV). Seems to be a trend in the auto industry.
What are the pro's and con's of turbochargers? Any comments on maintenance and reliability? .
" Increasingly stringent fuel-economy and emissions regulations worldwide are driving this switch to forced induction because turbochargers allow carmakers to maintain performance levels while reducing engine displacement and improving EPA fuel economy."
http://www.caranddriver.com/features/to ... on-feature

“The reason we changed to turbocharging is fuel efficiency, and that’s all. Turbocharging might be more complicated, but the naturally aspirated engines they are replacing in our cars were not exactly uncomplicated engines..."
http://blog.caranddriver.com/the-grim-f ... e-winning/

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by rgs92 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:52 pm


Jack FFR1846
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:58 pm

As a very general rule, 2 cars of the same manufacturer....one with a smaller turbo charged engine will tend to be less reliable over time than a similar car with a larger, normally aspirated engine. In my case, back in 1998, I chose to buy an Audi 2.8 V6 rather than the 1.8 I4 turbo. Emissions and mpg are getting harder to keep within requirements so a lot of cars, as mentioned have gone to turbocharged smaller engines and also direct injected engines. Both make the car less reliable over time.
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researcher
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by researcher » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:14 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:As a very general rule, 2 cars of the same manufacturer....one with a smaller turbo charged engine will tend to be less reliable over time than a similar car with a larger, normally aspirated engine.
Can you please cite published sources to back up this claim?

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mrc
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by mrc » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:27 pm

You can look up reliability and problem reports for make/mode/year on http://www.truedelta.com. You must login to see search results and details. I joined the site and report repair data on my vehicles in exchange for access to the site's information. There is no membership fee.
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tcassette
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by tcassette » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:38 pm

Turbocharged engines use the exhaust gases to spin a turbine at very high speeds in order to force more air into the engine. Sometimes premium gasoline is required or recommended because of higher compression. Even though most turbocharger bearings are cooled with the engine coolant, there is still a lot of heat generated and therefore higher quality (e.g., synthetic) lubricating oil is required. Underhood temperatures probably run a bit higher as well. Finally, force-feeding the air-fuel mixture to an engine to produce more power results in more stress on the engine. How this translates to reliability is probably brand-specific.

When I had a turbocharged car many years ago, I always let it idle a bit before shutting down the engine so some of the heat could be dissipated. That, and oil changes every 5000 miles with high-quality oil, provided a trouble-free engine.

On the plus side, a turbocharged engine should weigh less than a larger non-turbocharged engine with similar power. Under steady crusing conditions, the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine should be much better than 6-cylinder non-turbocharged engine with similar power. However, many turbocharged engines make the most power at higher rpms; thus, many drivers are heavy on the gas pedal and the fuel mileage suffers even though the EPA ratings are relatively high.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by inbox788 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:46 pm

Instead, Honda will make do with the 1.5-liter turbocharged four already under the hood of the 10th-generation Civic and the fifth-generation Honda CR-V. As an upgrade, Honda will offer the 2.0-liter turbocharged unit from the 2018 Honda Civic Type R. In both cases, Honda has not yet revealed the power output. Honda will continue with an Accord Hybrid, as well.

But the V6 is a goner.

The outgoing Honda Accord’s optional V6 engine was a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter with 252 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy, according to the EPA, measured 21 miles per gallon in the city; 33 highway with the six-speed automatic.

In the all-new Accord that Honda says will debut later this year, the basic 1.5T — a non-VTEC powerplant — will be linked to either the continuously variable transmission or a six-speed manual. The 2.0T, on the other hand, will be offered with both a 10-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.

Honda says only about 10 percent of Accord buyers were choosing the V6.
2018 Honda Accord Kills the V6, Adds Type R Engine
http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2017 ... ngine.html

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by lazydavid » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:21 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:As a very general rule, 2 cars of the same manufacturer....one with a smaller turbo charged engine will tend to be less reliable over time than a similar car with a larger, normally aspirated engine. In my case, back in 1998, I chose to buy an Audi 2.8 V6 rather than the 1.8 I4 turbo.
That was a bad call. The 2.8 is a decent enough engine, but the 1.8T is one of the best engines made in the last 30 years, and has been on Ward's 10 best engines list nearly every year since its introduction.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by prudent » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:35 pm

Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by alfaspider » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:46 pm

tcassette wrote:
When I had a turbocharged car many years ago, I always let it idle a bit before shutting down the engine so some of the heat could be dissipated. That, and oil changes every 5000 miles with high-quality oil, provided a trouble-free engine.
The need for that is greatly reduced in modern turbocharged engines. Many even have electric water pumps that continue to circulate coolant to the turbo for a period after the engine is shut down. Modern oil also reduces the need for idling before shut down as good synthetics do not "cook" onto the bearings.

In general, a lot of the turbo downsides have been eliminated by technology. It used to be that turbocharged engines had quite a bit of lag (delay between when you give it throttle and when power was delivered), and were sluggish until you hit boost because of the need to use lower compression. Direct injected motors + modern ECUs mean you can run high compression motors with a turbo (some manufacturers run as high as 11:1 today- the original Porsche 911 Turbo had to go as low as 7:1). Modern turbos also tend to last much longer than they did in the old days and spool much faster (especially twin scroll turbos). A turbocharger is an additional moving part that can go wrong. By the same token, adding cylinders also adds moving parts, so the reliability factor isn't as clear as it once was.

Turbocharged cars theoretically can get better fuel economy than a naturally aspirated motor of the same power output, but real world experience is usually not quite as good as EPA ratings. The EPA assumes you drive like grandma, which means a turbocharged motor would stay out of boost and drive like a much less powerful motor. Most people don't drive like grandma, and will get fuel economy closer to what they would get with a larger motor. My Subaru STI, which has a very heavily boosted 4cyl motor, gets worse fuel economy than a Corvette with a v8 motor of more than double the displacement.

Other ups and downs: A turbo will do better at high altitude but suffer more in hot temperatures. A turbo motor can be packaged into a smaller space than a larger NA motor of the same output, which means cars can be designed with bigger usable space relative to their overall size. Turbo motors can be more easily tuned for higher output by adjusting the amount of boost the turbo provides (a VW golf can gain over 50hp and almost 100ft/lbs of torque with nothing but a chip). Many turbos require high-octane fuel (although economy cars with turbos tend to be tuned for 87 octane these days).

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by bhsince87 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:49 pm

Many years ago, turbos were all about increasing performance for a given engine size.

Now, the benefits can be tweaked with trade offs between improved performance (power and torque), better fuel economy, lower weight, and lower emissions. Most recent usage in large volume vehicles has been optimized toward decent power, with improved fuel economy, and related emissions reductions.

Down sides are increased cost and complexity. This can in theory lead to lower reliability (i.e., "more things to go break") and higher maintenance and repair costs. Also in the past, an effect known as "turbo lag" was common, where there was a lag in time between when the accelerator is pushed and the engine increases power. However, much improvement has been made in recent years in all of these areas.

I dabbled with a few performance related turbocharged cars in the past, but never bought one. That was all about performance, and I just didn't want the extra hassles that went along with the boost back then.

However, last year I purchased an F-150 4X4 pickup with a dual turbo V6. It has more power than the older V-8 model I replaced, and no noticeable lag. In fact, I think it accelerates a bit quicker than the V8, possibly do to weight based engine and transmission lag (inertia) in the older truck.

And best of all, it gets 26 MPG on the highway, 22 city, versus 16 and 12 in my older truck! And that's on 84 octane fuel.

Reliability is still TBD for me, but the track record for similar engines over the past 5-6 years looks good.
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by investingdad » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:51 pm

tcassette wrote:Turbocharged engines use the exhaust gases to spin a turbine at very high speeds in order to force more air into the engine. Sometimes premium gasoline is required or recommended because of higher compression. Even though most turbocharger bearings are cooled with the engine coolant, there is still a lot of heat generated and therefore higher quality (e.g., synthetic) lubricating oil is required. Underhood temperatures probably run a bit higher as well. Finally, force-feeding the air-fuel mixture to an engine to produce more power results in more stress on the engine. How this translates to reliability is probably brand-specific.

When I had a turbocharged car many years ago, I always let it idle a bit before shutting down the engine so some of the heat could be dissipated. That, and oil changes every 5000 miles with high-quality oil, provided a trouble-free engine.

On the plus side, a turbocharged engine should weigh less than a larger non-turbocharged engine with similar power. Under steady crusing conditions, the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine should be much better than 6-cylinder non-turbocharged engine with similar power. However, many turbocharged engines make the most power at higher rpms; thus, many drivers are heavy on the gas pedal and the fuel mileage suffers even though the EPA ratings are relatively high.
This was a pretty good explanation of a turbo at a high level. Turbo'd engines are only less reliable if they're not designed for the higher stress from the outset...higher temp and pressure. Letting the engine idle a moment before shutting off is a good idea.

The turbocharger itself is just a small piece of equipment that bolts on next to the engine. There's typically an intercooler mounted in front of the radiator...it cools the compressed air before it goes into engine.

A turbo adds power to the car's engine...my Miata has one.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by WhiteMaxima » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:55 pm

2.0L Turbo charged DI engine paied with 6MT is super. More power and torque than previous 2.4L. And it's lighter. Honda might use 1.5L for their entry level LX model, paired with 6MT or CVT. 2.0L for their EX and Sport trim. Paied with 6MT or new 10 speed automatic. I would like to see their body styling.I I heard its wider and lower. In gerneral, thus new generation Accord would be faster and dynamic than before. I am still expecting Honda could offer AWD version similar like they used on Acura.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by TnGuy » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:10 pm

My wife has a 2013 Ford Edge w/ a 2.0 EcoBoost turbo engine. We have owned it since new and I have consistently and regularly changed the oil (using synthetic). It is currently in the shop having its turbo replaced after the wastegate valve (integral on this unit) went after only 96,000 miles. I've heard that the current second generation 2.0 EcoBoost twin-scroll turbo should have better reliability, though. I am now leery of ever getting a vehicle with one again.


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Re: Turbochargers

Post by jharkin » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:30 pm

The general mechanics of a turbo where explained above, its a turbine that uses the energy in the exhaust gas to drive a compressor that forces more air into the engine than atmospheric pressure alone would. More air allows you to burn more fuel and burning more fuel means more power.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Unlike a gear driven supercharger that uses a lot of power from the engine to provide this boost, the turbocharger does this almost "free" by using energy that is otherwise wasted out of the exhaust. In the past as mentioned they where always used just to get more power from the same size engine to get more performance, but if you take an existing car, downsize the engine and then add a turbo to get back to the original power level (as in the example of the F150 truck replacing a 5.0 V8 with a 3.5 V6 turbo) then the result is you get the same performance but burn less fuel to do it since the turbo is giving you that extra performance using "waste" power in the exhaust. The lighter wight of the smaller engine further reduces fuel consumption. (*In theory* as noticed above real world drivers who lead foot it wont see the gains)

(Note that none of this is revolutionary or new. Turbos where first developed by General Electric in the 1930s to replace multistage geared superchargers for high altitude aircraft engines and the technology was perfected in WWII. Allied air superiority in that war owed a lot to GE Turbos. Later there was a further development called turbo compounding - used on the Constellation airliner - where rather than using the turbine to compress intake air, they geared it directly to the crank. This idea has resurfaced recently in auto engineering publications and I think is being used on some long haul truck engines. For those interested in the history of turbos this is a fascinating read on early tech: http://rwebs.net/avhistory/opsman/geturbo/geturbo.htm)

A few other comments...

#1 - turbo bearings are the biggest trouble spot- they are cooled by a bath of engine oil. Turbo cars tend to have large oil coolers because of this.

#2 Modern turbos are MUCH more reliable than the units of the 70s, 80s, 90s. We have better high temp materials now, better bearings, better oil and the manufacturers have system like pumps to circulate the oil after shutdown to address the cooling issue.

#3 Turbo lag is also mostly eliminated today by better use of waste gates & blow off valves, variable geometry turbos, staged multiple turbos, etc etc.
Last edited by jharkin on Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Fletch
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Fletch » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:52 pm

My uncle flew a turbocharged P-47 at the end of WWII. Turbos have been around for quite a while. Never fear a turbo engine .... I had a 1995 Volvo turbo that went over 210K miles with zero engine problems.
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Blueskies123 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:07 pm

For me this is a simple equation. How much gas will I save in 100,000 miles and what will the be the cost to replace the T Charger in 100,000 miles. Yah, I know some of you will say they last over 100,000 miles but I am not going to be bet on it unless it is a Honda or Toyota T Charger. I wonder why they are not main stream on Toyota's and Honda's today, let me think, oh yeah, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE.
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by lazydavid » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:24 am

Blueskies123 wrote:For me this is a simple equation. How much gas will I save in 100,000 miles and what will the be the cost to replace the T Charger in 100,000 miles. Yah, I know some of you will say they last over 100,000 miles but I am not going to be bet on it unless it is a Honda or Toyota T Charger. I wonder why they are not main stream on Toyota's and Honda's today, let me think, oh yeah, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE.
This has no basis in fact. There are several Hondas with turbocharged engine, including both their highest-volume car (Civic) and their highest-volume SUV (CR-V). That's as mainstream as it gets. Lexus has turbos across the lineup, in the NX, IS, GS, RC, and their flagship LS coming later this year.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by TLC1957 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:05 am

Thanks for starting this thread.

I really want a 2017 Honda CRV EXL but I am on the fence because of the turbo. I tend to keep my vehicles for 10 years hence my concern. Only the base CRV comes with a non turbo, all others have it. I am thinking perhaps hold off untill the 2018 model comes out. But is one year enough for problems to be identified and corrected, most likely not. Does the CRV turbo have any track record in the civic, how long has it been used by Honda? I read somewhere I think that Honda does not actually mfg the turbo and uses another mfg for the engine. Perhaps another solution is to purchase an extended Honda warranty???

Thanks for the wealth of info on this topic.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by jharkin » Fri Jun 16, 2017 6:12 am

lazydavid wrote:
Blueskies123 wrote:For me this is a simple equation. How much gas will I save in 100,000 miles and what will the be the cost to replace the T Charger in 100,000 miles. Yah, I know some of you will say they last over 100,000 miles but I am not going to be bet on it unless it is a Honda or Toyota T Charger. I wonder why they are not main stream on Toyota's and Honda's today, let me think, oh yeah, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE.
This has no basis in fact. There are several Hondas with turbocharged engine, including both their highest-volume car (Civic) and their highest-volume SUV (CR-V). That's as mainstream as it gets. Lexus has turbos across the lineup, in the NX, IS, GS, RC, and their flagship LS coming later this year.

They are not found on every Honda and Toyota yet because they both had a very long lead time developing other methods to build cars that met the CAFE standards without turbo's - Building smaller/lighter cars, using technologies like variable valve timing get more power out of smaller naturally aspirated engines, introducing 5 and 6 speed manuals when American cars still had 3-4 speed autos,etc. For the same reason Mazada doesn't use turbos extensively yet (They bet on their skyactive combination of atkinson cycle engines and weight reduction) nor does Nissan (a big early bet on CVT transmissions).

The American and European manufacturers that all went overboard on powerful large SUVs and sports sedans OTOH had a big problem making a rapid course change to meet stricter CAFE, and dropping in a smaller engine with a turbo is an easier fix than re-engineering an all new platform focused on efficiency.

Honda was a world leader in fuel economy long before anyone else was even thinking aobut it - the very first Civic of the 1970's that introduced their CVCC system (a 3 valve engine with a 2 chamber combustion chamber that burned extra lean) was the most efficient car in the world during the first oil shock and put up mileage numbers that would make a modern day Prius proud (50+ on highway - my parents owned one).

http://world.honda.com/history/challeng ... index.html

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by investingdad » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:11 am

And if anyone is interested, for industrial operations where the goal is making air or gas cold....the expander side of the turbo (where the exhaust gas goes in a car application of a turbo) is what's of greatest interest. At the outlet, temperatures go down to the point where air condenses to liquid. Very large compressors are located upstream as part of the process to make it work.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Frugal Al » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:28 am

Blueskies123 wrote:For me this is a simple equation. How much gas will I save in 100,000 miles and what will the be the cost to replace the T Charger in 100,000 miles. Yah, I know some of you will say they last over 100,000 miles but I am not going to be bet on it unless it is a Honda or Toyota T Charger. I wonder why they are not main stream on Toyota's and Honda's today, let me think, oh yeah, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE.
As others have pointed out, given two engines from the same mfr, the one with the turbo will not be as reliable over the long run, period. Having said that, they have gotten reliable enough. The reliability of the modern turbo combined with the ability to finely calibrate their power management programming allows the mfrs to legally game the EPA mileage tests. Still with a light foot, they are indeed efficient,because the engine isn't very large, but power is there when needed.

Honda's current foray into turbo engines is still relatively new with limited reliability info, but I've got to think they've done their homework. If they haven't done their homework, they are truly going to tick off a lot of their customers. On the first generation Acura RDX (2007-2012), the turbos would typically need replacing as early as 70k to 80k miles. I'm not certain who the mfr of that turbo was. The current turbo on the CR-V, I believe, is made by Mitsubishi, which has a long history of manufacturing turbo systems.

I'll add that under hard acceleration the turbo CR-V combined with the CVT is NOT VERY PLEASANT: harsh, loud and droning. On the other hand, the gas mileage is impressive under normal driving. As far as the cost/benefit ratio goes, at $2.50 per gallon gas and assuming 100k turbo life and a mileage improvement of 3 mpg (compared to normally aspirated 2.5 CX-5, or even Honda's 2.4), I'd say it is about break-even, or a bit better. I have no hard figures on the expense to replace the turbo, but it looks like an easy job on the CR-V. The costs would need to include other expenses as well: plumbing, intercoolers, etc. Time will tell.
Last edited by Frugal Al on Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by emoore » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:47 am

VW has some of the most reliable turbos on the market. They have been using them for decades along with Audi. Mine has 80k miles and zero issues. VW might not be as reliable overall as Honda or Toyota but it's rare for the, to have a turbo failure.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Swansea » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:09 am

BMW's N54 engine (twin turbo chargers) has an extended warranty on the waste gates due to reliability issues. That engine first came out with the 2008 models.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Frisco Kid » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:12 am

Have owned turbocharged cars back to the 70's and drive one today. As others have said, historically turbos have been used primarily in high performance applications meaning aimed at enthusiast owners (gearheads?) that understand their nuances and need for increased maintenance. I would not suggest a turbo for anyone that will not maintain a vehicle according to the manufacturers SEVERE maintenance schedule using premium synthetic oil, matched to a CVT transmission or in a high mileage daily driver. As I commented in a post the other day, extended warranties are something to be considered on today's complex new vehicles....................

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by NHRATA01 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:13 am

Modern OEM turbos tend to be water cooled, and almost all manufacturers spec synthetic or synthetic blends for their turbo cars. It really is not necessary to leave the car idling after NORMAL driving and wasting gas. Now, if you were out having some fun, running wide open throttle, then yes I would recommend giving a couple minutes of idle time to allow the turbo to cool down a bit before shutting it off.

You will continue to see an adaptation of smaller turbocharged engines replacing larger naturally aspirated ones. 2 reasons 1) as mentioned the smaller engine off boost will turn in good EPA/CAFE numbers. Of course in boost making the power the engine is rated at, will suck down the gas much quicker. 2) a well designed turbo engine will provide more low and midrange torque in the powerband most people drive at every day vs. a similar output larger N/A engine. Examples include the newer Mazda CX9 that ditched the V6 for a slightly less powerful but improved torque curve turbo 4, and the Volvo SUV (XC90?) that has a relatively small 4 cylinder but with turbo (or turbo and supercharging). Similarly the GM 3.6 V6 in most applications makes 300-310hp, but 260ish ft*lbs at 4,000 rpms or so, whereas the corresponding 2.0T makes 260-270hp but with up to 290 ft*lbs at a much lower ~2500rpms.

OTOH my two vehicles are a 5.7 and 6.2 liter V8s so long live big cubic inches in my book :D

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by tractorguy » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:22 am

I had a Chrysler product with a turbocharger in the 80's. It was great while it lasted, gave me more power without a hit on fuel mileage. I sold it when the head gasket showed signs of leaking the second time (I had replaced it once). I've avoided turbocharged engines since then. Its not just to turbocharger that can fail, the engine and the rest of the powertrain all the way down to the drive wheels are stressed higher.

I think its likely that the big car companies have worked the bugs out but so far, I've chosen to let someone else be the early adopter. Theyve been around long enough now that I wouldn't remove a turbo engine from my list of cars to look at but I'd still lean towards a naturally aspirated engine if it is available and makes the power I want. I don't drive enough that the fuel mileage benefit is enough to sell me.

I don't think this technology is being pulled by the consumer. It is being pushed by the manufacturers as a way to lower their corporate mileage numbers and avoid capital investment. The benefit of a turbocharger on EPA (as opposed to real world) mileage numbers has already been talked about in this thread. Another factor is the fact that any time a manufacturer can avoid the investment in tooling up an engine manufacturing line, they will. For high volume production, an engine line is multi millions to set up. A turbocharger option allows the manufacturer to tool up one engine assembly operation (typically a 4 cylinder) and just have an option to bolt a turbo on it. To get the same range of power options with a naturally aspirated engine, the manufacturer has to design and tool up for 6 and possibly 8 cylinder variants as well. These tend to be lower volume (which drives the cost/engine up). With a turbocharger option, the manufacturers can add the high power premium price to the sticker of the car without paying nearly as much for the engine option themselves. This leads to more profit for them or allows them to compete better with their competitors who are offering the high power engine option at a lower price than they can sell a bigger engine for.
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by saltycaper » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:46 am

lazydavid wrote:
The 2.8 is a decent enough engine, but the 1.8T is one of the best engines made in the last 30 years, and has been on Ward's 10 best engines list nearly every year since its introduction.
Had a 1.8T in a VW. So much fun. Did have to plan for turbo lag when merging on the highway and such. Will forever miss that car, even though it frequented the shop. Not sure how to measure "best". Great while it lasts? Or, the engine still runs, but all the ancillary components have failed? :P I went through car batteries like crazy. Maybe due to the pump that ran after turning off the car? Or maybe electrical gremlins. The engine seemed to run hot as heck too. Idling in traffic in 90-plus-degree weather was a big no-no. Temp gauge would shoot up quickly. No identifiable problem. Chewed through lots of rubber hosing too. Got rid of it when gaskets started to go. All-in-all, kinda turned me off from considering turbo-charged engines when looking for a reliable daily driver. It was a VW though, so there's that.
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by mrc » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:28 am

My '04 Ford Powerstroke (6.0L turbo diesel) has had one problem with the engine: a turbocharger fail. Fortunately, it was early on and covered by warranty. It seems like avoiding/choosing a particular engine style because of past poor/stellar repair history is a lot like avoiding certain mutual funds because of their historical returns. If you can avoid a premium grade fuel, and a higher up-front cost, a smaller turbo engine shouldn't be a concern.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

iamlucky13
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by iamlucky13 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:45 pm

investingdad wrote:This was a pretty good explanation of a turbo at a high level. Turbo'd engines are only less reliable if they're not designed for the higher stress from the outset...higher temp and pressure. Letting the engine idle a moment before shutting off is a good idea.
Every technology and material available to make turbo-charged cars more reliable is available to make naturally aspirated cars more reliable, too, so it comes down to the manufacturer taking the diligence in either case to engineer the vehicle appropriately to the intended service life.

Turbochargers do add more opportunities for problems to arise though, related to the higher cylinder pressures and operation in one of the more challenging environments in the vehicle, as exhaust gases are both high temperature and slightly corrosive. It's pretty reasonable to expect problems to be more likely in the more challenging case, especially as the industry works through the learning curve of building them in high volumes cost-effectively.

If all else is equal, I'd be inclined toward a non-turbo car preferentially over a turbocharged model.

But since they're probably not equal, my preference would tend to shift towards the turbocharged model if it can provide about 10% better efficiency, or maybe a bit less.

To loosely substantiate that 10% ballpark number - a car rated for 33 mpg would save about 450 gallons of fuel over 150,000 miles. At current prices, that's about $1100 savings. That's more than the cost of a typical turbo rebuild, although probably less than the cost of a full turbo replacement. A head gasket replacement is in a similar cost ballpark. The need to perform any of those is not guaranteed, so it seems pretty reasonable to accept a risk of maintenance costs that might exceed fuel savings because the elevated maintenance costs should be less likely than the fuel savings.

The cost savings advantage is eroded a bit if turbo'd engine requires higher octane fuel, but it looks like a lot of ordinary daily drivers getting small displacement turbos are able to stick with regular fuel.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Wakefield1 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:21 pm

I am amazed at the number of turbocharged gasoline engine cars in the current Consumer Reports car issue.
Sorry to see that the excellent Honda Accord V6 (not turbocharged) is going away.
I agree with the posters who say that turbos increase complexity and likely make the car potentially more expensive to operate over many years. Does increase the "zip" of the engines once the lag is accounted for. I believe some of the fast acceleration times recorded for cars in the car magazines are produced by (with automatic transmission cars) holding the brakes hard while the gas pedal is pressed,then when the signal to launch and begin the timed acceleration is received,the driver releases the brake. Not very practical or useful in real world driving. That technique would overlook the turbo lag.
If the objective of having the fastest quarter mile time or highest top speed is important then perhaps the turbocharger is worth it on the gasoline engine. I have been under the impression that Diesel engine turbocharging has fewer problems than Gasoline engine turbocharging-doesn't have the detonation problem?-and that the power and hill climbing ability of heavy trucks is greatly increased. I think almost all turbocharger set ups on Diesel truck engines have "aftercoolers" or "intercoolers" between the (pressurized) fresh air output of the turbo and the intake ports of the engine. A heat exchanger usually mounted in front of the truck's main engine cooling radiator and looking something like a radiator.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Wakefield1 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:34 pm

I am skeptical of the idea that turbocharged gasoline engines can now be built with the same high compression ratios as can be used on non-turbocharged/non-supercharged gasoline engines (assuming operation at sea level atmospheric pressure conditions),if the engine in order to preserve reliability with the turbo on it has to be built with a lowered compression ratio,then it would seem to me to negate some of the desired fuel efficiency gain.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by chuckb84 » Fri Jun 16, 2017 7:11 pm

We had two turbocharged Saabs, a 1986 900T and a 1990 9000T (if I'm remembering correctly, it has been a while!). I bought both of these cars used for very low prices and each one had about 70,000 miles when I bought them. Many friends at work told me "A turbo? A USED turbo? Oh, boy, you're in for it."

Not at all. ZERO turbo problems. Both cars had 2 liter 4 cylinder engines, both cars, which were mid-size to full-size sedans, delivered 30 mpg on the highway and had plenty of pep when the turbo kicked in. The 9000T especially, which had an intercooler (the 900T did not), would transport a family of 4 in comfort and was a blast to drive. Both cars lasted to nearly 200,000 miles and finally selling them had nothing to do with any turbo (or other engine) issues.

The Saabs lived up to their reputation as "quirky" in many other ways, but never any trouble with the turbos. I ran Mobile 1 in both cars and never went from sustained full turbo boost to dead stop and turning off the engine immediately after that. Otherwise, I just drove them, and they were fun to drive! They were enthusiast cars, with a boost gauge on the turbo, and it was fun to learn to deal with the slight turbo lag when passing another car by hitting the gas a little to spin up the turbo before really punching it to bring up full boost. I don't think turbo cars have boost gauges anymore(?), but it was fun at the time.

Nowadays, I think a turbo is just another routine component. Do you worry about variable valve timing? No reason to worry about a turbo either.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by lazydavid » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:14 am

Wakefield1 wrote:I have been under the impression that Diesel engine turbocharging has fewer problems than Gasoline engine turbocharging-doesn't have the detonation problem?-and that the power and hill climbing ability of heavy trucks is greatly increased. I think almost all turbocharger set ups on Diesel truck engines have "aftercoolers" or "intercoolers" between the (pressurized) fresh air output of the turbo and the intake ports of the engine. A heat exchanger usually mounted in front of the truck's main engine cooling radiator and looking something like a radiator.
Diesels have indeed been turbocharged for ages. Given that they are compression ignition and always run rich, a turbo is almost a requirement, in order to get the necessary amount of air into the chamber for proper combustion. It also helps dramatically with emissions, again because they run rich. A non-turbo diesel at high elevation produces very little power and LOTS of sooty black smoke.

Intercoolers aren't unique to diesels though. Nearly all turbocharged vehicles have one, as it increases both power and efficiency.

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jharkin
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by jharkin » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:25 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
investingdad wrote:This was a pretty good explanation of a turbo at a high level. Turbo'd engines are only less reliable if they're not designed for the higher stress from the outset...higher temp and pressure. Letting the engine idle a moment before shutting off is a good idea.
Every technology and material available to make turbo-charged cars more reliable is available to make naturally aspirated cars more reliable, too, so it comes down to the manufacturer taking the diligence in either case to engineer the vehicle appropriately to the intended service life.

Turbochargers do add more opportunities for problems to arise though, related to the higher cylinder pressures and operation in one of the more challenging environments in the vehicle, as exhaust gases are both high temperature and slightly corrosive. It's pretty reasonable to expect problems to be more likely in the more challenging case, especially as the industry works through the learning curve of building them in high volumes cost-effectively.
Yes and no. Turbochargers do create higher cylinder pressures, the same way that a higher static compression ratio does... but that's only one failure type and its one that is easy to solve - diesel engines have run peak cylinder pressures far higher than even the most boosted gasoline engine for over 100 years.

The more common failure with turbo cars was the turbo itself. You have an impeller spinning at 100,000 rpm subjected to 1000F+ exhaust heat and corrosive gases. Usually it was the bearings in the turbo that failed. That's where a lot of the improvements have been made, and the engine block and piston/crank rotating assembly is not subjected to those same conditions.
Wakefield1 wrote:I am amazed at the number of turbocharged gasoline engine cars in the current Consumer Reports car issue.
Sorry to see that the excellent Honda Accord V6 (not turbocharged) is going away.
I agree with the posters who say that turbos increase complexity and likely make the car potentially more expensive to operate over many years. Does increase the "zip" of the engines once the lag is accounted for. I believe some of the fast acceleration times recorded for cars in the car magazines are produced by (with automatic transmission cars) holding the brakes hard while the gas pedal is pressed,then when the signal to launch and begin the timed acceleration is received,the driver releases the brake. Not very practical or useful in real world driving. That technique would overlook the turbo lag.
Somebody mentioned above - only 10% of Accord buyers choose the V6. The truth is the v6 was only good for 0-60 bragging rights, in every other way is made the car worse to drive - heavier handling overall, more oversteer, longer braking distances. The 4 cylinder with the 6sp manual could likely beat it on a twisty track with a competent driver.

All car magazine 0-60 times are with a launch. You do the same on a manual by dropping the clutch at 3k rpm. Thats why car magazine reviews give second metric : 5-60 time. This matches real world driving better. And again, 0-60 time alone is really only of interest to drag racing.
Wakefield1 wrote: I have been under the impression that Diesel engine turbocharging has fewer problems than Gasoline engine turbocharging-doesn't have the detonation problem?-and that the power and hill climbing ability of heavy trucks is greatly increased. I think almost all turbocharger set ups on Diesel truck engines have "aftercoolers" or "intercoolers" between the (pressurized) fresh air output of the turbo and the intake ports of the engine. A heat exchanger usually mounted in front of the truck's main engine cooling radiator and looking something like a radiator.
Detonation is not a problem on diesels because they ignite by detonation all the time. Diesels are compression igntion engines, they compress the air to very high pressures (using compression ratios of 20:1 or more) which causes it to get so hot that the fuel ignites spontaneously as soon as its injected. For this reason ALL diesels are direct injection, always have been going back to the first ones in the 1920s (another tech that's not "new") - this is why DI gasoline cars sound like a diesel at idle.

Aftercoolers and intercoolers have been used on both turbo diesels and turbo gas engines since before WWII. They are effectively the same thing but the the strict usage of the terms is its called an aftercooler if it cools the air after leaving the turo/supercharger and before entering the engine, and its called an intercooler if there are multiple compression stages (like dual turbos or turbo+supercharger ) and its placed between the stages. Most coolers on single turbo cars are technically aftercoolers but most automotive marketing literature still call them intercoolers because people are more familiar with the term.
Last edited by jharkin on Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

MnD
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by MnD » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:40 am

We keep our vehicles for 12-18 years so this trend is a concern.
For the kids we bought or passed down older subarus and with careful maintenance you can get 200K or more miles out of them.
Denver is full of 200X model year subaru's with typically over 200K miles HOWEVER you will find almost zero of the older subaru turbo models on the road. The turbo fails and it basically totals the older vehicle - not economic at that point to repair.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by jharkin » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:41 am

Wakefield1 wrote:I am skeptical of the idea that turbocharged gasoline engines can now be built with the same high compression ratios as can be used on non-turbocharged/non-supercharged gasoline engines (assuming operation at sea level atmospheric pressure conditions),if the engine in order to preserve reliability with the turbo on it has to be built with a lowered compression ratio,then it would seem to me to negate some of the desired fuel efficiency gain.
But they are dong it. Typical compression ratios for NA gas engines that ran regular unleaded before all the modern electronic tricks to compensate for detonation would be limited to what, around 7-8:1 CR? you could go up to 10, 11 or 12:1 on high test. Now we have cars approaching 11:1 made to run regular gas with creative programming using the knock sensor and ignition maps to compensate.

In the old days the turbo car would start with an even lower CR (say 5-6:1) so that under boost it acted like a 11:1 car and could run premium gas and not detonate. Well now that add turbos to a car that was already 10:1 and run even higher CRs. the challenge is just in managing detonation and knock as handling the high pressures is easy (like we have been saying diesels have managed 18:1, 20:1, 25:1 and higher for almost a century - we have the materials to do it).

lazydavid wrote:
Diesels have indeed been turbocharged for ages. Given that they are compression ignition and always run rich, a turbo is almost a requirement, in order to get the necessary amount of air into the chamber for proper combustion. It also helps dramatically with emissions, again because they run rich. A non-turbo diesel at high elevation produces very little power and LOTS of sooty black smoke.
Diesels always run LEAN, not rich. An diesel running over rich is just wasting fuel and created the thick black soot that you see on a tractor pull and those idiots who modify their trucks to "roll coal"

Diesels are compression ignition. There is no throttle, the intake is just wide open and they use direct injection and the "gas pedal" varies the fuel flow thought the injectors to "throttle" the engine. So at full throttle they are ideally running at the ideal stochimetric ratio to just a tiny little bit rich, and at idle they run very over lean - this is why NOx emissions are so much worse on diesels than cars and they have to use things like urea injection for emissions control.

Turbo is not at all a requirement on diesels, but because they have no throttle plate, no intake restriction, the engine is more effectively able to make use of the benefits of turbochargers. Since most diesels have narrower effective RPM range (your typical diesel Mack truck idles at 200-500rpm and redlines at 2,000, vs a car that might have a range of 700-7,000 or 10,000) its easier to build a turbo that spools up right off idle and doesn't run out of boost at high revs. So less need for tricks like multi turbos (a small one for low rev and a big one for high rev), wastegates (to keep the turbo spinning when you let off the gas in gear changes) and blowoff valves (to let off excess boost at high rev if ht turbo is sized for low rpm power).

Then there is the subject of marine two stroke diesels... those are something else all together and absolutely need turbos to run. But we could write a whole page on those and they have little to do with cars....

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by keaton » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:24 pm

Almost all of my vehicles have been turbo, from old Mercedes turbo diesels, to 5cyl Volvos, TDIs and plenty of Audi 1.8t & 2.0t. I find them easily tuneable, more engine room, good performance to fuel economy and so forth. I have had turbos last north of 300k miles, and only ever replaced one turbo on dozens of vehicles, which was when I was young and found it wasn't the turbo after all.

So much better doing a timing belt on a straight 4,5 or 6 cyl over a NA V6 or V8. Along with any cylinder head work, as I would rather have one to deal with then two. If you have ever worked on a Subarus engine you would NEVER own one, worst engine layout ever!

BUT!!! It all depends on year make and model, for example, you wouldn't want to buy an older Audi S4 with twin K03 turbos. The K03 turbos are a known poorly made unit.

These days emissions parts are the biggest consumer issue with realiablity. Diesel exhaust fluid systems, lare exhaust pariticle filters, intake flappers, secondary air injection systems, and the last goes on!

My philosophy, is never buy a new generation vehicle, always a few years into the generation to find the kinks and get a used parts stockpile in the world!...

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by onourway » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:31 pm

I have two older turbocharged Volvo's - both nearing 20 years in age - one with ~130k on the original turbo, the other with ~210k, and that one has been run at 50% more than factory boost for the last 100k miles. No problems in either car. If the turbo were to have a problem, they can be rebuilt for a couple hundred dollars and replaced in less than 2 hours.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:50 pm

Pro: Spooling up the turbo in a tunnel or on a bridge and listening to the sweet sound.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by keaton » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:29 pm

onourway wrote:I have two older turbocharged Volvo's - both nearing 20 years in age - one with ~130k on the original turbo, the other with ~210k, and that one has been run at 50% more than factory boost for the last 100k miles. No problems in either car. If the turbo were to have a problem, they can be rebuilt for a couple hundred dollars and replaced in less than 2 hours.
850s and V70s? My favortive Volvo I've had was a 98 V70 T5 manual (very rare) and an S60 T5 6spd, but I've had lots of Volvos.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by MOBY DICK » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:11 pm

Oh yeah... just one more thing... PREMIUM FUEL ONLY.

keaton
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Re: Turbochargers

Post by keaton » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:31 pm

MOBY DICK wrote:Oh yeah... just one more thing... PREMIUM FUEL ONLY.
All depends on the vehicle and tempature, as I could run regular in the winter on the Volvos without issue. Yet on my tuned Audi 2.0T requires 93 octane or I get pinging under load. It's case by case really...

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by onourway » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:48 pm

keaton wrote: 850s and V70s? My favortive Volvo I've had was a 98 V70 T5 manual (very rare) and an S60 T5 6spd, but I've had lots of Volvos.
Yes, one 855 and one V70. Love them both, but love the 855 T5 more. :)

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by emoore » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:01 pm

MnD wrote:We keep our vehicles for 12-18 years so this trend is a concern.
For the kids we bought or passed down older subarus and with careful maintenance you can get 200K or more miles out of them.
Denver is full of 200X model year subaru's with typically over 200K miles HOWEVER you will find almost zero of the older subaru turbo models on the road. The turbo fails and it basically totals the older vehicle - not economic at that point to repair.
Not true. Just look how many WRX subarus are around denver. All over the place. Those are all turbo charged. This thread reminds me of all the anti Prius people that said all the batteries are going to fail at 80k miles. It didn't happen. Just like tons of turbo failures haven't happened.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by Big Dog » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:25 pm

For me this is a simple equation. How much gas will I save in 100,000 miles and what will the be the cost to replace the T Charger in 100,000 miles. Yah, I know some of you will say they last over 100,000 miles but I am not going to be bet on it unless it is a Honda or Toyota T Charger. I wonder why they are not main stream on Toyota's and Honda's today, let me think, oh yeah, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE.
Just got back from a road trip in our '89 Volvo 740 turbo. 175k miles, and still going.... :P

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by rxtra8 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:48 pm

My personal driver is a 2008 Mazda Speed3; turbocharged, intercooler, 2.3 liter with 263hp and 280 or so ft/lb of torque. At 90,000 miles and no issues other than the fact that its quickness can get you in trouble. Yes, it uses premium and gas mileage is nothing to write home about. But I did not buy if for that reason. So far very reliable, inexpensive to own and lots of fun; I would really miss the power and great torque from low rpms. I would only sell it because the wife cannot drive a 6 speed manual transmission; don't plan on it though.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by keaton » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:58 pm

Blueskies123 wrote:For me this is a simple equation. How much gas will I save in 100,000 miles and what will the be the cost to replace the T Charger in 100,000 miles. Yah, I know some of you will say they last over 100,000 miles but I am not going to be bet on it unless it is a Honda or Toyota T Charger. I wonder why they are not main stream on Toyota's and Honda's today, let me think, oh yeah, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT RELIABLE.
Ive been working on vehicles for a very long time and I have to STRONGLY disagree with that statement.

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Re: Turbochargers

Post by poker27 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 6:09 pm

rxtra8 wrote:My personal driver is a 2008 Mazda Speed3; turbocharged, intercooler, 2.3 liter with 263hp and 280 or so ft/lb of torque. At 90,000 miles and no issues other than the fact that its quickness can get you in trouble. Yes, it uses premium and gas mileage is nothing to write home about. But I did not buy if for that reason. So far very reliable, inexpensive to own and lots of fun; I would really miss the power and great torque from low rpms. I would only sell it because the wife cannot drive a 6 speed manual transmission; don't plan on it though.
I own a mazdaspeed 6 :sharebeer

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