Archive for autoparts

3″ Exhaust Too Big for your Turbo Mini?

There seems to be a cyclical debate about 3″ exhaust on the 1.6L Mini Turbo cars being too big, or too heavy, or not “Needed”.  My favorite argument is “its not needed so why do it?”  That could be said about any aftermarket part.  None of these things are needed so why do it at all!  Simple, people want to have more fun with their cars, which involves tinkering, customizing, making more HP and making the car handle better.  In a world where people do the tiniest things to get a few extra HP, it should be obvious why you would want a 3″ system for the R56 over a 2.5″ system.

Proven Wheel HP from 3.0″

Of all the things I see on the fourms, the one comment that stuck out was, “3in may make more HP, but there is a point of diminishing returns.”  I 100% agree, and for sure this is the case, but the point of diminishing returns is where?  All I see are people guessing, people saying “I heard this or that”, “Well this tuner SAYS 2.5″ is best”, but again ZERO proof of this.   We feel the answer to that question is 3″ for virtually any turbo car.  How can we say this? Simple, experience.


Here is a dyno graph showing our 3″ dual cat system ran on our otherwise stock JCW and MCS.

First off, we are dealing with turbocharged cars not normally aspirated. So the rules of sizing really get thrown out the door.  Its a given in the forced induction world that bigger is better.  Read any book about turbo vehicles, they say if it fits and its not too loud put on a biggest size you can afford.  Turbos don’t want back pressure as this slows the turbos response.   Because turbo cars have lower compression, the sooner you get it making boost the sooner you have torque, the more torque at a given RPM means more HP.  For the last 10 years we have seen this over and over again, and today continues to be a rule of thumb.

We have actually done a test on 2.25″, 2.5″ and 3″ exhausts on a 1.6L forced induction engine.  We did dyno testing on our R53 with 15% SC pulley comparing stock to threes sizes.  The 2.25″ exhaust made about 3-5WHP, the 2.5″ system made about 10WHP, and the 3″ made about 12-13 WHP.  On this car we opted to push normal customers to the 2.5″ system because of sound more than anything. These cars are much louder than the R56 because there is no turbo in the exhaust killing some of the sound.   Keep in mind that during these tests, the boost on this engine was only 10psi at 3000RPM and 14psi at 6800, making only 190WHP.   On the R56, we are running 18-ish peak boost at 2000 and 16 or more at 6500 making around 220WHP. The turbo cars are making 50-80 more WHP at 4000 than the SC cars.  More HP means more airflow.

If the 2.5″ theoretical exhaust system is good enough, then why do we still gain more HP on cars removing a high flow 3″ cats from our 3″ exhaust system? Simple there is still a slight restriction on our 3″ (too big) turboback exhausts using two high flow cats.  When the JCW R56 came out we had customers asking for a single cat exhaust for them and of course some dyno numbers to see how much better it is.   You can see below the results we found.  Keep in mind this is showing the ALTA 3″ Turboback dual cat system versus the ALTA turboback single cat system.

This above graph was done on our JCW with intercooler and intake installed. We did nothing but swap out one of two cats for a straight pipe.

Lets take a fabricators approach.  Company X has been making exhaust for normally aspirated Euro cars for a long time. Now this new turbo Mini comes out and they are not tooled up for 3″.  The 3″ 304 SS tubing is about 25% more expensive than 2.5″ 304SS tubing.  Also its a big step up to be able to bend 3″ over 2.5″, this could require a new machine or new tooling.  Welding on flanges takes more time as there is 20-ish% more welding to be done.  The system needs to be finished somehow, and with 20% more surface area, you might have 20% more time wrapped up in finishing it.  Now add to that the overall system weighs more an cost more to ship materials from place to place.  All these things add up to more that just a couple of dollars.  Since its easier and cost less, the choice must be made to make a more affordable system, or make a higher performing system.

Lets take the “Engineers” approach to this for a second.  We always get told (by engineers) that the engineers designed this car perfect for the HP it makes.  So if the stock exhaust was perfectly designed for this engine making around 160 Wheel HP stock, then shouldn’t a 2.5″ system (13% bigger by internal volume) only be suited for 13% more airflow/horsepower??  So that means they are only good on cars up to 180 WHP?   So then a 3″ system (65% bigger internal volume) is necessary to hit the 220+WHP we typically get from MCS??   So if it was designed perfect then why do we gain more HP from installing bigger exhausts?   If the OEM exhaust is way undersized (proven by our 10+WHP gains) are you saying an exhaust only 13% bigger is good enough?  You can see how those arguments look silly to us.

3″ Is Too Heavy

We hear its too heavy going to a 3″ system. Lets use the stock JCW catback exhaust as an example. This system connects at the factory downpipe and is one really long single piece that weighs 31.2lbs. The ALTA JCW catback (AKA downpipe back system) weighs in at 34lbs. So adding 2.8lbs is too heavy? If we made our system in 2.5″ tubing for a weight savings we would only loose 3.6lbs. So is that still too heavy?

Turbo is Only 2.5″ So Why Make It Bigger?

The other argument we hear is, the outlet on the turbo is only 2.5″ so why make it bigger.  Using that argument, then why make it any bigger than 2″ as the turbine wheel is smaller than 2″??  Same goes for the turbo inlet or outlet. Why make any part of the system bigger?  Yet we see making a bigger intakes, bigger boost tubes and of course bigger exhaust all make HP. These rules just don’t apply.

I don’t understand why so many customers out there that just don’t believe us. On one hand, we constantly see competitors being shot down because they do not have dyno results. Since 2005 we have been providing all our Mini customers with dyno graphs backing up claims we make, yet still its not good enough.

We are all here because we want more power and to have more fun with our cars.  We all want that little edge over the other guy, so even if you don’t want to believe us, you at least should understand that 3″ will make more power. Even if its a tiny amount, its a more than the guy with the 2.5″ system.   If we can offer you a system that makes more HP, quiet enough to keep you happy and at a reasonable price, then why not buy it?

By far the Mini customer has been the toughest customer to please over the years, but also the most rewarding.  We feel like we have an opportunity to teach Mini customers about new things make the very happy.  Everyday we make more and more customers happy.  Everyday we get customers that call us thanking us for continuing to stick to our guns and have the constructive online conversations.  It shows how solid we are planted in the Mini world and that we know what we are talking about.

In these discussions,  we keep talking about our downpipe yet it has been discontinued.  We made this decision a while back because there is no way to keep it form throwing a Check engine light on stock cars.   After we discontinued the part, we have been getting lots of people asking about it.  It could be because customers cars are finally coming off of warranty are looking for these once again.  If you are interested in buying this from us, please let us know!  If we get enough people asking we will offer this once again.

ALTA Billet 56 Turbo Upgrade

Until now, there have have not been many options for upgraded turbos. The newest and best option for a turbo upgrade is the new ALTA Billet 56 MCS Turbo. This has the benefits of the stock turbo in that it bolts on with no additional parts or modifications to parts. It makes more HP than the JCW turbo (roughly 15% more), the responsiveness is very similar to the JCW turbo, while costing only slightly more. The question is “Is the added cost worth the difference? The ALTA Billet 56 MCS turbo will flow about 30 more HP than the JCW turbo and with almost the same response. Meaning it will not have the typical trade off of response for power.

To give you an idea how these all stack up:

Turbo                                        Air Flow lbs-min       Est. Engine HP        Wheel HP seen

Stock MCS Turbo                            21 lbs-min                 210 HP                       210WHP

Stock JCW Turbo                            25 lbs-min                 250HP                        240WHP

ALTA Billet 56 Turbo                       28 lbs-min                 280HP                        ???

Garrett GT2560R Turbo                  30 lbs-min                 300HP                        280WHP


Remember bigger is not always better.  When we tested out GT2560 kit the one thing that was missing is the super responsiveness of the OEM turbo.  That is something we felt customers would not like even if it meant more HP.  When testing and tuning the ALTA Billet 56 MCS Turbo this was one of the most important features it needed to have.  We knew that it had the potential to make plenty of power, but if that meant the turbo wouldn’t reach full boost until 3000-4000 RPM(Tuned MCS reach full boost by 2200), then we felt this would NOT be a good trade off.

Above is a picture showing the boost response of our old GT2560R kit. What you can’t see here is the off boost TQ and power is gone until 3000.

Well as you can see from the pics below, turbo response is not an issue at all!


Test Case #1 our 2010 MCS Manual

This car started life as a Stage 3 setup (3″ Turboback Exhaust, Larger Intercooler and ALTA AccessPORT), and now in its Stage 4 form, we started to really pushing!  Going into this we knew that limits of the MCS MAP sensors could be an issue, and it was.  Even with us being limited to 20psi, its still a huge improvement!  This is JCW power but with more power up top!


Below is a comparison of a local customers JCW we tuned a while back and the ALTA Billet 56 Turbo.  For all intensive purposes, its the same until 5500 where the larger turbo starts to make some big power!


Look for future results with new MAP sensors on the MCS and then results on the JCW!

I know there are guys going, “why did this take so long for these kind of results to come out?”  That is easy engine management!  New Mini owners are never going to know the difference as they will have all these new choices to make. Old Minis owners have been sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for something new to do to their car!  With the release of the ALTA AccessPORT and its ability to tune Minis, and the growing group of tuners throughout the USA, custom dyno tunes, big turbos, and methanol injection systems finally being installed, Mini owners will no longer feel like they are held back.

Turbo Stats and comparisons:

Compressor Wheel comparison

-ALTA Billet 56 Wheel           56mm exducer with 59.32mm extended tips.

43.3mm Inducer size.  Rated at 28lbs/min

-K03 compressor wheel from MCS        50mm exducer with 53.77mm extended tips

37.8mm inducer size  Rated at 20-21lbs/min

K04-S4 compressor wheel       50mm exducer

39.77 inducer Rated at 23lb-min

Inducer is the smaller leading edge of the compressor wheel and exducer is the larger side of the compressor wheel.

Here is a picture showing the MCS compressor wheel next to the ALTA Billet 56 wheel.


Turbine Wheel Comparison

-ALTA Billet 56 Turbine wheel 50mm major exducer , 42mm exducer.

-JCW Turbine Wheel 45mm major exducer, 40.5mm Exducer

-MCS Turbine Wheel 45mm major exducer, 40.5mm Exducer

Here is a shot of the ALTA turbine wheel machined into the exhaust housing.



Compressor Map Comparisons

There is a lot  to understand about a compessor map, but in simple terms it shows how efficient the compressor is at different air flows.  You can see how in the middle of the map the turbo is most efficient which means it pumping out cooler air.  For those who know what you are looking at below are the compressor maps that represent the turbos above.

At 65% eff, this map represents the ALTA Billet 56 compressor.  This is roughly 27.8 lb-min at .21kg/sec, call it 280 engine HP


At 64% eff, this is the JCW compressor map. This is roughly 24.7 or .187kg/sec, call it 250 engine HP.


At 65%eff this is the stock MCS turbo compressor map.  This roughly flows 21.1lbs/min or .16kg/sec, call it 210 engine HP


With this kind of data you can clearly see that the ALTA Billet 56 MCS turbo is a great choice for any MCS customer looking for more power.  That and the fact its a rather simple install anyone with normal tools and a little mechanical know how can do this install.   Look for more info very soon on pricing and availability.



Below is a 2010 MCS that started life as a Stage 3 setup (ALTA turboback, FMIC, intake and boost tube) indicated by the blue line, and then got an ALTA Billet 56 turbo installed, indicated by the green line.  You can see that there is very little change to turbo lag with this larger turbo and with a boost limit of roughly 19psi, this turbo makes huge gains in HP over the stock turbo.

The ALTA Billet 56 makes 30-40more Wheel HP, and 20-40 ft-lbs of torque more with almost no change to turbo response!



Below is a comparison between the same Stage 4 2010 MCS and a totally stock 2010 MCS.  For just over $5000, you can turn you MCS into a 250WHP monster!  The best part about the Stage 4 package is that there is no loss in turbo response anywhere in the RPM band!

The Stage 4 MCS w/ALTA Billet 56 makes 40-80 more Wheel HP, and 80-60 ft-lbs of torque more with no change to turbo response!dyno_turbo_billet56vsstckmcs


Below is a 2009 JCW that started life as a Stage 3 setup (ALTA turboback, FMIC and boost tube) indicated by the green line, and then got an ALTA Billet 56 turbo installed, indicated by the red line.  You can see that there is very little change to turbo lag with this larger turbo and with 20-40 more Wheel HP, and 20-30 ft-lbs of torque, who wouldn’t want that!



Below is a comparison between the same Stage 4 2009 JCW and a totally stock 2009 JCW.  For just over $5000, you can add 50-60 Wheel HP and 100ft-lbs of torque to your JCW.


A cool boost to turbocharger performance

Since the advent of the forced-induction engine, we have been looking for ways to get every drop of performance we can. There are many approaches to getting additional power using better intercooling, water injection, or even adding nitrous oxide. One take on a short instant burst of power is being researched by Mahle and involves providing supercooled air to an engine, which allows it to burn a leaner fuel mixture and produce more power.

The supercooling idea is not new and was examined by Ford in 1993 on the Mustang Mach III concept car, then brought up again in 2003 with the SVT F-150 Lightning concept. Ford called its system the SuperCooler; it was designed to work with any turbocharged or supercharged engine equipped with a water-to-air intercooler. The system on the Lightning concept used a small tank of antifreeze that was hooked up to the truck air conditioning compressor. The air conditioning compressor cooled the antifreeze down to about 30 degrees. The other side of the tank was hooked up to the air-to-water intercooler, which usually had a temperature over 100 degrees. Once the antifreeze was circulated from the tank into the intercooler, it would lower the intercooler temperature and provide for a cooler, denser air charge into the engine; the result was around 50 extra horsepower for a burst of about 30 seconds to a minute, depending on the size of the tank.

The system for the Lightning was to be offered as a $750 option and would have been targeted towards drag racers and the like, as it could be used for a run down the drag strip and then re-cooled by the time the truck was back in line. The system was fairly non-intrusive – it only weighed about 25 pounds and did not require a new compressor or intercooler. But as with many concepts, it was ultimately scrapped.

Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 1.0-liter

The technology was always stuck in the back of my mind, but with larger and more powerful engines being produced it could not find its place. With the advent of new fuel economy standards, we have seen small-displacement turbocharged engines pop up and they seem like the perfect candidate for this type of technology. Ford’s EcoBoost 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine, as used in the Fiesta and Focus, is one such candidate for this technology. It would add a negligent amount of weight but could provide a boost of 10 to 20 horsepower when needed, like merging onto the highway or catching up to traffic.

I am not the only one of this opinion, as Mahle chose a Ford Focus with the 1.0-liter engine for its research. The company reports increases in torque of up to 19% once a burst is pushed into the system. In terms of acceleration, the test vehicle can go from 18 to 30 mph about 0.7 seconds quicker than stock.

Whether the technology always stays as a proof of concept or gets moved into production, we are moving to a more fuel conscious society and will have to develop new and better ways to power our vehicles to stay ahead of the game.

Turbochargers – A Beginners FAQ

Over the coming months, we’re writing a series of posts in which we’ll be sharing some of the knowledge and experience we’ve built up over the past 40 years.

With posts covering a full range of turbo related topics, from the history of the technology and how it works, to different uses and industry applications, there’s something for everyone, from car enthusiasts to our many commercial customers.

In the first of these posts, we’ve written a short FAQ that covers some of the more basic aspects of the turbocharger. This is designed as a taster, and we’ll be covering many of these topics in more detail in future posts.

What is a turbo?

A turbocharger is a forced induction device that pushes more air into the combustion chamber of an engine which allows more fuel to be added.

A turbo draws its power from the exhaust gasses of the engine, which are used to drive a turbine, which in turn powers a compressor/air pump.

What are the benefits of using a turbo?

Suitable for a full range of automotive, marine, aviation, rail, plant and machinery applications, turbochargers are used to enable an engine to produce more power and run more efficiently.

How does it work?

The idea of a turbocharger is to increase the density of the air pulled into the each cylinder of the engine (also known as increasing volumetric efficiency).

The advantage of squeezing more air into the combustion chamber is that proportionally more fuel can also be added, which means that more power is generated from the explosions in each cylinder.

This improves the power to weight ratio of an engine, making it more efficient and powerful than a non-turbocharged (or naturally aspirated) engine of the same size.

What is the difference between a turbo and a supercharger?

Whilst a turbo utilises the exhaust gases of an engine to drive it, a supercharger is mechanically driven by the engine, usually via a belt connected to the crankshaft.

In terms of performance, turbochargers tend to be more efficient, with superchargers providing a more immediate response. (Check out this image of a turbocharger to understand its construction).

What is a twincharger?

A twincharger is an engine that utilises both a supercharger and a turbo. The idea behind twincharging is that you get the advantages of the quick response from the supercharger, and the efficiency from the turbo.

What is turbo lag?

A production turbo

Turbo lag is the hesitation or slowed throttle response experienced when driving a turbocharged vehicle, before the turbo starts to work.

It’s caused by the time it takes for the exhaust system to spin the turbine within the turbo, and for it to force more air and fuel into the engine.

Since the development of the turbo, engineers have made significant progress in reducing turbo lag through developments in design and materials.

What is a boost threshold?

Often confused with turbo lag, the boost threshold describes the minimum rpm that an engine needs to be operating at before there is enough kinetic energy in the exhaust gas to compress the air going into the engine (and for the turbo to work effectively).

Working to reduce this threshold improves throttle response and helps a turbocharger to operate at a lower rpm.

What is a twin-turbo?

As the name suggests, a twin or bi-turbo features two separate turbochargers operating in the same engine.

Working either together or in a sequence at different rpms, twin-turbos are popular in diesel engines, where their ability to combat lag comes into its own.

What is an intercooler?

Because turbochargers work by increasing the pressure of the air inside an engine, they also increase the operating temperatures. The hot exhaust gasses that serve to spin the turbine of the turbo also increase temperatures.

As air gets warmer, it expands, making it less dense, and reducing the oxygen available for combustion. In turn, this reduces the efficiency of the engine, and can also cause significant damage to the engine through ‘knocking’.

An intercooler is a device that works to cool down the intake air, helping to ensure that a turbocharged engine runs safely and at peak efficiency.

Turbo Upgrade FAQ – a guide to replacing your turbocharger

If you’re looking to maximise the power and performance of your vehicle, then changing your stock turbocharger for a bigger or better model can be an effective part of the process.

In this guide, we take a look at some of the reasons for upgrading, what you can expect to achieve, and the considerations you need to take for the process to be completed safely and in the most efficient way possible.

Before looking at this guide, you might want to look at our beginners guide to turbocharging, which offers a brief overview of how turbocharging works!

Why Upgrade?

There are a number of good reasons you might look to upgrade the turbocharger on your engines. These include:

Competition use

If you want to build a race vehicle, or take your weekday run-around to the track on your days off, then replacing the turbocharger with a better model can help provide significant improvements in terms of both responsiveness and straight-line speed.

Improved drivability

If you’re a real petrol-head or performance enthusiast, then adding a better turbo to your vehicle is a great way to push the performance, whilst improving fun, drivability and excitement.

Improved towing

There are also some practical advantages to upgrading your turbo – if you do a lot of towing or caravanning and are struggling for power then replacing your turbo can provide a great solution, giving you the additional pulling power you’re after.

When is it time to upgrade?

As you’re probably aware, the amount of power an engine generates is proportional to the amount of fuel that’s injected into each cylinder – and a turbocharger works by compressing the air, thus enabling more fuel to enter each cylinder.

A turbocharger’s maximum performance is determined by the maximum airflow it can deliver, and whilst most stock turbos do have some additional inbuilt capacity, eventually, they will reach their limit.
As your vehicle’s engine performance, fuelling levels and HP are increased through the additions of modifications such as performance remaps, air intake and exhaust improvements, the turbo will have to work harder to provide the same level of boost.

At the limit of its power, any turbo begins to lose efficiency and durability, whilst increasing the temperature of the air in the turbo and engine, causing unnecessary damage, and throttling performance.

In essence, as soon as you start seriously modifying your engine, you’re probably going to need a bigger turbo to handle the additional fuel entering your engine – one sure fire signs that your turbo isn’t big enough is constant smoke pouring from your exhaust pipe at high speeds!

How to choose the right turbo?

Choosing the right upgraded replacement turbo for your engine is a bit of an art, and requires some research.

First, you need to decide on your goals, and set a realistic power target that’s appropriate for the size of your engine. Past a certain point, the benefits of improving horsepower will be offset by compromises in efficiency, reliability and usability, so consider exactly what it is you want to use your vehicle for.

Then, it’s a case of doing some maths! To properly size your turbo, you’ll need to calculate the volume and mass of air moving through your engine, to ensure that you get a turbo capable of moving that quantity of air.

Whilst this might sound daunting, there are lots of resources online to help with this, providing you with the full range of the equations and info you need to gather.

If this seems a little too involved, then a turbocharging specialist (like one of our team members over at AET Motorsport) can help you navigate the world of compressor map reading and volumetric efficiency, and guide you through the process.

Other considerations

Once you’ve worked out the correct size turbo you need for your engine and performance goals, it all comes down to choosing the right make and model, and as with any component, turbochargers vary massively in terms of quality, performance and price:

As we’ve mentioned on our blog before (check out these posts on the risks of poor quality turbochargers andcomparing quality turbochargers with cheap imitations), it’s better and more cost effective in the long run to choose a high quality turbo from a reputable manufacturer.

Turbo driving tips – get more from your turbocharged car and protect your engine

Prevention is always better than the cure, and looking after your vehicle and keeping it well maintained is the best way to avoid costly repairs.

With more components and a more complex design, turbocharged engines are a little different to their naturally aspirated cousins – which means they benefit from a bit of special treatment when it comes to driving and everyday care.

This month, we take a look at 5 driving and maintenance tips designed to help you keep your turbocharged car in tip-top condition.

1. Oil!

Yes, we know, we bang on about oil more than anything else on this blog, but it’s for a good reason – proper oil management is the single most important aspect of turbocharger care, and will extend the lifespan of your engine!

Oil helps to lubricate the moving parts of your turbo, and your engine needs a constant supply of the right kind of high quality oil to work effectively. Check in your vehicle handbook before you purchase oil, and make sure you choose the right API quality oil for your engine.

Generally, fully synthetic oil is best, and changing oil every 5,000 miles is the best way to ensure that your turbocharger and engine doesn’t suffer from oil related problems.

More about the importance of oil.

2. Warm up your engine

Oil needs to warm up before it can effectively lubricate your engine, which means it’s a good idea to take it easy on the accelerator peddle until your car has warmed up!

This is because when you first start your car, the cold oil is at it’s thickest, which means the oil pressure needs to be higher to pump it round the engine. This puts extra pressure on the oil seals.

As the engine temperature increases, so does oil temperature. This thins the oil, enabling it to run more freely and lubricate the moving parts of your engine. Oil takes longer than engine coolant to heat up – so wait at least 10 minutes after your coolant has reached optimum temperature before putting your right foot down.

3. Cool down

Just as you need to warm up your engine, you need to let it cool down.

Extended journeys and high speed driving creates a lot of heat in your turbocharger, and if you turn off the engine whilst it’s still hot, you can cook the oil inside, leading to unnecessary build up of carbonised oil inside your turbo.

To avoid this, leave your engine running for a couple of minutes to cool down and circulate the oil before switching the ignition off.

4. Cruise carefully

It might sound simple, but the faster you accelerate and drive, the harder you push your turbo and the more stress you subject your engine to – which will reduce its lifespan.

In modern cars, turbochargers are rigorously stress tested to ensure that they can stand up to lots of driving at motorway speeds, but that doesn’t mean they are invincible.

Whilst it’s ok to open your car throttle up from time to time, when cruising, try to go light on the accelerator, using the minimum amount of force required to maintain your desired speed.

In addition to protecting your engine, this will also help you to improve your fuel efficiency.

5. Use your gears

If you’ve got a manual car, it can be tempting to rely on the power of the turbo for tasks like overtaking and driving up long hills, rather than using the gears of your vehicle as you would in a non-turbocharged vehicle…

…Don’t, that’s what your gears are for.

Driving in this way puts unnecessary strain on your turbocharger, and giving it a break and dropping down a gear when passing or climbing hills will help to prolong the life of your turbo.


It’s the snail of mystery attached to your engine.


With the wonders of forced induction, a smaller engine can create the horsepower and torque of a larger-displacement engine.

Engineering Explained goes into a bit more detail (with a lot more clarity) than that. Also, the video below briefly explains the difference between internal and external wastegates. Now that you possess this knowledge, go forth into the world and impress your automotive enthusiast friends the next time the topic of Turbos spools up.


6 TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR TURBOCHARGER It might just save you some money.


Today, almost every car is fitted with at least one turbocharger and many drivers are not aware of its existence, until failure begins to take place leaving you a nasty bill.



Below is a list of way to protect your turbocharger against premature failure, follow these simple driving tips and it’ll help you:


1.   When starting your car from cold, do not race the engine immediately from idle. Allow between 5-10 seconds for the engine oil to reach the turbocharger.

2.   Never operate the engine under full power until the engine oil has warmed thoroughly. When the lubricant is cold, it remains thick and gloopy and cannot lubricate the turbocharger effectively, until warmed and thinned.

3.   Old and tired oil cannot protect the turbocharger adequately. Therefore, do not extend the oil change interval beyond that recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

4.   Low-grade oil cannot protect the turbocharger adequately. Therefore, always use oil of not only the correct viscosity but also to the correct quality API specification (the details are noted within the vehicle handbook and also on the sides of canisters).

5.   A turbocharger works its hardest during sustained high speeds. After a long motorway drive, it is possible that a turbocharger might be glowing orangey-red hot. Shutting the engine off immediately after a long run, such as when stopping at a motorway service station, might cause severe damage, because the internal turbine will not have slowed down sufficiently, plus the extreme heat generated may not been given sufficient opportunity to dissipate. Always allow the engine to idle for at least 30 seconds, prior to switching off the ignition. If your car is equipped with ‘stop-start’ technology, disable it in this instance, should it be switchable.

6.   Never ‘blip’ the throttle, prior to switching off the ignition. This makes the turbocharger’s turbines accelerate but, when the ignition is cut, you starve the still-rotating turbine of lubricant. This can damage the bearings and increases the risk of premature failure substantially.






You already know that your engine likes to breathe, sure we all do but there are ways to make it breathe easier. One of these ways is by stuffing as much air as possible into the engine’s “throat.” You’re forcing the induction and to do that you’ll need a turbocharger. Turbochargers are like magic some say! Witchcraft happens and you go faster.

Our friends at Engineering Explained cover the basics in great detail in the video below covering not only what you shouldn’t do but also why. One of the many important parts that is often overlooked. So let Turbo Dynamics go through with you now the 5 things you should never do in a turbocharged vehicle.



Firstly, don’t run your vehicle straight away after you turn it on. Your engine needs to warm up properly, but more importantly it’s the oil in this case that needs to come to a proper operating temperature.



Secondly, make sure you don’t switch your car off right away after spirited driving. If you let everything cool down, you have consistent oil temperatures circulating through your engine components and that’s a good place to shut everything down.



Lugging your engine by travelling slowly is a bad idea, but by putting your vehicle in a higher gear you should be alright. This puts needless strain on a number of parts.



Something you may know already, don’t use lower octane fuel than what’s recommended. Most often an engine with a turbo is running at lower compression rate, it needs the higher octane fuel to prevent knocking & other issues.



When exiting a corner that is! Now this one comes down to your car’s setup and of course your driving skill. If you accelerate and it takes a bit for your turbo to spool up, you’re going to have a shot of power when you don’t want it. If you’re not pointing in the right direction & the wheel is turned, you may end up with more understeer or a little bit of oversteer when all you want is a clean line.



The new European Union emissions legislation (EU6), which is being implemented from 1st September 2015, is the latest set of standards in which vehicle manufacturers have to adhere to in an attempt to protect the environment from harmful gases. The new legislation consists of the reduction in the amount of harmful exhaust emissions, such as nitrous oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HCs and NMHC) and particulate matter (PM), which is allowed to be emitted into the atmosphere from passenger and light commercial vehicles (LCV).

EU6 states that from September all new UK sold passenger cars and LCVs under the weight of 1305kg must comply with the following rulings; diesel vehicles must reduce levels of NOx emissions to a maximum of 80mg/km ( a reduction of 100mg/kg from the current allowance of 180mg/km). The NOx limit for petrol cars will remain at 60mg/km.

In response to this a new breed of ‘super-clean’ turbocharged Euro 6 diesel cars are now becoming available in the UK – this is because the latest targets are near impossible for diesel cars to meet without the use of turbochargers. Typically, older diesel cars were considered as being ‘gas guzzlers’, and were known for producing high levels of NOx and PM – but notably diesel engines have always produced significantly lower rates of CO2 in comparison to petrol vehicles. The latest breed of new ‘super-clean’ diesel engines are now proving to be virtually as environmentally-friendly as their petrol counterparts, whilst still maintaining excellent performance outputs.

The transition from naturally aspirated engines to turbocharged engines is not only applicable to diesel engines as many manufacturers are now introducing turbochargers to their petrol ranges as well in a bid to maintain and even improve performance whilst complying with the EU6 regulations. This trend is particularly applicable when looking at the luxury German vehicle manufacturer, BMW.

For the past 18 months BMW have been transitioning their current range of models from naturally aspirated to turbocharged – and going forward, at least for the foreseeable future, all new cars produced from the existing range of models by the leading auto giants will feature turbochargers. As Auto Express pointed out in February, “You can buy a BMW today with one, two or even three turbochargers, but not with none”.

Those in the automotive industry are coining this new trend, the ‘turbocharger boom’. As turbocharger specialists, the team here at Turbo Dynamics have seen first-hand an influx in the number of turbochargers we are manufacturing for more modern cars with smaller engines.

Stuart Flanagan of Turbo Dynamics reveals:

“This is because turbochargers offer drivers the best of both worlds; the ability of being able to improve fuel economy whilst maintaining an impressive output of both power and torque – providing the answer for car manufactures and their quest of lower carbon emissions”.


It is not just the manufacturers who are affected by the new ruling, with less than a month to go companies who are using fleet diesel vehicles such as company cars or LCVs will need to be prepared or risk potentially seeing their new company assets immobilised.

This is because in an effort to adhere to EU6 many of the EU6 applicable engines will now require AdBlue, which is a relatively inexpensive exhaust additive which is approximately two parts water, one part urea that helps neutralise harmful NOx emissions. It is the management of AdBlue levels that companies need to educate their fleet drivers in now before the legislation is officially enforced.

For many fleet vehicles, typically the much larger and heavier kind, the use of AdBlue is not new – However, from September the use of it will be much more widespread as it will now become an important requirement for diesel fleet vehicles, including passenger ‘company’ cars and LCVs, in order to comply with EU6.

Business mobility specialist, Alphabet, are warning that although many new diesel cars should carry enough AdBlue to last between services, because of the nature of the usage of fleet vehicles they are more prone to use the AdBlue reserves up at a much quicker rate. This is why is it critical that companies ensure their fleet drivers monitor the levels a vehicle’s levels of AdBlue as Alphabet warn failure to do so could result in issues that can immobilise a vehicle.

For those concerned about fleet management and the integration of the AdBlue additive into their systems, Alphabet have produced Management Driver Guides to help fleet managers and drivers with the transition and to offer guidance.