Turbo technics

How do you make a wastegate adjustment on a turbocharger?

Turbo chargers are great for boosting your car engine’s horsepower. Turbochargers are able to compress roughly double the amount of air as a regular engine, so that more fuel can be burned, and as a result, the car can accelerate and move faster. The only problem is that when you press down on the accelerator, there’s a lag before the turbine picks up speed, and then suddenly the car lurches forward.

One solution is to reduce the weight of the rotating parts. This way, the turbine and compressor can accelerate faster. A large turbocharger has a heavy turbine and a weighty compressor. Both take time to rev up. A small-sized turbocharger can give your car a power boost quickly, at lower engine speeds. But what happens when your car speeds up and needs yet another boost? You step on the gas and lots of air enters the engine, which could potentially cause the small turbocharger to spin like crazy. This is why most automotive turbochargers are installed with a handy little valve, called a wastegate. The wastegate responds to the boost in pressure. If the pressure is too high, this often indicates that the turbine is spinning too quickly. The wastegate fixes the problem by channeling some of the exhaust around the turbine blades in order to slow the turbine down.

Some car owners choose to install both a small and a large turbocharger. The small turbocharger allows them to accelerate quickly at low speeds, without experiencing any lag, and the large turbocharger gives an added power boost at high speeds. Lag can be further minimized by swapping the standard fluid bearings in the turbocharger, with sophisticated ball bearings. These ball bearings are designed to be used with a smaller and lighter turbine shaft. They also reduce the friction caused by the spinning, so that the turbocharger can accelerate faster.

With all the hype about hybrid, electric and alternative fuel cars, it’s easy to think that the age of the gasoline engine is over. When you’ve got cars that run on hydrogen or that plug into the wall, the internal combustion engine can seem downright passé.

But the fact remains that the vast majority of cars sold in the United States are powered by gasoline engines. The dominance of gas engines in the automotive market is going to persist for the foreseeable future. Car makers use gasoline engines for a lot of reasons. People are used to them, there’s an infrastructure that supports them, and they fit nicely with how most Americans use their cars.

That’s not to say that gasoline engines don’t have their downsides. They pollute and they’re dependent on gasoline — which leaves American drivers subject to shifts in fuel prices. Though the engine in the car in your driveway has a lot in common with the engines used on the earliest cars, new innovations in engine technology have allowed carmakers to negate some of the problems associated with gasoline automotive engines. Improvements in power, fuel efficiency and emissions are letting people drive the types of cars that they like while also reducing the amount they pollute and the money they spend on gas.

Looking at some of the new technology that improves fuel economy by just a few miles per gallon may not seem like much, but keep in mind that with almost all cars on the road using gasoline engines, small improvements have big impact nationwide. Currently, electric and hybrid cars only make up about 2 percent of the cars on the road. Making the other 98 percent more efficient saves money, reduces dependence on foreign oil and cuts pollution while keeping new cars affordable and appealing to most buyers.

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