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D Shop

Turbochargers vs. Superchargers

So you want more power? Faster Times? Well, Turbos and Superchargers are indeed the way to go.

Everyone wants to know what is the difference between turbos and superchargers so we have done research on the two units and we have found differences and even similarities.

Turbochargers can fit on any engine type, given the use of the appropriate exhaust manifold and a decompressed engine block. However, the turbo must be sized properly according to the application. Small turbos mean faster boost responses, but limited amounts of boost. Larger sized turbos take up more time to build up boost, but they give a lot of boost. Turbochargers are propelled by the exhaust gas velocity of the vehicle and are directly proportional to the temperature of the engine. Turbos feed on fresh oil constantly, so oils with high ratings must be used in the vehicle.
Superchargers use the same concept as turbochargers in the effect that it also compresses air. Superchargers can also be made to fit on any type of engine, and only comes in two types of kits. Both are fanbelt pulley driven units. When it comes to horsepower and torque, superchargers can gain as much as 40 percent in horsepower and 50 percent in torque with the use of just a base kit.

The advantages of turbocharging is the ability to increase horse power using boost controllers and changing turbo units. Turbos give you more power using a pulling effect type of forced induction. However, on the down side, turbos tend to produce more heat as the boost increases, therefore intake temperatures increase causing dense air that cannot be compressed. This usually happens after 5 psi. To solve this problem, an intercooler may be added to help prevent detonation. The other problem with turbo charging is that it requires more maintenance because the amount of heat associated with the boost, this means the turbo must cool down after aggressive driving for about 2 to 3 minutes at idle. Installing a turbo timer is the best bet. Turbos must also be allowed to heat up before aggressive driving.
Unlike the turbochargers that require cool down time, or warm up time, the supercharger is ready to go when you are. At 2000rpm, boost is already available with a supercharger. When it comes to fuel efficiency, superchargers actually kind of help to improve your MPG. The reason for better mileage is the fact that you do not have to drive the engine at full throttle due to available boost. However, anytime that you drive aggressively, fuel efficiency will suffer.

Due to the fact that the supercharger is pulley driven, there is some strain put on the engine. Also, where as with the use of an intercooler with the turbo setup and you have the use of practically unlimited boost, you are limited to what the supercharger has to offer.
Installation of a supercharger usually takes about 6 to 8 hours… if you are mechanically inclined and there is no cutting or welding required. Superchargers also tend to last longer than turbo chargers because they do not require much maintenance and have a self contained oil supply.

Turbochargers and Superchargers are two of the best ways to accomplish your goals by producing more power and faster times. Both have great sounds, the superchargers with their aggressive whistling sound, and the turbos with their jet engine type sound.
In a nutshell, Turbochargers are efficient and flexible, allowing a wide range of swaps and upgrades to achieve the desired power output. They are not noisy and do not rob any power from the engine, however they do require a little more attention than superchargers. This setup is ideal for front wheel drive and lightweight cars, due to the lack of traction when you launch from a dead stop; the lag in boost is actually an advantage. You don't want your boost to kick in before you get traction.

Superchargers give you instant boost on demand and require very low maintenance. With boost available at 2000rpm, you don't have to watch the other guy start jump pass you for long. This setup is ideal if you have a rear wheel drive car with lots of horse power to spare, then the petty power it steals from the engine is well compensated for.

See also article on Turbocharging in D Shop.

Also check out our Glossary of Terms or refer to De Forum for interactive help from people in the know.

Questions or comments? let us know - email us at info@trinituner.com


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