Superchargers and turbos are two of the most popular methods for increasing power output from an engine. Both are types of forced induction, meaning there is a device that forces more air into the engine than it can intake on its own. Both superchargers and turbos come with their pros and cons, so which one is better for you? Keep reading to learn more about both devices and see if you can have a supercharger and turbo setup in your car.
Can You Have A Supercharger And A Turbo?
This isn’t as clear-cut as people may think. Superchargers and turbos are both compressor devices that are used to boost the output of an engine. When it comes down to it, the only real difference between a supercharger and a turbo is how they operate. A supercharger uses mechanical force to compress air while a turbo uses the exhaust gas to create pressure that is then applied to the air entering the engine. Because of this, it is possible to install both a supercharger and a turbo on the same engine. However, there are some things to keep in mind when installing both devices on one engine.
How Turbo Works?
- A turbocharger works by using exhaust gases and kinetic energy from the spinning compressor wheel to spin the turbine shaft, which then spins the compressor wheel. The increased mechanical energy from this rotational energy is used to rotate the turbine shaft at a higher speed, and thereby spin the compressor wheel at a higher speed. This means that more air can be forced into the engine than it could take in by itself, meaning more power can be produced per cubic inch of displacement in the engine.
- A turbo acts as a “scavenger” for supercharged engines because it provides additional airflow into the supercharger’s intake ports and increases boost pressure through its constant rotation, adding additional boost at all times rather than just when supercharging is needed: even while idling or accelerating normally on downhill grades, or while cruising on flatlands or uphills without any boost; this results in significantly increased efficiency over time as well as decreased wear due to extra airflow through every rpm range of use with no loss of efficiency during any conditions of use.
- The turbo can be seen as a “free” or “off-the-shelf” supercharger, with the added benefit of increased fuel economy and lower emissions through the reduction of excess exhaust gas temperatures. In addition, they are often cheaper than an aftermarket high-performance supercharger or another mechanical device, particularly since turbos are generally less complicated to install compared to other forced induction devices.
- A turbocharger is more popular because there are fewer moving parts and less maintenance involved in comparison to a supercharger, which is when some form of turbine mechanism moves air intake into the engine rather than simply spinning a compressor wheel with outside air pressure, meaning a more efficient system for heavy-duty applications. This also means that turbochargers can usually be found in smaller displacement engines than that superchargers however it is still more expensive for the same reason as above (more complex and labor-intensive to install).
How Are Superchargers And Turbos Different?
- Compared to a supercharger, a turbo can handle more power and still maintain healthy engine reliability, resulting in a smaller and lighter-weight vehicle with better performance and acceleration than would otherwise be possible. This is because the turbo provides added peak boost pressure under full load conditions compared to mechanical superchargers (such as intercoolers), which do not provide any boost under full load conditions. However, for reasons stated in Section 2 about why mechanical superchargers are still the best choice for maximizing power at all times, turbos are often seen as the “second choice” among vehicle owners. This section will explore the pros and cons of each device and see if you can have a turbocharger and supercharger setup in your car without any major drawbacks of either device. to a supercharger.
- The rotary motion of the compressor wheel creates an inclined path for the impeller’s blades to follow, generating additional thrust from this force. This helps create added air pressure, which aids in maximizing performance with little to no loss of efficiency during any conditions of use. The turbo can be seen as a “free” or “off-the-shelf” supercharger, with the added benefit of increased fuel economy and lower emissions through the reduction of excess exhaust gas temperatures. In addition, they are often cheaper than an aftermarket high-performance supercharger or another mechanical device, particularly since turbos are generally less complicated to install compared to a supercharger.
- The drawback to turbos is that they are typically not as fuel efficient as a supercharged engine and require more maintenance than other types of forced induction would, particularly when not spent their full potential on horsepower (boost). A turbo does increase horsepower at all times during use, regardless if boost is being used or not; however, its increased efficiency is only truly useful when the engine isn’t being used for prolonged periods or is idling without being driven downhills (or uphills), otherwise the extra to other supercharger designs.
- The downside to a turbocharger is the loss of low-end torque its inherent design must suffer through, as well as a fair amount of mechanical noise and vibration through the engine bay. The drawbacks to this come from an inability to produce full boost at all times regardless of speed, the exhaust gas temperatures reaching into the blue during wide open throttle, and the need for bearings and seals to properly seal against hot exhaust gas temperatures forcing its way past seals and limiting their performance in general.
- Turbos are normally seen in high-performance cars because of their added power gains. In most cases, a car equipped with both turbos (and more than one) will perform better than if one or both were removed due to increased power gains; however, it will not be able to match theoretical peak horsepower output over stock horsepower levels when compared on a dyno setting like a power-weight ratio or claimed weight advantage (i.e., displacement).
Why Have A Supercharger And Turbo?
- Furthermore, a turbocharger can easily be changed back to a standard supercharger when the company decides to implement new exhaust-gas control technology or clutch technology that can supposedly force more air into the engine than it could naturally ingest on its own, and therefore free up more power by increasing boost pressure when needed. This can be done by removing the turbo and reinstalling it as a standard supercharger.
- Turbocharging is an efficient way for forced induction, meaning that 80% of the work done is not wasted because of inefficiency. The waste heat from compressed gas (exhaust) energy wasted in a simple supercharger creates fade with acceleration even at low RPMs and low loads. However, this problem is solved with turbos as they transfer exhaust heat through intercoolers or heat exchangers that utilize cooled water or refrigerant from the engine cooling system to cool compressed gases entering them so efficiency improves considerably over conventional supercharging systems without requiring much effort to maintain boost pressure and other parameters such as fuel delivery during use, allowing the slight improvement in efficiency while accelerating on level ground to be more significant compared to an improvement in fuel economy due to superchargers.
- Turbos can be as simple as a centrifugal type or even a shaft-driven centrifugal type where the turbine is on the outside of the impeller, usually with no additional parts but some may have a shell or housing to house and protect the turbine. The main advantage of this design is it can be modulated by adding vanes that deflect air into the inlet manifold and increasing the area of contact with each cylinder, even allowing the use of variable vanes to increase power at different RPMs.
- Also known as “Vane-Style” turbos (or VGT), a turbine wheel is mounted on a rotating outer casing where it is driven by the compressor wheel through fine gears while deflecting exhaust gasses into an intake port using smaller portions or fins that are mounted onto hardened hubs or tube walls inside casing based on side wall angles so they change shape during spinning to direct airflow at different angles for various play ratios desired for power added at various engine speeds. Some provide more airflow than others and are called “turbochargers”. In most cases, these devices use less complex rotary variable-nozzle designs rather than rotating vanes, with many aerodynamic to mechanical superchargers.
Can You Have A Supercharger And Turbo?
- Although turbos only spin when required by the engine’s intake system, they still provide significant benefits to the powerband and overall performance of the vehicle in all operating ranges—even those with no boost! This is because the exhaust gases simply pass through an additional supercharger or extractor without being utilized in any way, which means less heat loss and fewer components to wear out due to higher temperatures within the engine. In addition, most turbos can spin much faster than standard supercharger shafts due to their higher-speed torque-generating characteristics, so they can still contribute significantly more air than a normal supercharger could have on its own even when not being used at all times.
- A turbo needs only one or two good bearings (depending on the design), while a centrifugal supercharger needs many bearings that last much longer than a turbine wheel’s lifespan before they need to be replaced—if ever! And with turbos’ smaller size compartments, there is much less space needed for dozens of components compared to centrifugal or Roots type superchargers’ large spaces for components that make up their operation.
- Generally speaking, superchargers are always powered by a belt or belt-and-pulley system. The screw on the compressor wheel rotates at a constant speed as air is pumped into the cylinder under pressure through a variety of drive belts connected to the exterior of the compressor and pulleys on either side of the compressor output shaft. The additional pressure from this rotation moves up through the system, raising the boost pressure in addition to moving air through more paths across each revolution than exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems as well as improving efficiency over that of just EGR alone.
- Supercharging also requires higher pressures than turbocharging does to achieve similar increases in airflow (unless you are using an extremely large compressor wheel), which means that it’s critical for proper operation and longevity: components must be able to withstand these increased pressures; this includes everything from pulleys, belts, and shafts to bearings and seals. Too much boost can damage other types of superchargers.
Superchargers and turbos are great ways to boost engine power. They are used on a variety of different engines, and it’s possible to have a supercharger and turbo setup in the same engine. Having a supercharger and turbo setup requires some engine modification, but it’s well worth the effort.