When it comes to picking a turbo, there are a lot of different things to consider. Turbochargers are extremely complex and most people don’t have enough experience with the slight differences between the charger configurations to really know what is best for a specific application.
There are hundreds of threads on different forums discussing the pros and cons to different turbochargers and what does and doesn’t work. The biggest issue is that most of these people don’t have experience with a wide range of configurations. More than likely, they called up their local turbocharger distributor, told them what they were running, what power they wanted and ordered the recommended charger. If it works, then they have the best thing out there. If it doesn’t, then it is the worst charger and that brand sucks. Now don’t get us wrong, there are competition guys who have tried a number of combinations and can speak of what they have tried. But even they run into issues talking about slight differences between similar size parts, but different aero packages.
One major issue is that even most shops who are selling chargers aren’t really pushing the boundaries. So, it’s hard for many of them to have a really in depth conversation with you about the differences between say two similar turbine wheels. Recently, High Tech Turbo posted a blurb on their Facebook that laid out some very interesting differences that are almost completely hidden from the naked eye. When we saw this, we figured this was a great example of the huge difference between similar wheels.
According to their post, “…Our Spitfire turbos …… The distinguishing feature is the unique 70mm turbine shaft (pictured on the right). Even though it is 1mm smaller than the better known 71mm (pictured on the left) there is a big difference between the two. First off, the 70mm is quite a bit lighter than the 71mm which really helps spool up. Second, there is more surface area on the fins of the 70mm and, with a deeper clip than the 71mm it relieves drive pressure extremely well. Combine all of these features and you have an extremely responsive turbo with loads of top end. And in case you’re wondering, it is a genuine BorgWarner shaft, so you know the quality is top notch!”
When looking at dropping a decent chunk of money on a new charger, it is this type of knowledge that we recommend tapping into. By talking to the guys who actually build and manufacture turbochargers you may end up with a better performing charger than what the guy down the street would have recommended. Companies like ATS Diesel Performance, BD Diesel Performance, BorgWarner, Bullseye Power, Garrett, High Tech Turbo, Industrial Injection, Scheid Diesel, and Turbonetics are just a few of the experts out there, to name a few. These companies spend hundreds of hours trying different combinations and really learning the unique aspects of each component. Then from there, they can judge what will work best and through experience and they can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, what will and won’t work.