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I was just wondering if anyone out there could explain to me how the turbo in my car works, and tell me how to use it to its fullest. i havent really been paying to much attention but i dont think that it kicks in until i hit around 3 rpm's is this normal? am i using it to the max? help me out!!!
 

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Yeah that is normal. The turbo actually starts making a difference to your power arouns 2200, but doesn't really kick until around 3000. This is why the peak of the tourque curve is 3500 or so (stock).

You don't have to do much to use it to it's fullest. There may be a little turbo lag between when you put your foot down and when you actually get good boost. You'll learn to kinda drive around this after awhile, anticipating it and getting on the throttle earlier than you would otherwise, for instance when accelerating out of a corner or something.

The lag is caused by the that fact that it takes a small amount of time for the turbocharger to start spinning fast enough to make usable boost (though it spins all the time, even at idle), and then after that the "boosted air" has quite a bit of piping to go through before actually reaching the engine.

The turbo basically works by harvesting the very hot exhaust gasses and turning that heat energy into mechanical energy in order to force feed air into the engine; more air + an appropriate amount of fuel = MORE POWER!

So you've got hot gas coming out of your engine, and since it is hot it is trying to expand. Well the only place for it to go is out the pipe, but you are lucky, driving a turbo car, because you've got a turbine between the exhaust manifold and the exhaust pipe which gets spun very fast by the gasses trying to escape. And that turbing is spinning a 2nd turbine via a connecting shaft, which sucks fresh air into the engine, pressurizing it and shoving it down your engines throat!
And then it gets even more awesome, because now that you've got pressurized air going into your engine, THAT air is becoming heated because it is under pressure. But you are lucky again becuase you have an intercooler (that second smaller radiator looking device on the front driver's side of your car) which cools the air down, making it denser and allowing even more of it to go into the motor. Cool huh?
 

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Anti-Suv's description was great. I suggest if you want to learn more about turbochargers, get a book called "Maximum Boost" by Corky Bell. You'll learn a lot.
 
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