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Turbocharger Terms and Definitions

Turbocharger Terms and Definitions:

The turbocharger terms and definitions used to describe turbocharger operation can be confusing.

Turbocharger Terms and Definitions: The turbocharger terms and definitions used to describe turbocharger operation can be confusing.

Here are some definitions for common turbocharging terms:

■ Boost Threshold

Boost threshold is the optimum engine speed to produce exhaust gas flow to create positive manifold pressure (boost).

■ Turbo Lag

Turbo lag is the time delay between the point when the throttle is opened and the turbocharger boost reaches operational speed when the engine is running at boost threshold.

Many factors affect turbo lag:

Engine tuning status; the condition of the rotating components; operational condition of the control sensors and components; the presence of any air leaks in the turbocharger system; the control settings; and even the weather.

■ Boost Leak

When air (boost) is leaking within the turbo system or intake, it is referred to as “boost leak.” This may be caused by loose assembly of the components, a bad seal or a cracked component. Under such a condition, the turbocharger may not create enough boost pressure, or reach adequate levels.

■ Boost Spike

A boost spike is an erratic increase in boost pressure, mainly experienced when the vehicle is accelerating through the lower gears and the controller can’t adjust to the changes in engine speeds as quickly as would be ideal.

Boost Pressure Influences

Boost Pressure Influences:

Several factors can influence boost pressure and affect turbocharger efficiency.

Boost Pressure: Several factors can influence boost pressure and affect turbocharger efficiency.

The key factors are:

Ambient Air Temperature and Pressure

As the air temperature rises, the ability of the turbocharger to compress the warmer air decreases. This phenomenon is directly due to the decrease in air density and the physical limitation of the turbocharger.

Even when the air temperature is low, the air density (barometric pressure or boost pressure) may be low. Under these conditions, lower than expected boost pressure may be experienced. The diameter of the exhaust system will vary the pressure differential across the turbine. A larger exhaust allows the turbocharger to rotate faster, which results in higher boost pressure.

Any increase in boost pressure would require “re-mapping” of the ECM programs to accommodate different air flow rates and resultant ignition change requirements. Over-revving of the turbine – trying to supply enough boost – can lead to turbocharger failure, particularly in conjunction with the increase in the pressure differential across the turbine.

Subaru Turbocharger Explained Part 2

Subaru Turbocharger Explained Part 2:

Service Procedures

Here are some service procedures, including steps to properly remove turbocharger components, and tests and inspections you can perform to check component operation.

Subaru Turbocharger Explained: Here are some service procedures, including steps to properly remove turbocharger components, and tests and inspections you can perform to check component operation.

Intercooler Removal

You may need to remove the intercooler to work on other components beneath it. Removal of the intercooler must be performed carefully so that no damage occurs.

1.) Disconnect battery. Remove the two bolts that attach the bypass valve, then the valve.

2.) Remove the bolts from each end of the intercooler and disconnect the crankcase ventilation hoses from the intercooler.

3.) Loosen the clamps at the throttle body and outlet of the turbocharger.

4.) Gently move the intercooler side to side until the tension of the hoses at the turbocharger and throttle body loosen.

5.) Remove the intercooler from the engine compartment and cover the open areas with tape to prevent foreign material from entering, which could cause damage to the engine or turbocharger after re-installation.

Turbocharger Removal

1.) After removing the intercooler, remove the intercooler mounting bracket.

2.) Remove the eight bolts that secure the protective heat shield around the turbo.

3.) Raise the vehicle and disconnect the rear oxygen sensor harness, then remove the front exhaust pipe mounting bolt. Position the pipe so there is some movement.

4.) Lower the vehicle and disconnect the wastegate hose to the vacuum hose leading to the wastegate control solenoid.

5.) Remove the coolant hose from the reservoir that connects to the turbocharger.

Subaru Turbocharger Explained Part 1

Subaru Turbocharger Explained:

Turbochargers are fairly simple in concept, but adapting the system to modern vehicles can be quite complex. This primer for those new to servicing turbos and review for veterans lays out the function and operation of turbocharging in Subaru vehicles.

Subaru Turbocharger: Starting with 2004 models, the WRX STi incorporates a
water spray system to help cool the intercooler, thereby
further cooling the intake air.

The return of turbocharging in the 2002 Impreza WRX marked an absence of nearly a decade for Subaru vehicles. While the new generation has been around for half a decade, not everyone understands the function and operation of Subaru turbocharging systems.

Naturally, everyone knows these blowers are designed to get the maximum power out of engines by packing more air and fuel into the cylinders to get the biggest bang possible. Just how that is accomplished, however, may be a bit of a mystery to you. Here’s a primer on turbocharging and how it applies to Subaru vehicles.

Subaru Turbocharger Explained:

A Brief History of Turbochargers

Turbochargers were originally invented to increase the volume of air pushed into the cylinders of internal combustion engines, and, along with increased fuel, raise the level of energy produced by the combustion process

Historical references indicate that Swiss engineer Alfred J. Buchi adapted the turbines from steam engines to diesel engines as a method to improve air induction, and, therefore, smoother operation in internal combustion engines. In 1905, Buchi’s idea of powering the forced air induction by exhaust flow was granted a patent. Good idea or not, the fairly crude engines of the day could not sustain even or adequate boost pressures. Buchi worked another ten years before he could produce a working model of a turbocharged diesel engine. By that time, other companies had also produced turbocharging systems

The massive building boom of internal combustion engines to supply ships, trucks and airplanes for World War I saw technologies take a giant leap forward. The first turbocharged diesel engines for ships and locomotives appeared around 1920. Shortly thereafter, European car manufacturers began incorporating them into factory race cars and a few sporty luxury models.

The next milestone for turbocharging came with the military build-up for World War II, when turbo systems were fitted to fighter planes and bombers to allow them to fly at higher altitudes where the thinner air could be compacted into the engines to provide sufficient combustion. However, direct-driven superchargers quickly proved more reliable, efficient and more easily controlled, leaving turbochargers by the wayside.

It wasn’t until the mid-1950s when turbochargers started appearing on diesel trucks that modern turbos began to make a dent in the automotive market. Today, the vast majority of truck engines are turbodiesels.

When turbocharged vehicles began to dominate the international racing scene in the 1960s, car manufacturers began to use them in sporty models to appeal to performance-oriented drivers. By the 1980s, turbochargers for cars were a bona fide success, particularly in Subaru vehicles, due to improved metallurgy, intercooling and efficient boost controls.

The main components of a Subaru turbocharger system are a water-cooled turbocharger, an air-cooled intercooler, a wastegate control solenoid valve, sensors and a controller. Let’s review the individual components and the role they play in the system.

JDM Automatic Intercooler STi Switch Install:

JDM Automatic Intercooler STi Switch Install:

Here is the step by step guide to installing the JDM Automatic Intercooler STi switch. For those of you wondering the advantage of upgrading to the JDM automatic intercooler switch is that it essentially works as a on/off switch for the STi intercooler sprayer. So there is no more constant pushing of the sprayer button. Push the button once to turn it on, and again to turn it off. However, it will empty out your intercooler sprayer tank very quickly if you keep it on.

Here is the switch we are going to be installed:

JDM Automatic Intercooler Switch: The JDM intercooler switch that you will be installing.

1.) Pop out the fuse box panel. The fuse box panel is located underneath and to the left of the steering wheel.

2.) Use your fingers to depress the tab on the button of the button to pop it out.

JDM Automatic Intercooler Switch: The USDM stock STi switch that you will be removing.

3.) Pull the switch out of the dash.

4.) Depress the tab on the back of the plug to remove the switch.

JDM Automatic Intercooler Switch: USDM STi intercooler switch removed. Get ready to install the JDM switch now.

Pitch Stop Install on Subaru WRX/STi

Pitch Stop Mount Install on Subaru WRX/STi:

This is a step by step guide on how to install an aftermarket Pitch Stop Mount to your 02-07 Subaru WRX or STi.

Pitch Stop Mount: In the foreground a oem plastic pitch mount and in the background a Perrin Performance pitch stop mount.

1.) Locate and remove the three 10 mm Gold colored bolts that secure the black vacuum lines to the bottom of the intercooler. You will need a shallow socket as it gets tight around the BOV. Careful not to drop them into the engine bay, it will be a PITA to find and retrieve them.

2.) Locate and remove the two 12 mm bolts that secure the recirculating BOV to the bottom of the intercooler. Again be careful not to drop these into the engine bay as it’s a jungle down there and it will be a PITA to retrieve them.

3.) Locate and remove the two 12 mm bolts that secure the intercooler to the engine. These are located one on each side of the intercooler.

4.) Now the intercooler is only held in place by the rubber intake hoses with the clamps. The one that is on top, from the intercooler to the throttle body/intake manifold is easier so do them first. Using the Flat head screw driver or an 8 mm socket loosen the clamps holding the intake piping to the Intake manifold and intercooler. And leave it for now.

5.) This is a little tough to do, but its not impossible. You should be able to do it even if you have large hands. Using the flat head or 8 mm socket, loosen the clamp that holds the intake tube coming from the cold side of the turbo to the intercooler. This is located underneath the intercooler.

Boost Gauge Install on Subaru STi/WRX 08-13:

Boost Gauge Install on Subaru STi/WRX 08-13:

This is a guide on installing a boost gauge in a 2010 STi.

Boost Gauge: A installed boost gauge in a GR STi.


1.) Pull off the lower dash cover. It just has clips holding it on.

2.) These are the only two screws that hold the lower dash to rest of the dash. Remove these and the rest of the lower dash can be pulled off.

3.) Lower dash pulled away from the upper, left of the steering wheel.

4.) Lower dash pulled away from the upper, right side of the steering wheel.

5.) There are 4 clips holding the instrument hood to the dash. The entire hood pulls off as one whole unit, but the hard part is getting a good grip. To get better finger placement, I pulled the top of the inner part of the hood away, which revealed a little lip that I could use to pull the hood off. Caution: Do not pull heavily on the inner piece because it is bolted to the rest of the hood at the bottom and could break if you pull on it too hard. Just pull on the top part of the instrument hood itself. Also be careful not to lose the 4 yellow clips that hold the hood to the dash. They come out easily and can get lost.

6.) There are two screws for the instrument cluster. One is circled in the pic and the other is to its left.

7.) Pop the plug off the cluster on the right side.

8.) I ran the wires for the boost gauge through the upper middle hole above the gauge cluster.

9.) Tap into the purple wire on the dimmer switch for headlight power. This wire is only powered when the headlights or parking lights are turned on.

10.) Close-up of where I spliced into the purple wire. For the boost gauge, the ORANGE wire splices into this purple wire. The wire is black in my picture because I used black wire to extend the wires coming out of the back of the gauge.

11.) For ACC power, use the brown and white striped wire on the top connector above the fuse box. This wire is powered when the key is in the “ACC” position only. With the boost gauge, you connect BOTH the RED and WHITE wires to this wire.

The green and white striped wire on the same connector is on all the time, meaning it is powered even when the car is off. I found that out the hard way. (Do not use that wire.)

Turbo: STi/WRX VF Series Turbocharger breakdown:

Turbo: STi/WRX VF Series Turbocharger breakdown:

IHI VF Series
The numbering on both the VF turbos are for reference purposes and not necessarily indicative of its ‘performance’. On GC8/GF8 WRX STi, the VF turbos have gone ‘smaller’ from VF22 to 23, 24, 28, 29 while the release of the New Age STi GDB saw the introduction of a new breed of VF turbos with a bigger compressor wheel namely, VF30, VF34, VF35 for example. The previous VF turbos (VF22,23,24,28,29) have been ball bearing cored while the later ones (VF30, VF35) are Divided Thrust Bearing type core, with the VF34 being a Ball Bearing.

(455cfm at 18.0psi, 250-325whp, Bolt-On)
The VF22 has the largest potential for peak horsepower. In other words, in the IHI model range, the VF 22 supports the highest boost levels. With its significantly increased turbine housing, the VF22 turbo is capable of producing upwards of 310 whp* on an EJ20. The downside of this turbo is the older center cartridge design and larger compressor housing, which makes for slower spool up but more top-end than the other VF series turbos.

This turbo is the best choice for those who are looking for loads of top end power. The top end power however, does not come without a cost. The VF22 spools significantly slower than the rest of the IHI models due to the larger P20 exhaust housing and is much less suited for daily driving than some of the other models. Although the largest VF series turbo, the VF22 is not quite optimal for stroked engines or those who wish to run more than 20PSI of boost.

The VF22’s compressor is rated at 35 lbs/minute. The VF22 was designed with the EJ20 in mind but because it has the biggest turbine in the IHI family it can be use on the EJ25 with a slight increase in performance. The VF22 is good for around a realistic 300 to 315 WHP on a 2.0L. The IHI VF-22 turbo is the largest of the VF-series turbos.

VF22: The IHI VF-22 turbo is the largest of the VF-series turbos.

(440cfm at 18psi, 250-325whp, Bolt-On)
The VF34 is nearly identical to the VF30, with the same exhaust housing and compressor. However the VF34 goes back to the ball bearing design, and in doing so achieves full boost approximately 500RPM sooner than the comparable VF30. The VF34 is the most recent IHI design and as such costs slightly more than its counterpart.

Top end performance and maximum output are identical to the 30. The VF34’s compressor is rated at 35 lbs/minute but the turbo suffers from the same turbine restrictions found with the VF30. The VF34 was designed with the EJ20 in mind and will not have the same performance on an EJ25. The VF34 is good for around a realistic 290 to 305 WHP on a 2.0L.

VF34: The VF34 was designed with the EJ20 in mind and will not have the same performance on an EJ25. The VF34 is good for around a realistic 290 to 305 WHP on a 2.0L.