Sunday, May 24, 2009

Exhaust Design for Turbo Cars

I had decided to post this due to the importance of this knowledge. Most drivers still believe that 'backpressure' is good for their cars. Please take note, NA or turbo, you do not need backpressure, end of story.

If you can't make a decision whether to go with a 3-inch or 2.5-inch Turboback exhaust (TBE) or Catback exhaust (CBE) for your turbo ride, have a look at below excerpt.

I did mine with a 3-inch TBE based on this excerpt and very2 happy with the decision. Turbo spool is faster than ever before and I can really feel the car reaching maximum RPM quicker.

Apexi boost meter - Get faster turbo spool with 3-inch TBE or CBE

(CAUTION: Don't ever try to increase your boost from standard without proper fueling as that is a recipe for disaster. Just get one of those Walbro or Bosch fuel pump with higher flow rate and you are doing a big favor for your engine. It is also advisable to upgrade your fuel pump before doing TBE or CBE as you might encounter 'boost creep' and 'boost spike' after your exhaust piping upgrade.)

The following excerpts are from Jay Kavanaugh, a turbosystems engineer at Garrett, responding to a thread on regarding exhaust design and exhaust theory:


This thread was brought to my attention by a friend of mine in hopes of shedding some light on the issue of exhaust size selection for turbocharged vehicles. Most of the facts have been covered already. FWIW I'm an turbocharger development engineer for Garrett Engine Boosting Systems.

N/A cars: As most of you know, the design of turbo exhaust systems runs counter to exhaust design for n/a vehicles. N/A cars utilize exhaust velocity (not backpressure) in the collector to aid in scavenging other cylinders during the blowdown process. It just so happens that to get the appropriate velocity, you have to squeeze down the diameter of the discharge of the collector (aka the exhaust), which also induces backpressure. The backpressure is an undesirable byproduct of the desire to have a certain degree of exhaust velocity. Go too big, and you lose velocity and its associated beneficial scavenging effect. Too small and the backpressure skyrockets, more than offsetting any gain made by scavenging. There is a happy medium here.

For turbo cars, you throw all that out the window. You want the exhaust velocity to be high upstream of the turbine (i.e. in the header). You'll notice that primaries of turbo headers are smaller diameter than those of an n/a car of two-thirds the horsepower. The idea is to get the exhaust velocity up quickly, to get the turbo spooling as early as possible. Here, getting the boost up early is a much more effective way to torque than playing with tuned primary lengths and scavenging. The scavenging effects are small compared to what you'd get if you just got boost sooner instead. You have a turbo; you want boost. Just don't go so small on the header's primary diameter that you choke off the high end.

Downstream of the turbine (aka the turboback exhaust), you want the least backpressure possible. No ifs, ands, or buts. Stick a Hoover on the tailpipe if you can. The general rule of "larger is better" (to the point of diminishing returns) of turboback exhausts is valid. Here, the idea is to minimize the pressure downstream of the turbine in order to make the most effective use of the pressure that is being generated upstream of the turbine. Remember, a turbine operates via a pressure ratio. For a given turbine inlet pressure, you will get the highest pressure ratio across the turbine when you have the lowest possible discharge pressure. This means the turbine is able to do the most amount of work possible (i.e. drive the compressor and make boost) with the available inlet pressure.

Again, less pressure downstream of the turbine is goodness. This approach minimizes the time-to-boost (maximizes boost response) and will improve engine VE throughout the rev range.

As for 2.5" vs. 3.0", the "best" turboback exhaust depends on the amount of flow, or horsepower. At 250 hp, 2.5" is fine. Going to 3" at this power level won't get you much, if anything, other than a louder exhaust note. 300 hp and you're definitely suboptimal with 2.5". For 400-450 hp, even 3" is on the small side.

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