My Turbo Education:

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by madmike1157, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. A turbocharger has been a part of this cars build plan before there was even a car to build. My initial plan was to learn as much as I could about the things (despite the fact that I have owned several already), and purchase (at my own peril) the dreaded, Chinese "ebay" turbo to keep the price under control.

    Firstly, since I intended to buy a turbo from some supplier that would undoubtedly have little in the "service, and tech" departments, I had to learn about which turbo I was gonna want. Through a combination of books, forum advice, and other online sources,....all which only manage to slightly clear up the murky water revolving around proper turbo sizing, I start to get some Idea of what I'll need.
    It doesn't take long before I go straight to the "cliff notes" section, and find an online turbo recommendation calculator.
    With the turbo calculator, you plug in a bunch of figures, and it spits out a couple of recommendations based on popular American turbo manufacturers. The calculator was recommending either something like a Garrett GT-35, or a Turbonetics 60-1.

    Simple,.....All I gotta do is find some ebay turbo, w/ a 60mm inducer, a .70 cold side A/R, a T-3 flange, 4" intake, 2.5" compressor outlet, 3" V band outlet and a .68 hotside A/R.......

    There really can't be that much difference between the American hair dryer, and the ebay version, right?.....Right?

    So I look.

    The GT-35/ 60-1 American turbos range between 900.00, and 1500.00.....depending on who's selling it, and what supposedly has been done to it upgrade wise.

    The Chinese version starts at 189.00. The most expensive version,... ( (sold by a true Chinese supplier,...IN China) a tick under 600.00, Sporting a billet impeller, and dual ceramic ball bearing shaft supports.
    An American version w/ those same modifications would be close to 2 grand.

    I check the guys feedback score, and look at his reviews, and he scores very high. Why wouldn't the turbo he's selling be a good deal? I mean It's 350% CHEAPER than the next comparable American brand, apples for apples.

    More research in the turbo forums finds that these guys think that there is NO acceptable Chinese turbo, w/ several examples citing impeller explosions due to inferior wheel metalurgy, ( further trashing the engine) and imbalance issues that dramatically shorten the life expectancy of the turbo.

    So how do you know?

    I buy one of the cheapies, just to see what it looks like. I pay 189.00 ( cause it ships for free). 5 days later I have it. The next day, I send it back. ( The 580.00 Chinese billet wheel, dual ball bearing turbo seems more likely now).

    The return freight costs me 40.00,...and the seller wants his shipping as part of my refund.
    ( It ends up costing me 80.00 to open the box, and close it back)

    I talk to one of my friends, who after hearing me bit ch for a half hour suggests I just call Reed at Works Turbocharger here in the city.

    I meet w/ that guy today,and after a conversation that lasts all of 30 minutes, has me forking over a 300.00 deposit for a Borg Warner twin scroll S300SX-3 60mm turbo. Total price 685.00.

    What do I get for more than three times my original intended investment?

    An expert that knows what he's doing, 5 miles away from me.
    An American turbo. Recommended by the expert.
    Additional features that include a re-balanced rotating assy, and a heat resistant coated center section.
    Help w/ sourcing my exhaust parts.
    A next door chassis dyno, w/ a guy that is thoroughly familiar w/ megasquirt.
    Peace of mind.
    stangboy likes this.
  2. So the number one question on my mind is this talk or tech?
  3. There are some Chinese turbos that I know people were saying not to buy. I think a version of the gt-35. The gt-45 is what I bought and looks to be of a good quality product. I did not use it yet but I know people that have used this on their builds without issues. What didn't you like about the one you bought?
    hoopty5.0 likes this.
  4. Why,..that wasn't wordy enough?:shrug:

    The measurements were no where near advertised,....Impeller was actually 52mm. No brand was specified, when it gets here it's a JDM.

    (Google JDM).
  5. I feel like you should have known better to not even waste your time with a $200 Chinese turbo. You can't go wrong with a Borg Warner though!
  6. Reed is a great guy and you are in some of the best hands when it comes to turbos in my opinion. He has a friend of mine running with the pack in ultra street and has nothing but spot on advice and great customer service. Nice work! I would have kept the China turbo for the lawn mower though....
    f8tlfiveo and A5literMan like this.
  7. I read that whole thing Mike, and I have to agree with Race...

    You're a pretty well respected guy on these forums... The kind that MANY on this forum would LOVE to help out with that kind of information. I do realize that it's sometimes hard to get good, first hand hand accounts and information on a forum without getting all the responses from the talking parrots and regurgitaters, HOWEVER.... (comma) you've been here long enough to know who to ask and guys like RaceOholic and T-Top are dudes that you see a LOT. :nonono: So that $80 was for not using the resources at your disposal. LOL
    84Ttop likes this.
  8. Uhh........

    I Clearly stated my intention to buy Chinese back then, and neither T-top, Nor my pal Race offered any advice to the contrary. Matter of fact, the only person w/ any experience that even replied was Fastdriver, and even after a fairly good bit of advice regarding turbo sizing, offered no opinion about using a chinese turbo either.

    I had heard that Chinese "ebay" turbo's were crap, but at the same time, I had also read numerous build articles citing On-3/Master power turbos as not being as junky as the purists all made them out to be. Even in my earlier reply to f8tlfiveo about googling JDM,.....(The Chinee turbo in question) for every guy slamming the thing, there was another dude stating that they had had no problems,, in the end, not quite so cut and dried. There were still others claiming that all a chinese turbo needed was a re-balance, or a decent set of bearings to make them live.

    Had I found a "Reed" endorsing a JDM turbo that "only needed a this or that upgrade" to be a reliable alternative to the 700.00 unit I bought where I coulda been in the thing for a little over 500 after said mods,..then I'd probably still be considering it, but if that guy is out there, I didn't find him.

    In hindsight, I'm of the mentality that I'll never look back once I take the high road. And here I know that I've done that. Not only in the Turbo, but in the company I'm buying it from. So in the end I'm happy.
    #9 madmike1157, Nov 8, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
    stangboy likes this.
  9. Before I bought mine I researched a bit on the gt45 and found a thread on theturboforums I think it was with over 60 pages of comments on the gt45 and I bet 99% of them were positive. I questioned the china turbo also, but in the end I purchased it. the impeller was exactly what was advertised just like the guys in the forum were saying. So maybe I got a "good" one. It has been sitting on a shelf in a cabinet for 2 years.. Gotta get that thing spinning. And maybe it turns into a complete disaster, we will see. It's going on a stock motor so if it trashes it o well. I have a spare.
  10. I have an On3 kit 70mm .68 A/R turbo on for over 2 yrs...i see 14 psi almost everytime i drive it...yes im sure its not the best but it seems to be ok for me...I drive the car to work at least 3 times a week actually have it today...maybe i got lucky with
  11. Sorry for not offering more noteworthy and valuable advice sooner. It's hard to lurk through all of the posts and decide when and where to interject, not to mention my time as of late has been limited between work, home and cars... You could always pm me if there is something you think i could help you with.

  12. It's no problem Nick, I was only offering that as fact to Noobz based on his and Races' statements that I shoulda known better. It's not that even,.... I probably coulda found a ebay turbo that would've worked, and survived (like the guy two replies up) but, it was the expert technical advice that convinced me to buy that Borg Warner turbo,....not the chinese vs american products.

    I think it was PHR that took a 450.00 76 mm chinese turbo and put it on stock JY engines from Ford, Chrysler, and Chevy and tried to make big power w/ basically stock junk. The Ford was a 4.6 2v that they made somewhere in the high 400's FWHP I think. At the end of the article they put an identical spec Turbonetic turbo on the engine, and it made more power w/ less boost. But that turbo was more than twice the money.

    Somewhere you gotta call a spade a spade.
  13. Putting a turbo on my car has crossed my mind a lot lately. Of course it won't be anytime in the next 2 or 3 years, but I have been giving it some serious thought. I don't know a whole lot about them but my main concern is fuel/engine management. I don't even want to try to wrap my head around how to even start using a Megasquirt. So, basically I'll be following your build closely, Mike....just so I can learn a thing or 2 about building a turbo setup. I'm sure you won't let me down. :pop:
  14. Good call on the BW... I gave up on the Chinee turbo dream.
  15. So then,...if you gave up on the Chinese turbo,...does that mean that you are gonna give up the project?
  16. I'm not sure what the reason for it is, but it seems like the magazine community has really jumped on the cheap turbo kit thing. It was either the recent PHR or Car Craft issue that they threw a $1K turbo kit at a LS with a $2K EFI system. I thought that was somewhat comical, but it made good power.
  17. Definitely not. Just means that it's going to be a little more expensive than I was hoping for. The BW turbos make much more power than the gt45 and for only $200 more.
  18. Fwiw megasquirt has a plugnplay setup also with baselines already setup to get the engine started/running. You could do that and if nothing else take it to a tuner afterwards to maximize the combo. Has a lot of cool features if you haven't checked it out.
  19. Is it really that simple or do I have to be a little bit of a tuner to do the simple stuff? Is it a Windows based program?