Thursday, 4 May 2017

What Owning a Turbocharged Car has Taught me

If there is a single word that can sum up what owning a turbocharged car for the past one and a half year has taught me, it will be thishumility. I have quite a number of people telling me my car is cool, fast and what not. But instead of getting all boasted up, I can't help but to be humble at my slow car.

Slow car? You wondered. For a hot hatch making well above 234 horses on the wheel with 270Nm torque, this Neo turbo boosting 1-bar (14.5 psi) is producing more than double a stock Neo CPS is making. This is certainly not a slow car by any conventional family car standard. But with this comes a hefty price, in terms of time and money. The maintenance cost is not cheap, as it is the case with any other turbocharged car. Turbocharged vehicles are more prone to component failures just simply by the fact that there are a lot more things that can fail within the complex system, as compared to a much simpler naturally aspirated mode. 

I have educated myself with how a turbocharger system works, and it was a steep learning curve for me since I never knew how it works. The only thing I knew was a turbocharged car is scarily fast and it's uber cool! 

Imagine a roller coaster accelerates off, with G-force pressing your body against your seat. 

There are two ways to produce more power, firstly is by increasing engine capacity if you stick to naturally aspirated mode, secondly is by forced induction methods. Turbocharger system is one of these methods. On layman term, turbocharger involves the recycling of exhaust gas. The exhaust gas flow, instead of being eliminated straight from the vehicle, is utilised to spin the turbo hot side housing, which synced with turbo cold side housing. Through extremely fast spinning speed, the cold side housing draws the air into the system. The drawn air will then pass through intercooler and pipings, eventually arrive at intake manifold. 

The key ingredients of power production in the engine are fuel and air. Fuel can be injected accordingly through precise tuning setup, but air that can be drawn into the engine is limited to the engine capacity on naturally aspirated mode. So forced induction methods were invented to increase the power output by forcing higher volume of air into the engine. 

Turbocharged vehicle involves a turbo (duh!), custom exhaust manifold, exhaust system, pipings, intercooler, intake manifold, countless bolts and more pipings! Mechanically this is it, but there are more things to consider. Fuel system comprising higher capacity injectors, aftermarket fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator and so on, is also crucial to enable the car to perform to its greatest potential. To control fuel and ensure the right amount of air-fuel mixture to be ignited within the combustion chamber of the engine, a standalone ECU namely Haltech Sprint 500 has been deployed and tuned by a professional tuner. This tuning setup will influence almost everything about the car from drivability and performance to fuel efficiency. 

Speaking of which, performance and fuel efficiency are almost always trade off with one another. With great performance in terms of horsepower and torque, it means sacrificing fuel efficiency especially when you are boosting the car. A good tuning setup will strive to balance between the greatest performance figures a car is capable of based on its mechanical setup, as well as fuel efficiency for daily driving while cruising. 

These are just basics of turbocharger system, the tips of the iceberg. I can't wait to learn more about it as time passes and experience unfolds. 

The current setup of my Satria Neo Turbo is as follow: 

Engine and exhaust system:
Campro CPS 1.6 with internals fully upgraded to CFE kit (pistons, connecting rod, crankshaft, flywheel) 
Stainless steel gasket 1.5mm 
ACL bearing (main bearing) 
Billet oilpump gear
Velocity intake manifold
TD04hl turbo (from Subaru Forester) 
HKS SSQV blow off valve
Custom turbo exhaust manifold
J's Racing muffler
Works Engineering manual boost controller
Haltech Sprint 500

Fuel system: 
Aeromotive 340 Stealth fuel pump 
Mitsubitshi Airtrek 450cc Injectors 
Fuel Pressure Regulator 

Drivetrain and braking system: 
Ogura Racing Clutch Super Single
Custom made clutch pump 
Evo3 double layer brake servo
Trestor Advantage Blue performance brake pad 
AR Racing disc rotor 

Wheels and suspension: 
Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003 
TE37 rims 17 inches, 9jj 
BC Racing Fully Adjustable
Custom made PU bushings (front lower arm and rear trailing arm) 

Performance figures: 234 whp, 270Nm @1.0 bar boost. 

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