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Discussion Starter #1
I understand how turbos work.

At their roots, they're simply a compressor and some plumbing. I know that's way oversimplified, but really- why are they so daggone expensive?
 

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Reading Topic: Turbos

It's not really the turbo itself, it's the kit that costs the most. You can get a nice turbo for around $650. But you also need a turbo header, piping, intercooler, bypass valve, and custom air intake. Sometimes, larger fuel injectors, larger fuel pump, and reprogrammed computer are necessary. Plus, on top of all that, the company creating the kit needs to be compensated for their time in research.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Turbos'

Many times a big difference between an inexpensive kit and one that seems expensive is support. You can buy cheap kits but when you call with a problem with the install, no one is there that can answer your questions.

I've know shops that sell quality kits can spend hours on the phone answering customers questions and solving their problems. It all gets rolled into the price.
 

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Reading Topic: Turbos

I takes a good amount of engineering effort to design, test, and build them, but the market for these things are very small (low volume) so you can't recover engineering costs on volumes. Hence, they're very expensive.
 

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Reading Topic: Turbos

So why not make a low pressure compressor? Tolerances could be less because the turbine wouldn't spin as fast, and we could do away with oil-cooled bearings. Despite lower tolerances, reliability I'd hope would still be high or higher. With a low boost, most of the engine could remain stock. How much engineering goes into measuring and bending pipes?

The rest of the auto industry (heck, almost every industry) is modular. The turbo industry (like that term?) produce a one-size-fits-most compresser, filter, and intercooler. They could be connected by bolt-on custom plumbing, which takes only measurements, not extensive R&D and costly time.

If most parts are shared, then development costs are cut down drastically. I suspect development is the major cost of today's turbos.

A compressor has few parts- two balanced blades on good bearings in a container. If it's mass produced, perhaps $200 (low boost). Plumbing $100-$200 depending on car. Intercooler, filter- $50-$100 each, and optional.

And honestly, I still think that sounds high. My can't somebody give me a turbo for under $500? Beyond that, no matter how high the gains, deep inside I just won't feel like I've gotten my money's worth.

I hope I don't come accross as being a lunatic (often). I think alloy wheels are way overpriced, too.
 

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Reading Topic: Turbos

Why not DIY?

You could buy a used tubo from an auto junkyard. Have some friend weld up an exhaust manifold, bend some tubes and presto! Turbo. Total cost under $1000. Easy right?

Try it and you will see why most people will pay the bucks for a quality kit.

Rememer the old saying."HP cost money. How fast do you want to go?"
 

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Reading Topic: Turbos

Turbos are not linear devices. "low boost" is relative. Turbos do not operate merely at one flow rate or boost level (the boost level set by the wastegate is a max level that has to be arrived at through spool-up). Since the turbo will experience a wide range of compressor flow and turbine output it needs to be over-engineered. Now, I'm not saying that turbos aren't going to get cheaper... they may with improvements in technology. However, necessary tolerances will remain the same as long as physics doesn't change (which I've never witnessed... hehe). Tight tolerances are required for high efficiency. Low efficiency means more heat. More heat means less power and possibly more expensive materials (so you'd lose out anyway).

-Alt
 

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Replying to Topic 'Turbos'

QUOTE
Originally posted by LBJay


            Why not DIY?

You could buy a used tubo from an auto junkyard. Have some friend weld up an exhaust manifold, bend some tubes and presto! Turbo. Total cost under $1000. Easy right?

Try it and you will see why most people will pay the bucks for a quality kit.

Rememer the old saying."HP cost money. How fast do you want to go?"[/b]
Lemme tell you...custom bending oil and coolant lines for the turbo is pain in the ass enough to justify buying a kit. I had to fabricate new lines when I upgraded the turbo in my thunderbird to a T3 because they were different from my stock turbo. What a pain in the ass!
 
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