We get a lot of questions like these. “Hey can you turbocharge my so and so car?” and it’s always followed by “How much is the total?” Actually its pretty much the same procedure for almost any 4 cylinder gasoline car. It's By no means a simple mod but here’s a guide that will try to lay it out for and simply the technical jargon that you see in the various forums, and of course a realistic (read not cheap) budget for good quality components. All prices below are ballpark figures.
1. The Turbocharger: Cost P35,000-40,000
Well it is the heart of the entire system. Get a bad or a mismatched size turbo and you won’t be making reliable power anytime soon. The most common turbo size we use is the venerable T25/28, most popularly seen as the OEM turbocharger of the Nissan Silvia. We run our turbochargers between 7-8psi for most street applications (meaning the average joe who wants more power) because RELIABILITY is of utmost importance (you will hear this word throughout this guide). Being the single biggest mechanical component of the system, spending for quality upfront will save you from headaches in the future, and believe me, no china turbos in our shop.
2. Turbo Manifold and Outlet: Cost P12,000-P15,000 and P12,000
Most people are actually kinda confounded on how in the world the turbo will fit in the engine. Its like fitted a round lump into a mail slot. This it the job of the turbo manifold. It connects the exhaust system to the mouth of the turbo, and this is why whatever headers you have has to go out because that’s where the turbo will sit. And all those gases has to go out the rest of the exhaust, and that’s where the turbo outlet comes in. We always make it a bolt on to the stock exhaust, which minimizes costs but also makes it a true bolt on affair should you wish to put your car back to stock.
3. Intercooler and pipings: Cost P40,000
“But its just a bunch of pipes!” Once upon a time I thought exactly the same as you. I could just go to any hardware store and buy myself 20 feet of piping for P5,000 and then find some guy to weld everything together. And that’s exactly what I did, only that it took my 3 weeks going back and forth to the welding shop and in the end, nothing fitted right! What you’re really paying for is our experience on design and yes there is science involved in calculating piping length and size, as well as clearing vital components such as aircon lines, chassis, and fog lights. We also bead our pipes to ensure that the boost doesn’t blow off the hose connectors. Once again RELIABILTY.
4. Air Intake: Cost P7,500 - P10,000
Like every engine on planet Earth, it has to be fed air in order to work. In the case of turbo cars, the intake connects to the turbo inlet (the cleaner shinier side). And as with all intakes, a K&N filter is used to makes sure only clean air gets sucked in. Turbos really hate having small stones stuffed down its throat.
5. Blow off valve: Cost P10,000-P16,000
Ahh yes, the much required whoooossshhhh sound that lets everyone know that you are turbocharged. Yes there are a lot of fakes out there and we insist on using the real deal when possible. We have had problems with BOVs that simply leak and not make any boost (bad but not life threatening) to ones that refuse to open even under 30psi of boost (very bad). Once again RELIABILITY.
6. Additional Injector: Cost P9,000
More air requires more fuel. It’s an irrefutable law of the cosmos. The stock fuel system is designed for stock power levels with enough leeway for minor bolt ons. But with the turbo force feeding as much as 50% more air in the engine, more fuel is a must. The easiest and most economical way is to use a 5th injector setup before the throttle body to supply the needed fuel. We typically use a 550-650 injector. This is adequate for most street cars seeing 7-8 psi of boost.
7. Unichip: Cost P30,000
Once you have all the mechanical components in place, its time for electronics to orchestrate and make sure everyone plays nicely with one another to make power. This is the Uncihip’s job. The fundamentals of the engine are still the same, turbo or not. Suck in air, squirt in fuel, give spark for bang. What the Unichip does is essentially control the amount of fuel and spark an engine gets. We always employ a safe margin when tuning, which is a 12.5:1 AF ratio and minimal spark advance. Often times we know that there is still a lot more power to be made, as much as 20more hp in some case, but we don’t tune it because once again, RELIABILTY. Any turbo setup that doesn't included engine management is not even worth considering. Oh price already includes dyno tuning.
8. Gauges: Cost starts at P8,000 each
Actually gauges are what we term as “nice to have” its not an absolute necessity to have for the turbokit to function properly, but people always ask for them, because gauges simply look cool. But gauges on a turbo car tells you vital information about how well the system is working. Many people think that you must get 3 gauges at once. Truth is, the only reason why its 3 is because 1 looks lonely and 2 look bitin when placed in the middle. But if you only have budget for one, it MUST be a boost gauge.
So price total? Ballpark of 155k-165k (gauges not included), which is basically the price range of our turbo kits. Sure you may have canvassed elsewhere and some other shop quotes you a turbo kit for 1/2 or sometimes 1/3 of the price above. Well its your money and up to you where you want to spend it, but I will say this, the expression “you get what you pay for” is so very very true when it comes to turbo setups, and how much you spend is directly proportional to what kind of quality and RELIABILITY you will get.