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Nick Green


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 Does anybody out there have any advice on adding a turbo charger to this vehicle? I am currently running super unleaded with some octane booster added and it accelerates like a scalded cat !, I’m interested in upping it to the next level with a turbo or supercharger and an engine remap , thanks .

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My opinion is that the 2.5L engine has little room for improvement.  Don't think you'll get much more in the way of HP & torque.  A lot of guys will consider using Ford Focus parts.  You have options if you fabricate your own parts.    Make your own cold air intake.  Remove the factory exhaust and run a straight pipe.  Nobody is really doing custom tuning, but you may be able to find a shop with a dyno, who is willing to experiment with your van.  And if you use your imagination, you can think along the lines of an engine swap, a transmission swap, or something even wilder.  But at what cost?  Ever consider just buying a car that is faster, has more power, better torque numbers for towing, et cetera?  Didn't you notice the lack of power and sluggish acceleration when you took a test drive?  I remember the salesgirl laughing out loud when I floored the test drive vehicle to wide open throttle.  

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As background, until very recently, this is what I did professionally. This is the advice I gave every single one of my customers:


If you're going to try to add significant power to a modern non-turbo vehicle, it isn't going to be quick, it isn't going to be easy, and it isn't going to be cheap.




For normally aspirated engines (and to a lesser extent, also forced induction engines), power and fuel efficiency come from the same things. Because manufacturers are obsessed with trying to meet CAFE requirements, they have already done ALL the quick, cheap, and easy things that make power because those are the things that make better fuel efficiency. In fact, CAFE standards have gotten to the point where the manufacturers are starting do to things that are expensive and difficult just because there's nothing left (I'm looking at you, dual-active valvetrains that are used to run non-Otto cycle combustion routines). The stock tunes are usually also a hair's breadth away from turning the engine into a grenade. The manufacturers have already picked all the low hanging fruit. By the time the vehicle gets released to the public, there aren't any cheap and easy things to do that make an additional 5hp let alone a bigger gain. When a vendor tells you their simple, affordable product can make big power gains, be very, very suspicious. There's a dozen ways to cheat on a dyno to make it show gains you want and another two dozen ways to make a mistake that causes it to show a gain without you even realizing you screwed up. The number of shops out there that actually know how to get repeatable numbers out of a chassis dyno is tiny. Like if you're in the industry you can be on a first name basis with all the guys who run them level of tiny. So when Injen, AEM, K&N, etc tell you their part makes power, don't trust and definitely verify.


So what's left to do in the aftermarket? Stuff that's hard or stuff that's expensive. Usually both at the same time. Sure, if you want an extra 20hp, I can change the robot-made crappy stock exhaust header that cost the OEM $10 to make to a hand-built, mandrel bent, tig welded, equal length header with properly made collectors and a ton of engineering and dyno time behind it. It's going to cost you $1400 though.  On the induction side, I'll make a blanket statement and say the odds of you finding a modern (last 5 years) car out there that can show honest gains from an intake with no other work is worse than the odds of winning the lotto. Why? Because intakes are easy to design and cheap to produce thanks to the magic we can do with plastic now. The OEMs can make an intake that can flow more air than the engine can eat, fully suppress the induction noise, fit whatever weird assed packaging concerns are going on in the engine bay, and be damned cheap. Similar story with tuning. The OEMs ship non-turbo tunes that are within a gnat's ass of blowing the engine up and run reliably only because the adaptive strategies for AFR control and timing control are so impressively good. You can't just tune in more power anymore (though you can tune in a hell of a lot more drivability and returning the ECU is often worth it for that reason alone). That's if there's even sufficient access to your ECU and the ROM in it to properly re-tune the engine. Piggyback systems no longer are effective. You can, of course, go stand-alone but that's getting to be nearly impossible in CANBUS cars where you don't want to lose all the functionality that we take for granted in a modern car. When the car is a network of several dozen computers, ripping out the brain and replacing it with a 3rd-party stand-alone ECU tends to cause almost everything else to stop working.


Adding on a turbo kit is one of the few potential exceptions. However, the kit has to use a correctly sized turbo, take into account all the packaging concerns for turbo oil flow, turbo coolant flow, exhaust flow in and out of the turbo, induction flow through the turbo, proper boost regulation and of course re-tuning the ECU to take advantage of the additional air flow (if the ECU can even handle positive manifold pressures!). There are maybe 5 companies worldwide that regularly release rock-solid, good as OEM turbo kits. Ebay and Amazon kits need not apply.


Generally, if you have a non-turbo engine, the only really viable, cost effective, and reliable solution is to swap in the turbo powertrain from a higher-spec trim level of the same car. Drop an STi motor into a 2.5RS, drop a Focus RS motor into a base model, etc. However, you're going to need the engine and every damned thing that supports it, the wiring harness, the ECU, various electronic modules, very often the transmission and everything associated with it, etc. Again, not quick, cheap, or easy but it is often the only affordable way to double (or more) the horsepower of a base model non-turbo. I think the most extreme example of that was one project I was partially involved with that took a chassis that had the 165hp non-turbo engine in it and swapping that out to the highest-spec turbo engine, then modding the hell out of that, and ending up with a mill that made just at 800hp at the wheels and over 900 lbf-ft of torque (weird numbers due to restrictor plate). It had proper anti-lag and launch control on it, so you'd be sitting waiting for the green and have ~800lbf-ft of torque at "idle" (which was close to 4kRPM) to launch with. Of course, that car also had a sponsorship from a turbo company to afford to keep feeding it a new turbo every 2nd event due to the anti-lag destroying it.

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On 11/29/2017 at 9:49 PM, Nick Green said:

 Does anybody out there have any advice on adding a turbo charger to this vehicle? I am currently running super unleaded with some octane booster added and it accelerates like a scalded cat !, I’m interested in upping it to the next level with a turbo or supercharger and an engine remap , thanks .

Which vehicle?

Do you have a Gen 1 or the later model?  What year?


If it's in proper tune, super unleaded (let alone with an octane booster) should not make much of a difference in performance



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