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Well I finally managed to get my engine out thanks to the aid of Matty Man's lift. Got it torn down and found it's not the original block to the car and while sitting around thinking about where to go from there the idea struck me. Turbo! The engine before already made a fairly healthy amount of power but I want more! I'm on a pretty tight budget so my question is what is a good, cheap turbo that will safely produce and hold 7-12 pounds of boost? And is there anyone out there running a turbo that can give me advice?
 

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Well I finally managed to get my engine out thanks to the aid of Matty Man's lift. Got it torn down and found it's not the original block to the car and while sitting around thinking about where to go from there the idea struck me. Turbo! The engine before already made a fairly healthy amount of power but I want more! I'm on a pretty tight budget so my question is what is a good, cheap turbo that will safely produce and hold 7-12 pounds of boost? And is there anyone out there running a turbo that can give me advice?
Before you add the extra power.. prolly better make sure the rear end.. brakes.. drive shaft.. transmission and suspension can handle it first. All the power in the world is no good if the car can't manage it.
 

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I don't want to come off as rude, but once in awhile someone comes along on this forum or another and thinks "Hey, I need more power, Let me strap a turbo to this thing!". A stock sbc will barely hold 5 pounds of boost reliably. Lots of people have problems running 10 pounds on mildly built engines. So lets say you gamble and leave the long block completely stock. You'll need to upgrade everything around it to even get the turbo to work correctly and make power. Everything from ignition, oiling system, carburetor, fuel delivery, etc. It's not even the turbo that costs all the money, you can pick up a reliable garrett turbo off a diesel truck for under 500. IMO you would be better off putting the 2-3 grand you'll easily spend towards an N/A build. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't want to come off as rude, but once in awhile someone comes along on this forum or another and thinks "Hey, I need more power, Let me strap a turbo to this thing!". A stock sbc will barely hold 5 pounds of boost reliably. Lots of people have problems running 10 pounds on mildly built engines. So lets say you gamble and leave the long block completely stock. You'll need to upgrade everything around it to even get the turbo to work correctly and make power. Everything from ignition, oiling system, carburetor, fuel delivery, etc. It's not even the turbo that costs all the money, you can pick up a reliable garrett turbo off a diesel truck for under 500. IMO you would be better off putting the 2-3 grand you'll easily spend towards an N/A build. Just my 2 cents.
Not rude at all and I appreciate the input. But this isn't a stock small block. Actually far from it and the engine already makes in the 400 horse range. I know what it will take and know what needs to be done to have it even run with the turbo. Engine already has head, intake and bottom end work along with a high volume oiling system. I'm gonna be adding in head studs and studs in the bottom end for further strength.
 

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You will need turbo pistons, oversize radiator and fans, and fuel and ignition systems tailored to your specific setup to deal with three issues: Heat, cylinder pressure and detonation, all related to each other. I have built and street driven and raced two turbo cars. No room for error. Just 7 psi of boost (1/2 an atmosphere) will destroy your motor in a matter of seconds if detonation occurs. The term " cheap turbo" is not a good idea. Turbos are great, but really need to be part of a complete purpose built package.
I am also not intending to be rude. Throwing a turbo on your current motor is a sure route to disaster. Take time to plan and save for a complete package that won't eat itself up and leave you hitch hiking! Just my does centavos.

PS. Special prep to block and heads to seal higher pressure is necessary. Turbos also have very different camshaft requirements for best performance.

:driving::driving:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
An older Garret t3 or t3/t4 hybrid will do the job. They are less expensive because of their "conventional" setup. That's about all I know about turbos!! Besides how wicked they sound.
Thanks I was looking at those. I think I'm gonna try to find a good externally wastegated HX35 off a Cummins
 

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Not rude at all and I appreciate the input. But this isn't a stock small block. Actually far from it and the engine already makes in the 400 horse range. I know what it will take and know what needs to be done to have it even run with the turbo. Engine already has head, intake and bottom end work along with a high volume oiling system. I'm gonna be adding in head studs and studs in the bottom end for further strength.
Perhaps if you could break out what you have now - engine wise you know, cam specs , CR, heads, exhaust intake etc.. it might be easier to help drill down to a real answer. Like the others just "slap a turbo on" without any other information or details is a recipe for disappointment.
 

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I don't want to come off as rude, but once in awhile someone comes along on this forum or another and thinks "Hey, I need more power, Let me strap a turbo to this thing!". A stock sbc will barely hold 5 pounds of boost reliably. Lots of people have problems running 10 pounds on mildly built engines. So lets say you gamble and leave the long block completely stock. You'll need to upgrade everything around it to even get the turbo to work correctly and make power. Everything from ignition, oiling system, carburetor, fuel delivery, etc. It's not even the turbo that costs all the money, you can pick up a reliable garrett turbo off a diesel truck for under 500. IMO you would be better off putting the 2-3 grand you'll easily spend towards an N/A build. Just my 2 cents.
Not rude at all. I am one of those who gets super excited about upgrades only to learn that it includes a long list of other requirements. I'm on the site because of info like this. No need to make mine go faster if I'm still using drums in the back.
I have to drive by a diesel high performance shop every other day and think "How cool if I..." Fun to dream though.
 

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Another source for a non Chinese cheap turbo would be a used factory turbo from one of the buick gn guys doing an upgrade.

In keeping with the word cheap, you would want a smaller turbo which would spool up faster & not put out a high boost level on a larger engine.
 

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lots of planning required imho

Perhaps if you could break out what you have now - engine wise you know, cam specs , CR, heads, exhaust intake etc.. it might be easier to help drill down to a real answer. Like the others just "slap a turbo on" without any other information or details is a recipe for disappointment.
x2!

Are you currently running a forged bottom end? Are you running head gaskets that can handle the extra pressure? Do you have someone on hand that can fabricate the exhaust as-needed for a proper turbo install? Do you have plans/space for an intercooler? If you don't intend to install one, why not?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Currently it's bored 30 over, forged bottom end, gm performance pistons that will need to be changed to run the turbo, 202 double hump heads with port work, the cam is a early 90s Crane that I'm not sure of the size but it's fairly healthy, and the intake is a edelbrock scorpion. I will be adding main studs and ARP rod bolts to strengthen the bottom end and also doing a full roller conversion so the cam won't stick around anyway.
 

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Just a thought, the trend now for cheap turbo setups is the lower cost 5.3 & 4.8 ls truck engines. They come with 6 bolt mains, etc & high mileage versions are holding up pretty well to the abuse. One recent dyno test article pumped out over 1,000 horses repeatedly on what turned out to be just a 4.8 liter.
Could be cheaper in the long run than trying to build up an older engine if you can fab everything possible & hold the conversion costs down.
 

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