How Do Turbo Chargers Work?

Installing a turbocharger is one of the best upgrades to make if you want to significantly boost engine performance. How does it work, though? You’ll find out here.

What is a Turbocharger?

Taurus turbo

Image Credit: MACCAutos

A turbocharger is a component that’s shaped a bit like a small French horn. It bolts to the exhaust manifold. The turbocharger contains an exhaust turbine fan wheel that is mounted on a short shaft supported by a bearing. An intake air compressor fan wheel is mounted on the other end of the shaft. The turbo housing keeps the exhaust gases completely separate from the intake air.

A turbine fan wheel is a type of fan that is designed to extract energy from a moving stream of air (or water). The exhaust gases of the engine turn the turbine fan wheel. The intake air compressor fan wheel is designed to push more air into the engine. The air is compressed as it is pushed.

How Does a Turbocharger Increase Engine Performance?

Engines burn a mixture of fuel and air. To make power efficiently the fuel and air have to be mixed at a certain ratio. For gasoline engines, the ratio is 14.7 parts of air to 1 part of fuel.

Engineers are always trying to get more power out of an engine. One might think that all that is needed is to force more gasoline into the engine. But this won't work, as the fuel mixture would be too rich. The engine would actually just burn the fuel mixture incompletely. This would use more gasoline, and actually make less power.

The answer is to force more air into the engine, and then add the right amount of gasoline to keep the fuel mixture correct. This is where the turbocharger comes in. The turbocharger uses the low-pressure, high-velocity exhaust gases to spin the turbine wheel. The compressor fan wheel then pressurizes the intake air to force it into the engine. The engine's computer adds enough gasoline to keep the fuel mixture correct. As the fuel mixture in the cylinder is pressurized, there is more fuel in cylinder to explode. This produces more power.

Interested in Powering Up Your Ford with a Turbocharger?


Image Credit: ese1981

Or do you need to replace the turbocharger in your Ford? Go the OEM route!

Some Ford models, such as the F-150 and Explorer, come with a turbocharger built in. It depends on the package you chose when you bought your car. If your car doesn’t have a turbocharger already built in, you can still install an OEM turbocharger. However, you can only do this if there’s an OEM turbocharger made for your Ford model.

To find out if there’s an OEM turbocharger made for your model, look up your vehicle in our catalog. You can also see if there’s a turbocharger made for your model in our best seller list:

  • Part No. AA5Z-6K682-E: For 2015-2018 Explorer, Flex, Police Interceptor, Taurus, MKS, and MKT models
  • Part No. CB5Z-6K682-H: For 2012-2015 Edge and Explorer models
  • Part No. CJ5Z-6K682-F: For 2015-2018 Escape, Focus, Special Service Police Sedan, Taurus, MKC, MKT, and MKZ models

Got any questions about how turbochargers work? Call or email us. We’ll be happy to chat with you about all things turbochargers!