turbochargers and superchargers

Someone please help a computer nerd understand something about my car. I’ve got a yellow '00 mustang and I’d like to give it some more horsepower, either through a supercharger or a turbo. I heard somewhere that you can go to junkyards and sometimes salvage turbochargers and superchargers off of old cars and fit them to any car, with a little bit of work. Is this true? Can I go to the junkyard and rip the turbo out of an old mercedes (for example) and throw it into my mustang ? If it is true, is it worth the work / money to fit it right ? Are there any risks (besides the risks with timing the turbo with the engine combustion)?

Adding a turbocharger or supercharger is never easy or simple. It will require extensive changes to your engine to make use of the additional airflow as well as accomodate increased backpressure, etc. There’s a long list of things, and a mechanic could advise you better on them. Some parts of a turbocharger are interchangeable, and you might get away with salvaging the actual turbine unit, but you still have to find space in your engine for it, and get the proper connections and equipment. If you’re not already a decent mechanic, you’re going to need professional help, and it will cost a lot of money both for parts and specialized labor.

You CAN do it, but you CAN also stick your thumb in your eye. You don’t want to grab any old turbo off any old car and stick it in your Mustang. Your best bet (and most expensive of course) is to go to any one of thousands of after market guru’s that do this for a living. I’m not a 'stang guy so the only ones I can think of off the top of my head is Saleen and ummm yeah, there are a lot trust me. Not to start a flame war or anything, but the stock V8 Camaro (which sadly will be gone in a year) is faster than the stock rustang. Sure it looks like a girls car and plastic pieces regularly fall off in your hand but its fast and cheap. (Ducks and runs as the two sides start to do battle)

Well man, I have a mustang and I can tell you from personal expericence both ways. Whether you chose turbo or supercharger, always go with a kit designed specifically for your car, unless your just a badass with a friend who is a machinist I would stay away from any kind of junkyard turbos-making them fit and everything sucks a fat one. But if you get a set-up specifically for your car everything will be fairly straightforward (Not easy but straightforward). Superchargers-(Vortech,Paxton,Powerdyne,KenneBelle to name a few) will be a good deal easier to install and on average about $1,000 less than your basic turbo kit. However Turbos- (Incon, Turbonetics,Cartech, Turbo Technologies) In my expericences turbos just about always make more power but are complete and total whorebitch to install and more expensive as well.
So turbos sound good, make more power, but more expensive and 10 times worse to install. Superchargers sound good too and are fairly easy to install and will make almost as much power (maybe 50 horse diffence-depends on set-up). The major downfall with Superchargers is slinging belts-Turbos is the tuning issues

  1. If you have to ask this question, it is unlikely in the extreme that you could successfully take a turbo designed for another car and get it to work at all.

  2. Junkyards are a POOR place to find turbos. Turbos are high wear items on cars, so equipped. Unless you found a car that was there nearly new but wrecked, the turbo probably wouldn’t be worth much.

  3. Turbos and supercharges in general are designed specifically for the engine size they are made for. A turbo off of a 4 banger Dodge Daytona would be completely unsuitable for a V-8, for example.

  4. In complete agreement with everything mentioned before, turbos are much harder to install and setup than other types of supercharges. Two major reasons for this: You have to mess with the intake AND exhaust system, and you have to deal with the tremendous heat coming off of it.

Belgarth’s opinion that you should purchase a complete kit designed specifically for your car is a definitely the way to go unless you personally have the engineering experience to design your own supercharging system.

Injection is nice but I’d rather be blown.


Not only do you need to find a turbo sized for your car’s displacement and rpms, you must also take into account the electronics: the computer, the air-flow sensor, the oxygen sensor, the knock sensor, etc.

A stock setup will run good up to wide open throttle, and add fuel to that much incoming air. Pressurizing the intake manifold, your car won’t know what to do with all that extra air, and you’ll have very expensive problems fixing burnt pistons and valves.

      • I dunno what “timing the turbo” is. Anyway, Like They Said:
  • Turbos and blowers come in specific sizes for different engines, and you need a bunch of other engine-specific parts besides just the turbo/blower. Including block-internal parts such as camshafts, valves and connecting rods. An engine-specific name-brand kit is the best start- skip JC Whitney this time. There is no cheap way to do it right, or have it work well.
  • Junkyards pull and store turbos/blowers themselves -they don’t leave them out to rust in the rain. They will know what they’ve got, so all you have to do is call and ask if they have any newer blown Mustang engines, or anything similar. Don’t hold your breath, though.
  • Junkyard Turbos Are Usually Ruined: if the car was in an accident, the turbo probably lost airflow and oil pressure when it was still hot. That causes coking and scoring of the bearing races and warps/cracks in the casing. But you don’t care, because…
  • You want a blower, not a turbo. Turbos are best for extended high-speed cruising and 65 MPH isn’t high-speed- 165 is. Blowers boost accelleration and highway power, which is probably what you want.
    (Well, you probably want both, but sh*t man, buy a Ferrari engine!) - MC

Paxton Superchargers owns the Mustang market, so to speak.

Search for them. go to http://www.google.com and enter paxton supercharger mustang

Also, big on Mustangs is http://www.Summit.com You’ll find numerous hope up parts that are designed specifically for the Mustang.

Note: about 75% of the stuff is for V8 'stangs, while the rest is for V6 'stangs.

You have to consider engine life and emissions. New parts will meet your needs. In case you didn’t hear this enough: Absolutely no way should you be considering any used hop-up parts for a new car.

If you have a 2000 v6 Mustang, you have about 190 horses under the hood, and the v8 packs about 265-270, while the Cobra V8 hits the 320 hp mark.

To really feel a difference, you are looking at a supercharger, or Nitros kit.

IMHO, you should save up for a V8 if you’re working off a v6. If you are dealing with a v8, you have so many options you should find some Mustang clubs and ask for advice (which means learning from others mistakes).

You say you’ve got a 2000 Mustang?? Well unless you really know what you’re doing, or are willing to invest the time and big $$$ to get it done right, then my advice would be to leave your engine alone. Modern high performance cars like your Mustang are finely-tuned machines, and can be quite unforgiving to bolt-on “shockers” like blowers or turbos. You also run a good chance of a) reducing performance, b) decreasing engine life and reliability, c) voiding your warranty, and d) decreasing the overall value of your car. Again, unless you really know what your doing, stick to classic muscle cars if adding a blower or such.

What’s the difference between a turbo and a blower? You’re not just using blower for supercharger, are you?

All the things mentioned fall under the generally heading of supercharger. All types of supercharges work by the premise of increasing the air preasure to intake side of the engine, resulting in a denser fuel/air mixture in the cylinders.

Supercharges that are driven by the exhaust of a car are typically called turbochargers.

Superchargers that are belt or gear driven off the crankshaft are often called blowers or superchargers.

There are two major types of belt and gear driven supercharges ( and a number of less popular types): Positive displacement (or roots) and centrifugal.

Positive displacement superchargers are the most frequent type associated with the term “blower”. These are literally air pumps. They always pump a given amount of air per revolution (provided their inlet is not restricted, creating some amount of vacuum). These devices work VERY well at low rpm and make tremendous low RPM torque increases. They become hard to drive at high RPM and start using up alot of power gains delivered just to drive the supercharger.

Centrifugal supercharges don’t do much at low RPM as the turbine isn’t spinning fast enough to make much increase in intake preasure. However, as the rpm’s come up, they make more boost per horsepower required to drive them than roots type supercharges. This means a more efficient engine.

Disputing the voiding the warranty arguement and such. If you have a late model car (with fuel injection, computer control, etc), it is best buy a complete kit from a major aftermarket provider. It will contain everything you need besides just the blower. This may include variable fuel pressure regulators, larger fuel injectors, custom ECU programming, etc… It is also illegal to void a warranty because of aftermarket parts, unless it can be shown the aftermarket part was directly responsible for the vehicle failure.

What about the Ford Motorsports blower? If installed by the dealer, it even comes with a warranty.

Seriously, your question is better asked on some of the good late-model Mustang sites, like http://www.corral.net . You can get more info than you know what to do with there.

Lots of good tehcnical information, scotth, but this part may not actually be completely true. I have done a lot of reading on warranty issues in regards to engine computer chip upgrades. Even then, in an obviously much less drastic modification than adding a supercharge, there may be warranty issues to deal with. It’s kind of a gray area, I think. Even some expert opinions seemed to be conflicting in the reading I did.

The relevant legislation is the Magnuson-Moss Act (see http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/warranty/undermag.htm), which does have a section prohibiting ‘Tie-In Sales Provisions’. But if you read the examples give at the link, you see that there is some room for interpretation. In a nutshell, it seems that the manufacturer may still void your warranty for “Improper or incorrectly performed maintenance or repair”. This may well include engine modifications.

What it comes down to is this: If you modify your car, you are taking a risk of having warranty coverage voided. You may have a dealer who is very reasonable and supports aftermarket mods who will not cancel your warranty unless the parts can be shown to be directly responsible. But, then again, how many car dealers do you know that are so reasonable? If the dealer wants to fight you on it, they may have a case and they probably have more money to throw at it than you do.

So, check it out for yourself. Certainly don’t rely on my statements, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t have any legal background. But maybe ask a lawyer, or even the service manager at the place you get service done. Check for aftermarket options that specifically preserve your warranty, as Anthracite suggests. Just don’t assume that you will still have a complete warranty until you find that out for sure.

Turbos are VERY expensive and difficult to get working right even if you’re already a professional car mechanic.
Unless you have a LOT of money you are just spoiling to throw away, NOS is a lot easier and cheaper way for an inexperienced muscle-car enthusiast to destroy their engine.

This questions (“can I just throw a turbo on it and go”)
comes up a lot on the Nissan 300ZX boards I frequent. The 300ZX came in both normal and turbo models. People with the normal models are always asking if they can convert their car to turbo. The stock answer is “Well, do you $7000-10,000 to throw away and a godlike mechanic on permamant retainer?” It got asked so many times I made a page explaining why, if you have to ask the question, you’re not likely to be smart enough to pull it off: http://www.dim.com/~mackys/z/mods/turboconversion.html
Now, if you’re bound and determined to go with a turbo(s),
like everyone says, get a kit designed for your car. This decreases (though does not eliminate) the chances of blowing up your engine.

I also recommend a couple books:

Turbochargers by Hugh MacInness


Maximum Boost: Designing, Testing and Installing Turbocharger Systems by Corky Bell. Corky also runs a
turbo Q&A website. For like, $50 a year or something
you can ask him questions about turbos. http://www.askcb.com

You can also read my page on turbos:


and the Mitsu 3000GT turbo selection guide: