Turbo charging has proved to have a lot of major advantages, but it is a common fact that even a slight doubtful issue can become a fly in ointment. That is just the case with the turbo lag. This issue is sure to be brought up in any turbo charging discussion. This is a major issue for most drivers. But the most important thing is to understand the concept of turbo lag correctly. Turbo lag is the time the turbo takes to spin fast enough to produce boost pressure.
The turbo lag problem dates back to the 80s when turbo chargers entered mass market and got many people want turbo vehicles. Such brands as Nissan and Mitsubishi launched turbo cars to satisfy the public demand for such vehicles. These were not what we presume by turbo cars today as they focused more on reliability and cost than on performance. Thus adding ‘Turbo’ to the name of the model was a smart marketing move not more.
These manufacturers did not only exploit the concept of ‘turbo’, but they also damaged it by bringing misunderstanding to the concept of ‘turbo lag’ due to making some wrong decisions. They manufactured turbocharged automobiles without intercoolers. This was done to reduce the cost of the cars. As a result there was nothing to cool high temperatures of the compressed air with. This increased the chances of detonation. To fight these drawbacks the manufacturers simply reduces the compression ratio of the engine. By doing so could they expect that the vehicle would preserve all its power? No!
Luckily, these vehicles were equipped with small turbos which made it possible to spool fast enough, but still the drawback was there and it affected the exhaust system. The scavenging ability decreased while reversion possibility increased. As a result the engine’s volumetric efficiency was reduced which consequently has lead to even less power and poor performance. Fortunately, manufacturers managed to eliminate these drawbacks by post pressure production. But even with a decreased compression ratio, reduced volumetric efficiency and high back pressure these turbo charged vehicles managed to make a statement after those couple of seconds when the turbo spooled up were over. This was a fair compensation for the drawbacks.
However, from those times on turbo technologies have been rapidly developing. Now it is possible to have it all: intercoolers, lowered temperatures produced by air compression without reducing the compression ratio and powerful vehicle with excellent performance. Besides, the problem of the back pressure has been also resolved by running a bit larger turbo that suits the exhaust system better. Well, all these innovations should put an end to eloquent discussions about turbo lag. It is still there, but it does not hinder the power or performance of the vehicle any more.
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