Boost Controller

If you are really into high performance vehicles and thinking of having your car engine turbocharged, you are going to want to make sure you have the proper boost controller installed correctly so that you do not end up blowing up your engine.

A boost controller regulates the air pressure that is delivered to the engines mechanical wastegate actuator on a turbocharged or supercharged engine. The boost controller from a factory turbocharged car is already included on the engine. However, if you are beefing up your engine aftermarket, you will need to also install a manual boost controller or an electronic boost controller as well to protect the engine.

If you are going to be installing a manual boost controller yourself, you will need to help the engine breathe better. To ensure this you should add a high flowing exhaust as well as one of the aftermarket air intake or air filters.

The job of the wastegate actuator is to determine what your stock boost levels are. The boost controller’s job is to increase air boost over the stock levels by interrupting the pressure line that runs into the wastegate actuator. It is imperative that you learn what the maximum boost level is on your specific engine because each engine has a maximum boost level that it can handle. If you go over that maximum level, you risk blowing up your brand new turbocharged engine.

You can usually find the wastegate actuator attached to the turbocharger. It has a vacuum line that normally runs to the intake manifold, intercooler pipes or the turbocharger’s compressor housing. When installing the boost controller, you install it to this vacuum line. Actually it can be installed anywhere in the “charged” portion of the intake system along this vacuum line. The best place for a novice to install a boost controller however, is where they manufacturer recommends it to be.

As stated earlier, you can either install a manual boost controller or an electronic boost controller. If your budget is limited, a manual boost controller will generally cost less than an electronic controller. However, you can get quite a substantial horsepower gain with the manual boost controller too. After it is installed, you set the boost controller adjuster to your desired setting.

Manual boost controllers come in two basic types; the ball and spring type and a bleeder type. The ball and spring type uses a spring loaded ball to block the boost signal until your desired boost level is reached. When the boost level that you have already preset is reached, the ball will be pushed out of the way and allow the boost signal to pass through to the wastegate actuator, which will then open allowing exhaust gases to be diverted away from the spinning turbine so that the turbo is not boosted to a dangerous level. The ball and spring type boost controller usually has some sort of adjustment knob that allows you to vary the load on the inside spring. This allows you to adjust the boost level manually.

The other type of manual boost controller is the bleeder type. It has a valve that will “bleed off” boost pressure. This type will open the wastegate only when it gets enough boost to pass by what is being bled or leaking off. You are able to manually adjust the size of this bleed off like you can adjust the spring and ball type. If you diminish the bleed off level, you diminish the amount of boost. Likewise, if you increase the bleed off level, you increase the boost. You can find out more about installing a manual boost controller from reading the information about them on several websites that sell manual and electric boost controllers online.

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