How A Turbo Shield Makes More Power and Keeps Things Cool
Above: For this turbo install, the turbo shield included in the kit was replaced with a Heatshield Products Lava Turbo Shield™ that is a more effective thermal barrier for both keeping heat in the turbocharger drive housing and out of the engine compartment. We combined this with Heatshield Armor™, Thermaflect Sleeve™ and HP Sticky Shield™ to help keep as much heat in the turbo system as possible, along with protecting surrounding components from the adverse affects of increased ambient heat.
If you’ve been to the races and seen turbocharged cars with a turbo transmission blanket or shield, you may have wondered what the benefit was. If you assumed it was to protect everything else under the hood from excessive heat, you’re half right. The primary purpose of a turbo heat shield is to keep heat inside the turbo, which contributes to making more power!
A turbocharger typically runs off exhaust gasses (we say typically because there are some electrically driven turbos), and you end up with a massive ambient heat source under the hood in addition to your engine. High heat is important to a turbo, though, because hotter exhaust gasses mean higher exhaust-gas velocities, which can spin the turbo faster, cut down on turbo lag and improve overall performance. And that’s where the benefits of the specially designed Heatshield Products turbo shields come in, which function to keep more heat in the drive side of the turbo compressor, and to retain high exhaust-gas temps along with high exhaust-gas velocities. Instead of being a generic heat blanket, Heatshield Products turbo shields are designed to fit the turbo housings, and they are designed for the temperatures that are typical in turbo applications.
In the picture above, we used Heatshield Products Heatshield Armor™ thermal barrier to protect the engine oil filter and factory oil cooler lines from the ambient heat generated by the exhaust feed pipe going into the turbocharger. Increased ambient heat can not only heat the oil above optimal temperature levels, but also negatively affect the life of the oil and the filter.
And then there’s keeping everything else under the hood as cool as can be. By keeping the heat inside the turbo, the turbo shield reduces the ambient heat in the engine compartment. This can improve overall engine cooling and reduce heat soak into the fuel, brake, power steering and air conditioning systems.
In the above photo, we wrapped the car's A/C lines with Heatshield Products Thermaflect Sleeve™ material, since the lines ran right by the exhaust piping feeding the Turbonetics turbocharger. If the lines become too hot, it will negatively affect A/C performance, not to mention risk damaging the lines themselves.
In addition to a Heatshield Products turbo shield, there are a variety of other Heatshield Products that will benefit a turbocharged application. We were recently involved with a 50-state legal Turbonetics turbo system install at Antivenom Performance in Seffner, Florida. Before the Turbonetics kit the car made 369 RWHP. After the Turbonetics install, including the addition of a Heatshield Products Lava Turbo Shield, the car cranked out a whopping 580 RWHP, 200+ more than stock. Along with the Lava Turbo Shield, we also installed a variety of Heatshield Products thermal barriers to help engine performance, and also protect the systems around it from radiant heat.
* We wrapped the car's A/C lines with Thermaflect Sleeve™ so the lines and refrigerant inside themwouldn't be heated by ambient heat generated by the turbo system, which would reduce A/C performance
* On the driver's side where the turbo was mounted, we also used Thermaflect Sleeve™ to wrap the brake lines and power steering lines so the hydraulic fluid inside them wouldn't see increased temps that could harm braking and steering performance
* In addition, we installed HP Sticky Shield™ on the body and Heatshield Armor™ on all the turbo-system exhaust piping. We also used Thermaflect™ on the air-intake tube into the engine to help keep air-intake temps down
The wastegate valve location is right beneath the fuel and brake lines on the body. Too much heat into the fuel lines will heat fuel and potentially cause vapor locking issues, and brake fluid getting too hot will hurt braking performance. We used Heatshield Products HP Sticky Shield™ material to create a thermal barrier between the lines and the wastegate, ensuring there won't be any issues.
The result was a car that not only flies like a rocket on the street, but has ice-cold A/C, brakes unaffected by heat exposure and effortless power steering. And the systems will be protected from the adverse effects of increased and constant ambient heat exposure as well.
We used more Heatshield Armor™ material around this pipe that ran right next to the transmission, both to keep heat in the pipe for increased exhaust gas temperature and velocity, and also to protect the transmission from all the heat generated by the pipe as well.
When you’re building a turbo car or thinking about adding a turbo, don’t forget about everything around the turbo, and how a few dollars spent on some extra thermal barriers can mean fewer headaches and more fun behind the wheel.