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Old 14th May 2009, 06:08   #1
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Default Turbos on Indian off-road vehicles

The purpose of this thread is to start a dialogue about the use of turbos in regard to off roading, in particular, Indian off roading. Turbos give you more power. This is usually desirable in no-road and bad-road situations as more power can keep you from getting stuck. It is also beneficial when you are operating at high altitude where lack of oxygen steals performance. Turbos also give you more more roadability and let you keep up with higher speed traffic on highways where going slow and accelerating slowly can actually be dangerous.

I put this thread in the off road section because I am interested in turbos as they apply to the Indian off-roading scene. I would like to know how to install a turbo after market on the motors that are typically used in Indian off-roaders. I mean a turbo big enough to require an intercooler, not the little turbos some manufacturers include for emissions.

Installing a turbo is only one part of the task. By installing a turbo you ram air into the motor via the turbo which is really a kind of air pump. You also have to control how much fuel to supply with the increased turbo air supply. How do you control the fuel/air ratio in an aftermarket turbo install? How do you control the air input temperature into the turbo so you do not melt it or the motor? Who makes a good turbo in India? Who in India can be trusted to install a turbo system correctly? Are there pyrometers and/or other gages available in India? The idea is to provide usable low end power that will move a vehicle over difficult terrain. Ideas???
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Old 14th May 2009, 12:25   #2
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I'd much prefer a naturally-aspirated powerful engine - versus one that's turbocharged - for offroading applications:

1. Turbolag can be a cancer while offroading. Plus, uneven power delivery could prove risky in tricky situations.

2. Linear power delivery is imperative to the capability of a 4x4. Makes things that much easier for the driver.

3. One more thing that can break.

4. What's water, muck & all that dirt going to do to the turbo?

5. When out in a convoy, I frequently switch the engine off (when wait is over 10 minutes...something that happens on each tough spot). The 60 second idle - before shutting the turbocharged engine and right after starting - could prove annoying!

Note : I'm not talking about super-expensive Landcruisers & Pajeros, nor am I hinting that Mahindras & Gypsies don't need more power (quite the contrary). However, all things being equal (torque especially), I'd choose a larger N/A engine than a smaller one with turbo.

Quote:
I would like to know how to install a turbo after market on the motors that are typically used in Indian off-roaders.
You'd need an outstanding garage + mechanic who is able to deliver on reliability. Challenge is finding one, and once you do, the costs.

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Who makes a good turbo in India?
KKK? I guess one of our members makes turbos for them.

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Who in India can be trusted to install a turbo system correctly?
No one I know for offroaders.
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Old 14th May 2009, 14:55   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I'd much prefer a naturally-aspirated powerful engine - versus one that's turbocharged - for offroading applications:

1. Turbolag can be a cancer while offroading. Plus, uneven power delivery could prove risky in tricky situations.

2. Linear power delivery is imperative to the capability of a 4x4. Makes things that much easier for the driver.

3. One more thing that can break.

4. What's water, muck & all that dirt going to do to the turbo?

5. When out in a convoy, I frequently switch the engine off (when wait is over 10 minutes...something that happens on each tough spot). The 60 second idle - before shutting the turbocharged engine and right after starting - could prove annoying!

Note : I'm not talking about super-expensive Landcruisers & Pajeros, nor am I hinting that Mahindras & Gypsies don't need more power (quite the contrary). However, all things being equal (torque especially), I'd choose a larger N/A engine than a smaller one with turbo.
I agree with GTO
Turbo's are designed to give a boost from a certain RPM and this may prove disastrous during OTR's.
Just imagine coming down a rocky mountain and your turbo engine hits the RPM.
There are times when I am using gears to slow down in my Diesel swift and the turbo kicks in.

I agree with GTO on getting a bigger engine rather than a turbo.

GB
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Old 14th May 2009, 15:02   #4
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Agree with GTO.
But, if its a reliable turbo engine plus a small turbo with a linear power delivery. Best example is Innova's engine.

I just remembered 4x4addict has a DI-Turbo engine in his MM540 with a 5 speed gearbox.
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Old 14th May 2009, 16:11   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I'd much prefer a naturally-aspirated powerful engine - versus one that's turbocharged - for offroading applications:
The idea is to get more power. Show me a larger naturally=aspirated engine that you can swap into a jeep to get that power. It is easier to install a turbo than to have to match another engine to a 4x4 jeep, usually.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
1. Turbolag can be a cancer while offroading. Plus, uneven power delivery could prove risky in tricky situations.
A one second little lag before she takes off like a scalded goose I can easily live with. "Uneven power delivery"??? There is no reason a properly matched and installed turbo would give you that.

One turbo I think you can buy in India is the Garrett Turbo, now a division of Honeywell. Since trucks have turbos, perhaps a truck shop would be the place to get turbo work done on a 4x4

The turbo on the mdi3200tc that 4x4addict has is a very small turbo that is there primarily for emissions. This is the Bolero standard configuration and is very successful. But this turbo supplies little power and does not even have an intercooler in its stock version. However this motor is interesting in that it is already set up for a turbo. It is also an extrememly robust motor with a large crankshaft. This would be exactly the one motor I would want to add a turbo to, I think. If I knew how to set the air/fuel ratio etc.

Last edited by DirtyDan : 14th May 2009 at 16:14.
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Old 14th May 2009, 18:27   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitrous View Post
But, if its a reliable turbo engine plus a small turbo with a linear power delivery. Best example is Innova's engine.
Reliability is key and unfortunately, I have yet to see an after-market turbo job that performs as reliably as a factory bolt on. If there are any super reliable installs, they are more the exception than the rule. Think about it, if after-market installs don't perform reliably on the road, how on earth can we expect them to cope with the stress of offroading?

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Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
The idea is to get more power. Show me a larger naturally=aspirated engine that you can swap into a jeep to get that power. It is easier to install a turbo than to have to match another engine to a 4x4 jeep, usually.
I agree. Absolutely. You want a powerful 4x4? Get a Gurkha. I think it suits your needs to the T. Grunt, equipment, turbo and way better onroad behaviour than a Mahindra or Gypsy.

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"Uneven power delivery"??? There is no reason a properly matched and installed turbo would give you that.
While I'm certain that a properly matched & installed turbo can give you linear delivery, not so sure whether the after-market tuning industry is capable of this. Or, again, the all too important reliability factor.

The kind of offroading that we do, I've never felt the XD3P lacking in power / torque. Have hardly ever used 1st low either. Instead of a turbo, I'd rather increase the ground clearance, get better offroad rubber, limited slip etc. etc.
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Old 14th May 2009, 18:38   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The kind of offroading that we do, I've never felt the XD3P lacking in power / torque. Have hardly ever used 1st low either. Instead of a turbo, I'd rather increase the ground clearance, get better offroad rubber, limited slip etc. etc.
You are in Bombay at sea level and he is in Dharamsala roughly about 1500 meters above sea level. This will contribute to a huge performance difference in the same vehicle in these two places.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that a turbo is a way to go, but just pointing out the obvious that the performance of an engine will differ quite vastly based on these conditions.
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Old 14th May 2009, 19:02   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
You want a powerful 4x4? Get a Gurkha. I think it suits your needs to the T. Grunt, equipment, turbo and way better onroad behaviour than a Mahindra or Gypsy.
I waited all last summer for a jeep to appear and missed a season upstairs in the Himalayas. Force is going to the om611 engine but it means I would have to wait another season for them to get their act together, if they ever do. Can't say their present mill excites me too much.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
While I'm certain that a properly matched & installed turbo can give you linear delivery, not so sure whether the after-market tuning industry is capable of this. Or, again, the all too important reliability factor.
Yup, me neither. That is one reason I started this thread. I was hoping some real experts with experience doing this would contribute. Hey, it's possible!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The kind of offroading that we do, I've never felt the XD3P lacking in power / torque. Have hardly ever used 1st low either. Instead of a turbo, I'd rather increase the ground clearance, get better offroad rubber, limited slip etc. etc.
The XD3P ain't too shabby. But there is a reason that M&M put a turbo on it for the Thar and it is not just emissisions in this case. At least, that is my understanding. Also, the big hills here show the limitations of the XD3P. The MDI3200tc is noticably superior on a steep slope, especially at altitude. Arka will tell you that it out performs the XD3P by a sizable margin on the flats as well.
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Old 14th May 2009, 19:33   #9
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I am going to seriously watch this thread, as there are a few assumptions that I would normally make when one mentions Off Roading (in my dictionary typically meant crawling) however after reading your posts till now realise that there are additional factors of gradation, torque and power delivery.

Then there are the Diesel mills that do find significant improvements with turbo's and so do petrols. Yes reliability will be one of the most critical factors when one looks at being stuck in the middle of nowhere in case of a failure.

Hence I would be the first to jump on GTO's point on going bigger instead of forced induction.

Dan looking at your point on bigger turbo's that would require intercooler's I would say stay away as one puncture on the intercooler and all that boost is history esp if you are off roading.

Quote:
A one second little lag before she takes off like a scalded goose I can easily live with. "Uneven power delivery"??? There is no reason a properly matched and installed turbo would give you that.
GTO answered this point well and I would like to add that a smaller turbo would be a better bet in situations here.
Quote:
Turbolag can be a cancer while offroading. Plus, uneven power delivery could prove risky in tricky situations.
Just imagine if you were in a mud pit and gradually building power, the turbo kicks in and spins out the wheel getting you stuck further. A lower gear would be better. (A tarmac dude trying to think about off roading situations )

Next in situations like altitudes yes a turbo could help but again, I wonder how one can tune the same sitting on the plains.

There are way too many variables to allow for someone to say a yes to this approach. I am no expert in any way to say that it could work, would leave it to most of you off roadies to know better than take a plunge.
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Old 14th May 2009, 20:32   #10
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I've used turbo diesels in bad road/off road conditions. Nothing extreme though.
It really depends on power delivery.
There are turbo diesels with linear power delivery, most of the UVs available now with common rails are like that. but expecting an after market install of a turbo that kicks in subtly, is, well, asking for too much IMO

The wheels will break free of traction just at the worst possible moment, making you slide backwards or launch up the obstacle you were gingerly trying to clear, guaranteeing a heart breaking underbody hit.

if you can find a turbo that develops a lot of its peak torque low down in the rev range and builds torque in a more linear fashion it will be a delight to drive in broken road/off road conditions

I agree on the turbocharged cars being more fun to drive at higher altitudes

@DD-Are you not considering an engine swap? i.e an engine that is already TCed to begin with? The 2.6 CRDe from M&M is quite reliable. Nice linear power delivery, plenty of torque low down, and already producing considerably more power than any of the current old school offroaders can handle with their ladder on frame chassis

Last edited by rippergeo : 14th May 2009 at 20:39.
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Old 14th May 2009, 20:50   #11
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Wouldn't a supercharger be a better bet for off-roading ?
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Old 14th May 2009, 22:14   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
Dan looking at your point on bigger turbo's that would require intercooler's I would say stay away as one puncture on the intercooler and all that boost is history esp if you are off roading........

Just imagine if you were in a mud pit and gradually building power, the turbo kicks in and spins out the wheel getting you stuck further. A lower gear would be better. (A tarmac dude trying to think about off roading situations )
It is no more vulnerable to puncture than, say, your radiator. It depends a bit on where you place it, of course. As far as spinning wheels, yeah, what I am after is usuable power off road. Spinning the wheels in the mud is only desirable in direct accord with who happens to be standing behind your vehicle.

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Originally Posted by rippergeo View Post
I've used turbo diesels in bad road/off road conditions. Nothing extreme though.
It really depends on power delivery......
if you can find a turbo that develops a lot of its peak torque low down in the rev range and builds torque in a more linear fashion it will be a delight to drive in broken road/off road conditions
Exactly right. It really depends on power delivery.

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Originally Posted by CrackedHead View Post
Wouldn't a supercharger be a better bet for off-roading ?
Yes! You are quite right. No lag with a supercharger. But they are 2 times the cost of a turbo. Don't know if there are any available in India.
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Old 14th May 2009, 23:05   #13
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DD,

One would ideally want linear power delivery in an off road vehicle. That is possible if the turbo is small (defeats your purpose) or the vehicle is equipped with some shophisticated electronically managed VGT turbo/dual turbo system (impractical as an aftermarket install in India on these primitive engines).

I recently rebuilt a 550 with XD3P and 5.875 axles. Though the 550 engine bay is quite large, there is not much space to squeeze in a turbo due to the way things are packaged. And it would be very difficult to install an intercooler without compromising the radiator airflow (which itself is very poorly installed in the 550 by the bright minds at M&M). With the stock radiator and fan, the vehicle barely copes in soft sand on a summer afternoon in Rajathan. And istalling an aftermarket turbo on any engine will reduce its longivity, increase the demand on the cooling system. There are a lot of things to be considered like compression ratio, stronger pistons, oil, turbo lubrication/ oil pump capacity/ cooling/ turbo tuning, FIP and injector capacity etc to do justice to such a modification.
It could be done, but I doubt if the result would be what you want.

If you are looking for more grunt, one way could be get a jeep with XD3P/MDI3200TC, lower the axle ratios and add an overdrive to compensate for the loss of highway performance. Then you will have 16 forward and 4 reverse ratios to play with!

Many years back I had driven the 2l TCIC Safari in himachal. That vehicle is probably the worst modern vehicle I have ever driven. It had very poor drivability, thanks to the engine (with a big turbo, NARROW powerband) and the useless GB.
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Old 15th May 2009, 00:22   #14
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Pros
• The best thing about a Turbo is the longer powerband, you won’t need to shift gears 3 times in 10 meters.
• When climbing a hill you’ll be able to get up in 3rd instead of redlining it in 1st with heaps of wheelspin. Pros say your not meant to drive in to low a gear with too many revs – a turbo can fix that.
• Unlike a supercharger its very easy to install. Get extractors to suit it or enjoy the fact that your in India and get some welder to cut up your exhaust system to mount a turbo. Mount the intercooler and do the plumbing. I don’t know enough about diesel injection systems but if its electronically controlled the air-flow sensor should sort things out.
Cons
• When I’m half way up a slippery hill fighting to get traction I wouldn’t want a turbo to kick in.
• Real 4WDing is not the ‘foot to the floor’ wheel spinning action that most people think it is, and at low revs that we usually use the turbo isn’t active anyway.
• Turbocharged motors have less compression than naturally aspirated engines so they won’t engine-brake as well as an NA engine when descending a hill.
• Basically I recon a supercharger would be a LOT more useful mainly because it is completely active when your doodling around all day in Low-2 doing 1500RPM.

I’d like to say I completely agree with everything GTO said and theoretically it does make sense, but I haven’t really seen it in practise. I don’t know why but after people finish throwing in a lift-kit and a set of lockers the next thing they think about is a Turbo upgrade.
I guess more power is always better – most people who use aftermarket turbos on competition set-up 4WDs, and in winching challenges you just put your foot down and hope that the 37” centipedes or boggers grip something. And the keen tourers like their turbos because they need the extra oomph for towing a camper trailer or boat. I’ve only seen one supercharged Rangie running ethanol injection and a supercharged 100series. At $3,500 for a bolt on kit for a Landcruiser I’m sure its the price of aftermarket superchargers that keep people away.
Another place I’ve seen the need for aftermarket turbos is when 4WDers buy the base model with live front axle (better articulation) like in 100series Landcruisers and Hilux, these motors are naturally aspirated diesels because they are the base models so no harm in bolting on a turbo.

All said, my trump card for not getting forced induction is loss of reliability and life of the engine. Its a fact that turbochargers and superchargers put a lot of stress and strain on everything in the combustion chamber like your rings, head and pistons and components not in the combustion chamber like big-end bearings and even driveline. Engines with forced induction are usually built to take a beating so if you turbocharge a motor that wasn’t built for one you can do harm in the long run. Right from back in the day the Toyota FJ40 turbo diesel engines had bigger con-rods, bigger small-end pins and oil nozzles that squirt on the cylinder walls. The naturally aspirated engines from the same vehicle weren’t built this strong.

I drive V6 petrol so more power is not an immediate need, on the road my truck could do with a bit more power to keep up with the cars but off-road it has more horses than I need. And with Low range its been up 50degree hills loaded with people and equipment without missing a beat so I can’t complain. I might get a slightly bigger engine in the near future with variable valve timing, but no plans for a turbo anytime soon.
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Old 15th May 2009, 12:53   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
Force is going to the om611 engine but it means I would have to wait another season for them to get their act together, if they ever do. Can't say their present mill excites me too much.
Hey, it's not too bad and pretty much does the job off the road. You've spent a considerable amount of time waiting already (for Force's new engine + Mahindra's ghost MM550)! I say, take the plunge. The Gurkha is an awesome 4x4.

Quote:
The XD3P ain't too shabby. But there is a reason that M&M put a turbo on it for the Thar and it is not just emissisions in this case. At least, that is my understanding.
How much would turbo'ing an XD3P cost? 50,000 - 75,000? I say, use that extra money and buy a brand new Bolero CRDe engine. It is, after all, a reworked XD3P + common-rail + turbo. If Behram shows me a convincing way to plug that into my Classic, I'm on my way to the classifieds (to put up my current XD3P on sale ).

Stock turbo is stock turbo. 'Nuff said. Period.

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Originally Posted by CrackedHead View Post
Wouldn't a supercharger be a better bet for off-roading ?
Yup, sure would. But again, our concerns only revolve around the reliability of an after-market forced induction job. I am convinced there isn't anyone (as of today) who can manage the reliability required to cope with offroading stress.
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