View Full Version : Easiest and cheapest way to turbo

01-18-2005, 11:12 PM
Ive seen and dreamed many nights of a banks turbo set up, but whats the easiest way for a garage mechanic to turbo a small block, 350, chevy? what are the projected costs and hp gains? thanks

Quick GN
01-19-2005, 04:52 PM
I think the cost is going to be dictated by your skills! if your a good welder and fabricator it can be done quite cheap. you can buy turbo(s) on ebay cheap and make a set of headers up yourself, power stroke intercoolers are quite cheap, I know alot of guys who have put them as front mounts in GN's. As for power gains the sky's the limit, I've had my 6cyl GN dyno at 480hp and 520Lbs of torque with very little mods, so just imagine what you could do with a twin turbo small block. I've been thinking of doing a twin turbo in my Camaro as well. maybe someone else will chime in with there experience but I as well dream of a 1000hp twin turbo smalll block

01-19-2005, 05:11 PM
thanks, yea ive seena couple methods including...


which was posted on here a while ago, also there are always some set ups on ebay, some are a little iffy like this one which never sold but is still for sale.....


would buying one of these set ups work or are there pre-manufactured, moderate, singo turbo kits for smallblocks? thanks agian.

01-19-2005, 05:34 PM
No kits I know of yet. I don't know where you are in the country, but there a good number of places that could help you out. The piping is the easy part, tuning can be a pain, as is figuring out the limits of your motor.

If I were to do it:
an ls1 style intake manifold, 42# injectors, megasquirt or ford A9L, good throttle body. Find a turbo for relatively cheap, I know some guys that used schwitzer tractor turbos and they did great on mustangs. Get a good waste gate, something like a Tial, and a good BOV since you don't wanna backspin your turbo.

Gains are really all about turbo sizing and what your motor can take. I have friends with 1700hp 420cid dart block motors spinning 106mm turbos, and I know guys that blew miata motors with t3/t4s.

These guys are friends of mine, and make great kits. Nothing for an sbc, but this page will give you a good idea of what is involved. People seem to think it's voodoo, but it's really not.


Figure about 200-300 for the piping, a powerstroke intercooler for 75 from a junk yard, 100 bucks for an a9l from a mustang forum, get a good turbo since rebuilding them is pricey and a pain, figure 1000 from turbonetics unless you can find something good in the 62-78mm range from somewhere else. Injectors can be steep, but again, look at a mustang board, you can bung an intake manifold for an injector that would work, and many injectors are easy to figure between. A MAF to go with the a9l ($150 or so), all the flanges (depends on your machine skills or what you can get ahold of). 300 or so for a Tial 42mm waste gate, and another 100 for a good BOV (turboxs.com). Budget in some money for the necessary hardware to keep the turbo cooled (different turbos have different cooling), as well as money for a good boost gauge. You can get a good manual boost controller for $75, or make one for $5, or you can get a nice electronic boost controller for around $150-200.

I'd say under 2k if you are crafty and like ebay.

Another option I've heard about is the GM 749 computer, off of the typhoon, etc. You can edit it so it can run 8cylinders and with the right software and what not it's about as good as any efi computer out there. You can go to a junk yard grab a sunfire ecu and take it to autozone and tell em it's a 749 not a 730.

Also for the turbo go with something in the .9x A/R range, it'll serve you better.

If you plan on going under 8psi don't worry about an intercooler, but realize if you have one to pipe your boost gauge after the intercooler because of the pressure drop. Also it would be good to invest in cooling upgrades, as well as some heat wrap for your up-pipe, since the heat is really important in spooling the turbo.

Keep the piping to a minimum because the more piping you have, that means more area you have to fill with air to get your turbo to spool, and transversely air to get from the turbo to the motor.

There are a good number of shops I'd trust to turbo my car off hand, from my area of the US; John Urist in NM, HP Performance in NM, Solid Technologies in NM, and Mike Murillo in Texas, Pro turbo kits in Texas. Banks is cool if you light your cuban cigars with $100 bills, and STS is cool if you don't want to spool and want your turbo to sit in harms way.

Ralph LoGrasso
01-19-2005, 06:13 PM
Some good info in this thread. I just wanted to add a formula that you can use to get a rough idea of how much power you'll gain at a given boost on your combo. Formula is:

[(N/A HP / 14.7) * X Boost]+ N/A Power = Estimated HP

This is just a really rough formula, as there is a lot of variables that come into consideration. Generally speaking the engine will make double the power at 1 atmosphere (14.7 psi of boost).

So, lets say your 350 makes 400hp, and you go with a turbo, at 8psi, a rough estimate of power would be : [(400 / 14.7) * 8]+ 400 = 618hp approx

Again, this is a rough formula and I'm not sure how great it works in the real world, but it works on paper. Maybe some of the guys here have experience using it in the real world. I used this formula in comparison to the numbers PHR got when they installed an STS remote mount kit on their '02 SS, and the numbers I got using their baseline, and boost were very close to their posted gains.

01-19-2005, 08:16 PM
Wow you guys, sersouly thanks so much for all the info.

01-19-2005, 09:10 PM
It all depends what you are after and what you consider cheap!! My defination of cheap is alot different than other on this board! :wedgie:
Fuel injected is GREAT, but carb'd is ok. Big nice new turbo's are GREAT, but used junk is ok. Big ungodly hp # are GREAT, but useable 500-600rwhp is ok! And so on. Here is a guy that helped me learn more about turbos and gave me the motivation to go ahead and do it on the cheap (refine it a bit though!), even though EVERYONE else said you can't do it! So I did it about 4, well 5 years ago! And I can't turn back now baby!!
Go to the TT for cheap page and see the CRUDE way that works OK!
go here for killer turbo info! (www.toohighpsi.com)

02-04-2005, 02:03 PM
Any of you guys know were to get some turbo exhaust manifolds for a sbc??? that are already fabbed up?

02-04-2005, 03:18 PM
I am building my twin turbo setup from scratch for several reasons, first off nobody makes any kind of a kit that will fit my big block and especially let me retain all my acessories. Secondly I enjoy tinkering and building things and by doing it myself I can make it fit how it will work the best for me. I bought some block hugger headers and some mandrel u bends for the hot side and started cutting and welding. I want to see how it all works then I will rebuild it out of stainless, seems like you always find ways to improve things the second time around. I picked up my turbos, wastegates, bov, intercooler, fuel pump and regulator off e bay for a good price. I figgure I will have about 2800 dollars in my setup and it will be good for about 800 hp. Building it has been lots of fun and as I am getting closer to the test drive the excitement is starting to build!!


02-04-2005, 05:22 PM
for a nice Street 350 Id do twin 60/63 T3's You can get em off turbo coupe T birds, etc.

Your gona laugh at this link when you see the Name buy they have a GREAT wealth of TURBO info.

Thats a link to the LS1, LT1, SBC forum over there.

as said above depending on your skills and what extreme you want to go will depends on price.

Budget build look at these. I ceramic coated em for a guy who did a budget setup.

Similar to the BANKS ones. I'm sure they dondon'tow as well but hey for a fraction of the cost you cant complain. with small volvo turbos he was running 12's on a stock 305.

I'm in the middle of a Single Turbo build Its going on a 396 LT1 for now. Then a 434sb once that motor is complete.

I'm doing my own headers, kinda like block hugger style. a Single HX55 Turbo and a FMIC. I'm shooting for 700ish HP.

tohighpsi is a great site. turbomustangs is a great site. check em out.