How Turbochargers Work In Your Semi-Truck Engine

The next in our continuing series on engine components, in this article we’ll be discussing turbochargers and how they operate in your semi-truck. If you’ve been following our work on the diesel engine in your commercial vehicle or semi-truck, then it’s likely you have come across turbo components and are probably wondering how they work and what they do to keep your engine running in a way that you are comfortable with. To help you learn a little more about heavy-duty turbocharger components, our experts have put together the following article for you to look through.

Read on to learn more about turbo components!

What Does A Turbocharger Do?

Typically, when we think of turbochargers, we think of modified cars and popular culture. However, all large vehicles are equipped with turbochargers.

Turbochargers are designed to increase your diesel-engine’s increases air volume by moving air into the combustion chamber. The higher amount of air lets more injected fuel burn. This causes two things to happen. The first is that there is an increase in engine efficiency. The second outcome is an increase in air mass. This process improves torque output, allowing the vehicle to move with relative ease.

How A Turbo Works Step By Step

Though it may seem daunting, the process by which a turbo charged engine operates is based on several basic principles. At high RPMs the engine won’t push enough air into the chamber. This is where the turbocharger comes in.

As air is forced into the cylinder by atmospheres pressure, the shaft that contains the turbine wheel and compressor wheel is spun. Gas enters the inlet port near the turbine where thermal energy is converted into kinetic energy. At the same time, the compressor turbine spins, which draws in air that passes through the outlet port and supplies the engine with oxygen.

How Does Turbo Activate?

Turbochargers activate the moment you hit the gas pedal. When you push down on the throttle, the engine works a little harder than normal, which causes exhaust pressure to be created. When the engine creates exhaust pressure, the turbocharger spins, which boosts the engine, allowing it to receive more fuel.

At What Speed Do Turbos Kick In?

Turbochargers are designed to kick in in between 80,000 and 200,000 rotations per minute. This means that, when you are traveling at higher speeds, you can rest assured that your turbocharger is helping make your engine as efficient as possible.

Signs Of A Failing Turbo Charger

There are several ways to determine whether your turbocharger needs to be replaced. A few issues you may notice include:

  1. Slow acceleration: Since turbochargers are designed to provide extra power, sluggish acceleration can mean that your turbocharger needs to be replaced.
  2. Increased oil consumption: If you think you are topping off your engine oil more often than you should, this could be the result of a failing turbocharger.
  3. More than normal amount of exhaust emissions: If your turbocharger has a crack in the housing, this can lead to increased emissions coming from your truck.  
  4. Engine management light goes on: This light will turn on whenever there is a change in engine performance. However, it’s a good idea to check your turbocharger if the light comes on.
  5. Whining noises coming from engine: An improperly working turbocharger will make unexpected noises.

Read More About Diesel Engine Components

If you are researching diesel engines and what makes them tick, then you’ve come to the right place! Our trucking specialists have put together the following list of articles designed to help you increase your knowledge on the subject of engines. Whether it’s camshafts, fuel injectors, pumps, rockers arms, or flywheels, we have a great article for you to look through. Click on any of the links below to read more about each engine component. 

  • Getting To Know Your Engine
  • Getting To Know Your Engine: Camshafts
  • Getting To Know Your Engine: Fuel Injectors
  • Getting To Know Your Engine: Pumps
  • Getting To Know Your Engine: Rocker Arms
  • Getting To Know Your Engine: Surge Tanks
  • Getting To Know Your Engine: Flywheels

Shop Now For Great Deals on Turbochargers!

With our online catalogue, you are sure to find the right product for all of you needs. Thanks to our massive inventory of products, not only will you find the part you’re looking for, but you’ll also have a great time doing so. Login now or create an account and start saving on your next turbocharger today!