Turbochargers are a passion of ours here at BuyAutoParts.com. Our OEM-grade turbochargers align and integrate perfectly with those cars which already have a factory-installed turbocharger. To us, there shouldn't be any "unknown areas" with the turbocharger. And just as ancient navigators created maps to gain knowledge about newly discovered regions, we decided to dig deep into a turbocharger diagram, with detailed explanations about each part of a turbocharger.
This is the true powerhouse of the turbocharger. It’s the meat and potatoes of the whole enterprise. Without the turbine leading the way, the turbocharger would simply be a useless piece of metal on top of your engine. But what does it actually do? In a nutshell, the turbine takes the heat and pressure generated by the engine and turns this energy into a spinning, circular motion. Much like a turbine at power generation plants (but much smaller), a turbocharger turbine uses rotational force to drive a compressor wheel (more on that later), which is essential for getting more air into the engine. Remember the turbocharger’s primary function: more air intake equals more power output. The turbine gets everything (literally) spinning in the right direction.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory, but there’s more to the story than you think. The turbine housing isn’t just a barrier that separates the turbine from other turbocharger parts; it actually has the job of collecting engine exhaust gases and pumping them toward the turbine. So the turbine housing gets “down and dirty” to ensure its occupant, the turbine, has enough energy to rotate accordingly.
Oil Inlet & Outlet
As their names suggest, these ports allow oil to flow in and out of the turbine. As a high-heat, high-pressure component, a turbocharger requires clean oil to help move and lubricate the turbine shaft and other moving parts.
The middle area of the turbocharger, this part offers protection and support for the rotating compressor wheel and turbine shafts, respectively. In most turbochargers, the center housing usually holds the oil inlet and outlet.
Given the tremendous pressure and spinning movement within the turbocharger, there are some parts that are tasked to provide structural support. Similar to the center housing and turbine housing, the back plate offers added strength and rigidity to the entire turbocharger. It’s an unsung hero in the turbocharging process, but without this part, the turbocharger would go all wobbly. The back plate also provides additional aero surface for the compressor wheel as well.
Responsible for keeping the turbine’s spinning components (the compressor wheel and the turbine shaft) running smoothly, the ball bearings are located in the center housing unit. The ball bearings are the ultimate “support system” for the turbocharger.
Once the turbine creates enough pressure and force to spin, the compressor wheel takes it from there. The compressor wheel is powered by the turbine wheel. But its principal task in the entire turbocharger process is to move air into the engine. This part is called a “compressor” wheel because it does just that: it compresses the air for a more powerful punch. If the turbine is the #1 most important part of a turbocharger, the compressor wheel is #1A.
The other spinning element in the turbocharger, the turbine, gets its own housing unit. So it makes sense that the other rotational component, the compressor wheel, would also get a place to call home. And “home,” in this case, is much more than four walls and a roof. Taking the whole turbocharging process as a whole, the compressor housing is the final exit. Its job is to gather the compressed air from the compressor wheel and funnel it into the engine. In order to make it into the engine, the compressor housing connects to engine ductwork called “intercooler plumbing.” A large opening at the bottom of the compressor housing is where this happens. The compressor housing usually has a rounded design, much like a snail or French horn.
And there you have it – all the major turbocharger components explained and diagrammed for a better understanding of how a turbocharger works. We hope this blog post gives you a solid base of knowledge – and as you can see, once you break everything down into individual components, it’s much easier to understand the big picture.
BuyAutoParts.com is a great place to start your next turbocharger replacement project. We carry an extensive variety of turbochargers for those automobiles with existing turbocharger. Every turbocharger we sell comes with a 1-year warranty and is a guaranteed exact fit.
Written by Dara Greaney