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Cheap Turbos From eBay On A 350 Small Block Engine - Cheap Ebay Turbos

Want 600 RWHP For Around 1,800 Bucks? Learn The Secrets Behind . . .

By , Photography by , Mike Morgan Photography

Boost Controller 493 RWHP/515 LB-FT
Now that we had a little more control, we decided to find the limits of the setup using 91-octane pump gas and a dial-in wastegate controller. The device simply creates a metered vacuum leak in the actuator signal, slowing down the opening of the gate or cracking it earlier in the rpm range. This netted us the best number of the day, using a maximum of 13 pounds of boost and 23 degrees of timing. But we wanted more.

High-Octane 596 RWHP/642 LB-FT
The enemy of the engine is boost combined with detonation. Up until this point, we were listening closely and watching for signs that appear as pepper in the plug's porcelain. The last run showed signs of both. To prevent problems, we added Rockett Brand 114-octane fuel before we twisted a handful of boost dial. The result was a scary 22 pounds of boost and a whopper torque number for a cast-crank, iron-head 355. The Fear also forced us to abort the run at 4,800 rpm when we saw all the numbers were still climbing rapidly.

Next Time
We didn't care how much power we were going to make. We simply set out to see what you get for your dollars with an eBay turbo kit. If anything, we were impressed by nearly 600 rwhp and the crank-snapping 642 lb-ft, and you should be, too. We learned that you shouldn't buy the turbos with the integral wastegates; buy the external gates instead. If you are going to run this on the street, get an MSD BTM controller that retards the timing as the system sees boost so you can run some initial on the street.

The next steps for the '55 are a larger-diameter exhaust pipe to kill some of the backpressure, an intercooler, and a set of upgraded turbos to give us a cooler charge with less of a chance of grenading parts due to overspeeding. It will also give us more power, which is always a good thing.

Who You Gonna Call?
What you are going to get is . . . erm . . . what you are going to get. The reason reputable companies such as Turbonetics and Precision and smaller outfits such as Hellion and Wrenchrat get a little bit more money for their products is because they want their parts to last a long time and make you happy. They also don't want a mob of angry customers at the door. On the other hand, the address for our turbo was in the middle of the L.A. River and the phone number was 888/321-1234. They might not be so concerned with customer service. Caveat emptor, dude.

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27 comments
Jon Alchin
Jon Alchin

Nothing wrong with good used parts.

Jesse Rowland
Jesse Rowland

Good point Karl, and i agree. i'd hate if my car wasn't streetable. i need fun not bragging rights.

Davide Novo
Davide Novo

Apparently I need a SBC, don't tell my boss!

Scott Samuelson
Scott Samuelson

I Bought 2 cheap e Bay turbos bout 5 years ago. For my 383 twin turbo mud truck. Hadn't had a problem yet. Work great and tons of power. For me turbos the cheap part. It was all the plumbing and silicone boots that hurt. Under Pressure Mud/mega truck racing

Minnesota Hot Rod Hardware
Minnesota Hot Rod Hardware

Ebay Turbos = 3 days of fun before they rattle themselves to death! A melted down Kia that is then recast into a turbo does not last long.

Jake Ingalls
Jake Ingalls

I'm mostly concerned about the turbos, most of us can fudge just how long the motor would last, but what makes the ebay turbos so cheap?

Ron Horning
Ron Horning

I am running a 351 4V CJ with a used 6 psi Powerdyne and a new 750 Summit carb, mechanical fuel pump in my 70 Stang. About 475/500 hp. Been running the combo 3 year plus no issues

Karl Loper
Karl Loper

Sure, I'll read that. I don't doubt that a used turbo and a mild tune would live in normal street use. What I wonder is how long THIS dual set up will last. These magazines are notorious for showing us a build with stupid cool numbers, but not telling us that it's not going to live long in the daily driver. For many years my hot rod was my daily driver.

Jesse Rowland
Jesse Rowland

Similar in a sense they used second hand parts. the whole premise of the article was an ebay turbo they bought for 200$. definitely didnt make as much power but it drove 2000+ miles. i'll try and find a link if youre interested.

Karl Loper
Karl Loper

Define similar. This story ended with that yellow '55 making 900+ hp at the tires on a pretty average SBC. I wouldn't think that kind of pressure would last long without some serious internals and/or aftermarket block.

Jesse Rowland
Jesse Rowland

Johnnie, Jake, this'd be fun with the camaro, especially with the low miles that engine has.

Jesse Rowland
Jesse Rowland

Hot Rod magazine did a similar deal and it lasted all of drag week other than a blown oil return line. then they pumped boost and detonated the engine. but without the tom-foolery it seemed to hold up well.

Karl Loper
Karl Loper

So what's the longevity of this? I've seen people spray the b'jesus out of a wrecking yard motor and make HUGE power, but it didn't last long.

Justin Bickle
Justin Bickle

I taught these guys everything they know Kristopher

James McMahan
James McMahan

".. shouldn't buy the turbos with the integral wastegates; buy the external gates instead." - Car Craft Magazine

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