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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 Racing Photography

The Manifolds
The exhaust manifolds were only $99.90. They used all the parts that were advertised, such as a 1/2-inch flange and mandrel bends, were made of stainless steel, and included gaskets and hardware. That is the upside. The downside is the generic design. The primary tubes neck down into a 2.5-inch collector before the flange, and the wastegate port is small and mounted at an inefficient 90-degree angle to the exhaust flow. On the '55, Toki had to move the master cylinder to a floor design to clear the turbine housing. We're thinking it might fit a Chevelle that still uses the factory jam-jar nonpower brakes, but don't plan on installing these manifolds on your Corvette. For $99, it's worth trying on anything. You can always cut and paste as needed.

Carb
Eric Solomon at Westside only did a couple of things to the Holley 850 double-pumper to get it ready. First, he swapped the brass floats for nitrophyl so the boost pressure wouldn't crush them. The next step was to mill off the choke horn and epoxy the small oval-shaped hole that feeds the choke rod to the top of the carburetor. The last step was to drill out the power valve channel restrictors on the carburetor. He used the large vacuum port at the back of the carburetor to operate the blow-off valve and left everything else alone. The fuel curve was stable at the power levels we saw in the test.

The Baseline 437 RWHP/489 LB-FT
We've stated previously that the small internal wastegates aren't capable of venting enough boost and subsequently risk overboosting the engine. After several safety runs to get the carb jetting and timing set, we made a full pass. The turbos began to make boost at 3,000 rpm and kept climbing to a maximum of 16 pounds. The '55 made 437 rwhp at 5,000 and 489 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm.

Those boost numbers may seem like a good thing, but they're not. Too much boost forces the boost-referenced regulator to add equal amounts of fuel pressure, stressing the system. It also required us to back down the timing to 18 degrees total, a move that kills power and driveability completely. That much boost without enough fuel to feed it and not enough octane to prevent detonation is the fast way to blowing up everything.

Another problem with an inadequate wastegate is the overspeeding of the turbo itself. We're going to argue that buying inexpensive turbos and spinning them to their maximum speed is asking for trouble. Since the untouched baseline for these turbos spins them hard, we're going to say that part of the reputation for flying parts and flameouts comes from too much rpm, so the first thing we did was slow them down and keep the engine below 6,000 rpm.

Sadly, if you look at this in terms of the system as a whole and the ultra cheapness of the parts, it was a failure. The only way to make this base system work is to run race gas and virtually no timing and risk overspinning the turbos and destroying the engine. The combo is also going to create a lot of exhaust temperature and crappy driveability.

Wastegates 442 RWHP/445 LB-FT
The fix cost us $600 for a pair of good wastegates. We wired the integral wastegates closed and added a pair of TurboSmart Ultra-Gate 58 wastegates to control the boost. We were looking for 6 to 8 pounds from the turbos, so Marty Staggs from TurboSmart USA supplied a 7-pound spring. On the next run, we were able to add 5 degrees of timing to a conservative 23 degrees, and we saw a decrease in boost to about 10 pounds, allowing us to run the engine to 5,800 rpm. We made almost the same power with less boost. The relatively small size of the wastegate tube and the way it was welded perpendicular to the exhaust primary still prevented us from properly venting all the boost. The 2.5-inch exhaust pipe from the back of the turbine also was too small, causing backpressure that was holding the wastegate valve closed.

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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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