Turbo vs. Supercharger | Mountain Sledder
March 20th, 2009

Turbo vs. Supercharger

As I searched around today I came upon a great site that when through the ins and outs of turbos and superchargers.  This was a very unbiased site that wasn’t promoting one or the other, just some facts, and points of interest on both systems:

Price is something we all often think of when researching anything, but when it comes to boost, they are very similar.  Either system will start around five grand Canadian, and only goes up from there.

Something people talk about extensively in our industry is lag.  “Lag” is the time it takes the exhaust of a turbo charged sled to spool up the impeller.  During this time of “lag” the machine does not create very low boost, which means, no power gain.  This is one of the major benefits of a supercharger, no lag (NONE).  Since the supercharger is mounted directly to the crank shaft, it is constantly spinning the impeller.  They are able to produce boost at very low rpm!

If you are a fan of loud machines, the supercharger is the way to go.  Because a turbo runs off the exhaust, much of the noise generated by the turbine is lost.  Superchargers tend to be very throaty and loud… (I kinda dig it…)

Many of us aren’t rock stars (even though we think we are) and don’t need to get up that 3000 vert narrow chute, so do we really need peak performance?  Or do we need reliability?  Superchargers tend to be much more reliable then turbos.  Turbos run much hotter then superchargers and because of this turbo bearings can get nuked because of the heat.  Also if a turbo is turned off to quickly after being under a large load, it is possible for a turbo to burn itself up (possible).

Obviously both are expensive kits, but a supercharger is much simpler to install (stage 1 anyway).  Many supercharger kits are set up for ‘do it yourselfers’ or at least will require minimal mechanic time.  To say it as simple as possible, if your not a professional, don’t try and install a turbo kit…

Horse Power is the next all important question.  When it comes down to it, a turbo is the way to go if you are looking for maximum power.  I’m not saying both don’t have power but with other modifications (fuel injections systems, rods, pistons, etc. etc) turbo systems have the ability to push huge amounts of boost (well over 20 PSI).

The next thing I wanted to know about is can I adjust, and tune it?  Turbos are very complicated and without an extensive knowledge of how they operated, they can be very difficult to tune because there are so many different factors that influence it’s outcome.  A supercharger on the other hand is pretty simple.  As long as you are running good fuel (97-110 octane) if you turn up the boost, you get more HP… (obviously limited to the system you install)

All in all for the average dude looking for some horse power a supercharger might be the way to go, but if you are looking for the ultimate boost, there is no boost like turbo boost.  

I hope this helps shed some light on Turbos and Superchargers.  It is a pretty general article on the two systems, and there is of course Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3 systems for both depending on how much $$ you want to through at them.  More questions?  Check out these sites:
Mountain Performance Inc. 
MCXpress Turbos 
Alpine Turbos 
Impulse Turbos 
Twisted Turbos 
Boondocker Turbo