Snowmobile Turbo Kit
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Adding BIG Power with a Snowmobile Turbo KitForced induction is one way to add a HUGE amount of horsepower and torque to a snowmobile. By adding a snowmobile turbo kit, it is possible to even DOUBLE the power output of a sled! Milder kits with lower horsepower levels can provide a substantial increase in power while still retaining good engine reliability. A typical snowmobile turbo kit will consist of a turbocharger properly sized for the engine, a new exhaust manifold and exhaust system, an intercooler, and a way of adding additional fuel while running under boost. The turbocharger is powered by exhaust gases leaving the engine. As the exhaust gases spin the turbine wheel in the turbo, the compressor wheel (which is attached to the turbine through a common shaft) also spins and that is what builds boost pressure. A high boost snowmobile turbo kit can help a relatively small snowmobile engine crank out more horsepower than some big V8 engines. Let's just say that when the boost hits, you better make sure to HOLD ON TIGHT to the handlebars!
Example of a Snowmobile Turbo Kit
In addition to the snowmobile turbo kit, it may also be possible to find a snowmobile supercharger kit for your particular sled. Very similar in terms of how the turbo kit works, a supercharger is usually belt driven off the engine and comes with a fuel enrichment system and oftentimes an intercooler as well. Keep in mind that these turbocharger and supercharger kits are designed for snowmobiles with 4 stroke engines. A snowmobile with a 2 cycle engine is not well suited to forced induction, because boost would have a tendency to blow unburned air/fuel mixture right out the exhaust port on a 2 stroke engine thereby reducing performance and wasting fuel.
Example of Snowmobile Supercharger Kit
In both cases, whether you are using a turbocharger or a supercharger to boost your engine, the air is heated when it is compressed. This is just one of the basics of physics. As a gas is pressurized, the molecules are packed closer together and heat is a byproduct of this process of compression. It is this increase in pressure that increases the density of the air and packs more oxygen into the same volume of space. Extra oxygen by itself does not add power; however, additional fuel added with this extra oxygen is what generates the additional power. Therefore, forced induction is not just a simple matter of bolting on a turbocharger or supercharger.
Exhaust Driven Turbocharger & Belt Driven Supercharger
A forced induction system also requires that the fuel system be changed to match the increase in air flow. That's why a good snowmobile turbo kit will include upgraded fuel system components recalibrated for forced induction. Not only fuel system upgrades, but it is not uncommon for the ignition system to be recalibrated when a force induction system is added. Typically, an engine will need to have the ignition timing retarded some from it's normally aspirated state of tune in order to survive under boost pressure. In addition to fuel and ignition system changes, a turbo kit will also sometimes come with a clutch kit to calibrate the CVT transmission to better match the new power curve of the more powerful engine. An intercooler is a very popular component of any turbo or supercharger kit. As has been mentioned, when the air is pressurized by the turbo or supercharger, it heats up. This heating of the air causes it to expand and actually reduces the density some. This is contrary to the whole point of forced induction - which is to increase the density and oxygen content of the air going into the engine. Now, the compression and increased density being accomplished by the turbo or supercharger more than offsets the reduction in density caused by the heating of the air. In other words, even though forced induction heats the air and reduces the density some in the process, the boost pressure more than offsets that and the result is a denser, more oxygen rich mixture. However, there are some other complications that can arise from this heated air - especially if it is in a high boost turbo or supercharger system. The air can get so hot that it will make the engine more prone to destructive detonation that can blow a hole in a piston and cause the engine to meltdown. That's why many forced induction kits also include an intercooler which is basically a "radiator" that helps to transfer the heat away from the pressurized air after it exits the turbocharger or supercharger. This cooling in turn further increases the density of the air which increases the oxygen content. Not only do cooler charge air temps help an engine produce more power (as long as the appropriate amount of fuel is added), but the cooler incoming air can make the engine more reliable.