Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Turbocharger versus a supercharger

What’s the difference between a turbocharger versus supercharger?

Both are air compressors designed to force more air into the cylinder during the intake stroke of a 4-cycle engine. So what’s the difference between a turbocharger versus a supercharger? Simple: It’s what powers the compressor.

How a turbocharger compresses air

A turbocharger has two turbines connected


Turbo Wastegate

to a single shaft. One turbine sits in the exhaust stream, while the other turbine sits in the intake air duct. The exhaust flow spins both turbines, causing the fresh air turbine to compress outside air and force it into the intake manifold.

As you stop on the gas, the increased exhaust flow causes the exhaust turbine to spin the shaft at a higher speed. So there is always a slight lag between the time you punch the gas pedal and the time you get more boost air into the intake manifold.

How a supercharger compresses air

A supercharger is connected to the crankshaft pulley on the engine with a cogged belt. When you punch the pedal on a supercharged engine, the results are more spontaneous because there’s a direct connection between the crankshaft and the supercharger.

A supercharger can boost intake air pressure higher than a turbocharger, but a supercharger requires more power to produce that extra boost. There’s no free lunch.

©, 2021 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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