Turbo Boost Pressure: Ways To Increase & What Controls It?

You can increase turbo boost pressure by adjusting the wastegate opening, using boost controller, use high octane fuel or even upgrading to a less restricting exhaust system.

The boost pressure is a positive pressure created by a turbo. The boost pressure forces more air into the engine during combustion – which produces more power. Since the turbo boost pressure is measured in Pounds Per Square Inch, the term (PSI) is used for boost pressure.

More Boost pressure means more power, and you would surely like to know How you can increase the turbo psi. In this article, I’m going to tell you 4 ways to increase turbo psi and all the related questions to the turbo psi will be answered.

4 Ways To Increase Stock Turbo Boost Pressure (PSI)

1. Adjust wastegate opening

A wastegate is responsible for bypassing the exhaust gasses into the exhaust system. It prevents the turbo from excessive spinning and controls the amount of boost your turbo will make. Adjusting the wastegate is the most common way to increase the boost pressure (PSI) of your turbos.

The adjustments will delay the wastegate opening until it reaches the desired amount of boost pressure. For example, if your wastegate was opening at 9 psi then you can adjust and increase the limit to 10-12 psi. Keep in mind that incorrect adjustments could damage engine cylinders. Seek professional help to avoid any kind of trouble.

2: Use Boost Controller

Boost Controller

The boost controller is a device that sits between the turbo and wastegate. It controls the amount of manifold pressure by changing the boost pressure going to the wastegate. Installing a boost controller will increase the boost pressure produced by the turbo.

For example, if you want your wastegate to open after the manifold pressure reaches 12 psi. The boost controller will change the amount of boost pressure going to the wastegate and the wastegate will now be active after 12 psi.

3: Use High Octane Fuel

Good quality fuel can improve engine performance and fuel efficiency. This performance change will affect the turbo efficiency as well and result in a psi increase. With regular fuel, the engine performance is not as smooth as with high-octane fuel.

4: Upgrade Fuel System

Performance Fuel System

Boost pressure is nothing without the proper fuel ratio, and a performance fuel system comes in handy when you are increasing psi. If your turbo is making good psi and you have an old stock fuel system then your engine won’t take full benefit of the boost. The engine needs a good amount of pressure and proper fuel ratio mixture during the combustion.

5: Use Less Restricted Exhaust

Less restricted exhaust.

A less restricted exhaust system makes the exhaust gas flow smooth and allows the engine to make the next combustion without any hustle. If the exhaust system is restricted, it will cause trouble for the engine while performing combustion. Since the turbos are directly connected with the exhaust, a good exhaust system will help out the turbos to spool freely.

Also Read:

6: Use High Flow Air Filter

High Flow Air Filter

High Airflow filters are less restricted and they allow maximum airflow to the engine. Regular air filters are mainly focused on removing contaminants from the air going to the engine. A performance air filter does work although the power numbers are really small. The performance air filter is a complementary part of the turbo.

Also Read: Performance Air Filter On HP Gain, MPG & Engine Damage

How Much Psi Is a Normal Turbo?

A normal turbo provides a typical 6 to 7 psi boost. It is considered a normal boost but since the atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi at sea level, the turbo is making nearly 50% more air to the engine.

A normal turbo makes 6 – 7 psi which is not a crazy boost ratio but still, it helps the engine to produce more power. However, the amount of psi is not the same for every vehicle. Since every car has different types of engines, different engine displacement, turbo size, etc, this figure changes and it goes as low as 2 psi to as high as 6-7 psi. This figure could go up if you tune the car and do some custom upgrades to increase the boost.

What’s the Highest Psi for a Turbo?

Most extreme boosted cars have a 20-30 psi of boost. These are racing turbos that can achieve a high psi boost without blowing up. A normal turbo typically makes around 6-7 psi of boost and if you push any further then it goes up to 9psi or more.

A production car goes 6-7 psi or a few do more than that. Some high-performance production cars go up to 20- 30 psi at most. There are some project cars with multiple turbos, making 150 psi of boost. These are not regular turbocharged cars but they are designed and built to achieve such power. From turbos to engines, everything is custom upgraded which allows a turbo to produce a crazy amount of boost without ripping off the engine.

What Controls Boost in Turbo?

Boost Controller is a device that controls the boot in turbo. Boost controllers sit between turbo and wastegate and control the positive pressure.

The job of a boost controller is to control the amount of manifold pressure. The boost controller changes the pressure going to the wastegate and allows the turbo to make more boost. The wastegate activates when the boost pressure reaches the typical PSI.

For example if your boost pressure reaches 9 (PSI) and your wastegate activates at the same (PSI), the boost controller will change the pressure going to the wastegate. The wastegate will still be activated at 9(psi) but the boost controller will force your turbo to make more boost than a typical 9 (PSI).

How Do You Adjust the PSI on a Turbo?

You can adjust the psi on a turbo by adjusting the wastegate actuator. The wastegate is a device that corresponds with the positive turbo pressure. It regulates the speed and boost pressure of a turbine.

The wastegate is installed on the exhaust pipe and it prevents the turbo from exceeding spinning speed and bypasses the exhaust gasses into the exhaust system. The wastegate only activates and bypasses the exhaust when there is enough boost in the intake.

Calibrating and adjusting the wastegate will allow the turbo to make more boost. For example, if the wastegate is opening when the intake pressure reaches 9 psi, you can adjust the wastegate actuator to exceed the limit to 10 or 12 psi. Now the wastegate will activate if the pressure in intake reaches 10 – 12 psi which means you will get more boost than before adjusting the wastegate.

Adjusting your wastegate carries some risks and before you jump in straight to adjusting the wastegate here’s something you should know. Although adjusting the wastegate seems like a simple job and frankly speaking it is. However, if done incorrectly the inaccuracy of the wastegate could cause turbo and engine damage. Engine cylinders are most likely at risk when you are playing with turbo psi. I would recommend that you leave this to a professional rather than doing it by yourself.

What Causes a Turbo to Have Low Boost?

There are tons of different reasons such as clogged air filters, boost leakage, faulty turbo, faulty wastegate, broken intercooler, dirty turbo, etc. 

1. Clogged Air Filter

A dirty air filter will restrict the intake airflow of your car and it will affect the turbo boost as well. Since the turbos required smooth airflow, any restriction caused by a bad air filter will result in a low turbo boost.

2. Boost Leakage

Boost leakage often occurs when the turbo hoses are not fitted properly or if they get loose over time. In most cases, the turbo hoses could be broken and your car will be losing all the boost from the hole in the hoses. So make sure that the turbo hoses are perfectly sealed and they are not damaged.

3. Faulty Turbo

A faulty turbo means it could be: 

  • A damaged turbine
  • Bad bearings
  • Damaged compression wheel
  • Broken compression housing

These things cause turbo failure and your turbo will most likely produce a very low boost.

4. Faulty Wastegate

A faulty wastegate means that the wastegate doesn’t operate as it should. If the wastegate is opening too early or opening for too long that means it’s causing problems for a turbo to generate a boost.

5. Intercooler Leakage

If everything mentioned above is working fine and you are still facing a low boost, that means that the problem could be with your intercooler. A leaked intercooler also causes a low boost problem.

6. Dirty Turbo

Over time the turbo builds a lot of contaminants inside, making it harder for a turbine to spin freely. Typically it’s due to any kind of leakage and dirt.

Does Cold Weather Affect Turbo Boost?

Cold weather has a positive effect on turbo boost. During cold weather, the air in the atmosphere gets cold and dense. Dense air means more oxygen, powerful combustion,  and slightly more horsepower gain as well.

The cold weather is ideal for a turbo since the turbocharger compresses the air, compressed air gets hot, and oxygen decreases. However, during cold weather, the turbocharger gets cold air directly from the atmosphere and the amount of oxygen is higher in cold air. More oxygen means more powerful combustion and more horsepower.

Hot atmospheric temperature forces the turbo to work hard. While compressing the air, the turbos will generate more heat and the compressed air will be hotter than it’s during the cold weather. Less amount of oxygen in the air makes the combustion less powerful than it’s during the cold weather.


Q: How Much Boost Can a Ford Raptor Handle

Stock Ford Raptor can handle up to 22 psi without taking any damage.

The Ford Raptor comes with 18 psi of boost from the factory. With some tune or high octane fuel paired with good atmospheric temperature, the raptor could go up to 20+ psi of boost. The cold air in winter favors the turbo by providing dense air.

The amount of oxygen is higher in dense air, making the compression ideal for combustion. Pushing your raptor any further than 22 psi would ruin the engine and probably cause internal damage to cylinders.


Q: How Much Boost Does a Raptor Have?

Stock Ford Raptor from the factory makes 18 psi of boost without any modifications or tune.

The stock raptor has 18 psi of boost and the maximum it could make 19 – 20 psi in winter.  The stock turbo could not handle more than 20+ psi of boost. Even after the tune, the Raptor makes 20 psi max without blowing the turbo. If you are running your Raptor on high-octane fuel then your truck can easily make 20 psi with temperature conditions. Most people use 91 octane or more to achieve the maximum boost.


Q: How Much Boost Does Ford Ranger Have?

Stock Ford Ranger has 20 psi of boost. The max Ford Ranger can do is 23-24psi of boost, if tuned properly.

The Ford Ranger comes with 2.3L, EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine which makes 270hps and 310 pound-feet torque. Ford Performance introduced a power pack for the Ford Ranger which kicks the 270hps to 315hps and adds 60 more pound-feet of torque at 25000 RPMs.

Ifandi L.

Ifandi L.

Passionate about everything mechanical. Ifandi has been involved with motorcycles and cars since the old days - in his family's auto parts shop. Want to keep in touch? Scream "STRAIGHT PIPEEEEE" at the top of your lungs and Ifandi will show up.

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