Monitoring your car's turbo boost levels is important when it comes to tuning your vehicle, especially when increasing the turbocharger's boost output. Checking the turbo's boost production while the engine is in operation also allows you to diagnose any problems that may arise with the turbo system, such as vacuum leaks. There are multiple ways to keep a check on the turbo system's integrity, as well as the turbocharger's actual boost numbers.
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Things you need
- Boost gauge
- Data logger device
- Pressure tester
- Flathead screwdriver
Have an aftermarket boost pressure gauge installed on your turbo vehicle. Boost gauges tap into a turbo system vacuum line in order to read the turbocharger's pressure output. The boost gauge can be mounted in the interior of your vehicle, allowing you to constantly monitor boost levels while operating your vehicle.
Hook a data logger device up to your vehicle's ECU port, generally located in the driver's side footwell. Data loggers track parameters recorded by the engine control unit (ECU). On most stock turbo vehicles, this allows for a direct viewing of the ECU's recorded boost levels. To monitor boost levels, set the data logger to record turbocharger pressure, then fully spool your vehicle's turbo by running the engine to redline. The data logger will save a readout of the turbo boost levels across the engine's rev-range.
Pressure test your turbo and intercooler system if you suspect you have a boost leak. Symptoms of boost leaks include sporadic engine power-loss and/or inconsistent boost level readings. To pressure test your turbo system, hook up a pressure tester to the turbocharger's inlet. Use the tester's hand pump to pressurise the turbo system. Observe the pressure tester's gauge. If the gauge shows that the turbo system is losing pressure, this indicates a boost leak somewhere throughout the turbo system.
Pump the pressure tester and listen for sounds of hissing air along the intercooler piping and the rest of the intake system, which indicate a boost leak location. Tighten all engine component connections and replace any faulty seals to fix any boost leaks throughout your turbo system.
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