Invented in 1905 by Alfred Büchi, a Swiss engineer, the turbocharger, more commonly known as the turbo, enhances an engine’s performance by compressing a higher volume of air on its way into the engine.

Turbochargers can be found in both gasoline and diesel engines, and affect volumetric capacity.

How does a turbocharger work? What role does it play? Take a look at our answers to frequently asked questions.

Functional principle


Functional principle of a basic turbocharger

A portion of the energy from exhaust gases is put toward turbine #1 which is connected to turbine #2 via a central axis usually mounted to a hydraulic bearing or regular bearing. Turbine #2 compresses the air going into the intake which allows for a higher volume of air to enter.

This pressurized air is regulated by an exhaust valve known as a waste gate or an overflow valve.


Since compression heats up the air, it is cooled off by an exchanger referred to as an intercooler.

Inter cooler

Functional principle of a variable geometry turbocharger.

The variable geometry turbocharger has been around for a while; its variable geometry allows it to enhance the engine’s performance in all rev ranges; where the traditional turbo would wait a beat called a “lag”, the variable geometry reduces the amount of this lag time.



At lower speeds, the adjustable guides are closed and small amounts of exhaust gases are sped up in the turbine blades.

At higher speeds, the adjustable guides are open allowing exhaust gases to flow directly into the turbine.




Problems that arise

The turbocharger is located above the exhaust manifold, and comes into direct contact with the exhaust gases and the soot contained therein. This is why the turbo gradually becomes clogged around the waste gates, the variable geometry and the turbines, leading to inferior engine performance. Additional problems that could arise:

  • Engine bursts
  • Loss of power
  • A lag in acceleration
  • Jammed or clogged waste gates
  • Jammed or clogged variable geometry
  • Wheezing engine
  • Engine light indicating jammed turbo
  • Less than optimum mode of functioning
  • Unable to pass 3,000 rpm.

turbo-4Soot from exhaust gases can often be found at the openings to waste gates and variable geometries that are jammed or clogged with calamine. This part cannot be cleaned by hand; it has to either be replaced or descaled with our Hy-Calamine solution via hydrogen injection.



Examples of companies that manufacture turbochargers


The best solution

Replacing the turbo can be a long and expensive process; consider choosing the descaling option which is more cost-effective than replacing the turbo. Thanks to its innovative technology, the Hy-Calamine device uses the solvent power of post-combustion hydrogen to eliminate build up in the turbo, waste gates and the variable geometry. Your vehicle will go back to its factory performance!

If you add descaling to your routine maintenance, your engine will be clean and you will be able to avoid headaches caused by a clogged turbocharger.