Wayne Penrose Volkswagen
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VW Turbo Conversion: Boost Your Aircooled VW

What is a turbo?

A turbocharger, or turbo for short, is a device that forces extra air into the engine for increased combustion. A turbine is placed in the exhaust stream, which spins when exhaust gas flows through it. This turbine is mechanically connected to a compressor in the intake path (when the turbine spins, the compressor spins). The compressor pressurises the intake manifold, forcing extra air into the engine. This pressure is referred to as "boost".

Aeroflow Turbo

How does a turbo benefit my VW?

Turbocharging, without a doubt, provides the biggest increase in performance for your aircooled VW. Power gains of over +100% are possible with a properly setup turbo system. Through the use of turbocharging, we have extracted over 450hp from our VW Type 4 performance engines. The benefits of turbocharging your aircooled VW include:

  • Substantially increased power
  • Substantially increased low end torque
  • Fuel economy benefits (a small turbocharged engine can produce the same power as a larger non-turbocharged engine while consuming less fuel)
  • Boost control (power can be increased with the flick of a switch)
  • Even bigger performance gains if tuned on E85 (flex fuel)

VW beetle turbo engine

To see what difference a turbo can make for a VW engine, please use our VW turbo conversion calculator below

Please note this calculator assumes that the relevant upgrades are made to strengthen and optimise the engine for the level of turbocharging selected. There are many variables that affect the amount of power produced, such as boost pressure, cylinder heads, camshaft, turbo selection, intercooler selection, fuel type and more. This calculator should be used as a guide only to see the power gains achievable with aircooled VW turbocharging.

Aircooled VW Turbo Conversion Calculator



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Turbo selection is an important aspect of any VW turbo conversion. The size of the turbo must be carefully considered in accordance with your requirements. A turbo that is too small will make the engine responsive at slow engine speeds, but will "choke" and lose power as RPM increases.

2 different size turbos

Conversely, if a turbo is too big, it can provide good high RPM power, but will struggle to build boost at low RPM, giving the car a "sluggish" feel. This may be desirable for a drag car but undesirable for a street car where the engine is mostly operating in the low RPM region.

VW twin turbo Kombi

We have turbocharged engines for the VW Beetle, VW Kombi, VW Karmann Ghia, VW powered Trike and more! With over 35 years of experience in VW performance, we know the perfect combinations that will give your VW the power you desire, without sacrificing drivability.

To see an example of the power we can extract with a turbocharged VW Kombi engine, see The Ultimate Street Engine.

How can I turbocharge my VW?

To enquire about a WPVW turbo engine, or for turbocharging your aircooled VW engine, please

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