What’s the right turbocharger for the 5.3 ls engine?

There are a variety of turbo options to use when boosting the 5.3 LS engine that will fit your needs. Let’s talk about what a turbocharger is before we go into what the best options for your turbo 5.3 LS are. 

What is a turbocharger?

 A turbocharger is a forced induction device used to increase the power/ efficiency using the hot exhaust gasses of your engine to turn a shaft that forces air into the combustion chamber.

How does a turbocharger work?

A turbocharger or turbo is a device mounted to your exhaust that consists of two halves: a hot side and a cold side that is connected by a single shaft. The hot sides are designed to spin the shaft by using the hot and high flowing exhaust gasses to spin the turbine on the cool side.

The cool side of the turbo sucks in air and compresses it into the engine’s combustion chamber. The more air that you can compress air into the combustion chamber, the more power you will make.

3d turbine turbo charger, car booster

What are the advantages of a turbocharger?

The main benefit of using a turbocharger is power, whether you’re looking to get down the track faster, you need a little more power to get up steep hills, or your vehicle feels a bit too sluggish for your liking, it will help get you to where you want to go faster. (Perfect for CO mountain driving)

What are the disadvantages of a turbocharger?

Heat is the main disadvantage of a turbocharger. Because a turbocharger uses hot exhaust gasses to run, it brings unwanted heat into your engine bay or wherever your turbo is mounted. Often times on a turbocharged vehicle there are special vents or heat shields to combat the heat that the turbo provides.

Turbo Lag is another disadvantage that can be frustrating if you get an incorrect turbo size for your engine. Turbo lag occurs when your engine cannot provide enough airflow to the turbo to spin the turbine to optimal speeds. This can be combated by down shifting to increase your engines rpm which in return will produce more airflow to the turbochargers hot side.
To find the perfect turbo for your 5.3 LS engine, you must first ask yourself what your vehicle will be used for.

Choosing a single turbocharger for a daily driver.

 If you use your car as a daily driver and spend the majority of your driving in the lower rpm range between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, you don’t want a turbocharger that is meant to start making noticeable boost at 3,500 rpm. A turbo with a smaller hot side would be more beneficial in this situation, but if you go too small you can choke up your engine, or overspin your turbo. 

Choosing a single turbocharger for a high horsepower 5.3.

If you plan spending the majority of your time in the high rpm range and want to make high power numbers, you’re going to want a larger turbocharger to force more air into your combustion chamber and allow more air out of the exhaust without boost lag.

Does one size fit all?

Over the years turbochargers have gotten much better and will work with a wide variety of applications. For a turbocharged 5.3 LS engine there are a variety of brands that will work great whether you want a little more power at low rpms, or you want a high horsepower 5.3 LS and rev it past 6,000 rpm on a regular basis. For most, a boosted 5.3 engine, a turbo with a 75mm inducer, and a 100mm exducer would fit most people’s needs. Adding a camshaft and valve spring upgrade would increase power on the naturally aspirated 5.3 which in return would allow you to run less boost while still achieving the power numbers you’re looking to make, this will reduce the engine’s stress and extend the life of your 5.3 LS engine. 

If you have any questions about turbocharging your 5.3 LS engine please contact us today!