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Technical Area > Upkeep and Performance Hints

Turbocharged '78 MGB

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september2019:
My car is a ’78; the turbo was installed at the request of the 2nd owner.  That gave a good boost once it was moving, but nothing off the line, so he had high compression pistons installed.  He ran the car with high test gas.  Not long after I bought it, my then teenage son and a friend of his took it out one warm summer evening to see how fast it would go.  They never told me what they saw in the clock, but when one of them was driving (they hid who it was from me for twenty years- still a fun family story), a long stream of smoke appeared behind the car.  The mechanic who had done the work ripped out the blown piston(s) and replaced them with low compression ones, almost without giving me  a choice.

I think that the turbo that was installed was an after market option from Moss at the time. It may have been a California hop up addition- I want to say “Red Liion”?  There is an HF carburetor, followed  by the turbo feeding the intake manifold.  A pressure switch will trigger water injection at the higher boost levels.  A waste gate allows a fraction of the exhaust gas to drive the turbo.  Typically I have to get the RPM above 3K before the turbo starts to wind up, then there is a delightful, smooth increase of power.  I enjoy it particularly on long hills, but rarely get it engaged in normal driving.

John W Philbrick
Brentwood, Tennessee

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