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Aircraft Turbochargers, Wastegates, Controllers & Valves

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As Hartzell Engine Technologies' (HET) exclusive distribution agreement with Aviall is coming to an end on February 28th 2014, HET will be moving to a much broader distribution network that now includes the appointment of Quality Aircraft Accessories (QAA) as a Recommended Service Facility (RSF) for turbochargers, wastegates, controllers, and pressure relief valves.

Use our catalog search below, or call us at 1-877-833-6948 to check price and availability. Need it fast? Ask about our one day service!

Browse our selection of Aircraft Turbochargers, Wastegates, Controllers, and Valves at our online store. If you need assistance in finding the right one for you, call us 1-877-833-6948 or Email Us to speak with a QAA representative.

How a Turbocharger works

Most aircraft piston engines are manufactured by Lycoming or Continental Motors. These engines consume gases that are drawn into the engine by the downward stroke of the piston (producing a low-pressure area). The amount of air consumed, compared to the theoretical volume of air consumed if the engine could sustain atmospheric pressure, is called volumetric efficiency. The main function of a turbocharger is to increase the engine’s volumetric efficiency; this may be accomplished by increasing the intake gas density (typically air).

The compressor of a turbocharger draws in ambient air. The air is then compressed before entering the intake manifold at a greater pressure. This results in a greater mass of air entering the cylinders with each intake stroke. The kinetic energy derived from the engine’s exhaust gases then spins the centrifugal compressor.

A turbocharger utilizes an array of controllers to regulate air flow. This system has become very complex and evolved considerably over the last 100 years. Modern turbochargers may use a combination of the following: variable absolute pressure controllers (VAPC), absolute pressure controllers (APC), density controllers, differential pressure controllers, sloped controllers, rate controllers, pressure ratio controllers, wastegates, and pressure relief valves.

Tips for trouble free turbocharger operation by Dale Smith

Breakdown of a Turbocharger

The turbocharged induction system mechanisms are similar to a normally aspirated system but with the addition of a turbocharger and turbocharger controllers. The location of the turbocharger itself is between the air intake and the fuel metering unit. A typical turbocharger consists of a solitary rotating shaft with a centrifugal compressor impeller mounted on one side and a small radial turbine fixed to the other side. Both the impeller (cold section) and turbine (hot section) are individual housings joined by a common bearing housing which contains two aluminum bearings that support the center shaft. In this configuration, the exhaust gas spins the turbine which translates the centripetal energy through the common shaft to the impeller. The impeller then draws in air and compresses it.

On a standard single engine aircraft the air comes in through an air intake located below the propeller. From there air is ducted to the turbocharger at the back of the engine. The turbocharger compresses the intake air and sends the newly compressed air to the air metering section of the fuel metering device. Once the air is metered it is ducted to the intake manifold through the cylinder intake valves where the air is then mixed with a metered amount of fuel.

In addition to the friction produced by high gyratory speeds, the exhaust gases ducted through the turbine heat the turbocharger. The turbine inlet temperature may get as high as 1,600⁰F, because of this there needs to be a large flow of oil keeping the bearings within a safe operating temperature. Therefore, a constant flow of engine oil, approximately four to five gallons of oil per minute, must be pumped through the bearing housing to cool and lubricate the bearings.

Wastegates function to regulate the power output of the turbocharger system. By controlling exhaust airflow, aircraft wastegates manage the turbine speed, and therefore the compressor housing intake. A series of aircraft controllers function as the brain behind the wastegate. At varying speeds, altitude, engine power, and air pressure, a variety of controllers keep the turbocharger system at equilibrium.

Preventative Maintenance on a Turbocharger

Maintenance on a turbocharger is critical to obtain a long and hassle free service life. A turbocharger must regularly withstand extreme operating conditions –with exhaust inlet temperatures exceeding 1600° F and the turbine wheel rotating at over 90,000 RPM. Turbine and compression wheel blades must be carefully inspected for any cracks or damage caused by foreign object debris. It is also important to turn the wheels by hand and inspect for any drag or rubbing against the housing. One of the most important processes in the turbocharger is the lubrication system, which is provided by the aircraft engine oil. Oil contamination, foreign object debris, and oil supply problems are the most frequent reasons for premature turbocharger failure and can lead to overheating of the bearings and the center housing.

Turbocharging System


Suggested Resources:

Looking for more information on aircraft turbochargers and turbocharger systems? Check out some of the helpful links below.

For more information on how a turbocharger functions: http://www.shorelineaviation.net/news---events/bid/57041/Aircraft-Engine-Turbochargers-Explained

For basic and operating information: http://flighttraining.aopa.org/students/solo/special/turbo.html

For information on operating and troubleshooting: http://www.avweb.com/news/maint/182847-1.html?redirected=1

For benefits, costs, and disadvantages of choosing a turbocharged engine: http://www.avweb.com/news/maint/182808-1.html?redirected=1

Troubleshooting - Hartzell Engine Technologies

Troubleshooting - Kelly Aerospace Power Systems

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Quality Aircraft Accessories
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Tulsa, OK 74115

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