I have a NA 1.3 petrol engine and wanna load a turbo. I am looking at second hand parts at online stores and wondering if it is a problem to use a turbo from diesel engine.

Does this make any difference on using diesel turbo or petrol turbo?


3 Answers 3


A turbo whether petrol or diesel is basically an exhaust driven rotor which forces air into the engine. It won't be a problem to install a diesel turbo in a petrol engine. But there are problems!

  1. Engine has to be tuned properly ( there is a great difference in air pressure which the engine does no know )
  2. The bearings on the turbo have to be lubricated. It is usually done by injecting oil from the engines sump.
  3. You have to be very careful while picking out a turbo. Each one pushes air in a different pressure. Make sure you don't purchase an oversized turbo.
  4. Be sure to check the oil seals, if they are faulty they will inject oil into your engine.
  5. The cooling system has to be improved since the engine will generate more heat.
  • 1
    If you were to put a #6 line item, it would have to be to check the end play (perpendicular movement of the shaft) and shaft play (inline movement of the shaft) on any turbo you are thinking of getting. Any movement which does not involve spinning is a non-starter. No sense putting a dead turbo on an engine before you even get started. Waste of time, money, & effort. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 21:15
  • @Paulster2 Very good point , keeping in mind that the turbo being purchased is used.
    – Arka Patra
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 14:43
  • I'd have the turbo professionally inspected and, if necessary, rebuilt. I had my PTE5558 rebuilt recently. Cost about $250USD to replace all seals, etc.
    – 3Dave
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 16:15

First of all before you start to turbo a 1.3 engine keep these things in mind.

  • If you say your car is a 1.3 then I am almost certain its a family "commuter" car which was designed not to go like stink in the first place so there is pretty much a chance you cant fit some parts like the inter-cooler since the manufacturer wants to keep cost low while designing the car.
  • Keep in mind that you cannot have a massive turbo on your 1.3 engine , the gearbox and the bearings wont be able to handle the power so obviously you will have to be limited to a smaller single turbo setup with 10 to 12 Psi which will increase the power roughly 80% which on paper is quite a lot but realistically unless you are on max boost the power increase would be around 15% to 20% and I dont suppose its worthwhile spending so much on a turbo and parts just for the small amount of increase in power.
  • Do you have the budget,Skill and time to do it, its better to plan ahead instead of having a unfinished project.
  • Be precisely clear on what you have to do it before hand, you cannot improvise on the go (basically you can but it will require massive rework which will waste a lot of time and money) A safer tip is to first ask a engineer or mechanic for the hypothetical placements of parts(see below for the list of parts).
  • Importantly be sure to have headroom if something doesn't go as planned.

Ok now that's taken care of so here are the list of things you would need to plan for in case you anyways decide to do the build.

  • A Turbo, Yes you can use a diesel turbo on your petrol car it does not make any difference at all.
  • custom intake and exhaust.
  • Inter-cooler and proper plumbing.(oil cooling)
  • Waste-gate and blow off valve,
  • Most of all a proper ECU tuning, a perfectly tuned ECU can extract the last bit of performance from the turbo.
  • In case you are going for a crazy build with massive turbos or twin turbo setup you will need to mod your suspension too and brakes for saftey, just assuming.
  • Better tyres.
  • 2
    While I agree with most of what you said, there is a huge glaring issue with one of your statements. You said, "...a smaller single turbo setup with 14 to 17 Psi which will increase the power roughly 15% to 20%...". This is, I hate to say it, completely wrong. In general, for every 1 bar of atmosphere, you will increase your engine output by 100%. 1 bar is basically 14.7psi. If you push 14.7psi into an engine, You are doubling the amount of air you are putting in. With double the air, comes double fuel, which should equate to double the output. This is a rule of thumb, not exactness. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 21:10
  • @Paulster2 Yes i agree with you completely , but you are not going to produce 14PSI all the time , in everyday driving you will not notice the 100% engine power increase. unless you floor it. Basically under low RPM you will not even produce close to 14 psi
    – Shobin P
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 22:03
  • 2
    But that wasn't my point. When you talk about HP/TQ, you usually talk about total output. If your max boost is ~14psi, your output should be doubled at that point. This is not a 15-20% increase in power, but a 100% increase in power. Being realistic, 14-17psi would blow the head off of a 1.3L engine, especially if the nominal compression ratio is anywhere north of 9.5:1. Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 22:27
  • 1
    Pressure and Volume are 2 different things. 14.7 psi on top of atmospheric pressure would indeed be double the PRESSURE in the manifold, however the VOLUME of air ingested over time (measured as a flow rate such as CubicFeet/Minute) is not necessarily doubled (this depends on the turbocharger flow vs pressure ratio - turbobygarrett.com/turbobygarrett/sites/default/files/turboTech/… ). The engines air flow rate (and thus fuel flow rate) must double to make double the power.
    – Nick G
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 17:15

Not at all. The turbo doesn't know whether it's a diesel or petrol turbo.

Just bear in mind that if you want to put a turbo on your car without doing lots of other modifications to your engine, you can't use much more boost than about 0.6 bar (I think that's about 8-10psi, but I could be wrong). The power gains would be minimal and you'd still need to have the car's software updated. At minimum I would suggest using a thicker head gasket to decrease the compression ratio ever so slightly to help avoid detonation. Then there's the matter of boost pipes, exhausts and intercoolers. It gets very expensive very quickly.

In my opinion, it would be better to acquire a secondhand Mini Cooper S supercharger (the older models were supercharged, not turbocharged) and have that installed. The installation is simpler and cheaper and will probably suit the car batter too. Superchargers don't require modifications to the exhaust, can run without an intercooler in low-boost scenarios and require less custom manifold work.

  • I am not sure if the budged of Mini comes close to Hyundai's (before + after tune) and it's different topic. But thanks anyways.
    – coner
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 13:43

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