The debate about turbo and procharger superchargers has been on for a while, and people are taking sides. But what exactly are these systems, and which is a better option?
Procharger superchargers and turbos have pros and cons and features that set them apart. Each is suitable in its own way, but all are essential in adding more power to your engine.
- Which Is Better, Procharger or Turbo?
- What Are the Differences Between a Procharger and A Turbo?
This post focuses on the main differences between a procharger and a turbo. We will present detailed options and let you make an informed decision. Let’sLet’s dive right in!
Which Is Better, Procharger or Turbo?
Let’s review these two types of chargers to help us make the final decision. The two serve the same purpose; to allow more air into the engine for faster fuel combustion and increased torque and speed. In simplest terms, chargers let engines produce more power than they were initially designed for by overcoming atmospheric pressure limitations. However, they vary in design, size, cost, how they work, and performance.
Whether a procharger or turbo is better depends on you and the intended application. If you want more power, a procharger is the best. However, you should be ready to spend more and be comfortable with increased noise. Turbochargers are better if you need a charger for a street vehicle. Their noise level is within limits and is more affordable, but you get less power than you would with a procharger.
What Are the Differences Between a Procharger and A Turbo?
Let’s break it down into different sections to answer this question and gain a better understanding.
Procharger Vs. Turbo: How They Work
A procharger uses a centrifugal force to push more air into the engine. Its impeller spins at high speed, which causes air to be drawn into a compressor housing. This action forces more oxygen-rich air into the engine for burning fuel. Hence, the engine power increases. A Procjarger is held at the front of the engine using a bracket and is driven by a pulley belt directly coupled with the engine’s camshaft. This also makes them deliver consistent power over various engines’ RPMs.
Conversely, a turbo uses an induction process to draw more hair into the engine. It is driven by the exhaust gasses from the engine’s manifold. Instead of wasting energy, it drives a turbine that rotates a compressor or an impeller. That creates a vacuum, which forces more air into the engine. However, turbochargers are designed for a narrow range of engine RPM, and power delivery is also inconsistent.
According to how they work, turbochargers use energy in exhaust gasses. That makes them better than a procharger driven directly from the engine’s shaft. It is like adding an extra load to the engine.
Turbo Vs. Procharger: Cost
Procharger and turbochargers differ in cost. The former is more expensive. The part costs about $7,000 to buy and an additional $1,000-$1,500 for a technician to install to your engine.
On the other hand, turbochargers are more affordable. Some cost as low as $500, but high-performance turbos can cost more than $5,000. However, you can incur an additional fee for the piping needed to install turbos in naturally aspirated vehicles. Also, stick to the turbo size recommended for your engine size. Going for a high-performing one can cause overstress your engine, causing premature breakdown.
Procharger Vs. Turbo: Performance
Theoretically, turbochargers should increase the engine’s output power by up to 50%. But that is not usually the case because of overheating and high pressure. Since these can cause engine knock due to pre-ignition, the time is retarded to allow complete fuel combustion. This mitigation strategy reduces the efficiency of a turbocharger, making them add only 30%-40% of the power.
As a result, a turbocharger can only add 70-150 horsepower when installed on your engine. And since exhaust gasses drive it, they surfer boost lag and power inconsistency at low engine RPMs.
On the other hand, a procharger can increase the engine’s output power by 45%-70%. This translates to 300-700 horsepower in average-sized engines. It also delivers consistent power throughout all RPM ranges because they are driven directly by the engine’s camshaft. However, they also suffer belt slips at very high RPMs, limiting their performance.
Procharger Vs. Turbo: Applications
Turbochargers are often installed in street vehicles. They are preferred in these applications because they are more efficient. These chargers are also more affordable, easier to maintain, and more fuel efficient than a procharger. Besides, technological advancement has reduced the boost lag to a level unnoticeable by average drivers.
Pro chargers are often used in race cars. They have the best performance and do not suffer turbo lag since they are driven by the engine’s camshaft. But you cannot install them on street vehicles because they are super-loud.
Regardless of the charger, you want to install, conduct a thorough engine diagnosis and determine the maximum engine power you can add. You should also check possible power loss, increased noise levels, excess emissions, and extra oil consumption. Address these issues as appropriate during installation. Using new oil, air, and fuel filters and contamination-free engine oil is recommended.
Procharger Vs. Turbo: Maintenance
Adding any charger to your engine comes with extra maintenance. You need to change engine oil sooner than you usually do because the added power causes more heating and stress on your engine. However, each charger comes with additional components and a varying degree of maintenance.
Turbochargers generally do not require additional maintenance. Besides, its parts are more affordable to replace than a procharger. But you should change it after every 100,000-150,000 miles covered. Also, change the turbocharger oil every 5,000 miles. It is the only way to keep the turbocharger lubricated and prevent early wearing of the bearings.
Prochergers, however, require extra pulleys and a belt to install to your engine. These additional components make servicing more complicated. You are supposed to check the belt and pulley during every oil change for signs of damage to prevent total failure.
Fortunately, your engine will still run fine with a faulty procharger belt, but the fuel efficiency will significantly reduce. On average, replace the belt every 50,000-70,000 miles of travel. You should also ensure the belt fits tightly during installation, and the oil change on the procharger head should be after 6,000 miles.
Are A Procharger and Turbo the Same?
No. a turbocharger and a procharger do the same purpose, forcing more air into the engine for improved performance. But are different in design, working principle, and performance.
The chart below is a summary of the differences between these two chargers. Refer to the previous section for detailed information.
|Additional engine power||70-150hp||Over 300hp|
|Cost||More affordable||More expensive|
|Installation||A bit easier to install||More challenging to install|
|Power consumption||About 5%||About 10%|
|Boost lag||Affected since it’s exhaust-driven||Not affected|
|Power delivery||Significantly affected at low RPMs||Consistent throughout the RPM ranges|
|Applications||Street vehicles||Race cars|
What Are the Benefits of a Procharger?
A procharger has a few benefits over a turbocharger. It produces consistent power over all RPMs and does not suffer boost lag. The procharger also performs better and delivers more engine boost power than a turbocharger.
What Are the Advantages of a Turbo?
A turbocharger has some advantages over a procharger, which is why it is preferred in some applications. It is more affordable, quieter, and easier to maintain. This charge is the ideal choice for a street vehicle in noise-regulated areas. It also does not consume much engine power as a procharger since it is exhaust-driven. However, the power boost is lower.
Can You Have a Turbo and Procharger?
Yes. You can use a twin-charger system for maximum performance. At lower RPMs, the procharger provides the needed power boost. But as the RPM gets higher, the turbocharger kicks in to boost the power. Their combined performance offers a smoother power boost and more efficiency over different engine speeds.
Do You Get Better Gas Mileage with A Procharger?
No. A ProCharger does not provide better gas mileage than a turbocharger. That is because it has a much higher parasitic drain. It is driven directly from the engine’s camshaft, adding extra load. On the other hand, Turbochargers have less parasitic drain because they use wasted exhaust energy to boost engine power.
What’s More Reliable Turbo or Procharger?
The reliability of either a turbocharger or a procharger depends on usage and maintenance. The brand and installation also influence how reliable they will be in boosting the engine’s power. So, there is no direct response in a head-to-head comparison between the two regarding their reliability. But if you consider maintenance, turbochargers are easier to maintain and less costly to buy replacement parts.
Brian is an auto technician who writes DIY repair articles and creates how-to videos for MechanicAsk. He focuses on common repairs like brakes, oil changes, and lighting. Brian draws on his 5 years of dealership experience to explain repairs in an easy-to-follow manner, even for novice do-it-yourselfers. His technical articles always include detailed tool lists, supply checklists, and visual guides.