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Has anyone here turbocharged a flathead 4 banger?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by surfin, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. surfin
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    surfin Member

    it is something i have mused over for some time and was pondering the reality of the thought, so has anyone done it? and what were the results?
  2. tedley
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    tedley Member
    1. 1952-59 Ford Social Group

    I really don't think the thing would hold together past idle. KABOOM
  3. 6-71
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    6-71 Member

    Yes,as a matter of fact it has been done.I know an old fellow who put a corvair turbo charger on a model B engine,in a roadster pickup.He drove it all over the place.His son and grandson are Hambers,and also play with turbos.maybe they will chime in on this.
  4. handyandy289
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    handyandy289 Member

    Bad idea. Back pressure creates too much heat on the exhaust ports. Will run way too hot.
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  5. Rusty O'Toole
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    Rusty O'Toole Member

    For certain technical reasons a flathead engine should respond well to supercharging.

    Handyandy has a good point. Flatheads have a hard time cooling the exhaust valve and seat area. But if you ran a turbo with not too much pressure and an open exhaust it should work out OK.
  6. RichFox
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    RichFox
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    I bet Beefstew jumps in here to put to rest all the misinformation about turbocharged V4F engines. In my opinion they don't really meet the spirit of the rules. But that is not the point of this thread.
  7. indestructableforce
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    indestructableforce Member

    Wonder how bad you'd scare v8s? Turbo seems kinda goofy, such "new" tech (well not really, just weird) on an old motor. There's someone on YouTube who's got a built banger with a race cam, big valves, port, big bore, and did a bunch of other work. That thing is quick, while still running a 3-speed. Sounds meaner than alot of v8s. It'd scorch the earth with a huffer and 5-speed.
  8. Johnny Speedster
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    Johnny Speedster Member

  9. surfin
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    surfin Member

    say 6-ish psi with a remote mount turbo to get heat away from the engine?
  10. RichFox
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    Then there is the Matrix Machine model T powered 'liner that averaged 201.7. Turbo charged flathead four. But the guys who say it can't be done are probably right.
  11. metalshapes
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    metalshapes Tech Editor

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  12. surfin
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    surfin Member

    what about water/methanol injection? that should cool things down
  13. johnneilson
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    johnneilson Member

    How about the current Bonneville record?
    It is a B motor, turbo and on babbitt.
    No wait, it can't be done.

    Mr B??
  14. Rusty O'Toole
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    Rusty O'Toole Member

    A normal stock engine has a certain amount of back pressure because of the restrictive muffler and exhaust pipe. A turbo causes back pressure but if you used a turbo, connected to an open exhaust, you should have no more back pressure and no more heat than a stock engine. Provided you don't go crazy on the boost, keep it down to 5 PSI or so.

    The turbo provides a certain muffler effect so an open exhaust on a turbo car is not as noisy as on a non turbo car.

    It is a matter of not putting more heat into the exhaust area than the cooling system can draw away.

    Now the reasons a supercharger should work well on a flathead - supercharging provides an instant increase in compression, so you need a low compression engine. Flatheads have this feature. Also flatheads were a conservative design with small valves and ports, mild cams etc. This means they work great at low to medium RPMs but run out of breath at higher speeds. A supercharger corrects this.

    In the thirties there were cars with centrifugal blowers from Graham, Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg. They worked well and were reliable. Typically, they used a supercharged six to replace a straight eight and a supercharged eight to replace a twelve cylinder engine. The blower added up to 50% more HP.
  15. malaguena
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    malaguena Member

    Well i saw a picture from the early 40s of a track style roadster that was being run at the flats. It had a turbo setup on a willys flat four. I recall if did around 120.

    Personally i saw the pic and wondered what that turbo was off of originally.
  16. surfin
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    surfin Member

    hmm, interesting stuff
  17. surfin
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    surfin Member

  18. chriseakin
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    chriseakin Member

    Smoky Yunick put a turbo flathead four in a pinto, probably running on propane.
  19. 4-port Riley
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    4-port Riley Member

    Mr. B here, mine is an OHV Cook head on a B block, C crank, babbitt mains. Last August it ran 165 in a lakester, turbocharged on alky. Boost pressure was 10 psi, 6,000 RPM If you are really concerned about exhaust cooling, there are ways to force water directly to the valve area, I'm not sure it is necessary??? There are a couple of flathead bangers that are turbocharged running on the salt, with good results.
  20. hotrodA
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    YIKES!!:eek::cool:

    Care to post a pic? That's badass!
  21. Beef Stew
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    Beef Stew Member

    Rich, you know me so well. :D

    I don't even know where to begin with this whole deal but I guess I'll start by saying that we had a best one-way pass at Bonneville of 155 mph. That's just 10 mph off of Mr. Brierley's pass and we're using a flathead...with an old cracked cast iron Winfield head.... and stock rods on a stock 3 main crank. We had the sucker turned up to 11 on that run.

    But flatheads generally don't like being turned up to 11. For instance, we blow a head gasket every single run. Yup, new head gasket for each pass. That gets old (and expensive) very fast. Whether handyandy was guessing or knows from experience I don't know but he's very right about the heat and back pressure issues. Turbos put a ton of additional heat stress on the engine which is never good. We even run a huge 1.1 AR exhaust housing and there's still too much heat and pressure.

    Keep in mind that we're pushing this thing pretty damn hard for two miles (it could never do a full 3 mile pass). The drag race guys got it easy. All a drag motor has to do is last for 12 seconds and its done. I think they even run the blocks dry. No way in hell you could do that on anything longer than a 1/4 mile if you're running a turbo. No way.

    Turbo on the street? Maybe but it'd have to be extremely mild. The other huge problem (on a Model A/B at least) are the siamesed intake ports. With this configuration, there is a very long period of time where fuel is deposited into the port while both intake valves are closed. What happens is when the first intake valve opens that cylinder gets a whole bunch of fuel but when the second intake valve opens 180 crank degrees later only a fraction of fuel is ingested. So this means that two cylinders run very rich and two cylinders run very lean and you can only tune to your leanest cylinders. This phenomenom is always happening even when naturally aspirated but the problem gets amplified once you go forced induction. Add in the addtional heat and you've got a banger with a very short fuse. Also, water injection will not work for the same reason... two cylinders will get too much water and two cylinders will not get enough.

    Joel Young's Model T has it easy (or easier at least) because he machined out the whole side of the block and added in two more intake ports. With 8 ports you can treat it like a regular engine for the most part. Add on a OHV conversion and it might as well be a Pinto... too easy! We're still using the stock port configuration but trying to get around this whole lean-rich problem by using efi. We'll basically set it up to only deliver fuel when the intake valve is open. Hoping to get the motor running and tuned this spring/summer.
  22. surfin
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    surfin Member

    all very interesting! the EFI was of some interest to me as well
  23. Rusty O'Toole
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    Rusty O'Toole Member

    Turbochargers were invented during WW1 for aircraft but were not widely used. After the war the USAF did some experiments. Centrifugal blowers were used on race cars in the twenties and on production cars starting in 1934. Don't know of any turbocharged cars before 1961 but there were definitely centrifugally blown cars in the thirties. America was the leader in centrifugal superchargers.

    So, a centrifugal supercharger would be 1930s trad. If you can't find one off a Graham, Cord or Auburn or one of the aftermarket ones made for Fords by McCulloch, you could adapt a turbo to a belt drive blower.
  24. RichFox
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    RichFox
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    Hot Rod racing on the salt started in '49. as I understand it. I did see a shortened A roadster with a Willys four and a Graham supercharger there one year. In the 80s I think. Had numbers and class lettering like lots of bogus Bonneville cars. I thought it was really neat. Asked him if he was going to run it and he said he didn't want to possibly damage the engine.
  25. MoparMontana
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    MoparMontana Member

    With enough time, money, and brainpower you can make anything work, go fast, and hopefully... stay in one piece.
  26. turbostude
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    turbostude Member

    I successfully ran a Stude 190" flathead 6 which had siamesed ports with 17# boost. In doing calcs assume a V.E. of 75% for flatheads to determine possible HP gains.
  27. LSR 2909
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    LSR 2909 Member

    I don't get why guys use bogus number and class lettering on street cars, or fictitious speed shop logos for that matter.
  28. RichFox
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    I tend to agree with you. But if I ever saw someone using my number (104) I think I would be proud. Most or all of the bogus cars seem to use 2 digit numbers.
  29. 4-port Riley
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    4-port Riley Member

    There are several torbo'ed flathead fours running on the salt with good reliability except the head gasket seems to be the stickler. Joel Young's flathead T streamliner does OK at 201.:) My B engine is a Cook OHV conversion on an early '32 block, C crank and babbitt mains, 165 is my best to date. This is the same block, crank and babbitt that I ran on the salt back in the 70's, as well as in a dragster for many years at the Antique Nationals, which happen to be coming this Sunday at Irwindale Dragstrip.
  30. Orlando1701
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    Orlando1701 Member

    I know some people who have had a couple of Thunderbird Turbo Coupes, but that's a facotry built Turbo 4 banger. They seem to love them.

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