Honda Driver Seeks Best Turbo Setup for Drag Racing

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Honda Turbo

Adding boost to your Honda is a great way to crank up the power. But there are plenty of pitfalls to watch out for.

While natural-aspiration has its obvious benefits, it’s hard to beat the prodigious power offered by the right turbo setup. Which is why most of the fastest Honda cars on the planet employ that very type of forced induction. This is especially true in drag racing, where turbo Honda examples have laid down some seriously impressive elapsed times. But with so many different setups available in the aftermarket, it’s hard to pick the right one. Thus, Honda-Tech member SpiderX1016 headed to the forums recently for some advice.

“Right now I have a Garrett T3/T4 57 Trim .63AR. It’s smoking at the moment, checked the feed and drain and feel like it’s sufficient. I can get it rebuilt at Pure Turbos but that’ll be $450. I’m looking at possibly getting a turbo in the 600 hp range and less than $800. Has to be Precision though as I have a good dealer in line. Any recommendations on what size turbo to get or should I just save the money and rebuild my turbo?

My setup now:
Piston/Rod B18C with stock sleeves. (Will get sleeves in the future but need to get a turbo now).
Speedfactory T3 flange top mount
Hytech 3″ 4-bolt downpipe

Goals are for drag racing. Under some circumstances, not looking at changing the rest of my setup at the moment.”

Honda Turbo

Without delay, several members chime in with solid advice. Starting with Balor_Gr.

“Precision and ball bearing is fine reliability wise, and perform very well. Precision and journal bearings is a very unreliable choice. Here, no one that I know managed to keep the JB precision from smoking for more than a year. I would send my turbo to Speed Trapp Consulting. Ask him to put a stage 5 turbine wheel and a 59 – 60 mm billet compressor on that .63 housing. Your sleeves will blow before the stage 5 .63 combo runs out of steam.”

Chance EG agrees with that sentiment wholeheartedly.

“Agreed with Balor’s sentiment on JB Precisions, at least from my limited experience. I was disappointed in the 5558 I had. Didn’t even make 5K miles before it somehow made contact with the compressor housing and needed a rebuild. Which was the same cost as a new turbo.”

Honda Turbo

Yet, extremeracer suggests going a different route altogether with the OP’s Honda.

“A Borg Warner S257 SX-E can be had for ~$850 and offer you BW’s proven JB durability with a 65 lb/min flow rate. I ran a Holset Super HX40 on my 84×89 LS/VTEC and was very happy with the results. As mentioned by others, frequent oil changes are key and using a good oil. 

STC’s product offerings are also rock solid and ‘The Shodan’ will give you the best, most accurate advice/guidance out there. With regards to PTE, some people have great success with their products and others have issues within a few hundred miles. 

I like ‘heavy-duty’ journal bearing turbos like Holset and BW. I’ve personally seen my drift customers put their Holset turbo’s through some serious abuse. The GT-series and PTE stuff have often suffered more complications in this environment.”

Pretty sound advice from somebody who knows a thing or two about a turbocharged Honda. And still, the OP is still exploring his options. So if you’ve got any advice to give (or if you’re looking for some of your own), head over here and chime in!

Join the Honda-tech forums today!

Brett Foote has been covering the auto industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ popular Auto Group websites, including Corvette Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among others.

Foote has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles and every other type of automobile, Foote had spent several years running parts for local dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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