L20 turbo

Engine, Transmission and related drivetrain.
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guzzirik
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L20 turbo

Post by guzzirik » 25 May 2019 17:03

I had a 510 in the mid '80's that had a turbo kit installed, L20b... Cast exhaust manifold I think...Intake flange for an SU...1.5 inch SU which if leaned out to idle OK and run at partial throttle around town was ok. Full throttle and you got a blown head gasket out of the deal. knowing what I know now, I'd like to find another kit like that. Do they exist?

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bertvorgon
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by bertvorgon » 25 May 2019 17:42

I could write for hours on this one.

Problem with early 510 turbo kits was mainly NO boost control, and, by the 80's 98 octane fuel was gone. Stock head gaskets never survived much boost PERIOD! "O" ringing the block is the only solution.

The Crown Mfg/Rajay turbo kits was one of the worst, it came with virtually nothing and absolutely no thought given to keep an engine alive. When these kits came out, even those making them had not a full understanding of what was going on..I lived that.

There are no 510 /L16/18/20 kits made any more, long disappeared. There is a fellow in Alberta that has some of my old stuff, even my old 1800 engine with lots of good parts in it.

Any thing now you would have to do your own custom stuff unless something kicks up on the Net. Try posting in the want ads of course.

The nice factory cast iron manifold that we modified have long been discontinued from Nissan.

Any turbo would need to be looked at for wear and whether it was for a blow through or suck through application, as seal design is critical.

Here is a picture of my old airbox that is in Alberta still, plus some old pics from the Crown Kit, just a historical look for fun. The old Cartech kit I think was on this site once.

The old compressor map was from my early days with my L20B, you can see it falling off in efficiency.
Attachments
Schwitzer 3ld-168 compressor housing.JPG
Schwitzer 3ld-168 compressor housing.JPG (204.13 KiB) Viewed 391 times
crown suck through kit.JPG
crown suck through kit.JPG (155.79 KiB) Viewed 391 times
Crown kit.JPG
Crown kit.JPG (182.96 KiB) Viewed 391 times
car tech turbokit (2).JPG
car tech turbokit (2).JPG (212.09 KiB) Viewed 391 times
airbox.JPG
airbox.JPG (35.95 KiB) Viewed 391 times
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

Three B's Racing
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by Three B's Racing » 28 May 2019 05:59

bertvorgon wrote:
25 May 2019 17:42
I could write for hours on this one.

Problem with early 510 turbo kits was mainly NO boost control, and, by the 80's 98 octane fuel was gone. Stock head gaskets never survived much boost PERIOD! "O" ringing the block is the only solution.

The Crown Mfg/Rajay turbo kits was one of the worst, it came with virtually nothing and absolutely no thought given to keep an engine alive. When these kits came out, even those making them had not a full understanding of what was going on..I lived that.

There are no 510 /L16/18/20 kits made any more, long disappeared. There is a fellow in Alberta that has some of my old stuff, even my old 1800 engine with lots of good parts in it.

Any thing now you would have to do your own custom stuff unless something kicks up on the Net. Try posting in the want ads of course.

The nice factory cast iron manifold that we modified have long been discontinued from Nissan.

Any turbo would need to be looked at for wear and whether it was for a blow through or suck through application, as seal design is critical.

Here is a picture of my old airbox that is in Alberta still, plus some old pics from the Crown Kit, just a historical look for fun. The old Cartech kit I think was on this site once.

The old compressor map was from my early days with my L20B, you can see it falling off in efficiency.
I don't know about that, we ran that exact kit in the 70's on a L16 with L18 rods stock HG,45 sidedraft, 12psi, water injection, stock cast pistons etc: The waste gate was the boost control and was adjustable from 8-12psi. That motor was ran for some 6 years and fast as stink. We did have issues with cracking on the Crown ex manifold but gussets added seemed to fix that issue but what a POS that manifold was.
"Lastnight the wife said oh boy when your dead you can't take nothing with you but your soul oh "Think"
- John Lennon

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bertvorgon
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by bertvorgon » 29 May 2019 11:38

But...the kits sold here came with NO boost control and as most guys opened up the exhaust...it was "to the moon Ralph!"

That was at least my experience with guys I ran into, plus, you mention water injection, no one did that that I was aware of.

In most cases here, guys were hitting 20 PSI, so it did not take long for disaster to enter into the equation. Not many kits were sold in Vancouver, as there was only one distributor, plus, the locally made kit that I ended up with.

Don't remeber if I mentioned it, but, the kit I bought ran 15 PSI, due to fixed restrictions, and, the fuel we had at the pump was 98 octane, so detonation was not an issue. I too had no problems with stock head gasket and pistons.

It was after I started to mess with how my kit was designed did I start to have issues and waste gates here did not surface till the guy that built my kit actually made one that was affordable.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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icehouse
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by icehouse » 29 May 2019 22:38

Aawwww. the one way to make an L20 good. Add a dash of turbo.
"People don't like it when shit doesn't match their rule of thumb." Sam

Three B's Racing
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by Three B's Racing » 30 May 2019 05:00

bertvorgon wrote:
29 May 2019 11:38
But...the kits sold here came with NO boost control and as most guys opened up the exhaust...it was "to the moon Ralph!"

That was at least my experience with guys I ran into, plus, you mention water injection, no one did that that I was aware of.

In most cases here, guys were hitting 20 PSI, so it did not take long for disaster to enter into the equation. Not many kits were sold in Vancouver, as there was only one distributor, plus, the locally made kit that I ended up with.

Don't remeber if I mentioned it, but, the kit I bought ran 15 PSI, due to fixed restrictions, and, the fuel we had at the pump was 98 octane, so detonation was not an issue. I too had no problems with stock head gasket and pistons.

It was after I started to mess with how my kit was designed did I start to have issues and waste gates here did not surface till the guy that built my kit actually made one that was affordable.
Oh well then Hell no wastegate ya to the moon Ralph. A friend had an electronic cut off valve on the line from the intake manifold to the wastegate that in the event he was loosing a race he'd hit the button eliminating the wastegate and well as you said "to the moon Ralph!" The Crown kit I picked up in `77 was a complete kit with wastegate and hobbs switch for H2O injection, I don't miss that kit 8>o
"Lastnight the wife said oh boy when your dead you can't take nothing with you but your soul oh "Think"
- John Lennon

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bertvorgon
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by bertvorgon » 30 May 2019 08:17

I wish that a waste gate was available when I started slaloming, as I had so many issues to try to deal with as I slowly learned and upgraded what I had. I did purchase an"air restricter" made by IMPCO, a TC2. What it did was totally throttle the air flow, starving the motor ( I still have it in the Bert Vorgon Archives), making the car fall flat as throttle increased.

Interesting that the Crown kit came with a wastegate then. I still have a Crown brochure and it of course does not mention that at all. We are talking the early to mid 70's when I got the brochures and then got my locally made kit.

I always find the early history of us shade tree mechanics and turbocharging interesting. Here in Vancouver, I was the only one racing a turbo motor at the time and any of those that bought the same kit as I did went the way of the dinosaur as their 510's got old, crashed, etc. Some of the boxed kits rattled around for a few years and they too are done. McShagger (James) got a kit some years ago and has continued on with it, fuel injected now.

Even the engineer that designed my kit, had no knowledge of some of the issues I started to run into in racing conditions, as he NEVER experienced them on the street. That led me to track down Andy at Specialty Engineering...and away I went.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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gooned
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by gooned » 30 May 2019 20:27

I think I have most of the kit on a shelf, with a fresh - still in the box - rebuilt (new?) turbo, dad was heading that direction early on with the ice racer.

I also have a complete turbo & mani with carb off a Buick GN V6, always wanted to try it on the KA ice racer at Knox...

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Re: L20 turbo

Post by Three B's Racing » 31 May 2019 06:41

bertvorgon wrote:
30 May 2019 08:17
I wish that a waste gate was available when I started slaloming, as I had so many issues to try to deal with as I slowly learned and upgraded what I had. I did purchase an"air restricter" made by IMPCO, a TC2. What it did was totally throttle the air flow, starving the motor ( I still have it in the Bert Vorgon Archives), making the car fall flat as throttle increased.

Interesting that the Crown kit came with a wastegate then. I still have a Crown brochure and it of course does not mention that at all. We are talking the early to mid 70's when I got the brochures and then got my locally made kit.

I always find the early history of us shade tree mechanics and turbocharging interesting. Here in Vancouver, I was the only one racing a turbo motor at the time and any of those that bought the same kit as I did went the way of the dinosaur as their 510's got old, crashed, etc. Some of the boxed kits rattled around for a few years and they too are done. McShagger (James) got a kit some years ago and has continued on with it, fuel injected now.

Even the engineer that designed my kit, had no knowledge of some of the issues I started to run into in racing conditions, as he NEVER experienced them on the street. That led me to track down Andy at Specialty Engineering...and away I went.
Ok, let me step back juuust a bit. When looking to purchase the Crown kit a friend of mine Norm Roberts had a contact for these. I gave him $$$ he picked up the kit and gave it to me in a big box of Turbo goodness and in there was the wastegate. It's possible Norm tossed in the wastegate I really don't know but I do know he said that gate is a piston saver so I made sure it was in the box.
"Lastnight the wife said oh boy when your dead you can't take nothing with you but your soul oh "Think"
- John Lennon

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bertvorgon
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Re: L20 turbo

Post by bertvorgon » 31 May 2019 07:53

Here was the deal with the ENGINE AIR kit made locally in Vancouver. The fellow was an engineer and their business was retro fitting tugs with turbochargers to increase their life span. He also had a Jaguar that he hill climbed in the late 60's, early 70's. With the wealth of 510's at the time, as Vancouver was Port of Entry, he made a wonderful kit for the 510. It was designed to run 15 LBS boost on pump premium, which at the time was 98 Octane (R+M).

The boost was "fixed" based on the stock exhaust and stock air cleaner. Of course as any young guy...if some's good, mores better...I put on a performance air cleaner..well, all of a sudden the boost would creep up past 15. HHHMMM. The TURBOCHARGERS by HUGH McINNES was my bible so I learned about waste gates, but, they were unobtanium then for me.

The kit first went on my 510 wagon but it was not until I started slaloming that I started to get into all sorts of problems, G-Force related to the carb, and, NOT being able to keep my foot in it as I had changed the exhaust, the kit having been swapped into a 1972 2 dr. Luckily, as I was trying to be competitive in a land of very good running NA cars, the engineer built his own waste gate, specifically for his kit, which actually worked very well in the early years. It did me well until TURBONETICS came out with the very affordable DELTAGATE, of which I run the latest permutation of.

Even a few of the guys that I knew at the time, with my kit, as they changed stuff, over time with these boost spikes, a head gasket would go, or, I can think of two piston failures, where the top ring land area would be squished, both heat and detonation related I would think.

Turbocharging was truly in it's infancy in terms of street use then, specially here in Vancouver, as we were so far from the real Hot Rod world of California. You may know the name of Ak Miller, he was a turbo guru and featured in the turbo charger book. It was two phone calls to him that got my fuel system working, as he took time to explain to this 22 year old how it should work. To this day it is untouched as he described it. That fix coupled with real boost control led to a very flexible power plant over all the L series motors I used.

That you had that waste gate is amazing, I can still hear a couple of guys here, that were so excited to put that Crown kit on, yet in a week had destroyed the motor. The small company here that was the distributor of BRE stuff, plus the turbo kit, really new nothing of how turbocharging really worked in terms of it's requirements for boost control. If you actually read that brochure I posted, they say of course 150% increase is attainable, but, their caveat is the water injection. Sure, that helped but, the extreme boost that was achieved and the huge cylinder pressure increase, a stock motor could not handle that.

You should see how much methanol I dump into my motor under full boost, and while that is NOT a crutch, it points out that most water injection systems back then tried to be just that.

Even with the stock 8 whatever compression : 1, those small turbine housings at the time got things going very early so it was easy to spike 20 PSI in a heart beat.
"Racing makes heroin addiction look like a vague wish for something salty" - Peter Egan

Keith Law
1973 2Door Slalom/hill climb/road race / canyon carver /Giant Killer 510
1968 Vintage 3HP Mini Bike
1971 Vintage 13' BOLER trailer

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