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Turbocharging a ford i6 170

9436 Views 77 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  1stLove
Is it possible to turbocharge one? I have only found one video about turbocharging a 200 and was wondering how would it work and is it feasible. What would I have to change, because I the engine needs to be upgraded to be able to sustain the power and other parts like the rear axle. How would one go about turbocharging a carbureted engine? Is it possible to get a good power gain from it or am I very limited? How would you control the turbo to avoid blowing it up? I just became very curious about this and want to hear more from the community to know how would this work and is it worth a shot.
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ok a few things here, first the 170 has FOUR main bearings not three. granted it isnt the best set up with an inline engine, but it does well.

now on to turboing the 170;

1: first build the short block to handle the power. this means forged pistons, forged rods, and yes the factory forged steel rods frm the early motors will do nicely after polishing and shot peening, and adding stronger rods bolts from ARP. also balance and polish the crank.

2: prepare the head for turbo use as well, larger valves, port the valve pockets, install stainless steel valves and hardened seats and dont forget the ARP head studs.

3: turbo selection is important here, as well as whether you choose a draw through or blow through set up. you fuel system choice will also come into play here, carb or EFI. each has its pros and cons, let me know if you want me to elaborate on them. my choice if i decide to turbo my falcon 170 would be a blow through efi or a raw through carb set up. as for teh turbo itself, select one from an engine of similar size and base power out put, say the turbo from a stock early SVO mustang or tbird turbo coupe as these turbos would be a close match for the 170.

4: control your boost pressure. keep it no higher than about 10psi max boost pressure. that will push you poweres levels up pretty good and give you a safety margin for a daily driver.

5: installing a turbo isnt as hard as some make it out to be on an inline six, the stock exhaust manifold with a "J" pipe does a nice job. check this link for lots of good information on turbocharging the ford inline six;

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Ok, I’ll bite... how?

Knowing that just a decent top end for a six is $2-$3k, plus turbo and the fabbing it takes to install, header, etc.

I’ve got a roller 306 with forged pistons, aluminum heads, TFS cam, fancy roller rockers, headers, Holley etc. and spent less than $3k. I did some horse trading to do so, but it was easy and no amount of batgain hunting is going to land you with one of those exotic six banger heads.
before he died, mike built a turbo 250 that made 323hp for the street. you should be able to find the article on the mustangs and fords website. i forgot how much was spent on the project though.
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ok here are three articles on turbocharging the ford six;

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I wonder if a Barra would even fit height wise. With it being a DOHC, it's gonna be way taller than a 170/200. The only thing I could find on it's height was from this post where the guy measured his engine and it came back at 680mm (26.7 inches).

I seem to remember a few years ago reading a post about a guy that wanted to swap in a 300 and everyone was saying it was too tall to fit. The deck height of the 300 is 10" where the 250 is 9.46" and the 200 is 7.8". If a 300 won't fit, I'd have to question if a Barra would fit. Not to mention the cost of getting one over here and all the headaches that go with doing a swap on an engine where no swap kits exist.
actually a 300 WILL fit the early falcon and mustang engine compartments, barely but it does fit.
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I don’t doubt that power potential. It’s the budget that gets me.
Only one of those mentions pricing and it’s up over $4k on the conservative side without even considering an Aussie or custom head.
i agee that it isnt cheap to run the aluminum head from vintageinlines, especially when you consider that a pair oif aluminum heads for a small block ford are around $1200. but remember that there isnt a great deal of demand for an aluminum small six head, so production is very low, perhaps 100 units at a time, and they can take time to sell off.

I would need a foxbody to use for parts, I have been having trouble finding some.
fox bodies are all over the place. and if you want the rear end, then look at rangers and explorers as well.
If you are truly considering turbocharging the I6(of whichever size) I highly suggest reading "Maximum Boost" by Corky Bell. There is a chapter that deals with turbocharging carbed even tells you how to modify a carb for a blow-through application. To be clear, turbocharging a carbed engine has its limits...I doubt you will be able to run more than 10-12psi before the carb hat you use will inevitably start leaking boost...and even that much, intercooling would be critical. I don't consider engines with the intake and exhaust on the same side of the head to be great candidates for turbocharging myself...the exhaust manifold will reach temps of 1400+ degrees...and that will inevitably bleed over to the intake manifold, raising intake air temps significantly even after intercooling.
well there are enough innovations these days that prevent that 1400 degrees from migrating to the intake side of things, so heat isnt a real issue these days as it can be mitigated.
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