Vintage Mustang Forums banner

Turbocharging a ford i6 170

9437 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.
1 - 11 of 78 Posts
There's a member on here who turbo'd his 6cyl on a budget, he was like 18-years-old when he did it and had pretty decent results. I would not listen to anyone here who does not have direct experience working on turbocharged engines.

You could turbocharge a lawn mower engine if you really wanted to.
You won't have great results turbocharging a single cylinder due to exhaust pulse issues but I've seen it done. One guy I know had a motorized bar stool with a turbocharged lawnmower engine. The turbo was more of a novelty than anything.

As you can see by most of these posts, this is the last place I'd ask about anything turbo related.
How would one go about turbocharging a carbureted engine?
You need a carb specifically set up to operate in blow-thru. They're readily available from a number of carb companies. Or you could do one of the fuel injection setups that works in place of a carb.

How would you control the turbo to avoid blowing it up?
You use a wastegate (which bleeds exhaust before the turbo) and boost controller. There's multiple setups for both. The most simple is a manual boost controller (which is basically a ball and spring valve) and an internal wastegate that is integrated with the turbo. There are also electronic controllers and external wastegates. You can choose a wastegate and run it off spring pressure without a boost controller with the proper spring but then it will open progressively which can alter the spool characteristics.

I like MHI (Mitsubishi) turbos because they are not picky about oiling and last a long time. Garrett turbos are sometimes cheaper with more options available but they simply are not as stout and you can over oil them. A lot of people grab diesel turbos out of the junkyard (like Holeset and Borg-Warner).

Why did you delete that very statement when you copied my post?
Unrelated thoughts? I now see where you said he should look at other sites. I agree. I disagree that putting a turbo on a lawnmower engine is the right analogy for this situation though. That's just my opinion.

So, yeah. It would be really cool, but also very involved and very expensive. The pic Bart posted above is badass. But this is project for a very advanced builder with deep pockets and not something for a shade tree mechanic on a budget.
I knew of a guy who took the 4-door Chevelle that was rotting in his inlaw's yard, put in a stock 350 Vortec that he rebuilt himself, his own homemade blow-thru carb, and the biggest Borg-Warner turbo he could find on Ebay, hung on a cheap twin turbo hot side he reworked himself for single turbo, and ran 8s on a 10.5" tire. Stock worn out suspension. Powerglide (of course) with a custom converter. You have to have a little bit of knowledge, you don't need a huge budget or even incredible fab skills.

He did hurt the motor on his first 8-second pass but ran numerous 9-second passes all fine and dandy before that. He got a little more serious after that but this is the car:

The Roadkill "Rotsun" is an example of someone bolting a turbo on a car and slapping everything together. Not surprisingly, it breaks constantly.
I can't remember every time the Rotsun broke but I don't ever remember it being specifically because they slapped a turbo on a non-turbo engine. At least not since they put the 5.0 in it.

I think the idea some of you guys have about turbos is exactly the opposite of reality. Head over to The Turbo Forums or Yellow Bullet Forums and you will see lots of guys slapping cheap turbo setups on everything under the sun and getting results. A little knowledge is the key.
See less See more
The OP didnt know a 170 is a 3 bearing block. Good luck.

Yea it has 3 bearings, but I didn't know if that had a massive effect, but now I know though.
I'm sure there was a point in time where you didn't know everything. I didn't know it had three bearings. I don't know much about the Ford sixes but I don't think I'm an idiot.

Does everyone feel the same way about a turbo 200 or 250?
  • Like
Reactions: 1
If I had a 6cyl Mustang, already having been a turbo guy, I would have built a 6cyl engine for boost, probably try to track down one of those aftermarket aluminum cylinder heads, and put a turbo on it. I'd run E85 and a 4150 style blow through carb.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I would want one of these: Small Six Aluminum Head Package | mysite
  • Like
Reactions: 1
They're making them in pre-ordered batches.

This is from

I talked to Matt (Matt Cox - owner of Vintage Inlines) this week. He has been contracting with a commercial/aftermarket cylinder head company for production of the heads. He is being told that his first production run (I think it is 100, but I'm not positive) will be completed by the end of March (2020).

Additionally, providing there are no issues, he intends to order a second run almost immediately.

So there's light at the end of the tunnel!

  • Like
Reactions: 1
I think it would be more practical if not for the integrated log intake manifold. Only two real ways to get around that. An Aussie head or try for the aluminum one. I was able to find basically an Aussie head core online for $1400. That included shipping but it still needs rebuilt.

I've seen 2bbl conversions for the log manifolds but I am pretty sure you have to do it yourself these days.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
If I spent the same money on a turbo 200 or 250 as I did on my N/A 306 I would have made the same amount of power. Partially because I spent a bit more money than I had to on the 306, like $600 headers and an AirGap manifold when the used RPM manifold I had on the shelf that I got for $100 would have worked fine. The key would be getting a hold of that aluminum head and running E85 fuel. I'm pretty confident in this. A T70 at 8-9lbs of boost would do about 40lb/min. Aren't the Ford 6 engines generally pretty stout if you build them right?

That being said, the Barra swap is probably a better idea. Almost limitless power available. It's like being able to do a Coyote swap without cutting the shock towers. And unlike an LS swap, you can still call it a Ford engine for the most part. Hell, I may pull my 306 out and put a Barra in one day.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
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.
I added a little more detail to my post in an edit. I probably could have built a 347 for the same money as my 306, unfortunately. I figure I spent $5000-6000 but I didn't use anything from my old 289, the 306 was a complete separate carb to pan build, like a turnkey crate motor. I didn't spare any expense, except on the crank and rods. Which is the opposite of what I would do if I had to do it over.

I'd have to fab everything myself. I have a chop saw and a pretty weak MIG welder but my friend has a giant SMAW and could go over anything I tack together. Wouldn't be as pretty TIG but it would be strong and work.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I mean you can get 1,000hp out of a Barra, consider doing that with a SBF. Aftermarket block for sure, and you'll need a valvetrain that can rev pretty high, which can be costly. Then you have all the packaging issues, moreso in a 65/66 because you will need a turbo (or two). Unless you decide to go the huge ProCharger route, which is expensive in and of itself. I think once you're over a certain amount of power everything is costly and impractical. Except maybe a BBC with a lot of nitrous- easiest way to get 1,000hp, probably. Not very practical for a vintage Mustang, but a lot of Fox Body drag racers commit this sin.

I wouldn't be doing a Barra if I only planned to make 400hp or something. I think the key is knowing what is practical and fun for YOU at a given power level- the costs may be different person to person because "practical" and "fun" are difficult to quantify.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Just a little forum tip... There's a multi quote function so you can reply to everyone in a single post instead of multiple posts in a row. It's even easier to use than ever.
1 - 11 of 78 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.