What are the main difference beetwen a Single and Twin Turbo setup?
A single turbo receives exhaust flow from and supplies air to all cylinders.
The most common type of twin turbo setup is the parallel system where each turbo is fed by ½ of the engine’s cylinders. Here, both compressors supply air to the intake manifold simultaneously.
There are also sequential twin turbo systems, which run on one small turbo at low engine speeds and switch to two parallel turbos at a predetermined engine speed and/or load. Furthermore, there are series twin turbo systems where one turbo feeds the other turbo. These are primarily used on diesel engines due to the extremely high boost levels that can be generated.
For this FAQ, we will just refer to the first two setups identified above.
Choosing between a single or parallel twin turbo setup is primarily based on packaging constraints in the engine bay, or a personal choice by the tuner. In most cases, for top performance, a single turbo is preferable because larger turbos are generally more efficient than smaller turbos. However, often there is not room for one large single, or the tuner wants the visual impact of twin turbos. The notion that two smaller turbos will build boost faster than one large turbo is not always accurate because even though the turbos are smaller, each one is only getting half of the exhaust flow. Sequential systems seem to have the capacity to support big power. In theory, the sequential twin turbo setup is a potent combination. A few O.E.s have produced systems of this type but control issues have proven significant, making them challenging to function seamlessly. One slight draw back to a sequential twin turbo system is that sometimes during daily driving (specifically, in cornering) if the driver is not constantly aware, the second turbo will spool and result in a lot of unpredicted power.