Doing a Turbo on a 540 BBC? 1400 hp flywheel?

Chad Byers

New Member
Jan 20, 2004
Hello Guys,

Here are some vehicle specs so you know what I have to work with:

78 Nova
3,750 lb race weight
Mikes Ultimate Vasco TH400
Currie Ford 9 with 3.50 gear
Hoosier Slick 29 tall by 12 wide

Dart Big M Block 4.50" bore
Callies Pro Mag 4340 Crank 4.250"
Oliver Billet Rods 6.385"
JE -20 CC Dish Pistons 8:5:1 CR
All Internally Balanced ATI Super Dampner
Jesel Belt Drive

Accufab 90 MM throttle Body
Holley EFI Rectangular Manifold
Holley Fuel Rails, MSD 96 PPH injectors
Weldon Pump
Brodix BB2+ M2 Race System Heads
Fully Cnc'd 2.30 intake valve, 1.88 exhaust
Cometic Head Gaskets

Cam Specs:
Comp Cams Solid Roller
668 intake @50 260
672 exhaust @50 270
114* LSA

ATI Procharger D-3M
Cog Pullies
18 psi of intercooled boost at 1500 ft elevation
Spearco air to air intercooler 1500 cfm

FAST Sequential Fuel Injection with wide Band O/2 option
MSD 2345 Sitributor, firing both injectors and ignition

With the above combo the car has made 975.6 SAE rear wheel hp. This is on a mild tune with good fuel, through the mufflers. I have raced the car at Albuquerque NM elevation 5,500 feet, car made 15 psi. Et was a 9.40 at 148.80 mph. That was on the old tune which made 910 SAE rwhp. Car should do 9.20's at Abq now. As of now the car is the 3rd fastest street car in the state of NM fwiw.

I have been considering going over to a turbo setup as my ATI procharger is maxed out. The impeller reaches redline at 7000 rpm. Not to mention its taking over 100 hp just to drive the supercharger. A turbo on the other hand would not have such a high parasitic load.

On a application such as this what size turbo would you need to make 25 psi of intercooled boost? Also what manufacture do you all prefer to deal with? I assume a single turbo would be the way to go? Most PSCA classes limit you to one power adder.

I noticed turbonetics offers a Thumper turbo that is suppost to be a better design according to them. Do any of you use these products? How about Precesion Turbo?

My Air to air intercooler will it be large enough at 1500 cfm? Also it has 3 inch inlet and outlet. I have room to put 4 inch necks, is this needed?

My current comp cam specs will they work? I have heard turbo cams are a bit different. If so how are they?

Financially what would it take to do a project like this? Would stainless be needed or could you get away with coated mild steel?

There are two guys here in NM that running the turbo's, both are mustangs. One is a 327 cid engine making 1050 to the wheels uncorrected at Albuquerque's 5000+ elevation. And the other is a 380 cubic inch ford making 1150 uncorrected as well. Both of these guys are running the low 8's uncorrected. I know the power potential is just so much more over the centrifugal, not to mention the broad torque curve.

Any help would be appreciated. I would like to know what to expect in a project such as this,


Chad Byers
Farmington NM

Precision Turbo and Engine is a great place to start. Their turbos are very popular with the Buick community, as well as other communities, and they have the general and specific knowledge needed to help you along. They are also expert in engine building and engine controls. Among other accomplishments, 6 second Mustangs running 100+ MM compressors don't lie.

Call Harry Hruska...

BTW, I just put up a plant in Farmington that makes liquid nitrogen for fracing wells, although I live 2,000 miles away. I was there about 1/2 the summer. Not a bad, small town, if you ask me!

For looking at your current combo and goals I think you would need at least a 91mm turbo, but would probably be better off with a 94mm turbo and I think you should look into a Liquid intercooler.... You will definitely need another cam (a custom grind from somebody like Job Spetter Jr. at Turbo People, Kenny Duttweiler, or PTE)..... As Strikeegale said Precision Turbo & Engine would be a good choice to help you with your combo (especially the turbo and intercooler).... As far as how much it will cost I think the saying goes "if you have to ask you probably can't afford it!":D ;)

BTW, the two Mustangs you talk of are probably John Urist (red car) and Mike Keenan (silver car)......

Good luck and HTH:) :cool:
I'll 3rd what others have said: Go with a BIG liquid cooler with the ice tank in the trunk and the IC in the cab. You may even step up to a 101mm. On a 347 SBF that was runnning Drag Radial this turbo made 1500hp to the wheels but proved to peaky at the track to hook but you should talk to the turbo vendors for best info. The TH400 may not be a good choice for a turbo motor and everyone I deal with uses PG's. I would think it would be easier to step up to a larger supercharger than go with a turbo at this point...? You should use a good Stainless for the exhaust.

Good Luck!!
Hello Guys,

Strikeeagle Farmington has about 40,000 people so its not too small. As a state we have 2.1 million people, not big at all. I have also heard about Harry and will contact him and review my setup.

86 Brick one of the cars is Mike Keenan and the other is Anthony ****son. For rwhp per cube ****son is doing the best with his setup. He has a HP Turbo system that was fabbed up by the Rowsell NM based company.

Kevins the reason I run the TH400 is due to the car being so heavy, once again its 3750. When speaking with Mikes Transmissions he said to stay away from the glide. They have some heavy street cars over the 3200 lb mark running in the low 7's with the trans. So I am not to much worried about that.

A larger ATI supercharger would be the easier thing to do. Cost for an F-3 ATI head unit is 6000 bucks. That could go a long ways towards a turbo setup. My D-3M BBC kit could bring a few bucks to. So I am not to worried about the money, just wanting to have an idea of what is reasonable and whats not.

thanks for the replies,

I would still build the 'glide. We run a home built 'glide in a 3750lb 600ci Truck that runs 8.4's @ 160mph 60' 1.26's.
A another buddy runs a 3400lb 69 Camaro 557 BBC,14-71 blower/alcohol and runs 8.00 @ 180mph. That wives tale about a glide not running in anything over 3000lbs is a saying that is left over from the 1970's. They are more than sturdy enough for your application especially since you are running on a limited tire. The reason for the 'glide is b/c it tames the turbo down a bunch and helps you maintain traction. Everyone that switches from a 3speed to a 'glide loves it and says it is more tractable when the boost comes on and during the gear changes. With the 3 speed you have more gear multiplication in 1st gear that will try to blow the tires away and with the limited tire this can be a problem. This is all speaking from experience but I understand that cost is an issue or the thought of starting over..


I have friends that run in the PSCA "Heavy Street and Outlaw Street". The size of the turbo you should run will be dictated by the class rules. What class do you plan on running? If you are going for heavy or wild street you options are wide open.
To compete in Wild you would probably need a large frame 88 or 91. If in heavy throw a set of 29.5 10.5Ws on it and shoot for at least a 98mm. With a smaller tire, three speed and big motor I would not try to get a turbo that will hit so soon that you can not launch it. For a turbo of that calibur you can not go wrong with PTE, Innovative or Turbonetics. Innovative gives out contingency money in the PSCA, so you may want to call them first if you are going to try and make several races. Feel free to email me if you want to talk more!