If you run a turbo car or plan to turbo any engine, your wastegate solution should be a major consideration to regulate the boost. Turbosmart has been manufacturing components to make turbos more powerful, efficient, and reliable for more than two decades now. The majority of its components are mechanical turbo system parts, all of which have steadily advanced. But, this time around, the company developed a game-changer and disrupted how we will be using wastegates in the future: the electric eWG45 and eWG60 wastegates.
The world’s first electronic wastegate debuted by Turbosmart at SEMA 2019 was immediately rewarded with a Best New Product: Performance Racing award. And for good reason, not only is it the first of its kind but the immediate benefits are plenty. Before we dive into the new tech, let’s do a recap of what a wastegate actually does.
Turbo engines under a certain horsepower or boost pressure can use internal wastegates on turbos with vacuum actuators to control them. These lower power, lower pressure turbos might be ideal for applications like OEM or performance daily drivers that need both reliability and simplicity. However, larger, more serious setups don’t have the wastegate integrated with the turbine housing.
An external wastegate has to be custom-plumbed on the turbo-manifold side to allow hot exhaust gases to pressure a spring which flows gases towards the exhaust turbine wheel of the turbo. This, of course, spins up the compressor side and makes boost. The unused gases are vented into a wastegate dump or even better to the atmosphere with a screamer pipe to make all kinds of glorious, unmuffled noise, flame, and general mayhem.
Turbosmart has flipped much of this theory on its head, and immediately the positives pile up by taking this pneumatic system and making it electronically operated. Based on the proven Gen-V wastegate, the new system only needs its electric motor and the ECU to control its operation.
Another benefit with the eWG is no wastegate spring changes, or testing, needs to happen if the actuator is controlled electronically. Traditionally, the wastegate spring pressure could use fine-tuning for various setups and is quite often the source of issues if the spring rates changed over time. There is also no need for boost hoses or complex solenoids to draw the right amount of exhaust gasses to keep that turbo, and it’s resulting boost, at optimal levels all the time.
The eWG actuates fast too, meaning there is no additional source of lag. The flap operates at 21mm/second, meaning the entire swing takes only 600ms. The eWG models both guard against high levels of back-pressure and can operate with a ‘zero-backdrive’ mode to resist this.
The design is such that it works seamlessly and bolts right up to existing Turbosmart setups and flanges. While the connections may be the same, the dimensions of the housing are a bit different, so there must be room under the hood for the electric drive housing. The electric drive seems to do the impossible task for high-horsepower motors here but does so by only drawing 20 amps of current. Aside from the 20A wiring, this wastegate will also require a programmable ECU or standalone to operate the amount of opening for ideal boost pressure.
Look for the eWG line from Turbosmart to disrupt the industry a fair bit as mechanical will soon feel dated. The racing world has built some incredible high-horsepower cars with mechanical wastegates and actuators, but the door is open to explore the new tech. We’ve entered an era where the computer can actuate turbos in an infinitely desirable way to make horsepower, drivability, and tunability as easy as opening the laptop.