BMW N20 air intake hose
To understand BMW turbocharging, you first need to know how an engine works. Think of the engine like a very large pump. It brings air and fuel mixture into a cylinder, compresses and combusts it and finally expels the exhaust gases out. To get more power from an engine, it needs to burn more fuel. Although getting fuel is as simple as turning the tap, that extra fuel is useless if there is no additional air. The amount of air the cylinder can breath in is limited by its size or displacement. Historically, when engine makers wanted more air to mix with fuel, they used a bigger cylinder. This is why some say that ‘there is no replacement for displacement’. However, this made engines larger, heavier, and often times slower. To avoid this problem, some engine makers tried to force in more air to mix with the greater amount of fuel, and this is where forced induction comes into play.
How does the turbocharger work?
A turbocharger provides an effective solution for getting more air into the combustion chamber. To do that, this system starts with the exhaust gases that come from your engine. This power is essentially wasted in a non-turbo engine. The turbocharger is mounted at the start of the exhaust system, between the exhaust manifold and the exhaust pipe. As exhaust gases exit the engine, they drive the turbine and then leave through the exhaust outlet. On the other side of the turbine wheel connected by a shaft, is a compressor wheel. These two wheels spin together, and this rapid rotation allows the compressor to suck in large amounts of ambient air and compress it. As a result, the compressed air is very dense, but it also has a higher temperature. This air then passes through an intercooler mounted in front of the radiator, where it is cooled and gains an even higher density before it enters the engine. Once in the engine, the compressed air allows the engine to efficiently burn more fuel making for extremely efficient engine operation. Lastly, there is a blow off valve, which relieves the pressure by letting the air back into the intake tract or out to the atmosphere when you lift off the throttle.
Benefits of turbocharging
With better combustion, engine makers no longer have to resort to building bigger engines to get more power. Instead, they can use smaller, more fuel-efficient boosted engines that match the power of the larger engine while consuming up to 40% less fuel and emit significantly less exhaust gasses. All of this makes turbocharging technology that is perfectly in tune with the needs of the 21st century. Another benefit to turbo charging is the amount of tuning enthusiasts can do to increase horsepower produced by the engine.
Just like with any other technology, turbocharging has its own set of disadvantages. One of them is a throttle response, which depends on turbo-lag and spool time. Next, there is the added complexity that comes with all the parts and components of the turbocharging system. And lastly, as turbocharger generates large amounts of heat, there are various issues caused by exposure to high temperature.
When it comes to heat and high temperatures, the most vulnerable parts are ones made out of plastic. In confined engine bay, hoses and ducts can become hard and brittle. As such, they can easily crack or break as a result of vibration and engine movement or during repair and maintenance work.
One such part is an air intake hose on BMWs (13717605638) made from 2012 to 2016, with N20 and N26 turbo-charged gasoline engine. This is a hose that connects the air filter assembly with the turbocharger unit. As these cars have been around for a few years now, it is quite common for this hose to break during air filter replacement.
Luckily, there are various affordably priced aftermarket parts available on the market.
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