Turbocharging, Power in Powersports

Forced induction (turbocharging) is reshaping power equipment.

A time-tested approach to having more fun with your powersports equipment is to add horsepower and torque while cutting weight. How do you do that? Forced induction.

At the heart of most powersports equipment is an internal combustion engine. Power sports equipment manufacturers (OEMs) always seem to want more power without sacrificing efficiency or increasing emissions.

Turbochargers are emerging as an effective way for OEMs to provide the powerful machines enthusiasts want while meeting gov regulations.


A few examples: The artic cat ZR9000 thundercat, relies on a turbocharged 998-cc four stroke engine to make more 200hp, making it the fastest production snowmobile on the market. The two-stroke realm, the ski-do Summit X turbo 154 puts down 180 hp at up to 8000 ft elevation. This makes up for power loss due to decreased oxygen when you’re riding in the mountains. On four wheels, we have the Can Am Maverick X3 DS turbo RR, which produces 18 lbs. Of boost to help propel it to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. It maxes out at 195 hp.

These stats could not be achieved without a turbo charger. Not bad for a device that is essentially nothing more than an air pump. It works by using exhaust gases to spin a turbine that drives a compressor.

This forces air into the combustion chamber. When you add more air, you can add more fuel, which adds up to more power.


Turbocharging does have drawbacks. Turbos increase heat, which oxidizes oil and causes it to breakdown sooner. Oil that has oxidizes gets thicker, making it harder to circulate which impairs its ability to protect against wear and deposits.

Turbo bearings can be sensitive to deposits in these units if the oil is not up to the challenge. Hitting the throttle as you enter a sand dune or hill on a scorching summer day, then backing off as you descend the hill or corner, creates severe heat cycles that invite deposits, known as turbo coking. Shutting down a hot engine and letting the hot oil bake onto the bearings has the same effect.

Heavy turbo deposits reduce performance and life, potentially leading to money wasted on repairs. Turbos can also spin up to 200,000 rpms, to create tremendous friction and additional heat.  I’s up to the oil to cool and lubricate the turbo bearings and shaft to ensure your expensive machine is protected.

Amsoil Solutions

Amsoil formulates its products for the worst-case scenario of which Amsoil gathers real data on severity so we can push the UTV even harder in our labs. During the pre-test shakedown, oil temperatures maxed out at 212 degrees. In the labs, oil temps reached 244 degrees, showing test severity.

While Amsoil looked at engine and transmission protection overall, Amsoil focused on turbo protection. Amsoil developed Formula 4-stroke powersports Synthetic oil (AFF)

Turbocharging is the latest technology the OEMs are using to provide the power for your machine.

Check out the full results in the April edition of Amsoil Magazine.

Also, watch a video of the test at YOUTUBE.com/AMSOILINC and enter “UTV” in the search field.