When you’re firmly entrenched as one of the best in the business of making horsepower perform like our friend—and noted calibrator—Shane Tecklenburg of Tuned By Shane T, you often get peppered with ideas from racers looking for an edge.
“We went to the World Cup Finals last year  with the Team Tekno Toyz S15 Silvia, and while we were there in the pits, this guy approached me, and we started talking about the car and everything. He came back an hour later, then back again another hour later, and by the end of the weekend he was basically part of the team because he was there so much. He kept asking questions and saying he wanted to do a 3TC Toyota engine,” says Tecklenburg.
“He wanted to know if we could work together, and we said sure, we might be interested, but who the hell knows who this guy is, right? He meets Mark Mazurowski [the owner of Mazworx] and asks him about building a billet block for the 3TC, and Mark said yes, he could do it. Then he asked about a billet head for the same platform and at some point, I finally asked him why he would mess around with building a billet block and head for a one-off weird combination, and suggested something like this SR20DET, which at the time we knew already made over 1,800 horsepower.”
After further reflection, the gentleman—who doesn’t want his name revealed and we’ll call Mr. Big for the purposes of this article—thanked Tecklenburg for saving him a boatload of money, and a relationship was born. At the outset of the relationship’s genesis, Tecklenburg was queried about what he’d build given an unlimited budget and no restrictions.. so he suggested a compound turbocharged version of the Mazworx-built Tekno Toyz S15’s SR20 engine. It was one of those “throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks” moments. Given that the Mazworx engine made over 1,800 horsepower at the time of this conversation, Tecklenburg mused that it could be capable of 3,000 horsepower given a compound turbocharger arrangement with a pair of Pro Mod 88mm turbos in front of the existing turbocharger—and the pit area went silent. Ultimately, the result of this conversation was a promise to talk further about the idea. The following Monday, a phone call ensued, the green light was given, and a plan was hatched to make the concept reality.
So what are we looking at? Well, it’s that compound-turbo application taken to the extreme—and the most interesting thing about the project is that it’s currently a feasibility exercise, and the team has a ways to go yet before they make the plan to actually put it into a car.
At the time of this project’s conception, Tecklenburg hadn’t even set up a compound turbocharger application from scratch, although he had tuned a Hayabusa motorcycle with one. The first step was to set out the design parameters, build pricing for what it would take to accomplish the task, send them off to Mr. Big, and then wait—which, according to Tecklenburg, took all of two days—before money showed up to turn the concept into reality. There was one caveat to the idea: if it turned out to be viable, it would have to go into a car.
Project management fell upon Tecklenburg and the Mazworx team to execute, with an ultimate goal of devising a four-cylinder engine to make the ultimate goal of 3,000 horsepower—the realm of twin-turbo Pro Mod V8 engines with nearly three-times the displacement.
Tecklenburg initially had the thought of using a single turbocharger unit which was large enough to ensure the engine would have enough airflow for the 3,000 horsepower the team was looking for, but he quickly discovered nothing that was readily available would move enough air to do the job.
“Then I started thinking back to my original statement of making 3,000 horsepower with twin 88mm turbos on a Pro Mod engine; if I can’t get enough flow rate out of one turbo, I can use two turbos instead to get the flow rate I need. So let me go see where the airflow would be on the compressor map of another GT55 88 mm turbo. I laid it out on paper and it looked like it would work, but I needed to call someone who knew more about it than I did. My go-to guy with weird, one off stuff—Robert Young at Forced Performance/Xona Rotor—and explained what I was trying to do. Initially, he laughed, then realized I was serious,” says Tecklenburg.
“I explained that I was thinking two GT55s feeding one GT55. He said it would never work, and that he wanted to run some numbers. About two hours later, he called me back and said I wasn’t really that far off, and that it looked like it would climb right up the middle of the map on the GT55s, and still be right in the middle of the map on the high-pressure turbo. But then he asked if we were going to put this into a car, I said maybe, and then he suggested building two hybrid turbos as the Stage 1 turbos than the GT55s, because twin GT55s would be far more than we’d need.”
Ultimately, they settled on the smaller-frame turbos as that first stage, because they realized that trying to put three GT55s turbos along with all of the required piping and intercoolers under the hood of any potential car—should the project succeed—might be impossible, or, at the very least, extremely difficult to achieve.
Opening up the plan opened up the perceived limitations, as well. By using the smaller-frame turbos, there were more options for A/R ratio on the turbine housing, more ability to tailor compressor trim to the engine’s powerband, and the team was off and running—despite the fact that Young thought he was absolutely, completely out of his mind—but the project would work anyway.
Next, the package was handed off to the fabricator, who was tasked with taking the engine and existing turbocharger package, and adding another pair of turbos and intercoolers to the mix, while fitting it into the dimensions of the dyno room—without altering the existing package, as it is basically the borrowed package from the Team Tekno Toys car. The header, intake manifold, and intercooler all came from the car, so they didn’t have to go start fresh with those components just to see if it would work.
“We built a new collector, and used the existing turbo, mount, bracket, intercooler from the single stage, and made the secondary stage fit within those constraints. We measured the distance from the center of the dyno to the wall, and to the roof, and said to the fabricator, ‘here’s your box, you have to make all this stuff fit in this area.’ Since we wanted to test turbos with the Mazworx engine anyway, we had two days for testing: one with the engine and the single turbo, and the second day with the compound arrangement,” says Tecklenburg.
The SR20 2,010 Horsepower Pull With Single 98mm Precision Turbocharger
One concern at the forefront of the testing session with the compound turbo arrangement was the potential for a runaway turbocharger situation.
“With a compound setup, because the two sets of compressors in series multiply the work of each other, you have a single stage compressor that’s capable of 5.5 or 6:1 pressure ratio, and another pair of turbos in front of it capable of the same pressure ratio. In other words, it’s 5×5, or 6×6, times atmospheric pressure. So you could see where the boost pressure can get out of control in a hurry. 36 times 15 psi… you have a 350 psi boost capability if you screw up. No matter how brave I think I am at 100, or 120, or 130 pounds of boost, I can assure you that I’m a little girl if I get to 300 pounds of boost, because I’m pretty sure it’s breaking everything,” says Tecklenburg.
Because of this, the team installed a pair of wastegates onto the second stage turbo, and two wastegates on the stage one turbos. Each of these gates had three-pound springs in them, which becomes relevant in a moment.
Now, if you’ve never met Shane, you wouldn’t know that me editing down the following quote—which was full of words not fit for print—was a tall task in itself…but I digress. Back to the story of this unique engine..
“We go to make the first few dyno pulls, and it simply wouldn’t make any boost—it’s making like two or three pounds of boost. I’m already nervous about the project, went out on a limb and told Mr. Big that we could do this. We took a bunch of money from him to make it happen and it’s D-Day, it needs to happen and we make the first pull and it makes no boost. I pull the data, and I’m thinking we must have screwed up the sizing of the turbos, or a calculation somewhere, I’m freaking out and scrambling. It won’t even make what it made with one turbo on it,” Tecklenburg says.
Ultimately, it took prodding from the fabricator, who mentioned again that there were three-pound springs in the wastegates before he realized that this was in fact the issue—which just goes to show you that even the world’s most talented calibrators aren’t perfect, and the results we as spectators see at the racetrack are the result of many, many hours behind the scenes that we don’t see—where issues like this crop up, and are solved out of the view of the public.
With the problem solved, he put ten pounds of CO2 pressure to the tops of both sets of wastegates, and the engine makes 13 pounds of boost, and then it was time to turn it wide open—or at least as wide open as possible, given a number of other minor issues which cropped up throughout the dyno day and prevented them from reaching their stated 3,000 horsepower goal.
Another one is that because the engine is so small, the dyno takes all of the water off the brake to let the engine accelerate to the start point of the test. Then, once it evacuates the water, the engine accelerates, and the turbo comes on, the dyno is going from 100 lb-ft of torque to 1,100 lb-ft almost instantly, which means the dyno can’t get all of the water back into the brake system quickly enough. Basically, the engine does a burnout on the dyno, blasting right through the load control and straight onto the rev limiter as boost comes up. In the process of this occurring, they popped the intake pipe from its clamp, and once that happened it rounded off the corners of the V-band connection. So from then on, every time they tried to make a pull, it would pop that pipe off between the stage 2 compressor and the intercooler.
The plan moving forward is to regroup, fix all the little problems, and use the MoTeC to run the water control on the dyno. This will provide the ability to take all the water off the engine while it has no boost, and then feed the water back into it as the boost comes up. Tecklenburg explained that the dyno doesn’t know anything about what’s going on with the engine—it’s just trying to control the RPM as it climbs. They have intentions to install a mechanical valve on it and control it pneumatically with the MoTeC, then gain the best of both worlds to get some real numbers.
Interesting Tuning Stuff
Anyone who is a regular EngineLabs reader knows we follow Shane’s exploits closely; as one of the world’s foremost calibrators of high-horsepower, high-performing, and in fact record-setting engines, he’s got his finger on the pulse of what it takes to not only go fast today, but also build the capabilities into a program to stay at the front of the pack long into the future. As he has been so successful tuning the Mazworx combination, he had a starting point for the compound setup.
“I already had a tune on this engine at 2,000 horsepower. I knew what it would take fuel-wise and timing-wise. At the end of the day, the compound system was just as docile as the single-turbo setup. There was a little bit of a game trying to balance the two different sets of turbos, but that was the struggle. When we fixed that, it was no different than tuning any other turbo engine. It started up and ran just like the single-turbo system did. Using the fuel calculations I do ahead of time, and knowing that I had the mechanical fuel capability to fuel the engine up to 3,000 horsepower, it’s no different tuning an engine that makes 10 pounds of boost than it is tuning an engine that makes 130 pounds of boost,” he says.
In fact, he says if you didn’t look at the gauge to see that the engine made that much boost, you’d never know it… except for the fact that it maxed out his 10-bar(!) MAP sensor—something he never, ever thought would happen, so a 20-bar sensor is on the horizon.
Walkaround Video With the Compound Boost Setup
“We were able to prove the concept up to this point. We ran the single Garrett Gen 2 GT55 88mm turbo on this engine the previous day while we were turbo testing. That turbo was able to make 61 pounds of boost at 61 pounds of backpressure, and it made 1,691 horsepower. With the compound setup on it, it made 2,126 horsepower,” says Tecklenburg.
Tecklenburg says that it’s quite possible the big 98mm Precision turbo tested on the previous day to make 2,010 horsepower could likely find its way into the project as the Stage 2 high-pressure turbo, since it was so impressive with respect to power production on its own.
“I don’t care about the car, I’d rather put it on the dyno and see what we can do with it. Mr. Big wants us to try it one more time with all of the controls, and then we’ll see how we can fit it into a car. I’m pretty sure we can work out how to get it into a car,” says Tecklenburg. “I have a basic layout for a car, but it has to be a drag race only car, and probably a Pro Mod because we need the room from the firewall forward to fit all that stuff in it.”
We have no doubt that with the knowledge gained from this dyno session, the next time this engine makes it onto the dyno, that 3,000-horse goal is toast. And if they stuff this engine into a Pro Mod chassis? Who wants to see it run on a radial tire in RvW trim? Tecklenburg and his associates are well-versed with how to succeed in that arena. We can see it now: twin-turbo Hemi engines on the losing side of the equation to a car with an engine that started at 2.0-liters.
“Everyone with this project knows what we’re trying to do, and we’re going to give it a shot. We’re either going to make 3,000 horsepower, or we’re not. It’s go big or go home,” he says.