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Corky Bell's Book
A few people wanted to know about the book. Here's the info,
originally from the RX7 list, via the DSM (Talon/Eclipse) list.
A 1-800 number and an email address are listed at the end if
you feel the need to order it for yourself...
> From: "David Lane" <email@example.com>
> Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 15:46:16 +0000
> Subject: (rx7) (gen) Book Review: Maximum Boost
> As promised, here is a review of Corky Bell's new book: "Maximum
> Boost." It is a little lengthy, so save it for later. Or, if you
> are not particularly interested in turbocharging, hit delete and get
> on with your day.
> Best wishes,
> David Lane
> Corky Bell has been in the aftermarket turbo business since 1977 when
> he opened CarTech in Dallas Texas (currently in San Antonio). Ten
> years later, a 42 year-old guy with a newish '85 GSL-SE and a bad case
> of mid-life crisis (yours truly) gave him a call inquiring about a
> turbo kit for the car. He sent me a set of instructions so I could
> get a feel for the difficulty of the job. After looking them over, I
> called back and said that the instructions seemed straight-forward and
> complete. Corky replied that I probably wouldn't feel that way once I
> got into the project. He was right. The instructions were written
> for people with a little more mechanical experience than I possessed
> at the time, and I needed help with some basic concepts like how to
> reference left and right, and how to identify NPT fittings. By the
> time it was over, and I had generated $100.00 in phone bills to Texas,
> I learned that Corky and his associates were people of near-infinite
> patience. In fact, the interactions with Corky were one of the high
> points of the project.
> Corky is like that. He is a hero of mine. But unlike other heroes
> like Pamela Anderson and Johnny Carson (people whose outstanding
> attributes are out of reach), Corky is accessible when I am trying to
> trouble-shoot a problem, or simply want to know what is hot in the
> aftermarket turbo business.
> The instructions for the kit came with a document called "The Same Old
> 20 Questions" in which Corky gave straight forward answers to the
> things he was asked most. It may be a sign of the times, but the more
> recent versions of that document contain well over seventy questions
> and answers. "Maximum Boost" is a logical expansion of the same
> approach. The subtitle is "Designing, Testing and Installing
> Turbocharger Systems."
> I first heard that Corky was working on a book several years ago, and
> knowing Corky's technical background--Bachelors degree in Mechanical
> Engineering, and 12 years with Bell Helicopter (no relation)--I
> wondered if the book would be of any value to someone like me who went
> to a music conservatory and worked for 12 years as a high school band
> director. I sure didn't want to wade through a thermodynamics text,
> and any math beyond the most basic algebra makes me twitch. It is a
> dilemma for any writer. The question is: Who is your target audience?
> Is it the person looking to upgrade a stock turbo system? Is it the
> guy who wants to create a VW dragster from scratch? Maybe it's the
> lady who is confused by a bunch of conflicting claims for turbo and
> supercharger Miata kits?
> Fortunately, Corky takes a multi-level approach to almost every
> subject. Going through the book, you will find general, plain English
> discussions. Just about the time you wonder if you really understand,
> a drawing or illustration clarifies what he is trying to say. He does
> not shy away from math, but it is not hard to follow the formulas.
> Besides, if you start to twitch, you are usually near a chart which
> will get you in the ball park for the answer. So, for instance, if
> you want to calculate the airflow rate of an engine (something you
> need to do to determine the size of the compressor) Corky takes you
> through the formula: Airflow Rate equals (cubic inch displacement,
> times revolutions per minute, times .5, times volumetric efficiency)
> divided by 1728. Too complex? Okay, that means that a 302 Ford V-8
> at 5500 rpm flows 408 cubic feet of air per minute. Hmm. So, what
> does that do for me if I have a Honda? Well, there is a graph from
> which I can pick my displacement and rpm, and get close to the flow
> rate for any four stroke engine.
> The bad news for us rotary types is that there is hardly anything in
> the book specifically aimed at rotaries. However, all the principles
> are the same, and while the discussions are aimed at the piston crowd,
> the tips and suggestions are general in nature and thus valid for any
> engine. Another slight mis-match is that Corky does not emphasize
> twin turbo systems in the book. This makes sense because of the
> complexity of such installations, combined with the very small group
> of people who would actually try to fabricate such a system.
> The multi-level approach extends to all aspects of the book. Each
> chapter starts with a general discussion which will be enlightening
> for those who have a curiosity about the subject at hand. This is
> followed by a simplified version of the engineering elements for those
> who need to make calculations and are seriously involved in a project.
> The end of each chapter contains the relevant questions and answers
> without any technical talk. Interspersed in all this are "Rules"
> which are usually in-your-face statements to sum things up.
> The chapter on intercoolers, for instance, starts with a general
> discussion of what they do and how they function, followed by very
> detailed information on how they are designed and built. This
> section is 23 pages of text and illustrations, including technical
> information on heat transfer area, internal flow area, internal
> volume, calculating power losses and flow losses, calculating
> efficiency, choosing types (air/air or air/water) and
> design/construction considerations for each. He even goes into tube
> sizes, bends, connecting hoses, water injection, and of course,
> placement. The chapter summary (in question and answer format) gets
> back to the non-technical basics with about 3 pages of: What is an
> intercooler, and why is it of merit? What configurations do
> intercoolers come in? What is water injection, and when it needed?
> Interspersed in the chapter are the "Rules," including:
> "RULE: It is absolutely incorrect to think that 'any intercooler is
> better than no intercooler'"
> "RULE: The single most important aspect of intercooler design is low
> internal pressure loss."
> "RULE: When viewing intercooler designs, regard thick core layouts as
> less than well thought out"
> "RULE: A water injector on a turbo car is a poor-excuse band-aid for
> not doing the job correctly the first time"
> Needless to say, there are chapters on everything from Intake
> manifolds to exhaust systems, including a chapter on trouble shooting,
> and another with a look at the cutting edge of turbo design--Corky's
> take on the most likely future developments. Variable Area Turbine
> Nozzles (VATN) turbos may be the hot ticket before long. Air bearings
> for the turbo are unlikely, but ball bearings may come into play.
> In an effort to put all this information into a practical setting,
> Corky takes you--step by step--through the design, installation and
> testing of a turbo system on an Acura NSX. This is where the theory
> meets the manifold, so to speak, and provides a template for those who
> want to start from scratch. While racing applications are sometimes
> used as examples, this book is clearly aimed at those interested in
> streetable machinery. As such, the NSX gains 122 bhp (to 390), drops
> a second from its average 0-60 time (to 4.7 sec), and gets through
> the quarter mile one second faster (13.0) and 10 mph faster (111 mph).
> This is with pump gas, and all emissions equipment (including cats)
> in place. The system operates at about 5 psi, with the stock engine
> internals and fuel injection, aided by a boost dependent fuel pressure
> The last chapter is on installing a turbo kit--which, though it is not
> mentioned by name, looks like an illustrated version of the
> instructions for the CarTech Aerocharger Miata kit. If this is the
> case, Corky has come a long way in clarifying his instructions. It
> made me want to buy a Miata just for the fun of installing another
> kit. While I was tempted to gloss over this chapter, it served as a
> reminder of how much work goes into designing a good kit, leaving the
> shade tree mechanic with only some hopefully pleasant mechanical work
> to do in order to create a relatively unique vehicle.
> "Maximum" boost hits its mark squarely. There is valuable information
> here for anyone who looks at a turbo system and wants to know more.
> It has been observed that the search for answers will most likely
> result in more questions, and "Maximum Boost" will take you wherever
> you want to go in that process--even if you don't know what questions
> to ask. The discussion goes from the vary basics (don't reuse lock
> washers) to the intricacies of A/R Ratios.
> Finally, the book stays relevant to the real world of cars in the
> '90s--dealing with smog control, approval by state agencies, and even
> marketing concerns. One of my favorite sections deals with the design
> objectives of Porsche and Nissan, comparing the 1988 911 Turbo and the
> 300ZX Turbo--two engines of similar size, weight and displacement.
> Corky notes that Porsche, with an air cooled engine (not very heat
> tolerant) went with a large turbo, accepting some "turbo lag" in favor
> of creating a powerful automobile. Nissan, with a much more heat
> tolerant (water cooled) engine, went with a small turbo for quick
> off-idle response. Nissan didn't even include an intercooler in the
> system. Corky concludes that the companies had different buyers in
> mind, and that Nissan intentionally engineered a "0-30 mph performance
> car" to satisfy their intended market. Corky continues:
> "Although the Porsche has been proclaimed by all its road testers the
> prime example of a high turbo-lag design, it had to be that way
> because of the low heat allowables. A small turbo could not have been
> used on the 911 because of the thermal restrictions of the air-cooled
> engine, and certainly not when serious power is an objective.
> Porsche, therefore, should be credited with doing a fine job. Nissan
> should be credited with selling a large number of cars to a large
> number of people.
> RULE: Never send a child to do an adult's job."
> Those of us with rotary turbos (stock, modified, or aftermarket)
> sometimes make costly mistakes by taking an unbalanced approach to
> modifying our cars ("I'll open up the exhaust and intake this year,
> and then deal with increasing the available fuel next year"). Corky's
> book, besides being generally fun and informative, provides all the
> answers you need to avoid disaster. But more than answers, it clearly
> outlines the questions you should be asking.
> "Maximum Boost"
> Designing, Testing and Installing Turbocharger Systems
> by Corky Bell
> Robert Bently, Publisher
> ISBN 0-8376-0160-6
> Available from the publisher:
> e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org