300 Below, Inc. was featured in the April 2004 issue of Turbo & High-Tech Performance Magazine.
This is a low-quality archival copy that is being made available for our customers.
CRYO TREATING TURBOS FOR LONGER LIFE
Cryogenic treatment, the treatment of metals at cryogenic temperatures of 300 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, has been around for many years.
To some, it’s elusive and indefinable. To others, it’s a godsend, a must-do modification that’s key to success. This widely varying opinion has to do with the proprietary nature of the cryogenic process. How the treatment is applied plays an important role in its effectiveness, which companies don’t want out in the open.
Cryogenic temperature treatments close the grain structure, re-align molecules and relieve stress on the parts. This produces stronger, more abrasion-resistant parts that should perform better and last longer.
When it comes to cryo and turbos, it’s all about stability and alignment. The turbocharger’s exhaust housing is the foundation of the turbocharger. After cryo-treatment, it’s relieved of stress and provides the stability to help keep the inside of the turbo properly aligned. The exceedingly high temperatures during extreme use won’t distort the housing and disrupt the alignment of the components. Cryo-treating the shaft, impeller, and bearings also improves the service life of these vital pieces of the puzzle.
While we can’t illustrate the process, 300 Below, Inc. of Decatur, IL has successfully treated the turbos of tractor-pulling competitors—and those results we can illustrate. In tractor pulling, a power-tuned tractor is hooked to a weighted sled that is pulled down a 300-foot clay track until the tractor runs out of power, spins out, blows up, runs off the track, or the front end gets so high in the air, the track official waves the red flag and stops the pull.
Turbocharged pulling tractors compete with injector pumps, putting out far more fuel, and the engine turns far
more rpm than manufacturers planned. As they charge down the track, straining with the weighted sled. their exhausts look like giant torch-es. This is certainly not conducive to turbocharger life.
Raymond Wildman competes in an International Harvester 1066 tractor with a turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine. The tractor was running strong, but his turbo was lasting no more than six pulls (a mere 1,800 feet). Wildman needed to improve the life of his turbo, so 300 Below suggested he bring the company a new, disassembled turbo to be cryo-treated and Wildman would use it until it had to be replaced.
If the engine could last for more than six pulls, it would be an improvement. A new, disassembled turbo was delivered to 300 Below, Inc.’s operation in Decatur, Ill. It was cryo-treated in a few days and ready to be assembled and installed on the tractor. No other changes were made to the tractor in order to get a true test of the effects of cryo-treatment on the turbo.
Wildman began the test while 300 Below checked in with him on a regular basis. They knew within a few weeks the test was successful—it was just a matter of replacing the turbo and getting the final numbers. Finally, Raymond detected a bearing problem and the turbo was removed after 140 pulls, quite an improvement over the six pulls the untreated turbo had endured.
The foundation of the turbo remained stable, helping keep its inner workings in proper alignment. The treated inner parts remained true and didn’t distort, which also contributed to proper alignment. And the wear was reduced, preventing additional clearance that could have contributed to catastrophic failure.
Turbo abuse is a terrible thing. If you run your turbo hard, this treatment may be a way to cheat the physics of extreme heat and extend the life of your turbo.