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IS38 Upgrade Question

Ridebjj

Autocross Newbie
Location
lasVegas
Well, I guess I'll just be hoping for the best. Not sure what I'd do if my IS38 goes to heaven sooner rather than later. Replacing it under warranty just to have it happen again seems... sub-optimal.

We will see what we will see.
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
Well, I guess I'll just be hoping for the best. Not sure what I'd do if my IS38 goes to heaven sooner rather than later. Replacing it under warranty just to have it happen again seems... sub-optimal.

We will see what we will see.

Well everyone said my is20 would likely pop back in spring 2016 and it was still fine after 94k tuned miles.

There’s plenty of high mileage is38 out there as well.

The fact is ANY turbo can fail, so having a lifetime warranty is a decent perk even if it’s highly unlikely you’d need to use it.
 

StealthGTI

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Newport News, VA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
Replacing it under warranty just to have it happen again seems... sub-optimal.
I think this applies more to "lifetime warranties" from AutoZone than FCP (at least I hope that's the case), but I often compare "lifetime warranties" to going to a restaurant with bad food just because they offer free second servings or a buffet. :p

I tend to believe FCP products are better than that. But I also wonder if some IHI branded turbos are among those that are "made under license" by another company. My mechanic has spotted defect turbos that were shipped in IHI boxes with "made under license" labels on them. They were customer-supplied turbos; so, he could not verify specifics for me. Does anyone have their IHI box and able to comment?
 

AceHammer

Go Kart Newbie
Location
NY USA
Car(s)
2015 A3
The early is38 revisions were known to fail a lot to the point that I believe there was a TSB about them. The later revisions don't seem to have this issue, so double-check which one you get if you order one. Or just buy an HPA or shuenk is38+ with upgraded bearings. They both also have good warranties. shuenk's is 2 years, HPA is 1. If a turbo is going to fail due to workmanship issues, it will fail long before that
 

Reggie Enchilada

Autocross Newbie
Location
WV
Surprised that nobody has mentioned the options from Littco yet. https://www.littco.co.uk/hybrid-turbos-1-c.asp

All of them have improved bearings and are balanced properly. 380 is the same size as an IS38, the 380X has a bit more top end than the IS38, the 450 is larger than an IS38 but smaller than the Vortex, the 500 is larger than the Vortex but smaller than the Vortex XL.
 
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Agray

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Washington
But I also wonder if some IHI branded turbos are among those that are "made under license" by another company. My mechanic has spotted defect turbos that were shipped in IHI boxes with "made under license" labels on them. They were customer-supplied turbos; so, he could not verify specifics for me. Does anyone have their IHI box and able to comment?
Now that would be interesting to learn if that was still going on…
 

rjtrout

Ready to race!
Location
Denver, CO
Now that would be interesting to learn if that was still going on…
Definitely! I have recently been but by the power bug and have been thinking the step up to the IS38 could be worth it. I will have to check to see if my new snail was made under license or just a genuine article.

The cost per performance ratio for me to switch is almost too good to pass up! UM charges a small fee to switch tunes from IS20 to IS38, so I am not looking at going through the costly tuning upgrade. A reliable 340-50 WHP would be fun on the back country roads and for that rare moment an ATL on ramp is clear enough to punch it (this is rare) 🤣
 

StealthGTI

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Newport News, VA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
I just read some "fine print" at FCP and saw the following, which may explain what my mechanic saw as a "seized" turbo:

"IHI IS38 Turbochargers come with a abradable coating which allows for the wheel to cut out its own clearance upon use which then creates a specific wheel contour unique to that assembly. In other words, when brand new, the wheel is supposed to make contact before installation and will free up once the unit is in operation."

Now, what the "abradable" coating castings do after being cut by the turbo is an interesting thought. But it's good to see a likely explanation for what my mechanic claims. OR, being that he's quite experienced, perhaps he really did see a seizure. Who knows? HAHA! As for "made under license," IHI America's turbo page has that language:

"RH-series turbochargers are developed, marketed and manufactured by IHI America under license from IHI. IHI and IHI America have a long, successful history in the manufacture of quality, reliable high-speed rotary machines."

Here's the source. So, I guess I can cool my jets on that issue.
 

StorableComa

Autocross Champion
Location
Long Beach, USA
Car(s)
17 GSW S
If you check the FCP IHI38 Q and A tab they claim the turbo is manufactured in Germany:
Question (Posted by: Darren )
Is the turbo manufactured in Germany?
Answer (Posted by: FCP Euro Products Team)
Yes, we're showing this to be manufactured in Germany.

As for the coating, a quick google shows it used in quite a few turbo applications from cars to jets.
"The role of abradable coatings is not only to allow for closer clearances, but to automatically adjust clearances, in-situ, to accept physical events and/or thermal scenarios that may be found in a devices operational history."
 

Ridebjj

Autocross Newbie
Location
lasVegas
Surprised that nobody has mentioned the options from Littco yet. https://www.littco.co.uk/hybrid-turbos-1-c.asp

All of them have improved bearings and are balanced properly. 380 is the same size as an IS38, the 380X has a bit more top end than the IS38, the 450 is larger than an IS38 but smaller than the Vortex, the 500 is larger than the Vortex but smaller than the

I mulled it over, buying an L380 as possible insurance at ~400hp vs fcp and their warranty. Then while I was deciding, they went out of stock again. I was leaning towards fcp anyway.
 

Reggie Enchilada

Autocross Newbie
Location
WV
I mulled it over, buying an L380 as possible insurance at ~400hp vs fcp and their warranty. Then while I was deciding, they went out of stock again. I was leaning towards fcp anyway.
Tough choice there. The 380 has stronger bearings and shaft, but the lifetime warranty from FCP is excellent. Hard to go wrong either way
 

GTI Jake

Autocross Champion
Location
Charlotte, NC
I can confirm turbofan engines on aircraft have abradable shrouds. The fan blades will self clearance as they flex and moved around under load.

I wasn’t aware is38 had any type of similar coating, but if they do it’s a much thinner layer and I didn’t notice it while installing mine.
 

Hoon

Autocross Champion
Location
Rhode Island
I can confirm turbofan engines on aircraft have abradable shrouds. The fan blades will self clearance as they flex and moved around under load.

I wasn’t aware is38 had any type of similar coating, but if they do it’s a much thinner layer and I didn’t notice it while installing mine.

They do, it's Teflon.

The IS38 is the only turbo I know of that actually has a brief break in.

Most of these budget "OEM+" options are actually OEM- in my opinion.
 

CaptainRatty

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Winston-Salem, NC
Car(s)
MK7 GTI
Can you link to that?
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EQTVAG/permalink/908661383302108

Ed- "Because we spent extra time to create and launch these files. They will also inevitably require additional support over time in the form of questions, logs, etc. We will likely be charging the extra $50 for the E30 tunes as well. We will also be charging extra for GTI IS38 staged tunes when they come out. These are all premium staged tunes that require additional work on our part.
FYI, $225 is still dirt cheap for any quality tune"
 
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