The Purpose of a Wastegate Actuator

Posted on April 08 2021

The Purpose of a Wastegate Actuator

Your turbocharger is made up of an impressive number of components. If you're planning on fine-tuning your vehicle, this can make the process difficult to navigate. You need to know what each component is, where it's located, and the way it functions. One commonly overlooked part of the turbocharger is the turbo actuator, which is also known as a wastegate actuator. If you're wondering what the purpose of a wastegate actuator is, how it works, and how to tell if you need a new one, this handy guide might be able to help.

What's a Wastegate Actuator?

The actuator is an important safeguard that prevents the turbocharger from overspeeding and causing serious damage. For this reason, almost every turbocharger will come pre-fitted with a wastegate actuator. These actuators are normally controlled by a pressure actuator that's connected to manifold pressure. They're simple pieces of equipment that feature a spring and a diaphragm. The role of the spring is to keep the wastegate shut until the boost pressure reaches a specified level. When the boost pressure reaches that level, it opens, allowing the gas to escape and the boost pressure to gradually reduce.

What Does It Do?

The purpose of a wastegate actuator is to control the boost output of the turbocharger. It achieves this by diverting excess exhaust gasses away from the turbine wheel, much like a pressure relief valve. By diverting these excess gases, the actuator can control the speed of the turbine and the compressor. This prevents the turbocharger from overspeeding. The wastegate actuator will also protect the turbocharger against wear-and-tear by capping the maximum boost pressure at a safe level.

How Do I Know If I Need a New Actuator?

A stock wastegate actuator will be engineered to open at a specific boost level and turbine inlet pressure. If you're planning on upgrading your engine and increasing the turbo boost level, you might need to replace your actuator with something that can handle the increase in pressure, such as a larger, higher-performance model.

If you upgrade your engine without upgrading the actuator, the wastegate might open prematurely. This will reduce the effect of the boost and negate any performance improvements. You can fix this by using a bigger spring in the actuator to hold it closed until the desired boost level is achieved. Unfortunately, you'll also need to use a bigger diaphragm to override the heavier spring and close the actuator once the correct boost level is reached. It makes a lot more sense to completely replace the actuator instead of separately upgrading each individual component.

If you’re planning to upgrade your engine, you’ll need the right parts—wastegate actuator included. When it comes to performance-boosting modules, Dr. PerformanceRX has everything that you need. Our Chevy Duramax aftermarket parts are the best way to achieve increased horsepower and torque, increased fuel efficiency, a longer engine life, and more—all without compromising your vehicle’s warranty.

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