Turbochargers and Circle Track magazine aren't usually four words that you'd find together. After all, there aren't too many oval track sanctions that allow turbochargers. However, put that little metal donut on your truck, and you're talking about a whole other ball game.
Economical towing may not be the first thing you think of when you hear the words turbocharged truck, but on the contrary. "If I behave, I can get close to 20 mpg highway," says Floyd Sackett about his STS-equipped '04 GMC Sierra. Floyd defined "behave" as resisting the temptation to plant his right foot and bury the speedo needle.
Pop open the hood and the...
Pop open the hood and the big aluminum tube running from the intake down the right side of the motor is a big clue that there is something going on with this engine.
We had heard about the STS Turbo system from some of our sister publications that cover street performance. So we headed over to STS Power Dealer Mark Eggers at Pinellas County Street Cars to learn more. Eggers is the dealer who installed Sackett's system, and he was kind enough to have Floyd bring the truck over and educate us.
The STS System piqued our interest for a couple of reasons; number one being the aforementioned increase in fuel economy, and number two, the universal kit STS offers allows you to increase the horsepower and torque rating on just about any truck by more than 70 percent. Those are big numbers and actually important when you start to think about getting to the track. More usable horsepower and torque translate into a better, more economical towing experience. And rather than trading in your current truck for a bigger, more powerful rig, an STS system is just the ticket to boost that power through the roof.
When installing one of these...
When installing one of these systems the first thing you do is cut the stock exhaust pipe in front of the muffler. The STS Turbo System takes the place of a stock muffler and gives the truck a throaty aftermarket sound. You can see the weld where the STS pipe mates right up to the stock pipe. Installer Mark Eggers says that you can band clamp the two pipes together, if you don't have a welder, although he says welding is better. Of course, removing the muffler means you'll have to fabricate a new tailpipe but that's a small bit of labor for the gains you get.
There was a third item that really made us raise an eyebrow too-the turbocharger on the STS system is remotely mounted. That's right, as opposed to a traditional underhood mount, the turbo and all of its components are mounted toward the rear of the vehicle. The remote mounting location means lower underhood temperatures and lower air intake temperatures, both of which translate into the ability to generate more power.
Rick Squires, the company's founder, had been turbocharging his own cars for years at his Orem, Utah shop and knew a lot about the benefits and advantages of turbocharging motors. One day a customer came in looking for more power out of his Toyota Tacoma. The factory option was, in a word, pathetic. So while putting pencil to paper Squires came up with the idea to replace the muffler with a turbocharger. Over the next several years he refined the specific details and engineered out the bugs to make a system that worked properly. He subsequently applied for and was granted several patents on the design.
Today the company has been in business for 6 years, has 15 different model specific applications (plus a universal kit), and thousands of customers across the country being serviced through 150 dealers in the U.S. and Canada.
Simply put, because each and every one of us must tow our racecars to the track. A good portion of Circle Track readers own fullsize pickups that see double duty (work during the week, towing to the track on Saturday) and that schedule can be tough on your truck, particularly if you live in an area of the country with hills. How many times have you had to mat the gas pedal while going up a slight incline when towing your racecar? We've all done it more than once, every time watching the rpms skyrocket and hearing the motor bog down. That scenario is neither good for your truck nor your fuel economy.
The STS Turbo system offers continual power availability throughout your motor's power band and that makes for easier towing. Think of it this way, if the transmission doesn't have to kick out of Overdrive every time you go up a hill, then the motor will maintain a lower rpm at a more constant speed. You won't have to mat the gas to get up the hill and your throttle position can be less than normal because the motor is running more efficiently.