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How to Get More Turbo Noise From a Diesel

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

Being unsatisfied with the sound of your turbo noise is a valid concern for car enthusiasts. Understandably, you’d want to get the most out of your turbocharger. We will explain some ways how to get more turbo noise from a diesel.

Read on as we discuss the different methods, how they can help, and what it will cost you.

How to Get More Turbo Noise From a Diesel

  1. Install cold air intake.
  2. Get a larger downpipe.
  3. Use an open box air filter.
  4. Increase boost pressure.
  5. Install a turbo exhaust whistle.
  6. Take off the engine’s plastic cover.
  7. Install a larger exhaust.
  8. Get a new turbocharger.

The Different Methods: Explained

1. Install cold air intake

You can hear your car in a new light with a cold air intake mod. With the cold air filling the intake, you can hear and feel your vehicle’s new loudness.

Installing a cold air intake mod will not increase the loudness of your turbo. It will change the engine sound of your vehicle entirely.

Your car will be at its loudest when you rev up the engine and release the throttle. This new ear-candy sound your car makes will also have performance benefits. A cold air intake mod will make your car faster.

Cost and setup of a cold air intake mod

The cold air intake mods usually go up to $400. It is a pricey option, but it’s proven to be effective. Just make sure you pick up a cold air intake with plastic tubing. Metal tubings might have a slightly higher temperature and are less flexible than plastic tubes.

The installation process shouldn’t take you more than two hours. Make sure you get a cold air intake that has factory holes. This will save you a lot of time drilling holes into it. You only need a ratchet set, a screwdriver, and pliers.

It shouldn’t be a hard process, as most cold air intakes come with a manufacturer’s manual installation guide. You can check out this instruction manual by HKS before purchasing to see what you’re up for.

Install cold air intake

Source: shutterstock.com / Susan Law Cain

2. Get a larger downpipe

An aftermarket downpipe is an excellent choice to increase your turbo noise, and it’s not as pricey cold air intake mod. It will make your turbo louder because of its wider capacity than a stock downpipe.

The diameter of stock downpipes is more restrictive compared to an aftermarket one. The wider capacity of an aftermarket downpipe lets a turbo spin faster. The increase in turbo spin creates better performance and a louder spool.

The tricky part with aftermarket downpipes is their catalytic converter. Some downpipes have one, and others don’t. Catted downpipes are the ones that have one, while the others are catless.

Furthermore, the catalytic converter is a device fitted in the downpipe that helps reduce toxic exhaust waste. It cleans the toxic gasses as they pass through and converts them into non-toxic ones. 

It’s important to get a catted downpipe as the catless ones are illegal. 

Cost and setup of an aftermarket downpipe

Reputable shops will install your aftermarket downpipe for around $200-$300. Otherwise, you can try your hand at installing it yourself. You can check out Harway Learning’s detailed video for further instructions.

3. Use an open box air filter

Having an open box air intake system is another way to increase turbo noise on a diesel. The open airbox helps produce more turbo noise as the filter isn’t enclosed, allowing air to breeze through as you accelerate.

Unfortunately, this modification doesn’t provide any performance boosts compared to a closed cold air intake filter. But it’s a good option if your only concern is more turbo noise.

However, there are some negative consequences to having an open box air filter. The filter will be open to foreign object interference, such as dirt and debris. This can cause damage to the engine’s internal components. 

Cost and setup of an open box air filter

It costs nothing, and it’s a fairly easy modification you can do yourself to make your turbo spool louder but with no additional horsepower increase.

Use an open box air filter

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: rukawajung

4. Increase boost pressure

One of the most effective ways of how to get more turbo noise from a diesel is by increasing boost pressure.

This is because increasing the boost pressure into the engine fills it with more air, which helps it produce more power.

This additional power makes the turbo spool louder by making the turbine spin faster. You can adjust the amount of exhaust gas going into the turbo and create more turbo spooling.

Turbochargers have a wastegate that redirects excess exhaust gasses away from the turbine. This helps maintain the boosting levels of the turbo and the noise it makes. A faulty wastegate can result in overboosting and potential damage to the engine.

You can manually change the boost pressure of your turbo by tuning the vehicle’s ECU (engine control unit). This will increase the turbo power and spooling. 

Cost and setup of increasing boost pressure

It will cost you around $1,000 to get your ECU tuned to increase the boost pressure of your turbo. Remember that this type of remapping can invalidate your car insurance in most states.

The costs for this method are pretty high compared to the others. This is due to how much work a car technician takes to measure your engine’s capabilities.

A thorough dynamometer reading needs to provide details on your engine’s horsepower, torque, and air-fuel mixture. This is a delicate process since too much boost pressure can cause damage to the engine.

You can expect to get a significant increase in both turbo noise and power from this method. This is because stock boost pressure is usually set at a lower threshold for safety and environmental reasons.

Increase boost pressure

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Awesome

5. Turbo exhaust whistle

Installing a turbo whistler is another way to get more turbo noise from a diesel. You can add a turbo exhaust whistle, which is a lightweight aluminum extension, to the exhaust pipes.

This can improve the turbo noise on a diesel with an increased whistling sound.

Cost and setup for a turbo exhaust whistle

This method helps your turbo spool to be louder on heavy acceleration. It’s quite an appealing mod for beginners as it’s easy to install, and whistlers go for around $20.

6. Take off the engine’s plastic cover

Another easy method how to get more turbo noise from a diesel is to remove the plastic engine cover. It serves as a protective layer for the engine and helps suppress engine noise both outside and inside the cabin.

If you remove the thick plastic cover from the engine, you will hear louder turbo noise and spooling.

In addition to the louder engine sounds, removing the plastic engine cover will help with cooler underhood temperatures. This bonus perk makes this method additionally appealing.

Although, it’s important to note that you should put the engine cover back on during wintertime. If you have freezing temperatures in your area in winter, it’s best to keep the engine cover on to warm up better.

Cost and setup of removing an engine cover

Plastic engine covers are either fastened by bolts or can pop off easily from the engine. If you have a bolt screwdriver, it costs you nothing to apply this method.

You can check out this video to give you a general idea of what to do. So, you can have a louder engine and turbo noise with improved underhood cooling.

Take off the engine’s plastic cover

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Oleksii Nykonchuk

7. Install a larger exhaust

One of the more tried and tested methods of getting more turbo noise from diesel is getting an aftermarket exhaust system.

It’s no secret that applying a bigger exhaust system to your vehicle will be significant to its sound. Pair the new exhaust with your turbo, and you have a way bigger spool noise than before.

Getting an aftermarket exhaust system may even solve some gas flow issues if you have a faulty stock exhaust system. If you get a high-flow muffler, you can get a deeper noise from the exhaust to pair with your turbocharger.

Cost and setup for a larger exhaust system

You can expect to pay up from $300-$1,200 for an aftermarket exhaust. The price range is so wide since it depends if you get a full or partial replacement. 

We would also advise you to take your car to your local mechanic to set it up, as it’s a complicated modification. This will also increase the costs.

8. Get a new turbocharger

If you’re still unsatisfied with the turbo noise you get from your car, it's probably time for a new turbo. You can shop around for some new turbochargers and give us a call so we can help you choose one that suits your needs.

It’s important to know the specifications of your current turbo so you can get one with better specs. This includes larger exhaust housing, size, and impeller condition.

All of these features will affect the loudness of the turbo spool. Larger turbos produce more sound. Larger exhaust housings have more airflow space, increasing the turbo spool. An impeller in pristine condition will be able to produce more power and, therefore, more turbo noise.

Cost and setup for a new turbocharger

The cost of a new turbo can widely vary depending on the size, make, and model of the turbo. That’s why it’s important to figure out which turbochargers suit your car and would be an improvement from your previous one.

Get a new turbocharger

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: snapper8S8


How to get more turbo noise from a diesel? It is now up to you to decide from all these tried methods. There will be a difference in sound and loudness immediately. 

While getting more turbo noise from a diesel engine can be a sought-after modification for some enthusiasts, it's just one aspect of optimizing your diesel engine's performance. However, these steps will do the job for car enthusiasts wanting more noise.


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