Home » This Australian Kid Put A Turbo On A Dirtbike In The Jankiest Way Possible

This Australian Kid Put A Turbo On A Dirtbike In The Jankiest Way Possible

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Welcome to “Oz Oddities,” my new regular feature wherein I write super-short articles about strange car culture in Australia, since I don’t have time to write long-form stuff seeing as I should be fixing a 1969 Chrysler Valiant Ute. Today’s nugget comes from a car show I attended last week at a local pub: A youngster was showing off his dirtbike outfitted with a sketchy turbocharger setup. Let’s have a look.

Oh boy, it’s late here, and I just spent far too many hours grinding, welding, removing leaf spring bolts, trying to adjust a door — I also sneezed black into a napkin, plus my hair has metal in it. Anyway, I’ll explain it all later, but suffice it to say that the former kangaroo-hunting Chrysler Valiant ute that I bought sight-unseen, and that I flew to Australia to drive, is toast. The likelihood of it ever moving under its own power again is pretty much zero because, as my host Laurence has put it, “This paddock-basher is absolutely cactus.” That means broken, by the way. I’d really love to tell you more, but I’m just so tired every night after wrenching, so it’ll have to wait. What won’t have to wait are “Oz Oddities,” little before-bed mini-blogs about Australian car culture. I can’t wait to tell you about “shed skids,” why car nuts here often visit “Mexico,” and why the AU Falcon  is the most redneck car in the whole of Australia.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Today, though, I’m showing a turbocharged 125cc dirt bike owned by a young man/teeenager who attended a little car show at a pub near Dubbo, where I’m staying.

Screen Shot 2022 09 09 At 11.26.12 Pm

Much respect to this young man for spending time wrenching on a machine when the internet temps with Tiktok videos; this is the back-country janks that I love to see. The Garret turbo, which looks like one I snagged off an old Saab, has been bolted to a bit of hollow square tubing, which is welded to round tubing, which is welded to the bike’s exhaust pipe feeding out the front of the single-cylinder engine.

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Screen Shot 2022 09 09 At 11.33.52 Pm

Hold on, upon second glance, it appears that the square tubing isn’t bolted to the turbo, since the turbo’s studs go nowhere — I guess this kid welded the tube to the turbo’s housing? How’d he get the weld to penetrate that cast iron? Anyway, you can see that the other end of the tubing has been blocked off with a thin piece of sheetmetal, where you can see that this kid — despite the shape of his bike — ain’t a bad welder at all! He’s definitely better than I.

Screen Shot 2022 09 09 At 11.36.11 Pm

The exhaust spins a turbine on the back side of the turbo, which spins a shaft connected the compressor at the front of the turbo. Unfiltered air gets sucked into that hole, the compressor squeezes it, and shoves it through what looks like a tube from a vacuum cleaner, presumably into the bike’s carburetor.

Screen Shot 2022 09 09 At 11.39.44 Pm

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I pointed out the threaded hole that normally receives oil flow to lubricate the turbo’s bearings, and asked if he was worried about bearing failure, shaft wobble, and then ultimately catastrophic failure. “Oh, I just keep a can of WD-40 on my handlebars, and regularly spray into that hole while I’m riding.,” he replied, also noting that the handlebars sometimes also carry “long-neck” beer bottles while he’s riding, presumably on back-country property.

Screen Shot 2022 09 09 At 11.47.08 Pm

Anyway, I figured I’d show you this because the leaky, jankily-turbocharged motorcycle is both terrifying and also fascinating in a Mad-Max-ish short of way, and I somehow decided it was the coolest vehicle at the show. And that’s saying something, given that it was full of amazing Fords, Holdens, and especially one awesome Jeep CJ-5 unlike any I’d ever seen. It’s poorly engineered and in many ways completely pointless (I doubt that little engine spinning up that big, WD-40-lubricated turbo is improving engine performance), but it’s honest. It is a motorcycle owned by a teenager who felt like installing a turbo. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hell, look at that oil catch can underneath, and the bolt missing from the engine-protection bar.  They just push this bike further and further into the realm of jankiness to the point that it has become art.

 

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Sean Ellery
Sean Ellery
1 year ago

I hope you’re still here for the Bathurst 1000 on October 9 and get to go.

It’d be good to see what your take is on what is the biggest day in Aussie car racing each year.

Sean Ellery
Sean Ellery
1 year ago

>>>….Anyway, I’ll explain it all later, but suffice it to say that the former kangaroo-hunting Chrysler Valiant ute that I bought sight-unseen, and that I flew to Australia to drive, is toast. The likelihood of it ever moving under its own power again is pretty much zero because, as my host Laurence has put it, “This paddock-basher is absolutely cactus…<<<

Which is pretty much what every single Aussie here on Autopian told you the second they first saw the car posted, but nooo…. you didn't want to listen.

Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean Ellery

And yet…

Sean Ellery
Sean Ellery
1 year ago

Fuck off Louise you spammer.

Is Travis
Is Travis
1 year ago

I just imagine him slamming a giant beer, yelling AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL! and doing a wheelie off into the Outback sunset.

HelenHolloway
HelenHolloway
1 year ago
Reply to  Is Travis

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Masterbuilder
Masterbuilder
1 year ago

This. All this.
The kid wanted to put a turbo on his old, junker Yamaha enduro, and he did.
Does it do anything? Maybe, maybe not. That isn’t important. He wanted to do it, and he did. THAT is what’s important.
I love it.

NDPilot
NDPilot
1 year ago

So much win for the effort, even if it’s incredibly unlikely to be making any measurable boost. Now rig up some sort of workable oil supply (perhaps an accumulator for short bursts), and a more pressure containment capable boost duct and you might be in business.

As for the Valiant Ute, I’m guessing there’s a ray of hope somewhere if you are still plugging away, DT has always struck me as someone who takes it as a challenge when someone else says a project is hopeless.

This series has inspired me learn a bit more about these Aussie Valiants and they do seem to share the A-body platform that I’m quite familiar with. Judging from your March 29 post it should be resurectable into some level of function, as long as it didn’t have unexpected rot in the frame rails and didn’t have worse than anticipated impact damage in the right front it should be more a matter of how many parts you’re capable of throwing at it. Whether it could make it through any sort of inspection might be the real question, then there is the matter of the completely rusted dipstick and what that portends….

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
1 year ago

Where the hell is my vacuum cleaner hose?

Evo_CS
Evo_CS
1 year ago

After reading this I had to immediately go listen to some stuff by The Chats, about as Aussie a punk band as it gets.

Some selections for those who wanna rock and break stuff-

“Smoko”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j58V2vC9EPc

and the very car minded “6L GTR”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrkuo0y8gMU

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
1 year ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

Well I guess I finally broke the internet. My bad. Sorry everyone.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

Thanks for that: been way too long since a click rewarded me with that one!

Harmon20
Harmon20
1 year ago

Tracy, I expect video to be forthcoming at some point. I need to hear that sweet, sweet 2-stroke/turbo harmony.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
1 year ago

Backyard engineering is best engineering. Reminds me of trying to help a friend build what I guess would have been considered an electric supercharger to add to his moped. He called it a turbo, and I was 12 and didn’t know any better, so turbo it was. It amounted to an extra battery set up to run a hairdryer plumbed into the intake on an ancient Honda moped (that itself didn’t really run) of some sort. It never worked, not even the hairdryer, but made for a few fun afternoons.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 year ago

“He called it a turbo, and I was 12 and didn’t know any better, so turbo it was”

An excellent summary of early to mid 1980s marketing.

Stinger
Stinger
1 year ago

I’m going to have to call BS on this. While I applaud the kid’s effort, I think he was screwing with you. There are just too many red flags.

The turbo is MUCH too large for a small dirt bike engine (turbos for those would be no larger than that Coke can).

The exhaust flow from the expansion chamber isn’t even diverting all of the flow to the turbo, it’s just a 90 degree connection that can allow a little flow to the turbo if it wants to fight it’s way around that corner rather than take the easy path out of the exhaust pipe.

IF the expansion chamber was connected to the turbo, the pulses that the chamber uses to allow the engine to function would be SEVERLY hampered and make the engine run significantly worse (no pulses being expanded/contracted = minimal force drawing air/fuel through the carb in a 2-stroke). For this reason, a turbo would be connected to a 2-stroke AFTER the expansion chamber where the pipe is only 1″ OD (or smaller) which should also be a good indication how oversized that turbo is for the engine.

The turbo uses bushings/bearings like an engine which means in order to be lubed, it requires pressure. So spraying WD40 (a poor lube anyway) won’t do anything overly useful. If that turbo was actually building boost, it would die within minutes with this lube “system”.

The tape holding the plastic hose on would blow off under any positive pressure, especially when that turbo gets hot and melts the tape adhesive.

Due to all of these concerns, I bet there isn’t even a hole inside that square tube between the expansion chamber and turbo. I bet it’s welded on to the outside of the chamber and functions purely as a conversation piece. This means no lubricant is required, the turbo size doesn’t matter, and the tape holding the hose on isn’t of any concern.

Parsko
Parsko
1 year ago

This kid win’s the Autopian internets today.

Daniel Ruiz
Daniel Ruiz
1 year ago

I have a stupid(maybe not) question, How’s he riding that thing w/o getting burned on his leg/thigh ? But hey, you are young, bored and you can wrench, you end up with this contraption. I’d love to hear that thing hitting boost.

InWayOverMyHead
InWayOverMyHead
1 year ago

This puts a smile on my face. When I was that age (or younger) we were making all sorts of totally unacceptably unsafe crap from any old motor we found on the tree lawn. Mounting chainsaw motors to bikes, road oars from weed whackers (motorized wheel on a hand-held stick + skateboard = total fun), making terrifying rope pullers from a lawnmower engine etc. It makes me happy kids are still doing this kind of ill-advised crap.

Now get off my lawn, I need to yell at these clouds.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago

Well, thank you for ‘road oar’. Brings to mind all sorts of scary mental pictures! Good thing I didn’t know that term back when I skateboarded cause we didn’t really wear pads or helmets then.

Daniel Ruiz
Daniel Ruiz
1 year ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

When I was a kid, I used get on a Tonka and go down hill until you crash or flop, good times !!!

Last Pants
Last Pants
1 year ago

Don’t these small carbs need vacuum to work? Curious us how he got around that.

Maxzillian
Maxzillian
1 year ago
Reply to  Last Pants

Not vacuum, but velocity. Through the Venturi effect a carburetor generates a vacuum that draws in fuel just from the movement of air (or really any gas or liquid). Now what I am scratching my head over is how he’s getting fuel to it. The float bowl needs to be pressurized for that Venturi effect to still work; that much is simple to do. However he must be able to supply fuel to the bowl at a pressure that at least matches that of whatever boost is provided.

I suppose he could be pressurizing the fuel tank with boost which would be pretty wild, but fits right in with the method of madness. Maybe running a cheap fuel pump off the headlight circuit? Equally mad.

Memphomike
Memphomike
1 year ago

Expansion chamber = 2 stroke.
Wonder what it sounds like…

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 year ago

Now I’m wondering if “Mexico” in Australia means the same thing as “Mexico” in the US (hint: street racing). Can’t wait to find out in the next episode!

Sean Ellery
Sean Ellery
1 year ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Spoiler…

No it doesn’t.

willdurhamm
willdurhamm
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean Ellery

spoiler…. it does

your obvs not from aus aye

DrDanteIII
DrDanteIII
1 year ago

This almost assuredly runs worse and makes less power than its original configuration.

cool as hell though.

I also don’t blame him for not having an oil line to the turbo. 2-strokes don’t have an oil pump to draw that from. Unless, and I’m getting really janky here, the bike is oil injected instead of premix. Then he could run the bike on premix, and use the oil injector pump to oil the turbo in a total-loss configuration.

The Toecutter
The Toecutter
1 year ago
Reply to  DrDanteIII

He’d definitely need a smaller turbo in order to make noticably increased power. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t detracting from the engine performance.

ElectrifyAllTheThings
ElectrifyAllTheThings
1 year ago

Ok, I’ll be “that guy” for this post. WD-40 is a terrible lubricant; it’s supposed to displace water. It’s solvents may lubricate for a little while, but only until they evaporate.
Otherwise, good on the kid. I’ve done less useful & less skillful things at that age. At the very least, practiced out some decent welds.

JRW
JRW
1 year ago

3-IN-ONE (yep, that’s the way) is clearly called for here.

Matt Woods
Matt Woods
1 year ago

Props to the kid for the backyard effort. I’m surprised it worked at all. Adding a turbo to a 2-stroke isn’t as easy as a 4-stroke.

JDE
JDE
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Woods

usually cheap chinese 125’s are four stroke

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Woods

Why would adding the turbo be any harder? Sure, it’s harder to tune and get to run well across a wide range of RPM’s, but throwing a turbo on and getting it to run would be roughly the same.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 year ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

I’m guessing a regular oil supply is the main issue, as two strokes get their oil supply via petrol.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

And oil injection is a thing that has existed for decades. Or, you know, do like this kid does and squirt some shit in there every so often. Not exactly something that’ll lend itself to a long life for the turbo…

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
1 year ago

Just look at that rust, that jankiness, that complete disregard for personal safety – David has found his people! I predict that he will be offered honorary Australian citizenship before this trip is finished.

DysLexus
DysLexus
1 year ago
Reply to  Dar Khorse

What makes you think Davey is coming home? He’s probably already applied for asylum there.

Ben
Ben
1 year ago
Reply to  DysLexus

So when he said he was moving to “LA” he meant Lower Australia? 😉

Donald Petersen
Donald Petersen
1 year ago

“What does that mean?”

“Twenty-four hours!”

“You”ve got fifteen minutes!”

“Okay!”

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 year ago

‘Two days ago I saw a bike that’ll explode and throw you over the handlebars in a shower of engine parts. You wanna get of here? You talk to me’.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
1 year ago

Ozities was right there!

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
1 year ago

Think that will fit on on my Honda?

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