• Darren Sciberras

Flex hits full Boost - TURBO? Why Not

Riding fast motorbikes probably isn’t the smartest thing to do in the first place thus bolting on a turbo makes complete sense, right? Especially if it’s a 1000cc superbike 😊

We were super lucky to be given the job of restoring this weapon of a bike, the Turbo 2004 ZX-10R that is Carnage in its former glory. Firstly, massive thanks to Mitch Creek for the opportunity to work on his mental motorcycle and Benzina Garage for the referral 😊 such a fun project. FY!


12 months ago, our very own Matthew ‘Flex’ Gregory was promoted to Master Technician and boy did he earn that title on this job. A boosted custom bike like this is complex enough but one that is a little long in the tooth can present a whole bunch of other challenges.


The bike came to us because it wasn’t running right, and power delivery was a bit all over the place. So, here’s what we did to restore this thing to the fire breathing monster it should be.


image: Russell Colvin #783 Media - Flex and the Turbo ZX-10R Carnage

Plan of Attack


First thing we did was sit down as a team and go through a diagnosis plan. For a complex job like this, 3 heads are better than one, even if they are hairy and ugly.

We then assigned roles, Saucy would be the test pilot sampling the bike before and after the work in order to get an independent assessment. Saucy was prefect for this role as having no bum renders him least likely to poo himself.


Flexy was assigned the lead on the job. It was up to him the come up with the overall project plan and execute majority of the complex work including the required research.

While Daz would do his usual stuff all and was the sounding board for Flex to bounce ideas off for a 2nd opinion.


Saucy then managed all our workloads in order to give Flex the free space and time needed to carry out the required research and do this job properly.

image: Saucy Media - Teamwork makes the dream work

Basics First


While it’s an awesome custom turbo monster, it’s still a motorcycle. So before conducting any performance or major work, the basics in terms of normal servicing needed to be investigated. Good thing we did, as Flexo 5000 found several basics that were out of whack including having less than ideal spark plugs required for such a performance engine.


One he had conducted the servicing work it was again handed over to ‘Mr Chuck Yeager’ himself, Saucy, for another test ride. He found the bike had already significantly improved from the stage 1 work Flex had done, so we were off to a good start.


Over Boost!


Next step, dyno assessment. Before he could do that Flex had to all his homework on the custom ECU in the bike and evaluate how it had all been configured.


On the initial runs the bike seemed to be tuned ok but as the revs rose there was a massive over boost problem. The ECU was receiving signals that the plenum was way over charging. It should have been providing around 7psi of boost but it was reaching as much as 14psi at high RPM, tripping the ECUs over boost alarm and shutting down the bike. Concerning and scary!


Flex investigated all the mechanical components of the turbo system including the waste gate. While he found a few small issues that would have been contributing a little bit, there was nothing that would have been the root cause.


So, it was back to more research and then bouncing a few of his findings and plan off Daz for a 2nd opinion. The most plausible theory was there was just way too much energy in the exhaust system after combustion due to how the bike had been tuned.

With this in mind, Flex came up with a couple of simple tests to prove or disprove the new theory. The first test proved the theory conclusively and we reckon people in the next suburb heard Flex scream out FY with this result.


Unfortunately, this finding meant a full re-tune was needed including a full ignition table rebuild. Time consuming but critical work.


image: Russell Colvin #783 Media - Wastegate


Turbo Overhaul


During his investigation of the mechanical components in the turbo system, Flex noticed excessive play in turbine shaft indicating the Garrett GT2871 Turbo was well overdue for an overhaul. Turbos like any mechanical components don’t last forever. Such high-performance parts are designed to have periodic maintenance carried out.


Leaving the maintenance too long greatly increases the risk of catastrophic failure.

So, the turbo was sent off for a much-needed birthday. Receiving a complete overhaul and coming back as good as new.



image: Russell Colvin #783 Media - The Garrett GT2871 Turbo is a big turbo for a bike!

Final Tune


After reassembly, the bike was reloaded onto the dyno for its final tune. No more over boost, just crisp and mental power!!! Actually stupid, mental power!!!


After the completely new ignition and fuel maps, the bike produced a whopping 213.9ps at the wheel and an estimated 251.3ps at the crank. You must take into consideration our dyno does read lower than a lot of other dynos out there, however, we know that our is very accurate. That is by far the most powerful bike ever to be run on our dyno.


Woo wee!!!


Final Test Ride


Both Flex and Daz said their goodbyes to Saucy in the case he was never to return from this test ride. Our young, no bum test rider turned right out of the shop and all we heard was the awesome boost kick in and the rear wheel light up like no tomorrow.

15 minutes later, we were glad to see Saucy return, alive and well.


We’ll just finish this article off with the first words he muttered once he stopped shaking. “F#$K it’s f#$kin mental, holy sh!t!!”


Congratulations Flex, bloody well-done mate. And again, thanks to Mitch for letting work on his beast


image: Russell Colvin #783 Media

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