Request for information on STS Turbo's

Discussion in 'Performance & Fuel' started by Goldie, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Goldie

    Goldie Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I ran across the STS site and it looks interesting and I'm interested in a system as well. However, I thought I'd turn to the Club members for more input. And yes, I exercised due diligence and searched the subject. While I found some interesting information I did not find exactly what I need to know. For reference my truck is an 07 Classic (38,000 miles) with the 4.3L engine, 5 speed manual, and bolt on mods (underdrive pulleys, shorty headers, Gibson 3" exhaust, K & N CAI). My driving is about 90-95% rural county roads at about 1200-1500 rpm's. And the rest is highway miles.
    What I would like to know is folks experience with the turbo. Specifically, and this is very important, is anyone running STS set up with a manual transmission? If so, how does it perform?
    Was it easy to install or would you recommend having it installed.
    Does it perform as advertised.
    Would recommend the product.
  2. ippielb

    ippielb Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    STS turbo's are rear mounts. And that entitles it to have a LOT of turbo lag. You will NEED to run a huge rigid flex tubing intake(if not included with the kit) to relocate your air intake to the front of your truck, as under the truck gets lots of dust and your air filter will be plugged instantly. As well, everything else(oil tank, lines, cooler) will be under the truck as well.

    All in all, since you run rural country roads, i wouldn't recommend the STS kit. Definitely look into a front mount turbo system, possibly even the magnacharger. It is an easy clean installation, just looks like another alternator haha.
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    I've had STS turbo kits on 2 different trucks and installed both of them in my driveway.
    The first kit was a Gen1 on a 2wd Toyota Tacoma X-cab 3.4 5spd, performance was very good especially for a light truck like that.
    I did have the turbo replaced soon after installation due to water intake that destroyed the turbine and blades, STS was real good about warranty and they even bolted the new turbo in for me even though I had done the original installation, so while I was less than pleased with the product, mostly because water had been a concern of mine prior to purchasing and I was assured by them it was a non-issue, they came through with customer service.
    When I installed the kit I also owned a 4wd Tacoma TRD X-cab (still own) with a factory Supercharger, the Turbo never offered as much performance as the Supercharger even after tuning but it did offer a fair amount of performance, in a comparison the 4x4 would beat the 2wd every time even running 35" tires.
    Although I dont own it anymore the 2wd is still being driven daily by it's new owner, he's had some coking problems which will occure with any turbo not allowed to cool properly but other than that and some further tuning he's gotten 75k miles out of the truck since I sold it to him, the engine now has about 150k miles with no real issues.
    The second truck I installed one on was a 1998 Chevy x-cab 4x4 1500 350/4L60E combo, the turbo was included but not installed when I bought the truck, the kit was for another model truck so I had a few small fitment/install issues but I wouldnt blame that on STS due to the wrong kit was supplied by the truck seller. I only kept the truck a short time after installlation since it was a resale investment opportunity, it did have good seat of the pants performance but also drank a bit more fuel. Airfilters seemed to clog quickly, this kit had the GenII water diverter but it was summer when I had it so I dont know how well it worked.

    The positives:
    The kit was easy to install in my driveway
    Performance gain was real noticeable
    Underhood heat normally associated with a turbo was almost non-exsistant
    Fuel mileage increased slightly (which I've never had with a turbo before)

    The Gen1 kits were terrible about sucking water from under the back of the truck, I'm told this problem has since been corrected.
    As noted Turbo lag was present so it didnt make it a perfect drag vehicle because of this, but the turbo lag was not nearly noticeable as on some front mounted turbo charged vehicles, STS has a few tricks up their sleeves to combat that problem.
    And dirty airfilters were a way of life with this kit, on-road at times I had to clean the filter as much as twice in three days due to performance issues.
    If I had a 4wd truck that was used off-road I'd really have to think hard about using this kit, I'm not sure I would want to deal with the filter issues all the time.
  4. Goldie

    Goldie Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Tim - Thanks for the information in your write up. You provided me with a wealth of information to consider. Just out of curiousity how much did your mileage improve? Due to circumstances it will be some time before I make a final decision. If I do isntall a unit, I'll drop you a PM and let you know my results
  5. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    The mpg increase was on the Tacoma, I didnt have the Chevy long enough to notice, it was only about 2mpg and will quickly dissappear into the negatives if you put your foot in it a lot.
    Overall for a street driven set-up it's not a bad choice, but I do caution you if your not a better than average mechanic be very careful, this set-up needs constant tweaking and maintenance (loose clamps, rattling mounts) so be prepared to spend time maintaining it, there are very few shops that'll touch your truck after you install the system and the few that will work on it are either clueless knuckle heads or charge a premium for hourly labor.
  6. Goldie

    Goldie Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Once again thanks for some important information. Can you explain what you mean by constant tweaking? Were you able to fully eliminate the loose clamps and rattling mounts problem? Did the unit have any problems or major delay in spooling up at low rpm's (i.e. 1000-1200 range)?

    If I acquire the unit and if I can find a shop I think I'll have the shop install it.
  7. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Once again I can only speak for the Tacoma, but I was always having to mess with my settings to keep it idling properly and I was replacing spark plugs every few months.
    The ilde issue I never did figure out all the way and I believe to this day the present owner has to tweak it everyonce in a while to get it set back right.
    The plugs I attribute to the fact it was running hotter with the Turbo, a lot of guys change plugs until they find something that runs good in their particular engine.
    The clamps and mounts kept vibrating loose and even with lock tight on the fasteners they would back off, again I think the heat had something to do with the lock tight not holding as good as it should. Not long before I sold the truck I got pissed one weekend and went underneath it and tack welded all the fasteners and clamps figuring if I ever needed to get them off I'd grind them off and buy some new fasteners. One thing I also noticed was the fasteners were regular steel, I would've used stainless had I known since they wouldnt have as much problems with heating and cooling.
    If I was gonna do it again I'd find aviation fasteners and safety wire everything.
  8. Goldie

    Goldie Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    And once again some very, very useful informaion for me to consider before the purchase of one of these units. I know now that if and when I'm ready for one, I'll call the company and spend sometime getting questions answered. Thanks for your insightful input.
  9. darnie1987

    darnie1987 Rockstar 100 Posts

    have you looked into trick turbos?
  10. Goldie

    Goldie Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I have not looked into trick turbos. Can you give me more information?

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