The Pros and Cons of Turbocharging vs. Supercharging for the 5 Liter Mustang

The Pros and Cons of Turbocharging vs. Supercharging for the 5 Liter Mustang


-A properly optimized turbo has the potential to produce more horsepower within given limits of detonation, primarily due to lower parasitic losses.

-All things being equal, proper intercooling will allow you to run more boost and produce more power. While both turbos and superchargers can be successfully intercooled, most turbo kits are designed around intercoolers, most supercharger kits are not.

-A turbocharger has a flatter boost curve than a centrifugal supercharger making it perhaps more usable for city driving (a positive displacement blower has the flattest boost curve of all).

-Boost is more easily set on a turbo via the wastegate. With proper controls it can be changed from the dashboard. Superchargers require a pulley swap to change boost levels.

-Turbochargers do not place an additional load on the front of the crankshaft which can lead to uneven wear.


-A turbocharger install is, without a doubt, more involved and time consuming than a supercharger install.

-Most turbo kits are not street legal. Only the Incon kit carries a CARB EO.

-Underhood temps are higher but generally not a problem. High temperature coatings on the exhaust manifolds will greatly reduce underhood temps but at an additional cost of ~$500.

-The turbo 5.0 community is MUCH smaller than the supercharger crowd so the knowledge/help base is smaller.

-In order to minimize the chances of coking, it's generally a good idea to let a turbo spin down before turning off the engine.

-Contrary to popular misconception, turbo kits are more or less on par with superchargers from a price standpoint when you factor in the additional components. Most notably the intercooler. However, this does require a higher outlay of cash up front.

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