How to Choose an Upgraded Turbocharger for Your 10th gen Honda Civic 1.5T

Choosing a replacement turbocharger for your Honda Civic can be a complicated process. You need to specify key details before making your choice to ensure you have the best option ready to bolt on. We’ve gathered these details to consider and outlined options we carry at Two Step Performance to meet your needs with your Civic’s performance.


Things to Consider Before Choosing a Turbocharger

Knowing what you want out of a turbocharger will help you make an informed purchase. You should outline these key items before you buy an upgrade:

  • Horsepower Goals – One thing you want to have in mind is the target horsepower output of your Civic. If you want a slight improvement from the factory, you may only need a little more airflow. A significant gain will require a different turbocharger and supporting components to achieve this target.
  • Intended Use – Knowing how you plan to use your Civic will help guide you to the right choice. Some owners want maximum horsepower at the top end of the power and aren’t concerned with boost lag in the lower half of the RPM range. Others may want a stronger low-end power band with minimal lag.
  • Available Traction – Traction, where the rubber meets the road, plays a significant part in using the new power. You may need to upgrade your wheels and tires to use the new power.
  • Supporting Modifications – Another consideration will be if the engine and other support systems can work with a new turbocharger. Can your engine handle much more boost without damage? Can your driveline survive the additional torque? A small boost in power will most likely require a new clutch assembly as the OEM Honda unit isn’t rated to handle more than the stock power level.
  • Your Budget – The last major constraint may be the budget for a new turbocharger and any supporting modifications. You may be able to complete the project in stages as your budget allows, but it will require a strategy to complete it all in the right order.

2016-2021 Civic 1.5L Turbochargers

Our goal with turbocharger replacements is to make them economical and easy for our customers to replace. We recommend three options to meet your needs, plus supporting modifications to achieve your power and usage goals.

Option 1: 27WON W1 Upgrade

The 27WON W1 turbocharger is a new design with every component designed for performance, fitment, and reliability without compromise. The W1 turbo fits like the original Honda (OE) turbocharger and offers easy installation and no need to discard or modify the supporting performance parts you’ve already invested in. It has a 59% larger compressor wheel for increased peak flow and boost capacity with a 61% larger turbine wheel for increased overall engine efficiency and power potential. The 9-blade design was selected to reduce boost lag common when upgrading a turbocharger while still providing increased flow and power all the way to the engine redline. Each 27WON Turbocharger comes with all the necessary oil and coolant lines, hardware, and everything else required for installation. It is also offered with journal bearing or ball bearing options which can differentiate between spool time and power in all areas of the powerband.


Option 2: RV6 R365 Turbocharger

The RV6 R365 turbocharger has a power curve and characteristic of a ball bearing GTX2860 Gen 2 turbocharger. It can max out the OEM Civic fuel system without running at inefficient boost levels. We recommend pairing this turbocharger with our TSP R365 tune. Our test vehicles have produced between 300-350whp with this turbocharger and TSP R365 tune depending on support modifications and fuel choice. There are two options available between journal and ball bearings which can affect spool time and performance throughout the powerband.


Option 3: 27WON W2 Turbocharger

The W2 turbocharger takes the proven performance of the W1 turbocharger system and brings it to another level. The W2 can hit power figures over 375+WHP because of a larger uniquely designed compressor cover and more robust turbine housing. The W2 retains the same wheel dimensions as the W1 but is now fitted to a larger shaft and journal bearing system for increased boost pressure and flow. It is available with two options for bearings: journal or ball bearings. The W2 turbocharger will also work with the TSP R365 tune to maximize usable power and you can choose support modifications and fuel type to meet your end-goal.

Journal Vs. Ball Bearing Turbochargers

The three options we recommend have two different shaft support types: journal (also called hydrodynamic) and ball bearing support. The journal bearings allow the shaft inside the turbo to ride on a thin layer of oil for adequate cooling and lubrication. The ball bearing support uses encapsulated ball bearings rather than oil to support the shaft. Each of these types has pros and cons, and you need to balance which will support your end-goal.

Journal bearings use oil to provide cooling to the shaft, but that viscosity also adds friction against the rotation of the shaft. When you hit the throttle pedal, that viscosity initially provides resistance that the shaft must overcome as it spins faster. One positive of the oil layer is that it provides a layer of shock and vibration protection to prevent a harmonic imbalance inside the turbo. If your impeller is slightly damaged from a rock, it’s less likely to vibrate itself to failure.

Ball bearing support uses encapsulated ball bearings to provide the shaft support inside the turbo. They don’t use the same thin layer of oil to provide cooling and lubrication, so they can be more susceptible to overheating without proper cooling. The ball bearings have less rotational friction than journal bearings, which allows them to accelerate and build boost faster.


So....Which Turbo is the Best?

Good advice always starts with questions: Are you wanting focus on the top-end, or more on the mid-range? How is this vehicle driven? A street car could see good use out of a mid-range focused turbo whereas a drag car may perform better with a top-end focused turbo. Upgrading your turbocharger is super exciting, but it's crucial to know your intended use for the vehicle, your budget, and to make sure you have all of the supporting modifications beforehand. Don't hesitate to reach out if you'd like some assistance choosing the right turbocharger for your build!



Two Step Performance was founded in 2017, preceded by a lifelong passion for modifying and driving turbocharged imports. We began with a small assortment of handpicked brands that we have personally used and believed in. As the company and the community around us have grown, we have continued to add carefully selected product lines to our catalog. In addition to offering brands that you already know and trust, one of our favorite things to do is to identify innovative new products and emerging brands and add them to our catalog as well. We only sell products that we believe in. We also take great pride in offering the best experience to our customers every step of the way. If we can help answer questions on your next build, give us a shout on our contact page.

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