The journal bearing has long been the brawn of the turbocharger. However, a ball bearing cartridge is now an affordable technology that provides significant performance improvements for the Garrett turbo. Ball bearing innovation began as a result of work with the Garrett Motor sports group for several racing series where it received the term “cartridge ball bearing”. The cartridge is a single sleeve system that contains a set of angular contact ball bearings on either end, whereas the traditional bearing system contained a set of journal bearings and a thrust bearing.

Turbo Response

When driving a vehicle with the cartridge ball bearing turbocharger, you will find exceptionally crisp and strong throttle response. Garrett Ball Bearing turbochargers spool up 15% faster than traditional journal bearings. This produces an improved response that can be converted to quicker 0-60 mph speed. In fact, some professional drivers using Garrett ball bearing turbocharged systems claim that they feel like they are driving a big, normally aspirated engine. Tests have shown that the reduction in power consumption loss is up to 50%. The result is faster time to boost which translates into better drivability and acceleration for the Garrett turbo.

Competitor Ball Bearing Options

Another option is the hybrid ball bearing. This consists of replacing only the compressor side journal bearing with a single angular contact ball bearing. Since the single bearing can only take thrust in one direction, a thrust bearing is still necessary and drag in the turbine side journal bearing is unchanged. With the Garrett ball bearing cartridge the rotor-group is entirely supported by the ball bearings, maximizing efficiency, performance and durability.

Reduced Oil Flow

The ball bearing design reduces the required amount of oil to provide adequate lubrication. This lower oil volume reduces the chance for leakage. The ball bearing is also more tolerant of marginal lubrication conditions and diminishes the possibility of turbocharger failure on engine shut down.

Improved Rotor dynamics and Durability

The ball bearing cartridge of the Garrett turbo gives better damping and control over shaft motion, allowing enhanced reliability for both everyday and extreme driving conditions. In addition, the opposed angular contact bearing cartridge eliminates the need for the thrust bearing, commonly a weak link in the turbo bearing system.