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Discussion Starter #1
More than a year ago, I purchased a turbo kit from radium. Although it was the most expensive kit, I chose Radium due to the apparent quality of the kit. After the installation was complete I found that the turbo lagged and had minimum boost. A lot of time was spent diagnosing the problem. I wound up taking the car back apart and removing the turbo. What I found was that the flapper on the internal waste gate was missing. After further inspection I found that the bolts were loose and one even missing that bolts the turbo to the exhaust manifold.

Radium promptly repaired the turbo explaining that the bolts loosened up and the gasket was blown out. They explained that the flapper was riveted on the arm and the high heat may have melted the rivet but this time they claimed to have welded it.

After getting the reworked turbo back I noticed that the bolts were now tack welded to the manifold. I promptly installed it and put the car together. Again, lag. Boost did not build until late. I was not sure if there was a problem or was this the best it would do. I also had a lot of plumbing on the air/air intercooler I was using and wasn't sure if that may have been causing the problem.

After trying everything I could think of, I dismantled the car yet again, this time I found the bypass flapper again missing in the tail pipe. After everyone scratched their heads, it was realized that they never fixed the flapper and I didn't notice it because it was all assembled when I got it back. Radium promptly shipped me a new tail pipe and the car was put back together yet again.

Finally, I got good boost and was excited in getting the car back on the road. Shortly after I started loosing boost again. Not as bad and I didn't think it was the turbo now that it was all fixed but I did everything I could and could do no more.

I shipped the car to Mase engineering in Jacksonville Florida in hope that he could find the problem but Mase had a busy schedule and was going to be a few months before he could work on it. Eventually, it was found that the gasket between the turbo and manifold was gone again. Radium explained that the bolts were stretching and that they were working on a solution. A while later it was said to be fixed and shipped back to Mase. The car was reassembled and dyno tested and all looked good except the car was blowing some coolant on boost.

I got the car back several months later and after running some test found that I had a leak in the head gasket. After removing the head, I found a hole in the piston and had to replace a piston.

Now this has be ongoing for about 16 months! It had a little street time and one outing at the track. I don't know if this happened that one time on the track or on the dyno? Not sure if this boost leak contributed to it or just a bad tune. Now the car is all back together but I don't want to drive it until it is perfectly tuned and some safety features programmed it. The situation now is that I have the EFI from DRS and nobody here in south florida knows the software so I am considering changing it out to a ProEFI.

So that's my story and two years later and a lot of money this is where I'm at. I'm still not sure how it is going to hold up.

I wonder if anyone has had similar issues with the Radium turbo kit?

The other issue I would like members to comment on is with a recent request I made to Radium requesting the reimbursement of $1,200 it cost me to have Mase diagnose the car and replace the turbo. I explained to Radium that previously, I did all the work myself and never asked for any cost. I understood that they are a small company and they did make the repairs to the turbo at no cost but this last time, this was just too much and now I had to pay for the work. Radium points to their terms and conditions in regards to warranty. I explained that this is not warranty, it is a defect and although they may not have a legal obligation (this is unclear at this time, I believe that this is a defect and not covered in their terms and conditions) they have an obligation to satisfy their customers and do the right thing. It's really not the money, I just think that they should take a small part in what this has cost me, not to mention the two years of my life. So tell me what you think, am I wrong?

Now don't get me wrong, I am not bashing Radium. I still think they are a good company and make a good product. Aaron has been great. He has always taken my calls and promptly replied to my emails. They also took care of fixing the turbo a no cost to me. I also understand that these companies don't have the funds to to a lot of R&D so in a way, we, the customers play a part in their R&D but this is an extreme situation and I just think they should step up to the plate and do the right thing. With all that I been through, $1,200 is just a drop in the bucket but it would mean a lot to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Has anyone else purchased Radium's turbo kit

More than a year ago, I purchased a turbo kit from radium. Although it was the most expensive kit, I chose Radium due to the apparent quality of the kit. After the installation was complete I found that the turbo lagged and had minimum boost. A lot of time was spent diagnosing the problem. I wound up taking the car back apart and removing the turbo. What I found was that the flapper on the internal waste gate was missing. After further inspection I found that the bolts were loose and one even missing that bolts the turbo to the exhaust manifold.

Radium promptly repaired the turbo explaining that the bolts loosened up and the gasket was blown out. They explained that the flapper was riveted on the arm and the high heat may have melted the rivet but this time they claimed to have welded it.

After getting the reworked turbo back I noticed that the bolts were now tack welded to the manifold. I promptly installed it and put the car together. Again, lag. Boost did not build until late. I was not sure if there was a problem or was this the best it would do. I also had a lot of plumbing on the air/air intercooler I was using and wasn't sure if that may have been causing the problem.

After trying everything I could think of, I dismantled the car yet again, this time I found the bypass flapper again missing in the tail pipe. After everyone scratched their heads, it was realized that they never fixed the flapper and I didn't notice it because it was all assembled when I got it back. Radium promptly shipped me a new tail pipe and the car was put back together yet again.

Finally, I got good boost and was excited in getting the car back on the road. Shortly after I started loosing boost again. Not as bad and I didn't think it was the turbo now that it was all fixed but I did everything I could and could do no more.

I shipped the car to Mase engineering in Jacksonville Florida in hope that he could find the problem but Mase had a busy schedule and was going to be a few months before he could work on it. Eventually, it was found that the gasket between the turbo and manifold was gone again. Radium explained that the bolts were stretching and that they were working on a solution. A while later it was said to be fixed and shipped back to Mase. The car was reassembled and dyno tested and all looked good except the car was blowing some coolant on boost.

I got the car back several months later and after running some test found that I had a leak in the head gasket. After removing the head, I found a hole in the piston and had to replace a piston.

Now this has be ongoing for about 16 months! It had a little street time and one outing at the track. I don't know if this happened that one time on the track or on the dyno? Not sure if this boost leak contributed to it or just a bad tune. Now the car is all back together but I don't want to drive it until it is perfectly tuned and some safety features programmed it. The situation now is that I have the EFI from DRS and nobody here in south florida knows the software so I am considering changing it out to a ProEFI.

So that's my story and two years later and a lot of money this is where I'm at. I'm still not sure how it is going to hold up.

I wonder if anyone has had similar issues with the Radium turbo kit?

The other issue I would like members to comment on is with a recent request I made to Radium requesting the reimbursement of $1,200 it cost me to have Mase diagnose the car and replace the turbo. I explained to Radium that previously, I did all the work myself and never asked for any cost. I understood that they are a small company and they did make the repairs to the turbo at no cost but this last time, this was just too much and now I had to pay for the work. Radium points to their terms and conditions in regards to warranty. I explained that this is not warranty, it is a defect and although they may not have a legal obligation (this is unclear at this time, I believe that this is a defect and not covered in their terms and conditions) they have an obligation to satisfy their customers and do the right thing. It's really not the money, I just think that they should take a small part in what this has cost me, not to mention the two years of my life. So tell me what you think, am I wrong?

Now don't get me wrong, I am not bashing Radium. I still think they are a good company and make a good product. Aaron has been great. He has always taken my calls and promptly replied to my emails. They also took care of fixing the turbo a no cost to me. I also understand that these companies don't have the funds to to a lot of R&D so in a way, we, the customers play a part in their R&D but this is an extreme situation and I just think they should step up to the plate and do the right thing. With all that I been through, $1,200 is just a drop in the bucket but it would mean a lot to me.
 

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> I had a VF2 kit on my Elise. Early on it gave me problems. It ran well for a few months and then something would happen. (nothing major, but nonetheless annoying). (broken alternator bolt b/c too weak, intake rubbing on metal creating hole in tube, injector fails, random misfires, fried catalyst from rich tune, leaking lower oil return fitting, etc) After all the kinks were worked out the VF2 ran great though so in the end very happy with the kit

> I currently have a factory supercharged S240 and am much happier. No issues, no fuss, no nothing.....peace of mind nothing will break...etc..

> My advice is convert it to the factory supercharger setup. It is cheap, easy, reliable and upgradable with a huge aftermarket. You could easily cobble the parts together from the for sale section and have money left over to upgrade it from the sale of the radium kit.

> I don't know of anyone who has a radium turbo.
 

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I have 275ff turbo kit and my setup is working well after working out few problems. I think some work is to be expected. You had a lot more issues than I did. To me the key is having someone do the initial setup that has a lot of experience with turbo install. I had Kris at drs help me I have 4k on my car with turbo setup and enjoy it.
 

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I have some of the pieces of the Radium kit, and have been very happy with it. That sucks you've had a bad experience with them, they've always been great to work with, and the product has been top notch.

I've also worked for a shop in Utah called Turbo Lab that pretty makes a living from turboing everything you can think of. We have a similar policy and it comes from getting burned. In your case, the fact that you had a hole in your piston tells me you had severe issues with your tune. Things like that make a manufacturer very leary of warranting after market stuff. From their standpoint they have no way of knowing if something was done during installation or tuning that caused it to break. The fact that they warrantied the parts is actually something a lot of shops won't do once you put it on a dyno.

I've got their manifold, bolted to a gtx 2863r. I blew two gaskets and nearly lit my car on fire the second time. Thing is I got my bolts and gaskets from ATP turbo. So not even Radium parts. I finally solved the problem by using nordlocks and haven't had an issue since. Should Radium have shipped using something similar? Probably. But the problem is common with aftermarket turbo systems all over the place. That doesn't excuse it, but with aftermarket turbos their solution is the standard way to go.

You are right to not want to drive it until you've got a good tune. I went with an AEM EMS because there are tons of tuners familiar with them, and they are really powerful. At the time Radium didn't have their AEM EMS 4 out so I went with a series 2. If I was doing it over now I wouldn't even look at other options. Their plug and play is beautifully engineered and has all the flexibility you could ever need.

Anyway, just my opinion. I sincerely hope you get your car sorted, because these cars are insane once you do. Do you have an AFR gauge? If not that is a critical piece to visually know if your tune is in the process of destroying your car.
 

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I have a Radium kit in my 05 Elise.

I have had similar issues and spent a lot of time fixing them. The car probably spends more time in the shop than on the track :D
Nevertheless, I really like the kit and I was prepared to spend my time fixing the car anyway so that's not too big of a deal.

Things that happened:

After install and tune, ran for almost one full day and by the end, I lost the boost. The bolts tying the turbine to the manifold came out (there was a recall on them bolts but I didn't have it then)

Replaced the bolts with the new ones, did one track day fine and during the next one, boost gone again. Same problem, bolts bolted out (see what I did there?). Guys at Radium asked me to send them the turbo assembly (at their cost) and they put in some super duper (and expensive) new bolts.

That was good, I changed the tune to use 100 octane (I have the 'power' selection button so tune x2) and did a track day. No issue.

Next track day, poof! no boost. Bolts were fine but it turns out that the hose that goes from the turbo to the I/C popped out. I also had the hose that goes from the I/C to the throttle body pop out but the shop I take the car to for tuning modified the outlet on the A/C to make it longer (it helps a lot).

One more track without troubles.

Next track day, morning was fine but in the afternoon, car would sputter at about 6K RPM. I though the intake cam was gone but turns out that the spark plug were toast so low cost fix.

All in all though, the guys at Radium have always been really about their stuff. I figured that since the whole kit was something new, there would be bugs to iron out.

I'm taking my car to Laguna Seca on Friday so hopefully it will run well all day long :)
 

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I simply do not know why turbo kit mfgs do not carefully vet fastener choices. For Turbo to manifold, I personally use either welded-in studs on the manifold of 3/8-24 size with jetnuts or 3/8-34 A286 alloy bolts (and you have to slot the turbo flange for these) and safety wire. 8mm or 5/16 will not hold up. The downpipe requires similar measures, but 8mm and 5/16 hardware will work. Don't waste you time with lockwashers. My turbo cars quite coming apart after good fastener and safety wire, including in endurance race environments.
 

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Wow, I'm feeling better and better with my Turbo system after reading this.
^yup. Phil and Andrew worked their magic and poof! You have a real car!
 

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another unsatisfied customer...

I've had a different problem with my 05 elise after getting their rather expensive kit installed. After getting the car tuned and dialed in, it was a blast to drive. I couldn't have been happier with it. Then all of the sudden one day it started sputtering about while cruising down the highway. I thought it had something to do with the fuel additive i was putting in it. which was recommended by a local shop.

Radium suggested i carefully drive it and try to burn out all the fuel that was in it. i struggled getting the car from point A to B every time i drove it. Went through 2 full tanks of gas and still has issues. The car was running extremely rich and i finally decided to take it to another tuner. I didnt want to go back to the installer i originally used, they were a nightmare. But, thats a story for a different day.

Once the new tuner started digging into things, he let me know that the throttle position sensor somehow became faulty and the car just wanted to be WOT all the time. I'm still in the process of getting it fixed... i found out just today that it's almost done. My tuner wants to advance the timing but it worried it might damage the motor permanently by advancing the timing too much. the original mapping retarded the timing greatly.

While the issues i'm having are different than the ones other are having. It's still unpleasant to hear that other guys are having troubles with the same kit i just bought 5 months ago.
 

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re: Turbo kits

I have been building and tuning turbo kits for a while.... coming up on 20 years.

Some careful design considerations should be taken into account. It works fine. The job is more than just bolting on the turbo. Some general rules:

1. Gasket in exhaust manifold before the turbo is a waste of time. See #2. Metal creep and warp under high temperature will destroy them.

2. Using different materials with different thermal characteristics will lead to many problems. There is no problem with 8mm fasterners on my turbo! (I do not agree with Simon, again!! :) ). Stainless goes with stainless. Stainless and cast iron do not mix. Thick cheap stainless (309, 409) or castings have to be carefully engineered. 318 stainless fasterners or better work just fine with stainless manifolds. Inconel (aircraft) fasterners are better. The Radium kit is almost too good. They used cast 347 stainless. This is a great material (originally developed for WWII fighter plane exhausts). Garett turbo uses cast iron turbine housing. Not a good match.! Should get a TiAL housing, the material is similar or an BorgWarner EFR turbo for same reason. Usually thinner welded manifold is better. The tubing has more give. A casting relies on its thickness to absorb thermal load. OEMs can get away with it, but not us. All of this needs to be carefully thought out and tested.

3. Clip-on or push-on hoses pop-off under pressure. There are exceptions (Aeroquip and the like). I do not trust them. Screw-on AN fittings are the answer.

4. When a tuner wants to advance the timing on street gas, find another tuner. Holes in pistons will inevitably appear! :) It is this simple. Street gas requires a conservative tune, because it is bad and you never know what you actually get from the pump. It can be lower octane. It can be different density that what was tuned for, etc. Hence, the tune has to be conservative. More can be achieved with racing fuel. I run C16, not because I really need it. C16 does NOT detonate. It is my insurance policy.

5, Flapper wastegates are for kids. Garett's are notorious. EFR looks good. I still disabled the one on my EFR. OEMs cat get away with built-in wastegates because they do a lot of testing...

6. Air-to-air intercoolers require good design to work well. Especially on our cars. They can work very well.

7. Running a turbo on an OEM street motor not designed for a turbo is a tricky proposition. The compression is too high. The parts are weak or just wrong for a turbo. Fuel system maybe be wrong i.e. no manifold pressure reference or returnless, or too small, etc.

These are just main points.

A turbo kit that has not been installed on a dozen cars for a year is a gamble.

Just some thoughts....

Anton


I've had a different problem with my 05 elise after getting their rather expensive kit installed. After getting the car tuned and dialed in, it was a blast to drive. I couldn't have been happier with it. Then all of the sudden one day it started sputtering about while cruising down the highway. I thought it had something to do with the fuel additive i was putting in it. which was recommended by a local shop.

Radium suggested i carefully drive it and try to burn out all the fuel that was in it. i struggled getting the car from point A to B every time i drove it. Went through 2 full tanks of gas and still has issues. The car was running extremely rich and i finally decided to take it to another tuner. I didnt want to go back to the installer i originally used, they were a nightmare. But, thats a story for a different day.

Once the new tuner started digging into things, he let me know that the throttle position sensor somehow became faulty and the car just wanted to be WOT all the time. I'm still in the process of getting it fixed... i found out just today that it's almost done. My tuner wants to advance the timing but it worried it might damage the motor permanently by advancing the timing too much. the original mapping retarded the timing greatly.

While the issues i'm having are different than the ones other are having. It's still unpleasant to hear that other guys are having troubles with the same kit i just bought 5 months ago.
 

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4. When a tuner wants to advance the timing on street gas, find another tuner. Holes in pistons will inevitably appear! :) It is this simple. Street gas requires a conservative tune, because it is bad and you never know what you actually get from the pump. It can be lower octane. It can be different density that what was tuned for, etc. Hence, the tune has to be conservative. More can be achieved with racing fuel. I run C16, not because I really need it. C16 does NOT detonate. It is my insurance policy.

I cannot reiterate how much I agree with you on this!! A friend was recently asking for knock detection advise, and I told him it is foolish to advance timing within an inch of a street motor's life. One bad batch of gas or a humid day and boom. The risk is not worth the extra 5hp you'll never feel or the internet bragging rights. Proper knock detection is a whole other topic...



Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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An obvious and perhaps shameless plug, but truly, we are more than happy to "fix" turbo installations gone wrong. We've fixed a lot of them now and got them running very nicely on the stock ECU.

I'd venture to say we have this down to a science.
The turbo cars we've seen have all been to multiple shops and been through hell and back before they ever came here. Owners were fed up and spent thousands on shops that were reported to know what they were doing just to end up with more piggy backs, unreliable wiring, and heat problems from every angle at all these shops.

We know these cars so well, that we can generally dive right in, find the problem spots, rewire CORRECTLY where needed, heat shield, correct plumbing where needed, and have the car back out the door on the stock ECU better than any standalone or piggyback quasi standalone could.

OK- back to regular programming...


-Phil
 

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I run a DRS system it should have a data logger. You can set it so it constant cycles through the memory. This way you always have history of the last run. I run turbo ff kit. It took a while and some data logging sending files to Kris at drs but mine runs great. I have 4k on mine. I hope you have a AFR gauge
 
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