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Whistle While You Work: OCD Works T51R Turbo Modification

When we talk about ‘style’ in drifting, some of the first things that come to mind are of course the aesthetics of the car, and also the driver’s particular way of sliding it. Be it an eye-catching livery or big, smoky angle, cool points matter, especially since drifting is not about who crosses the finish line first. That being said, sound is an equally important sensory factor in drifting, because all those cool graphics and vaporized tires need a soundtrack to bring them to life.

If you are anything like us, and chances are good that you are, since you are reading this, smashing the limiter, chattering turbos and howling V8s hold some of the greatest appeal in drifting. That brings us to Scott Onishi, owner of OCD Works, and his now-infamous T51R turbo modification. OK DL, maybe I am a bit new to the game, but WTF is a T51R, first of all? The T51R Kai and SPL were large-frame turbos assembled by famed tuner HKS.

OK great, who cares, what’s the big deal? In their heyday, these were cutting-edge turbos. Where many of the big name Japanese tuners were still running Mitsubishi-based turbos, the T51R units used Garrett center cartridges with proprietary compressor and turbine housings. They also featured a unique anti-surge design with a narrow orifice, so the slightest bit of load, even free-revving, produced noticeably-loud whistling, as demonstrated here.

That brings us back to Scott-san at his Tennessee-based workshop. The OCD crew specializes in billet CNC parts, and Onishi devised a clever process to modify nearly any turbo compressor housing to sound like the iconic T51R. Each compressor cover is carefully secured on a custom jig before being precisely machined in the CNC cabinet. Meanwhile, a custom insert is milled to exact specs from a six-pound billet of aluminum.

Once the housing has been hogged out and the insert milled, the two are assembled and the cover is ready for shipping back to its owner. Alternatively, OCD also offers brand new turbos from all the well-known manufacturers with the T51R modification already performed.The service is available for most small, mid and large-frame turbos, though larger compressor housings may cost slightly more. Some small-frame turbos may not have enough removable material for the mod.

Now the most important question: why do it? While Onishi tells us that independent, third-party shops have shown increased numbers on the dyno after the modification, he is quick to stress that this upgrade is first and foremost for greater driving pleasure, quite simply. There may be some physics-based explanation of improved laminar flow etc, but that is squarely above our pay grade. This is all about style, and now you can whistle at babes while you shred!

OCD Works wants to thank our Drift Life readers for their support and interest in their parts, so from now through this Friday, December 2, 2016, you can get your turbo done for $350 with free shipping both ways. Just send them an email at tuning@ocdworks.com and mention promo code DRIFTLIFEXOCD2016 for the special deal. You best believe we will be having this done for the Drift Life project car. Now who loves ya?!

Words: PJ Pitcher at Turbology

Billet Specialist: OCD Works

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