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The following are my initial impressions and thoughts regarding my recent purchase of a KC Turbos Stage 2 turbo. I have only had the turbo for a week, which is why I say this is an initial review as my opinions may change over time.

Please keep in mind my mods when reading. Highlights are: Warren 175/Stock injectors, heads o-ringed by UCF, FASS Titanium 125gph, 4” downpipe, no cat, no muffler, 5” stacks, S&B CAI, BD intake elbow. Tune is my PHP 200X which Jay has told me will work well with a Stage 2.

Obviously a turbo upgrade is a big deal and can affect a lot about how the truck behaves. I’ve read a lot and asked questions, but in the end I decided to go with the Stage 2. I wanted a turbo that would give me more power and room to grow should I need/want it in the future. I also need to be able to tow in the 14k – 15k range.

I knew I would either go with Barder, who is local to me, or KC. I chose KC because of the unique turbo features and Charlie’s presence on the forums. I’ve been bugging Charlie asking him diesel truck questions since 2013 and he is extremely knowledgeable. I really didn’t think I would be able to purchase a turbo this soon, but my wife has supported my diesel addiction and made it happen.

The Turbo: 64x88mm single plane billet wheel with extended tips, .72ar race compressor cover, 72.5x66 10 blade turbine wheel, new high flowing billet vanes, and upgraded 360 thrust bearing. 6.0 Powerstroke Stage 2 Turbo - Complete Turbos - 6.0L Powerstroke - Products

Unboxing: I placed my order on 09MAR and Charlie had the turbo shipped on 10MAR via UPS. It was delivered 17MAR (Arizona to Pennsylvania). The turbo was double boxed, surrounded with Sealed Air Instapak foam packaging, and in plastic with some anti-corrosion paper on the turbine side. The exhaust inlet, outlet, and oil feed inlet were capped. The turbo itself is beautiful. It is obvious the quality and attention to detail Charlie puts into his products. Also included was an accessory pack with new bolts, oil feed gasket, oil feed and drain o-rings, instructions, and of course a KC Turbos sticker.











Install: Nothing special, straight forward turbo replacement. No modifications, drops right in. Everything needed was included. I did loosen up my up pipe to exhaust manifold bolts for the install. Had the stock turbo out and the new one installed in a couple hours. No exhaust leaks that I could detect but I will check a few more times over the next couple weeks.





The Whistle: With the 10 blade turbine comes the whistle. It’s loud. I mean really, really loud! I never expected it to be so loud. Accelerating from a stop it sounds pretty cool. At about 15% throttle the whistle is mostly gone. However, when you let off the throttle, coasting, or coming to a stop, the whistle is back with a vengeance. This “deceleration” whistle sounds a bit different to me than the “accelerating” whistle, a little more of a screech sound to it. In my day to day driving, I’ve discovered there is quite a bit of time off the throttle and this is when the whistle can become annoying and obnoxious.


EGTs: EGTs have increased a good bit. Highway cruising, they are up about 50 to 100 (in the 650 - 700 range), which isn’t too bad. On the two small hills during my commute I would see 800 previously. I now hit 1100 – 1200 easily. This is in 6th gear, torque converter locked. A simple tap of the brake pedal will unlock the converter, bring rpms up, and EGT back down to 800. I have concerns that my EGT will be high while towing (I haven’t towed yet) but Charlie has clearly stated that you need to keep the rpms up and watch temps when towing.

Fuel mileage: Obviously not much time driving with it yet but I’ve seen a decrease of about .4 mpg on the display. I hand calculate my mileage but I’m expecting the switch to “summer” fuel soon which will make fuel mileage comparison difficult.

Performance: Here’s the big one. Is there turbo lag? Yes. Does it spool slower? Yes. When the skinny pedal is put down, does it haul azz? Oh hell yes. I’ve been a bit scared to put the hammer down, not wanting to damage my truck, specifically the transmission. Last night I went for it, 6th gear, converter locked, rolled into WOT. 38psi of boost and she just keeps pulling. I let off at 90mph. Starting from slower speeds, say 10mph, I haven’t put it to the floor but maybe 40 – 50% throttle, 3300rpm and she’s a rocket.

Thoughts: The turbo is a great piece, no doubt about it. For a daily driver, even with minimal stop and go driving, the slower spool and less boost at lower rpms can kind of give the perception that the truck is slower. It takes a little bit more throttle to “go”. The turbo definitely shines above 2200 rpms. But with my daily driving I usually don’t go much higher than 2400 rpm. With that said, it is still very streetable and daily driver friendly, I’ve just had to adjust my driving style and continue to adjust to find the right balance. The whistle is a bit much, especially with stacks. I will probably be adding a resonator or muffler. Again, most of this is not really a surprise from my research, you just don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve tried it. I’m interested and a bit nervous to see how things go when towing. With a tow tune and tow/haul it’ll run higher rpms which should put it in the sweet spot for power. I just hope it will still reasonably get moving from a stop and EGTs stay in check. Honestly, I think currently I would have been better served by a Stage 1.5. Hate to say that. With that also said though, I have no plans to downgrade. Because when it is time to play, this is the turbo to have for a street friendly, daily driver, powerhouse.

Expected future mods:
PHP FICM tuner, 30% nozzles, built trans
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
* Reserved for updates *

What turbo were you running prior to this install? Just curious if your comparisons are between the stage 2 and the stock turbo or ?
Stock '06

I'm still on the fence with should I do the DIY or the entire unit. Did you get the 03 version or the 04-07, new or reman?
I was really leaning toward the DIY option, mainly to save money. But when you add in the benefits of a complete, new KC turbo with .72ar compressor cover, high flow billet vanes, 360 bearing, and expert assembly and balancing, it made sense to get the complete unit. It is new, made from a new 2003 turbine section. With the 2003 based turbos on a late '04 - '07 you only use two bolts and not the third, rear bolt.

Thanks for the review.

Your higher egts sound a little abnormal. Maybe it is just tuning or maybe it has an exhaust leak.
I wouldn't be surprised if I had a leak somewhere. Just haven't had the time to thoroughly go over everything. I'll keep this thread updated if I find anything.

UPDATE 31MAR16 So taking Charlie's advice, tried out a new tune with this turbo. Loaded up TSD SPD (Truck Source Diesel Super Panty Dropper). It has the open vane at idle and this definitely makes the whistle more bearable at not only idle but off throttle while driving.

There were some other benefits I have found with this tune and turbo combo. In my review I stated that a couple hills I drive, I was at 800 EGT and since installing the Stage 2 I was easily hitting 1100 - 1200. With SPD I am now down to 900 - 950 EGT. Again, this is in 6th gear with TC locked at low rpm. Also seems to be less lag and some more "get up and go" if you will.

I need to put some more miles on but this tune and turbo combo seems to be a winner!
 

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Thanks for the review! Good information. What turbo were you running prior to this install? Just curious if your comparisons are between the stage 2 and the stock turbo or ?
 

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Thanks for the review! Good information. What turbo were you running prior to this install? Just curious if your comparisons are between the stage 2 and the stock turbo or ?
Stock '06. It has a remanufactured sticker on it so apparently it was replaced at some point. Wish I could find my OASIS report, it would probably tell me.
 

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Great review, thank you! I've been bugging Charlie as well with turbo questions up the wazoo. He's been extremely helpful and never seems to be annoyed with my questions or concerns. I'm still on the fence with should I do the DIY or the entire unit. Did you get the 03 version or the 04-07, new or reman?

I have a recently rebuilt 05 turbo sitting on my bench complete with the 360 thrust bearing...just itching to be turned into a stg 2.
 

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The numbers you're seeing look pretty close to what my Powermax with Wicked Wheel 2 setup is getting me. I wished I went with a Stage 2 since pretty much right after I ordered my PMax. Just hadn't done enough reading on here yet. Mine does Pretty good though so far. I totally think I must have a boost leak somewhere now though between this thread and some of the others I've read. Anyway, your EGTs are a little hotter but that could be the tune. When I ran my 200X tune, the EGTs were quite a bit higher than they are with my White Rain tune. I need to get some more revisions on my 200X, just haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe if you try one of your other tunes, it might help your EGT concerns. Just a thought.
 

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damn that's loud!
 

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my wife has supported my diesel addiction and made it happen.
I take back my wife delete comment I made in the "what did you do to your 6.0" thread. >:)

THAT THING SOUNDS AWESOME!!!
 

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Great review! I've been doing some comparisons between some turbos and really appreciate the time you put into this.
 

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Thanks for the review.

Your higher egts sound a little abnormal. Maybe it is just tuning or maybe it has an exhaust leak.

Jay writes great tunes... maybe he can tweak it a little bit for the turbo and see if it helps.

I can also get you a TSD SPD tune with open vane idle to see how you like it.
 

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Man I really want one of those turbos, I've also hounded Charlie about it and he was great.
I'm just scared to bite the bullet, my truck runs great now, and pulls really hard, I'm worried about the give and take taking too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the review.

Your higher egts sound a little abnormal. Maybe it is just tuning or maybe it has an exhaust leak.

Jay writes great tunes... maybe he can tweak it a little bit for the turbo and see if it helps.

I can also get you a TSD SPD tune with open vane idle to see how you like it.
I wouldn't be surprised if I had a leak somewhere. Haven't had the time to thoroughly go over everything. I thought about an open vane at idle tune. Wife and I went to get fuel again tonight and she was holding her hands over her ears as we were driving. I just laughed. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Played around a bit on the trip to get fuel and on my way to work tonight. No WOT but I'm really liking 40 - 60% throttle in the 2800 - 3400rpm range. Powerrrrr!
 

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So fired it up this morning, 40 degrees out (had it plugged in though). Was on my phone for a few minutes while she idled. In other words, I sat and idled longer than usual and I started to smell exhaust so I definitely have an exhaust leak. Now I just have to find it/them and get it sealed up and see what improvements that will make.
 

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Here is a quick easy test to check for exhaust leaks. It should take about 1 min but you need two people.

Have one person stand near the passenger side tire with the hood popped open. They need to be watching the turbo.. a flashlight helps. Shine the light at the back of the turbo and look for black smoke.

Second person gets in the truck. Make sure you have a race tune on so you can "roll coal". Stick the truck in drive and hold the brake. Quickly mash the pedal while holding the brake. Hold it to the floor until it starts to push through the brakes and then let off. Ideally you want black smoke to be bellowing out the tail pipe. Repeat 3 or 4 times.

If the person looking under the hood sees any smoke... then you need to narrow it down and fix the leak.

Hope that helps
 

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Discussion Starter #20
So taking Charlie's advice, tried out a new tune with this turbo. Loaded up TSD SPD (Truck Source Diesel Super Panty Dropper). It has the open vane at idle and this definitely makes the whistle more bearable at not only idle but off throttle while driving.

There were some other benefits I have found with this tune and turbo combo. In my review I stated that a couple hills I drive, I was at 800 EGT and since installing the Stage 2 I was easily hitting 1100 - 1200. With SPD I am now down to 900 - 950 EGT. Again, this is in 6th gear with TC locked at low rpm. Also seems to be less lag and some more "get up and go" if you will.

I need to put some more miles on but this tune and turbo combo seems to be a winner!
 
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