The Benefits Of Garrett Ball Bearings

Typically, most turbochargers either use a journal or a ball bearing system – or a variation of one of these themes.


The cartridge ball bearing System: A cartridge style system containing eight angular contact ball bearings at either end.

The journal bearing system: A solid bearing system which contains a thrust bearing and a set of journal bearings. 

The journal bearing system has traditionally been the staple of most turbocharger systems, popular because of its low cost and reliability. Indeed the vast majority of turbochargers currently in service in OE applications feature a journal bearing system.

The Garrett Ball Bearing Turbo range offers a significant development, with the ball-bearing design offering a popular alternative with well proven performance gains to the journal bearing. Garrett has revealed that the advanced ball bearing design was the product of working with their Motorsport Group and over the course of several race series the Garrett component was coined the ‘cartridge ball bearing’.

Garrett boast that their ball bearing turbos can spool a staggering 15% faster than turbos with a traditional journal bearing system, producing improved response with higher power and torque figures through the entire rev range. Professional drivers using the Garrett ball-bearing turbocharged engines report that they feel like they are driving a big, normally aspirated engine.

So What Are The Benefits?

Performance – Tests run using the Garrett ball bearing turbo have shown that the ball-bearing system offers up to a 50% reduction of the power consumption of the traditional journal bearings, resulting in faster boost response, improved drivability and quicker acceleration.

Reduction in oil flow – the design reduces the amount of oil required for lubrication, which reduces the risk of seal leakages as well as improving oil flow through the rest of the engine.

Enhanced Durability and Rotordynamics – The ball bearing cartridge adds more effective damping and additional control over shaft motion, resulting in improved reliability for both normal and extreme driving conditions. The opposed angular contact bearing cartridge remove the need for a thrust bearing, which Garrett consider as a weak link in a performance turbocharger system running high boost pressure.

To view our full range of Garrett Performance Turbos please click here.