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Turbo fitting and failures

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Every Turbo we supply be it Brand New or Reconditioned comes complete with a in-depth and detailed installation instructions together with common questions and answers and any vehicle specific critical instructions.


We don’t go to the effort of producing all of this literature for no reason; we do it to prevent any customer making an expensive mistake.  Believe it or not, we have had customers have a Turbo failure, buy a brand new genuine replacement and bolt it on and it fails immediately.... Why?  Because the oil feed pipe was blocked.


Unlike any other vehicle component, a Turbochargers life depends on surrounding components doing their jobs, this includes.....

  • Oil Pump – supply a healthy oil pressure to the Turbo
  • Oil Feed Pipe- ensuring a healthy flow of oil
  • Oil – Supply vital lubrication to the Turbo
  • Oil Filter – Supply clean filtered oil to the Turbo
  • Air Filter – Supply clean air
  • Engine Breather – remove any crank case pressure from the engine
  • Exhaust – remove used gases from the engine and Turbo
  • Vacuum pipe work – supplying the vacuum/boost pressure to control the Turbo speed
  • Boost pipe work – to carry the boost pressure to the engine
  • Intercooler – to cool the charge temperature to safe levels.


If any of the above components were faulty or had issue, then they could not only cause the original failure, but also the new unit to fail.  If one of the above was the cause of the failure and not a direct internal component failure then obviously this would not be an acceptable warranty claim. 

As an example, these pictures are from a customer’s Hybrid Turbo purchased from ourselves.  Unit was Brand New and was balanced as are all units before dispatch.  Upon fitting, the unit was found to be noisy and have excessive smoke.  Unusual to have smoke on 1st use after no leaks were found at the balancing stage. And with similar units being used in competition cars we sponsor that get abused without issue something seemed a miss.  Upon inspection, not only were the vacuum pipes on the unit missing the vital securing clamps, the compressor wheel has chips across the leading edge where something hard has bounced around as the wheel has been spinning, If you look closely you can see have it has also left impact marks around the bore of the compressor housing as it has bounced back up off the wheel.  As units are all shipped in bags and where possible with transit covers over all orifice it would look as though something has been dropped in the air box or boost pipes on installation and subsequently has been sucked into the unit on 1st use damaging the wheel and throwing the Turbo out of balance. 

Damaged Compressor Wheel

Damaged Turbocharger Impeller wheel

ALWAYS follow the installation instructions and keep sockets, spanners, clips etc away from turbo pipe work etc to avoid costly mistakes.

Another common issue that is mis diagnosed is a MARIGINAL oil starvation.  This is where there is either a low oil pressure issue or there is a slight restriction in the flow of oil to the Turbo.  Under idle situations and low boost situations, there may be no issue, but as temperatures rise on full boost and without the full pressure and flow of oil to the turbo being present, the shaft begins to expand due to the extreme heat.  Usually at full boost, the shaft will lock against the bearing or partially seize. 

turbo oil starvation

This can cause the shaft to snap, but also the inertia can cause the compressor wheel to spin on the shaft and undo the shaft nut.  The nut spinning at in most cases over 50,000 rpm when it comes off can fire off down the intake pipe work and sometimes in to the air box itself.  Without extensively checking ALL pipe work, and the air box, you can guess what’s going to happen when you nice new Turbo hits full boost for the 1st time..... The nut is coming to say hello and will destroy the new unit!

damaged compressor

All Turbochargers rely on a clean healthy flow of oil and at a good pressure to operate correctly.  The turbo shaft floats on this oil and does not come into contact with any other part.  It is near IMPOSSIBLE for a shaft to snap or for a nut to come off a turbo in normal operation.  The thread of the shaft is in most cases a left hand thread to ensure that even in the unlikely event of a nut being loose, it would with the rotation of the wheel  tighten, not loosen.


At turbo rebuild we offer professional diagnosis of all failures (where possible) and with our many years experience can advise on what may have been the cause as well as vehicle specific problems that can affect the Turbocharger.


We would rather you call for advise and get things right than take a risk.