Category Archives: Turbochargers

The Autopsy of a Dead Turbocharger

Why did my turbocharger die?

First, we have to understand how a turbocharger works…

In a nutshell, a turbocharger uses exhaust gases produced by the engine, which are pushed out of the engine at a velocity that corresponds with the speed of the engine’s rotation to push fresh air into the engine. The faster the engine “revs” the higher the volume and speed of the exhaust that escapes it is. Exhaust consists of air and the by products of fuel combustion (carbon monoxide, and a lot of other chemicals).

Turbocharger Western Turbo

In a normally aspirated engine, air is taken in at atmospheric pressure. In a turbocharged engine, air is pushed in to the combustion chamber under pressure. Because the air is compressed, more fuel can be introduced into the engine while still maintaining the ideal mixture ratio between air and fuel. Simply put, being able to put more fuel into the engine results in more power.

Because the exhaust gases would be emitted anyway, harnessing them to increase performance also increases efficiency. The turbocharger plays a big role in making diesel engines the powerhouses that they are.

Here’s where we get into why your turbocharger died…

Unfortunately, the high temperatures and speeds involved in a turbocharger can be hard on it. The turbine is the component that hot exhaust gases push against to drive the unit. It’s subject to extremely high temperatures, and speeds up to 150,000 rpm. The compressor wheel “squeezes” air into the compression chamber. When air is compressed, it gets hot. Even at the “cool” end of the turbocharger temperatures can exceed 200 degrees Celsius.

The turbocharger needs a healthy supply of engine oil to lubricate its moving parts, and to help cool it. Often, an impediment to oil circulation and/or dirty oil, can cause the turbocharger to fail. In fact, short of component failure in the turbocharger, nearly every turbocharger failure is caused by something else in the engine not working correctly. Air and gas leaks, worn piston rings, clogged exhaust, carbon build-up and a hundred other things can cause turbocharger failure. When this is the case, simply replacing your turbocharger may appear to solve the problem, but it won’t be a long term fix.

We’re Manitoba’s premiere diesel service centre. If you’ve experienced a turbocharger problem, bring it to us. Because we understand diesel engines better than anyone else, we will diagnose and repair the root cause of your problem, not just the symptom.

When it’s time for the best diesel service in Winnipeg, the biggest parts selection or turbocharger diagnostics, give us a call at 1 800 665 7556 or send us an email to info@westernturbo.com

Have You Checked Your Oil Supply For Your Diesel Turbocharger Lately?

There are many little things that you can do to make your turbocharger last longer.  One of the simplest things to do for preventive maintenance is to check your oil and fluid levels. If the supply is not sufficient to properly lubricate the system, a lot of bad things can happen.  At Western Turbo, we see many damaged turbochargers due to insufficient oil supply.

 

turbocharger service

 

Here are some attributes that lead to damage due to insufficient oil supply;

 

  • Re-fitting a turbocharger without adequate priming
  • Long periods of non-use
  • Broken or restricted oil feed pipe
  • Low engine oil pressure due to malfunctioning lubrication system
  • Low or no oil in sump
  • The use of sealants, which can restrict the oil flow
  • Not priming a replacement oil filter with new oil.  If this cannot be done, then crank the engine with no fuel to establish oil pressure.
  • Do not exceed idle conditions until oil pressure is established

Regular maintenance by Winnipeg’s largest diesel service centre should ensure that your diesel turbo charger is in top working order.   Western Turbo can set you up on a preventive maintenance program for your individual diesel or fleet requirements.  Whether you are in Winnipeg, or rural Manitoba, give us a call for you next service.

Can a Diesel Particulate Filter Cause Turbo Failure?

There are many articles and technical documents relating to how a faulty turbo can lead to DPF damage, however, the DPF is actually responsible for more turbo related failures than you might think. Here we explore what effect a blocked DPF can have on a turbocharger.

DPF’s (Diesel Particulate Filters) were first introduced in January 2005 with the Euro 4 emission standard, where diesel particulate levels were reduced to extremely low levels to reduce the allowable amount of particulate matter (PM) released into the atmosphere. Reducing the size of PM from the combustion process to this level was not technically possible, so this meant all diesel vehicles after September 2009 were fitted with a filter to capture soot and other harmful particles, preventing them entering the atmosphere. A DPF can remove around 85% of the particulates from the exhaust gas.

A blocked DPF will not work correctly, and in order to clear this blockage there are two types of regeneration that are commonly used to remove the build-up of soot. Newer vehicles engage active regeneration, which is the process of removing accumulated soot from the filter by adding fuel post-combustion to increase exhaust gas temperatures and burn off the soot, providing a temporary solution. Passive regeneration takes place automatically on motorway-type runs when the exhaust temperature is high. Many manufacturers have moved to using active regeneration, as many motorists do not often drive prolonged distances at motorway speeds to clear the DPF and constant short distances are not good for the turbo or exhaust system.

So, what happens to the turbo when a DPF is blocked?
A blocked DPF prevents exhaust gas passing through the exhaust system at the required rate. As a result, back pressure and exhaust gas temperatures increase within the turbine housing.

Increased exhaust gas temperature and back pressure can affect the turbocharger in a number of ways, including problems with efficiencies, oil leaks, carbonisation of oil within the turbo and exhaust gas leaks from the turbo.

How to spot a turbocharger that has suffered from DPF problems:
• Discolouration of parts within the core assembly (CHRA) usually with evidence that the heat is transferring through the CHRA from the turbine side. This excessive temperature within the CHRA is caused by back pressure forcing the exhaust gas through the piston ring seals and into the CHRA. The high temperature exhaust gas can prevent efficient oil cooling within the CHRA and even carbonise the oil, restricting oil feeds and causing wear to the bearing systems. This type of failure can often be mistaken as a lack of lubrication or contaminated oil.
• Carbon build-up in the turbine side piston ring groove caused by the increased exhaust gas temperatures.
• Oil leaks into the compressor housing can be seen as a consequence of exhaust gas forcing its way into the CHRA from the turbine side and forcing oil through the oil seal on the compressor side.
• A blocked DPF can force exhaust gas through the smallest of gaps, including the clearances in the bearing housing VNT lever arm and turbine housing waste gate mechanisms. If this occurs, carbon build up in these mechanisms can restrict movement of the levers affecting performance of the turbo. In some cases soot build up can be seen on the back face of the seal plate where the exhaust gas has been forced through.
• Turbine wheel failure through high cycle fatigue (HCF) caused by temperature increase.

How can you prevent these failures from occurring?
As a starting point, it is essential to identify the failure mode and determine whether a DPF related issue is the root cause. If the entire rotor assembly is ok, and there are some signs of overheating towards the turbine side of the core assembly then the failure is likely to be caused by excessive exhaust gas temperatures. High amounts of carbon build-up within the VNT mechanism and lever arms indicate a blocked DPF, and the driver may experience turbo lag or over boost of the turbo.

To help prevent turbo failure caused by DPFs:
• Determine whether the DPF is blocked.
• Contact a DPF specialist for advice.
• Replace the DPF with a high quality replacement – lower cost DPF’s will often not operate as efficiently as the original. This can replicate the environment of a blocked DPF.
• If the DPF is blocked, always replace the turbocharger core assembly to prevent possible oil leaks.
• Check the actuator achieves its full range of movement, particularly if electronic, as internal components could be worn.

One final consideration, it takes time for a DPF to block, sometimes years. Once blocked though, turbo failure can occur very quickly. If you don’t check for a DPF issue when installing a replacement turbo, there is a very high chance the replacement turbo will suffer the same failure, as it will be subject to the same operating environment as the previous unit.

Why Did Your Turbocharger Die?

A turbocharger is simple in concept, but complex in operation.

In a nutshell, a turbocharger uses exhaust gases produced by the engine, which are pushed out of the engine at a velocity that corresponds with the speed of the engine’s rotation to push fresh air into the engine. The faster the engine “revs” the higher the volume and speed of the exhaust that escapes it is. Exhaust consists of air and the by products of fuel combustion (carbon monoxide, and a lot of other chemicals).

In a normally aspirated engine, air is taken in at atmospheric pressure. In a turbocharged engine, air is pushed in to the combustion chamber under pressure. Because the air is compressed, more fuel can be introduced into the engine while still maintaining the ideal mixture ratio between air and fuel. Simply put, being able to put more fuel into the engine results in more power.

Because the exhaust gases would be emitted anyway, harnessing them to increase performance also increases efficiency. The turbocharger plays a big role in making diesel engines the powerhouses that they are.

Unfortunately, the high temperatures and speeds involved in a turbocharger can be hard on it. The turbine is the component that hot exhaust gases push against to drive the unit. It’s subject to extremely high temperatures, and speeds up to 150,000 rpm. The compressor wheel “squeezes” air into the compression chamber. When air is compressed, it gets hot. Even at the “cool” end of the turbocharger temperatures can exceed 200 degrees Celsius.

The turbocharger needs a healthy supply of engine oil to lubricate its moving parts, and to help cool it. Often, an impediment to oil circulation and/or dirty oil, can cause the turbocharger to fail. In fact, short of component failure in the turbocharger, nearly every turbocharger failure is caused by something else in the engine not working correctly. Air and gas leaks, worn piston rings, clogged exhaust, carbon build-up and a hundred other things can cause turbocharger failure. When this is the case, simply replacing your turbocharger may appear to solve the problem, but it will likely reoccur in a relatively short time.

IAmDIESEL is the Diesel Service Centre at Western Turbo and Fuel Injection in Winnipeg. We’re the area’s premiere diesel service centre. If you’ve experienced a turbocharger problem, bring it to us. Because we understand diesel engines better than anyone else, we will diagnose and repair the root cause of your problem, not just the symptom.

Turbocharger’s future in North America

North America‘s turbo ‘revolution’

The change in the market in North America – led by Ford – is particularly remarkable; in 2008, there were no turbocharged petrol engines made in North America, all previous turbo-fitted engines having been imported. The first North American built turbocharged petrol engine was fitted to the Lincoln MKS which used the first North American EcoBoost engine. This engine has since been fitted to the Ford Flex, Explorer and most significantly the F-series pick-up trucks.

“GM has been somewhat behind Ford in terms of the fitment of turbochargers, but it is slowly going down the same route,” said Ian Henry. “It has already started on this journey – the 2012 Cadillac XTS had a turbo option on the 3.6 litre V6 engine. GM is however also working on improving the fuel efficiency of its naturally aspirated engines and has claimed that it can achieve similar fuel efficiencies gains to those available with turbochargers through other means.”

“The impetus at Chrysler will come from Fiat’s MultiAir programme,” adds Henry.

The CAFE rules announced in 2012 will force GM and Chrysler to accelerate their use of fuel saving technologies such as turbochargers and a large part of the increased volumes which will be seen in the next few years and into the 2020s come from the widening take-up across these VMs, Ford having led the way.

According to just-auto’s QUBE data, North America currently has a turbo fitment rate below 20% but by the late 2020s, if not before, its fitment rate will be much closer to that of Europe, at close to 75%.

Best Regards,

Kenny Taylor
General Manager
Melett North America, Inc

Bosch Common Rail Injector Testing Equipment from Western Turbo

With our extensive knowledge in diesel, and our dedication to offering first rate customer service, we are pleased to announce the installation of the new Bosch EPS 815 Common Rail Injector Testing Equipment at our service center. The newly installed testing equipment is one of only 2 of its kind in all of Canada and is the only testing equipment that is Bosch authorized for testing.

BorgWarner EFR Turbocharger Technical Training Guide

Brock Fraser is the Chief Engineer & Team Leader of the EFR project for BorgWarner Turbo Systems. In his forward to the EFR Turbocharger Technical Training Guide, Mr. Fraser describes the project vision and the process of development. Below is an excerpt from the guide Forward by Brock Fraser

“The first thing worth explaining is the strong connection between this exciting line of aftermarket turbos and our OEM commercial vehicle products. Commercial/industrial turbo products have extreme requirements for durability, reliability, and aerodynamics performance. Turbo sizing for the performance user more resembles what’s in the commercial realm as compared to what comes from our OE passenger car developments. Also required is resistance to abusive thrust loads, vibration, and robustness for a wide range of lubrication and cooling conditions. Our OE product validation standards are very tough, and many of these same practices were employed during the development of the EFR products.

Honeywell’s 2-Cylinder Diesel Engine

A new chapter in the story of ultra-fuel efficient auto design opened in 2011 with the development of the world’s first 2-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine.

Today, the 0.8L engine, boosted by Honeywell’s smallest-ever turbo, can be seen powering vehicles through the busy streets of India’s cities and towns, typically carrying goods from warehouses to local businesses. For Honeywell, boosting such a small engine created a whole new set of design and engineering challenges.

“The issues in developing a turbo for a 2-cylinder engine not only revolve around packaging but also around specific challenges linked to compressor surge, oil leakage, high vibrations and high thrust load due to engine pulsations. These issues are far more pronounced here than in a four-cylinder engine,” says Vijayan Asvathanarayanan, Director of Application Engineering for Honeywell Turbo Technologies in India.

This meant that Honeywell engineers had to approach the turbo design from a completely new angle.

“We came up with a totally new turbocharger that included a very small turbine housing with integrated manifold, and the smallest-ever compressor wheel developed by Honeywell. The higher relative thrust loads brought about by the pulsation of a bi-cylinder engine meant creating new concept thrust pads in the Z-bearing – vital if we were to be efficient in matching the turbo to the engine requirements.”

A high-efficiency, compact bearing was developed – and the design was so successful that it is now being extended to other turbo sizes as well.

The result of this intense engineering activity is a well-performing and reliable turbo fitted in the 2-cylinder OEM production engine since 2011, which is contributing to a remarkable 25% improvement in power over a non-turbo equivalent and to significant fuel efficiency gains and lower emissions.

Critically, the proven success paves the way for the roll-out of a new generation of turbocharged 2- and 3-cylinder diesel passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, particularly in emerging regions.

Happy 100th Birthday to the Turbocharger

A century ago, Swiss engineer Alfred Buchi was studying steam turbines when inspiration struck: Why not spin the wheel with exhaust from an internal combustion engine and use the recovered energy to force-feed the intake side? It was a brilliant concept, since roughly a third of the energy in fuel is normally squandered out the tailpipe. Buchi applied for a patent to cover his invention in 1905.

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