Tag Archives: Common Problems Turbochargers

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.

Clean Oil Key to Keeping your Turbochargers in Top Condition

Do you feel that your diesel engine is not giving you top performance?  Your turbocharges may not be functioning properly due to damage from dirty oil.
Dirty oil damages the turbocharger by causing heavy scoring of critical bearing surfaces.
To avoid damage, oil and filter should be of a quality that is recommended by an OEM.  These should be changed when a new turbocharger is fitted by Western Turbo.  After that, regular oil and filter changes should keep your turbochargers in great condition.
Dirty oil damage could result from:
–  Blocked, damaged on poor quality oil filter
–  Dirt introduced during servicing
–  Engine wear or manufacturing debris
–  Malfunctioning oil filter by-pass valve
–  Degraded lubrication oil.
Regular maintenance by Winnipeg’s largest diesel service centre should keep your turbochargers spotless.  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.

How does a Turbocharger work anyway?

Sometimes at Western Turbo, we get so wrapped up in helping our customers get back on the road that we forget that education is one of the best things that we can do to help our customers understand when they need to call the best diesel service centre in Manitoba.

Below is a short article on how a turbocharger works and why this is such a key component to the performance of your diesel engine.

The purpose of a turbocharger is to compress the air flowing into the diesel engine, this lets the engine squeeze more air into a cylinder and more air means that more fuel can be added. The engine burns air and fuel to create mechanical power, the more air and fuel it can burn the more powerful it is. In simple terms, a turbocharger comprises a turbine and a compressor connected by a common shaft supported on a bearing system. The turbocharger converts waste energy from an engine’s exhaust gases into compressed air, which it pushes into the engine. This allows the engine to burn more fuel producing more power and improve the overall efficiency of the combustion process. The turbine consists of two components; the turbine wheel and the collector, commonly referred to as the turbine housing. The exhaust gas is guided into the turbine wheel by the housing. The energy in the exhaust gas turns the turbine. Once the gas has passed through the blades of the wheel it leaves the turbine housing via the exhaust outlet area.

Compressors are the opposite of turbines. They consist of two sections; the impeller or compressor wheel and the compressor housing. The compressor wheel is connected to the turbine by a forged steel shaft. As the compressor wheel spins, air is drawn in and is compressed as the blades spin at a high velocity. The housing is designed to convert the high velocity, low pressure air stream, into a high pressure low velocity air stream, through a process called diffusion. In order to achieve this boost, the turbocharger uses the exhaust flow from the engine to spin a turbine, which in turn spins an air pump. The turbine in the turbocharger spins at speeds of up to 150,000 rotations per minute (rpm) that is about 30 times faster than most car engines can go. Since it is connected to the exhaust, the temperatures in the turbine are also very high. Air enters the compressor at a temperature compression causes the temperature of the air to rise it leaves the compressor cover at temperatures up to 200°C. The turbocharger bearing system is lubricated by oil from the engine. The oil is fed under pressure into the bearing housing, through to the journal bearings and thrust system. The oil also acts as a coolant taking away heat generated by the turbine. The journal bearings are a free floating rotational type.

To perform correctly, the journal bearings should float between a film of oil. The bearing clearances are very small, less than the width of a human hair. Dirty oil or blockages in the oil supply holes can cause serious damage to the turbocharger.

Western Turbo repairs turbochargers

Now that you know how a turbocharger works, we will look at some of the reasons in our next blog why turbochargers fail and how Western Turbo diagnoses the problem and decides whether to rebuild or replace.

Where is Your Turbocharger from?

Dealers and garages are being warned not to fit cheap turbochargers to cars after a series of engine failures following the installation of counterfeit turbochargers.

You get what you pay for

Counterfeit turbochargers replicate the OEM tags and part numbers and try to pass them off as genuine. They are built out of very poor quality material, and are prone to short life failures. One of the issues with these turbos is containment failure.

Turbocharger Western Turbo

In the case of a wheel-burst failure, the disintegrating compressor debris can exit through the compressor cover

This event is like a hand grenade going off.

A turbocharger is a complex piece of engineering.  If standards are not high for remanufacturing, then the customer could be in for a host of problems relating to the poor performance, or the turbocharger literally exploding.

Dealing with a reputable diesel parts and service facility like Western Turbo ensures that your new or remanufactured turbocharger is of the highest standards and guaranteed to perform.  We only provide you with quality diesel turbochargers from quality manufacturers like Holset, Garrett, and Borg Warner/Schwitzer.   Before replacing, we can diagnose your existing turbocharger and offer you a quality rebuild if that makes the most sense.

Just another reason why Western Turbo is Manitoba’s diesel service centre

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.

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.

Turbo Trivia Part 2 – Common Turbocharger Problems

A turbocharger is a finely balanced system.  Very high temperatures and extreme rotation speeds mean that it needs to be one of the most carefully engineered systems in your vehicle.  It’s a highly evolved piece of technology that, despite the extreme demands placed on it, will likely last as long as the rest of your vehicle if properly maintained.  Quite often, a turbocharger failure is a symptom of an underlying engine problem that will need to be addressed before simply replacing the turbo unit, or it will repeat itself.  Here are some more symptoms and their possible causes:

Insufficient Power or Boost Pressure Too Low

If a turbocharger doesn’t produce enough boost pressure, it won’t work.  There can be any number of causes of this condition, from a worn engine to a broken or damaged turbocharger bearing.  Low pressure can also be caused by leaking lines or gaskets (allowing pressure to escape before driving air into the cylinders, improper filter maintenance, and a worn or sticky poppet valve can also cause this condition.

Oil Leakage at the Compressor

There can be a whole lot of explanations for leakage at the compressor.  One of the problems we find most often at Western Turbo to explain this problem is a buildup of combustion by-products (coke and sludge) in the turbocharger housing.  The reasons for this buildup can be many – a dirty air filter system, exhaust that leaks upstream of the turbine, some kind of kink or clog impeding oil flow to the turbine.  Sometimes this buildup is caused by failure of the turbocharger bearings themselves, or a loss of compression in the engine.

Oil Leakage at the Turbine

Turbine oil leakage causes mirror those problems that cause the compressor itself to leak.  The first thing to check for is a buildup of sludge inside the casing of the turbocharger.  If present, look for the underlying cause, which is usually a problem with oil flow to the turbocharger.

Noise from the Turbocharger

In the case of a noisy turbocharger unit, it’s imperative that you trust your ears and look into the cause before a unit failure results.  Often, if you catch it early, you can prevent extensive damage to your turbocharger.  The leading causes of increased noise from your turbo unit are too little flow of air or oil, or foreign material in the bearings.

If you’re experiencing turbocharger difficulties, consult Winnipeg’s turbocharger and fuel injection expert, Western Turbo.  We do more than just maintain and repair turbocharger units – we find the root cause of the problem and correct it, so you won’t just have a recurrence.

Turbocharger Care and Maintenance

One of the most efficient ways to increase the power output of any engine, gasoline or diesel, without increasing the size and weight of the engine, is to add a turbocharger.

Turbochargers are used on all kinds of vehicles – racecars and big diesel truck engines both commonly employ them, because they’re often asked to provide maximum horsepower to get their jobs done.

Turbochargers improve engine performance by using the engine’s exhaust to power a compressor, which will force air into the cylinders of the engine, so that more fuel can be added while still maintaining the optimum ratio for efficient combustion.  Because more air and fuel are in the cylinder, the explosion produced on the power stroke provides more energy.  The performance improvement provided by a turbocharger far outweigh the increased load the system puts on the engine’s exhaust.

Turbochargers have been in use for a long time, and the systems are quite evolved.  You can generally expect your turbo system to last as long as your engine does.  There are, however, some considerations you need to make surrounding maintenance of a turbocharged engine.

The main problems that confront turbochargers are heat and lubrication related. Because of the extremely high speed that the turbo is required to spin at, conventional bearings would fail very quickly.  Turbochargers use a fluid bearing – a thin layer of oil that separates the mechanical parts to prevent wear and keep the moving parts in the compressor or the turbine cool.  Most turbocharger failures are caused by inadequate lubrication, or foreign particles in the oil.  This means that the key maintenance requirements for a turbocharged engine are oil changes at prescribed intervals, oil and air filter system maintenance, and oil pressure control.

Western Turbo is your Winnipeg area turbocharger expert.  In addition to maintenance and repair of turbo systems, we provide new equipment for the leading brands in the business – Holset, BorgWarner, and Garrett.

Your turbocharged engine is safe in the hands of our trained technicians.  Conveniently located at 325 Eagle Drive in Winnipeg, we are standing by to keep your diesel powered in tip-top shape.