Tag Archives: Turbocharger Troubleshooting Winnipeg

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.

Turbo Trivia Part 1 – Common Turbocharger Problems

While modern turbochargers are highly evolved systems that provide relatively trouble-free service for the lifetime of your engine, it’s good to be able to recognize the symptoms of turbocharger troubles and their causes, to simplify repair of one of your vehicle’s key performance improvement systems.  Very often, a turbocharger problem is the result of an issue elsewhere in the system, and will recur unless the underlying issue is addressed.

Exhaust Smoke – Black

There are a lot of issues that can cause excessive black particulate in your vehicles exhaust.  Look to the air filter system and the supply of oil to the turbocharger, as well as damage to the unit itself.  Often the turbine housing, flap, or turbocharger bearing will have failed, or the boost pressure control swing valve isn’t closing properly.  This problem can also be caused by problems elsewhere in the engine – worn valve guides, piston rings, or cylinder walls can cause blow by that manifests itself as black smoke.

Exhaust Smoke – Blue

Blue smoke can be caused by a number of factors, including overall engine wear.  Turbocharger related causes of this symptom include dirty compressors, excessive exhaust flow resistance, or bearing damage.  Look out for dirty air filter systems, or a buildup of coke and sludge buildup in the turbocharger housing.

Excessive Boost Pressure

If your boost pressure is too high, the likely cause is in the swing or poppet valve or the associated pipe assembly to it.  It could also be caused by a fuel injection problem.

Defective Compressor or Turbine Wheels

The high-speed spinning parts of the turbo unit can be damaged by excessive heat and friction caused by improper lubrication.  If these parts are worn or broken, they’ll need to be replaced.

Oil Consumption

High oil consumption can be caused by a number of factors, including worn out engine components like piston rings, valve guides, and cylinder walls.  It could also be a symptom of something as simple as a dirty air filter system, or an improperly vented crankcase.

For expert diagnosis of your diesel engine in Winnipeg, visit Western Turbo.  In addition to maintenance and repair of turbo systems, we provide new equipment for the leading brands in the business – Holset, BorgWarner, and Garrett.

Western Turbo is located at 325 Eagle Drive in Winnipeg.