How to Repair a Turbocharger

by Contributor

For the inexperienced mechanic or lay car enthusiast, repairing a turbocharger may seem complicated. However, most common problems are easy and relatively inexpensive to fix. Having a clear picture of the problem is the key to doing a turbocharger repair successfully.

Clean the turbocharger exterior with a dry cleaning solvent. Be sure to wipe away any moisture when you're done cleaning.

Clean the air passage and replace the element responsible for air cleaning.

Tighten any compressor-to-intake duct connections that have gotten loose.

Remove any foreign object that has been lodged in the compressor housing or duct area. Clean the housing unit, since this may alleviate any carbon buildup.

Change the air filter. A dirty air-cleaning system can often cause oil seal leakage on or near the compressor.

Attune the oil level in the crankcase to the level recommended in the manufacturer's manual.

Check the hoses leading into and out of the turbo. There could be some obstructions, often causing excessive noise. After checking your hoses, reattach the clamps securely.

Check the spring that is connected to the boost controller. This spring can become worn over time, which means that maximum power is reduced. This spring can be replaced easily by following the instructions that come with it.

Inspect your oil drain line to see if it's clogged, which is a common cause for a noisy turbo. Look to see if the draining oil is thick or like sludge, which likely indicates an obstruction in the line. Simply replace the oil drain line with a part from a dealership.

Tips

  • check The most common problems with turbochargers are excessive noise, loss of power and blue exhaust smoke.
  • check While you may be able to repair some turbocharger problems yourself, it's important to know when to have a professional mechanic intervene to prevent unnecessary damage to your turbo. Learn about the various turbocharger problems and their corresponding solutions at Taylor Diesel Group (see Resources below).

Warnings

  • close Repairing a turbocharger may require at least two people because of the nature of the equipment involved.
  • close Blue smoke coming from your engine signals a repair that needs a mechanic's attention.

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About the Author

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