Trouble Shooting

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All too frequently, serviceable turbochargers are removed from engines before the cause of the problem has been determined. Always inspect and assess turbocharger condition before removal from the engine.

Should removal of the turbo become necessary, try to determine if the connections were tight and without leaks while you are removing the hoses, clamps or connections. Once disassembly has been completed, it may be difficult or impossible to substantiate the conditions that caused the problem.

Problems experienced in the field can most often be corrected by system troubleshooting. Immediate or early failure of a replacement turbocharger may be related to:

  1. The incomplete correction of the problem that caused the need for the replacement.
  2. Problems introduced during the replacement.
  3. Rarely, a defective turbocharger.

A turbocharger that has operated successfully is very unlikely to be found defective at a later date. Speed and temperature normally seen in turbocharger operation usually identify defects very quickly. Installation or engine system problems can also show up immediately upon replacement.

It should be emphasized that a turbocharger does not basically change the operating characteristics of an engine. A turbocharger is not a power source within itself. The turbocharger�s only function is to supply a greater volume of compressed air to the engine so that more fuel can be burned to produce more power. It can function only as dictated by the flow, pressure and temperature in the engine exhaust gas.

Turbochargers are an integral component of a complete operating system. Only by convenience is a turbo external or "bolt-on" in installation. It is no less dedicated than an engine�s camshaft or pistons. Understanding how a turbocharger is part of a complete engine management system is essential in successfully diagnosing and repairing problems. Likewise, a better understanding of some of a turbocharger�s features can be helpful when determining that a turbo is damaged or defective, and installing it correctly the first time, every time.

Verify that the turbocharger is the correct configuration for the application. Assembly and component part numbers may both need attention. This is particularly important because the "matching" process requires subtle component differences. Part number checks are necessary because some of the possible discrepancies will not be apparent to the untrained eye.

A turbocharger cannot correct or overcome such things as malfunctions or deficiencies in the engine fuel system, timing, plugged air cleaners, faulty liners, etc. Therefore, if a turbocharged engine system has malfunctioned and the turbocharger has been examined and determined to be operational, proceed with troubleshooting as though the engine were non-turbocharged. Simply replacing a good turbocharger with another will not correct basic engine deficiencies.

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