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Most common failures in Turbos

Do you want to know why your turbo fails? Do you know the most common turbos breakdowns? Are you curious to know in advance what problem your engine has? You have come to the right place, from Turbo3 we are specialists in Turbos and Turbo fans and we want to help you, let's do it ...

It is essential to find the cause that has caused the failure before replacing it, for that we are going to expose a series of cases in which your engine may be found:

How can a turbo go over revs?

If your Turbo goes over revs, it may break down. Some advanced vehicle owners alter the “calibration” of the turbo valve or change the valve to achieve higher blowing pressure. As a consequence, the turbo turns at higher revs. These manipulations can lead to exceeding the limits for which the turbines are designed and cause fatigue failure of the materials in the blades and even their failure.

How to fix it

You have to maintain the specifications for which the Turbo has been designed so that it works perfectly for a long time, if we do not, we waive any type of guarantee.

Why does the compressor wheel wear out due to speeding?

One of the first breakdowns to take into consideration are those related to the excess speed of the wheel due to the power of the vehicle, by boosting the engine we will make the propeller turn faster, which causes wear of the injectors and a malfunction variable geometry or its actuator (pneumatic or electronic).

How to fix it

For this we will have to see the compressor wheel from its back and we can see how it is marked with a symptom called “orange skin” which is identified by the wrinkles that the material presents on its back, this is due to stress to which the part is subjected when it is forced to rotate above its revolutions and original load These symptoms can be increased and lead to further damage to the structure of the propeller and the shaft that accompanies it, leading to excessive wear , pitted, nicked and rubbed with the shell.

How can you tell if the Turbo has been damaged by an excess of temperature of the exhaust gases, if I have never altered or modified the ignition, the carburetor or the injection pump?

The turbo is designed to be used at a maximum temperature determined by the vehicle manufacturer and the turbo manufacturer uses different materials depending on the temperature at which the turbo is going to work to achieve optimum performance.

If we use the turbo at a higher temperature than specified, a failure will occur in the medium / long term. Even if the original vehicle specifications have not been changed, all engine components wear out over time, producing changes that can increase the temperature of the exhaust gases. Routine maintenance is not enough to detect these faults in vehicles with many kilometers of use. In more modern vehicles with an electronic control unit, these faults are less common and easier to detect.v

How to fix it

It is important to carry out more exhaustive maintenance, which can avoid any future problems. At the beginning it is more expensive but in the long run we will save a lot of money.

How can the turbo have broken due to lack of oil, if the oil pressure and flow have been checked, and the turbo has been pre-lubricated?

Liquid silicone gaskets or similar are generally the cause of these failures. If they have been used in the oil ducts and galleries, any excess gasket can block a pipeline, preventing the passage of oil, causing an immediate breakdown.

How to fix it

We must avoid the use of liquid gaskets, always use the appropriate gaskets, and adjust them so that no blockages or oil restrictions occur.

When the turbo makes excessive noise or we notice a lack of power

This breakdown is usually caused by the impact or friction of some material with said propeller. Most likely it is some pieces of the old turbo that have not been removed, or some particle of material (screws, washers, valve …) that can enter from a crack in a turbo air tube. This causes wear and erosion in the intake propeller that prevents the turbo from working normally.

It can also happen that there is an absorption of its own nut, this last point occurs when the turbo is charging and there is a loss of flow or oil pressure which causes the shaft to brake when rubbing against the bushings. Said shaft rotates with a maximum load above 240,000 RPM, it is understandable that a nut that is tightened against rotation is released with said braking.

How can my turbo fail due to oil, when I change it regularly and use the best oils on the market?

The engine crankcase and breather can be contaminated by acids, solidified oil, or small particles of carbon or metal, which have accumulated over time. All of this quickly degrades and contaminates the best oil and the best filters. Acids and solidified oil also attack the interior paint or primers of the cylinder head and crankcase, which are carried away by the oil and introduced into the lubrication passages.

How to fix it

It is essential that the entire lubrication system is “clinically clean” before mounting another new or repaired turbo, keep that in mind.

Why does a new turbo often lose oil from the moment you repair it?

The carbon ring and seal system serves to keep oil within the center body, while maintaining manufacturer specifications. Thus, as the engine ages, the pressure changes, and the engine “blows.” This happens when combustion gases in the cylinder pass through the worn segments into the crankcase, creating an overpressure. This overpressure prevents the oil from coming out of the turbo and it looks for the easiest way out, which is through the turbo segments.

For the same reason, if the turbo drain tube is blocked, dirty, dented, or even the crankcase is too full (above the turbo drain), or the gasket is misplaced, the result will be the same. This can also happen when we mount a new turbo, and the above has not been revised.

How to fix it

Check engine compression and check for any leaks. A new or repaired turbo can never fix a bad engine.

When multiple turbos fail in one engine

If a turbo fails in an engine, it may be the turbo’s fault. If two turbos fail on the same engine, the cause of the failure is almost certainly not the turbo. In the event that three or more fail in the same engine, we can assure you that the cause of the failure is not the turbo.

What happens when turbo oil is dirty?

This failure is usually detected by marks or scratches on thrust parts, axle or bushings and an unusual strong fuel odor. We already know that the turbo basically works with air and oil, for this we must use appropriate oils for our turbo as advised by each brand, but not only that, we must keep the oil filters clean and with good maintenance. To prevent the oil from becoming contaminated due to lack of cleaning prior to placing the new oil, or getting carbon in the lubrication circuit. Let us remember that the tolerance between the bushings and the shaft is around 4-6 microns.

What happens when oil is missing from a turbo?

We usually notice because there are heat marks on the shafts, or remains of bushings attached to the turbo shaft. And they tend to come from poor maintenance of the air filters, inadequate oils, having the engine stopped for long periods of time, having the tubes and hoses with kinks or twisted which prevents the proper use of them, the insufficient supply of the Turbo , calcification of the oil in the central body of the turbo or calcification of solid remains that can clog passages or ducts, even the use of silicones or adhesives in the coupling of the tube drop to the crankcase.

What happens when there is excess liquid gasket at the oil inlet?

The excess of liquid gasket in the oil inlet has caused it to enter the oil passage, plugging the thrust bearing grease hole The use of liquid gaskets is completely prohibited, since when tightening the oil inlet the plate passes into the turbocharger, obstructing some of the lubrication holes, and in the exhaust, forming a film that obstructs the oil outlet. The turbo breaks due to lack of lubrication, and loses oil.

How to fix it

Remove the liquid gasket and do not use it again.

What happens when we have an excess temperature in the axis?

High shaft temperatures make the oil boil and char. This excess temperature is usually due to excess turbo rotor revolutions.

You have to check the oil, check that the viscosity and type of oil is adequate for our working conditions. Also check that it is not contaminated with water or fuel and that no additives have been added to decompose it.

It must be taken into account that the excess of revolutions may be due to different causes. The turbo may not be suitable for our application. The escape shell step has been modified, putting a smaller one, for example from 0.86 to 0.64. The turbo valve does not work and does not cut the blow in time producing excess blow and revs. In the case that the turbo has liquid cooling this does not work.

When the engine heats up, it loses power and increases the consumption of exhaust temperature

The reason is usually that the injection is out of point, clogged air filter or intercooler. The injection, the air filter, the intercooler or the lines.

Excess heat in the exhaust causes cracking and deformation of the exhaust shell, this can cause particles to be released that when hitting the shaft break it, or that when the inside of the shell where the turbine is housed is deformed, rubbing , and is destroyed (do not forget that the rotor can reach 200,000 rpm).

What happens when there is a lack of lubrication in the engine?

There can be several causes: lack of oil in the engine due to a breakdown (crankcase rupture, lack of maintenance, etc …), breakage or obstruction of the hose that sends the oil to the turbo, bad placement of the gaskets, which obstruct the oil entry, use of liquid gaskets that, when solidifying, obstruct the oil entry (the use of these is prohibited, and also invalidates the warranty). Chemical contamination that is not visible also causes these breakdowns (the most common is the mixture of water or fuel with the oil).

Check: The first thing that the level and state of viscosity of the oil is adequate, the inlet hoses and oil to the turbo, and the state and placement of the seals, and that the oil pump works and provides the proper pressure. Also that there is no breakage in the water pipes that communicate with the oil.

Symptoms: The engine loses power and produces black smoke, the turbo can make a lot of noise and when the turbine rubs on the exhaust it can turn red.
Observations: When the oil pump fails, lacks lubrication or decreases the viscosity of the oil, the first thing that fails is the turbo, which is the most delicate part of the engine, let’s not forget that the latest passenger car turbos reach 200,000 rpm, what That supposes the destruction of the turbo but it does not have.

When the turbo oil is not clean

Generally the reason is that solid particles enter the oil (carbon, metal shavings, remains of solidified liquid joints, etc …

We must check the oil, the oil filter, the oil pipes, the crankcase, check if the oil hoses are obstructed, both the supply and return lines.

This breakdown can occur when the oil is contaminated, both because it has not been changed in time, or because it is deteriorated both because it is of poor quality and because it has worked in temperature conditions for which it was not designed. It also occurs when we have had a break in the engine and we have not removed the shavings or metallic remains of the broken parts from the crankcase. Also in some engines, the turbo lubrication hose passes very close to the exhaust manifold, so that the slightest movement of the hose makes this touch or is very close to the manifold, with which the oil becomes very hot at that point. , and it becomes carbonized, first slightly blocking the passage of the oil and finally coming to interrupt it completely.

When the valve does not act

In general, when the Turbo valve does not act, it is due to a rupture of the hose that carries the pressure to the valve. It is important to check and verify that the hose does not touch any part of the engine (if this part is hot, it deforms and breaks the hose) or that the clamps that hold the hose have not produced a cut in the hose. Usually the symptoms are that the engine has more power at high revs as the valve does not cut off the turbo blast (Danger of engine breakdown).

This breakage occurs when handling the motor and not being careful, you can also forget to put the sleeve on after checking if the valve works.

What do we mean when we talk about the A / R?

The A / R is a ratio that is obtained by dividing the interior area of the turbine where the volutes are located, by the radius of the conch from the center of it to its tongue. A / R values are expressed as .35, .47, .68, .84, 1.00, 1.15, etc.

A small A / R indicates a small turbine interior volume and a large A / R indicates a larger volume.

At lower A / R the response of the motor is achieved at small revolutions per minute but at high revolutions we will not achieve enough flow. We must always find a compromise solution between obtaining the lowest possible response and having sufficient flow at high revolutions.

What is the TRIM or turbine pitch?

Each Model (T2, T3, GT15, TW91, etc …) of turbine and compressor shaft and wheel, generally have the same turbine diameter (larger diameter), but different pitches (smaller diameter). Each type of step (trim) has different blow characteristics.

TRIM values are expressed as 45, 50, 55, etc … and can only range from 0 to 100. A value of 100 means Dp is equal to Dg.

A large TRIM indicates a large turbine diameter. A TRIM of 55 gives 10% more flow than a TRIM 50. TRIM is used the same for turbines and axle as for compressor wheels. TRIM is calculated according to the following formula:

TRIM = (Dp / Dg) ² x 100
Example: If Dg = 50 mm and Dp = 35 mm
TRIM = (35/50) ² x 100 = 49

What is the recirculation valve?

The recirculation valve works by the intake air depression, between the turbo and the intake butterfly. When the intake butterfly closes and the pressure at the inlet drops, the valve opens and the air from the blow zone of the intake shell is diverted directly to the inlet, without passing through the compressor wheel. This helps prevent the compressor from crossing the fault line, for example when accelerating quickly and shifting gears, the inlet pressure and airflow drop rapidly while the turbo speed is still very high. The air we recirculate allows the compressor to avoid the break line on the compressor map. The recirculation valve is in fact a blow-off valve built into the intake shell.

Failure due to excess liquid gasket

The reason is usually the excess of liquid gasket in the oil inlet, which has caused it to enter the oil passage, plugging the thrust bearing oil hole. Important, remove the liquid gasket and do not use it again.

The use of liquid gaskets is completely forbidden, since when the oil inlet is tightened, the plate passes into the turbo, obstructing some of the lubrication holes, and in the exhaust, forming a film that obstructs the oil outlet.

TURBO3 has a workshop specialized in all types of turbos and interchange fan repairs. Do not hesitate to consult with our experts.