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Diagnosing Turbo Problems

Created on 2019-02-01 by ipd Staff, Last Updated on 2019-04-04

*** Disclaimer; Direct from IPD’s Tech Tip archive!  This tech tip contains information from previous publications.  Products mentioned may not be available or the information may not be accurate due to changes in supply, manufacturing, or part number association.  Please contact IPD Customer Support if you have further questions info@ipdusa.com

Diagnosing Turbo Problems

Symptoms of a failing turbo include blue/white smoke from the tailpipe during acceleration, screeching sounds during acceleration, and reduced boost output.

Smoke from the turbo can be caused by several problems. the most common is worn bearings and seals in the turbo that allow oil to escape from the center section into the intake or exhaust. Blue smoke indicates that the compressor seal is leaking as the oil ends up in the intake system and is burned. You'll see white or very light blue smoke when the turbine seal leaks and oil ends up vaporizing in the catalytic converter. These fail-ures indicate that the turbo center section needs to be replaced. If the bearings are allowed to wear to the point that the turbo screeches (blade contact), it can no longer be rebuilt using a cartridge kit.

A clogged air filter can also cause blue smoke. If the engine can't pull enough air through the filter, a vacuum will form on the compressor side and suck oil past the compressor seal into the intake tract.

Change the air filter annually or more often if used in severe conditionser common problem is caused- by a clogged crankcase breather  oil back up through the turbo drain pipe and oil will quickly begin to leak past the seals. If your Volvo is smoking under load but shows good compression, then  've probably got a severely clogged air filter or crankcase breather system. If your car continues to smoke after repairing problems of this type be aware that the car may continue to smoke for 30 minutes to an hour after repairs as oil accumulated in the intercooler, intake system and exhaust is slowly burned off. We recommend draining the intercooler to remove oil that may have collected in it. Also, the catalytic converter may have been damaged due to oil contamination. If you are in doubt of the cat's con-dition, have a back pressure test performed by a capable shop.


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