Faults that a turbo can have and how to fix it

The turbochargers are one of the most sophisticated engine components due his demanding work regime: they rotate at very high speeds and receive exhaust gases at high temperatures, if this is not enough , there is a big temperature difference between the turbine and the compressor. Despite all this, the design and materials used in its construction have evolved to achieve high strength and durability. Today they have spread to master the market for diesel engines.

We can conclude that the most common faults of a turbocharger are caused by lubrication. Both by lack of and poor quality of the lubricating oil used.
Another cause is the carbon deposits that block the moving parts of the variable geometry.
The third main reason is the use we give do, the “hands” of the skipper, if it makes itwork too hard when the engine is cold.

Turbo spool wear

The turbo does not use bearings because they would not brook the very high operation speeds. The shaft rotates on sliding bearings, between them should be a thin layer of lubricant that prevents chafing and wear. These caps can lose their sealing and leak. The oil is filtered to the engine intake and generates that blue smoke from the exhaust pipe that burns the oil excess. We will also notice that oil consumption increases.



Inlet of “foreign bodies” by the turbo’s admission

If you don’t install the corresponding air filter and do the proper maintenance we can get foreign bodies into the admission. These travel at high speed towards the turbine or compressor and cause cracks in the blades of variable geometry of the turbo. If the turbo breaks it may stop and stop working or continue with vibrations until it breaks completely.




Shaft gap

The wings of the turbine blades may break because the shaft is unbalanced due abrasion. The small pieces go to the cylinders and this does even greater damage. We must be aware of abnormal noises during powerboating .


Variable geometry stiff

The marine diesel engines can generate excessive cinder and this can loose control of the blowing pressure. We can detect this if the engine goes to security mode and there is an error message on the instrument panel.

Failure of the wastegate

Either due to wear or to the entry of foreign bodies by a lack of air filter or breakage or other engine parts that turbo absorbs, the membrane which drives the pressure control system can be pierced. Then the valve opens and generates irregular blowing pressure. We will notice lower engine performance, unusual noise during navigation and depending on the security system installation, a warning light turns on at the control panel .

Pressure leaks

If when  speeding the boat’s engine we notice a whistle more severe than usual, and a slight loss of power, it can be worn hoses and clamps, that have loosened or cracked by the constant changes in pressure and contact with the lubricant . It is helpful to review the status of the turbo hoses around 1000 hours for motorboats and every three years for sailboats . If we notice is not in optimal conditions we have to replace it.



Related posts

What is a turbocharger and how it works

– Tips on use and conservation of turbo engine

This post is also available in: Spanish


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