5 Reasons for Diesel Engine Turbo Failures

The invention of the turbocharger has paved the way for diesel engines to make full use of energy that otherwise would be wasted discharging through the truck’s exhaust system. The function of the turbo is to channel energy from the exhaust back into the engine for improved power. Because the turbocharger is a critical component of the engine, turbocharger failure may mean engine failure is not far behind. Here are 5 reasons why turbochargers fail:

  • Oil Starvation. Undoubtedly the most common reason for turbocharger failures is the presence of problems in engine lubrication. If you have oil starvation this can lead to turbo failure and catastrophic engine damage.
  • Oil Contamination. This could result from a poor-quality oil filter. Foreign particles or contaminates can get lodged in the turbocharger and other oil passageways.
  • Foreign Object Entry. Debris entering through damaged CAC piping and hoses can destroy impeller blades.
  • Restricted Airflow and Boost Leaks. This problem is often seen when a new turbocharger is fitted into the engine, when CAC piping and hoses are not reinstalled properly, or when clamps fail.
  • Engine Wear. The high temperatures and speeds involved can be hard on a turbo. The turbo and its vanes may seize or become unresponsive to engine commands. Operators may experience a loss of power or inability to perform a regen.

There are many little things that you can do to make your turbocharger last longer.  One of the simplest things to do for preventive maintenance is to check your oil and fluid levels regularly.

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JT replacing both turbos, with the guidance of a senior technician (not shown), on an International DuraStar 4300, with a Maxxforce 7 engine.

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