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Turbo Care & Rebuild
By Mike Bumbeck/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyDifficult
Estimated Time300 minutes
300 minutes
In the Balance
The price of a new replacement turbocharger can be staggering. If the turbocharger failure is of the normal wear and not the exploded in a screeching underhood grenade variety then rebuilding may be an option. The bad news is that rebuilding a turbocharger is beyond the scope of most home do-it-yourselfers. Disassembly and inspection might be possible but any machining and balancing requires both specialized machinery and experience. The good news is that there are professionals to handle the job. A turbocharger rebuilt with fresh bearings and seals can live on to serve for many miles at considerably less cost than a new replacement unit. A special thanks goes out to Performance Techniques for letting us follow along with the camera for this turbocharger rebuild.
Step 1 - The turbocharger is disassembled. Oil can become so hot inside a turbocharger that it cooks and leaves carbon behind. The carbon then clogs oil passages and restricts oil flow. Restricted oil flow is very bad news to the turbocharger.
A Disassembled Turbocharger
Step 2 - Parts are cleaned and inspected. Measuring of inside housing diameters and outside shaft diameters will determine which parts can be reused and which need replacement. Cracked exhaust housings are an item that will require replacement.
Measure the Inside Housing Diameters and the Outside Shaft Diameters
Step 3 - Balance is everything. Even the slightest bit of imbalance can cause a turbocharger assembly to come apart - or grenade. The compressor and turbine wheels are balanced individually and then the entire assembly is balanced.
Balance is Crucial
Step 4 - The turbocharger cartridge is assembled with new bearings and seals. The shaft spins on a thin layer of oil just like the crankshaft in an engine. Worn bearings cause excessive shaft play. Oil can escape past the seals. Clouds of blue smoke on boost could explain where all that oil is going.
The Turbocharger Cartridge is Assembled with New Bearings and Seals
Step 5 - The turbocharger cartridge is put back in between the hot and cold side housings. With assembly complete the wastegate actuator is pressure checked to see if it opens the internal wastegate at the correct pressure.
The Turbocharger Cartridge is Put Back in Between the Hot and Cold Side Housings
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