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post #16 of (permalink) Old 24th August 2005
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It's worth bearing in mind there are some things you can do yourself to minimise the risk of turbo failure. A lot of people don't know the procedure for starting and stopping a turbo engine.

As a turbo 's bearings are oil fed from the engine sump, the oil drains back to the sump when the engine is stopped. So when you start the engine you should let it idle for about 30 seconds to allow the oil time to get up to the turbo bearings. If you drive off straight away and have the turbo spinning then you risk starving the bearings of oil .

Similarly, when in use a turbo can be spinning up to 100,000 rpm. If you stop the engine straight away the free spinning turbo vanes can still be spinning, but starved of oil for a few seconds after you've stopped the engine.

So before you stop the engine, you should again allow the engine to idle for approx 30 seconds, to let the turbo spin down before turning the engine off (which will lose the oil pressure and allow the oil to drain away back into the sump).

I make sure I do it religiously to my car (no guarantee the previous owner did, but it all helps), and did to my previous turbo car.

I tend to try to let the engine revs die down and don't give it loads of throttle for the last quarter of a mile before I know I'm going to park up. This should ensure the turbo is spinning minimally, so it's safe to stop the engine when you stop.

Turbos do make a whistling noise, that's normal. A way you can check for wear is to take off the air intake hose where it attaches to the turbo and get hold of the shaft in the centre of the turbo vanes (engine stopped obviously), and see if there's any side to side play. There shouldn't be any, as they have very tight tolerances.

I've changed turbos that have had bearings, so badly worn that the turbo vanes had been catching the turbo casing (not on cars, on heavy vehicles).

The first thing I do is start the engine, and let if idel while I put my seat belt on, turn on the CD etc, and make stopping it the last thing I do after I've turned the other stuff off. That should help prolong the life of your turbo , just make sure it's never starved of oil .

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