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Why correct turbocharger lubrication is important...


Turbochargers can operate at speeds of over 200 000 RPM, driven by exhaust gasses of over 950 °C. The lubricating oil provides a pressurised film of oil between all rotating components and the bearing surfaces. Any fault with the lubrication will cause premature turbocharger failure long before the engine bearings show any signs of failure.

Contaminated oil has reduced lubricating properties and contains small particles which scratch the shaft and bearing surfaces leading to rapid bearing wear and turbocharger failure. It is also important that the oil feed pipes are unblocked and clean of sludge and dirt as this may also block the narrow lubrication channels of the turbocharger bearing system.

Causes of Oil Contamination.

  • Engine wear. A high mileage engine leaves more harmful deposits in the oil than a low mileage one and needs more frequent oil changes.
  • A blocked or damaged oil filter resulting in the activation of a filter bypass system.
  • A malfunctioning oil filter bypass valve.
  • Contaminants accidently entering the oil system during servicing.

Preventing turbo failure caused by contaminated oil

Change the oil more frequently on high mileage engines.

Always use good quality oil and oil filters when changing the oil.

Clean the engine and make sure that all cloths used are free of dirt and grit.