Turbocharger Longevity?

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191
Location
NC
Thread starter
I have two turbocharged cars. One with about 150K on the turbo the other is approaching 100K. Both vehicles get whatever synthetic oil is on sale in the proper viscosity and at reasonable OCI. Neither car is driven hard and rarely see max boost. Use mostly Shell high test gas. I have never had to change a turbo. I know they are expensive and in the case of the Saab with the exhaust close to the firewall, difficult to remove/replace. So how long should they reasonably last?
 
Messages
16,675
Location
NH
They should last a long time. I don't think anyone proactively replaces a turbo, at least not until something gives up. I have had only one turbo motor, and the turbo lasted 255k before the shaft snapped--I got lucky as it could have sent shrapnel into the motor.
 
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10,426
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
We had an E-350 Ford 7.3 PSD make it to over 600K on the original turbo, I've personally taken a 6.0 PSD VV turbo past 250K. It's all about using good oil, keeping it clean and changed, and not shutting down hot & coking it. Big miles can be done, turbos got a bad rap in olden days because uneducated gasoline car drivers abused them with inferior Grp. 1 oil & destroyed them.
 
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3,649
Location
Worst Case, Ontario
Originally Posted by bullwinkle
Big miles can be done, turbos got a bad rap in olden days because uneducated gasoline car drivers abused them with inferior Grp. 1 oil & destroyed them.
Prevalence of better oils, but also water cooling. Auxiliary water pumps/evaporative cooling made a turbo vehicle viable as a DD for someone who is late for work all the time. 1980-2000 gave them a bad reputation, but even work trucks have turbocharged motors getting beat every day now. My old 2003 1.8T Jetta burned more oil than any car I have ever seen. I found a bottle of Petro Canada 5W30 dino and the oil pump screen was pretty clogged when I changed the pickup when I bought the car. It had a water cooled turbo, but the 1.8T is notorious for being hard on oil and I'm pretty sure the PO damaged the turbo running junk dino. Any car can be trashed by a clueless owner, turbo or not.
 
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148
Location
Greenville, NC
I also have two cars with turbos i let them idle some to give the turbos time to slow down and to cool down before i shut the engine off. Turbos can be spinning 100,000 RPMS and when you shut the engine off you cut the oil supply off also.
 
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22,095
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
Originally Posted by rooflessVW
Basically forever. At least double your current mileage. Unless one fails randomly, which you can't predict or prepare for.
This.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,787
Location
The Motor City
Originally Posted by tdi jerry
Turbos can be spinning 100,000 RPMS and when you shut the engine off you cut the oil supply off also.
True. Worst case scenario is to pull to the side of a high speed freeway and immediately shut the engine off. The turbo is still spinning pretty good. Good way to wipe out the bearing.
 
Messages
3,189
Location
Ca.
Even with regular servicing it's a crapshoot how long it will last. The super light auto units are not the equivalent of the big diesel rigs. "Forever" in my case was 36K. I had a turbo come apart at 36K on my sprinter. Filled the intake tract with metal. Glad It was still under warranty..... UD
 
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Messages
1,408
Location
RI
We have a 6.7 powerstroke in our fleet with 21,000 hours on the original turbo. Also have a 6.0 PSD with over 17000 hours on original turbo. Bottom line is with proper maintenance they last a very long time. If you have it at full boost often and for long periods of time that puts more stress on the bearing though.
 
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Messages
3,189
Location
Ca.
Originally Posted by mattd
We have a 6.7 powerstroke in our fleet with 21,000 hours on the original turbo. Also have a 6.0 PSD with over 17000 hours on original turbo. Bottom line is with proper maintenance they last a very long time. If you have it at full boost often and for long periods of time that puts more stress on the bearing though.
I'm inclined to believe that full boost for long periods is less detrimental than constant heat cycling. Vehicles that operate for long periods of time until high loads have fewer turbo failures in general. At 36 K my benz was 5 years old and was heat cycled approximately 5-7 times a day 5-6 days a week 50 weeks a year.. Thats 36 x 50 X 5 years is 9000 hot cold cycles on the compressor. Ive had many turbocharged vehicle and this is the first problem Ive had. The vehicle was maintained at Keyes Mercedes in Van Nuys under their VIP warranty program so any claim of under, or improper maintenance is baseless. UD
 
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Messages
191
Location
NC
Thread starter
Many years ago Road&Track magazine in their 'tech tidbits' section answered this question that 'turbos are a normal maintenance item ~60K miles'. That made me shy away from turbos for years. Guess the techies at R&T didn't know much then.
 
Messages
225
Location
USA
The original turbocharger in my Saab 9000 was replaced by the previous owner somewhere north of 200,000 miles. Car currently has over 350,000 miles and it's still OK. I do let the engine idle for a while after doing high-speed driving to let the turbo spin down a bit.
 
Messages
549
Location
st louis, mo
Originally Posted by Passport1
Many years ago Road&Track magazine in their 'tech tidbits' section answered this question that 'turbos are a normal maintenance item ~60K miles'. That made me shy away from turbos for years. Guess the techies at R&T didn't know much then.
That could have been correct "many years ago". 210k miles so far on my Volvo S40 T5 and no turbo issues... Watercooling seems to have greatly improved turbo longevity...
 
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10,257
Location
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted by Passport1
Many years ago Road&Track magazine in their 'tech tidbits' section answered this question that 'turbos are a normal maintenance item ~60K miles'. That made me shy away from turbos for years. Guess the techies at R&T didn't know much then.
Like 1950's? My friend still has Audi quattro from 1980's with original turbo charger and God knows how many miles.
 
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947
Location
Suomi
My Hilux have over 300k km on the orginal turbo... my co workers Skoda Octavia with the 1.9 Tdi had over 500 k km on the orginal turbo before he sold the car
 
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