Turbos provide enhanced fuel economy and performance. A turbo is a basic "air pump" that pushes a volume of air into the engine, which increases the power output. This turbo "air pump" is driven by a fan located in the exhaust by a direct shaft. The more exhaust that flows, the more air is pumped into the engine. In most automotive and some other applications, a wastegate is provided which opens as pressure is increased by the "air pump". This device prevents an overboost from damaging the engine.
As air is pumped and compressed into the engine by the turbo, it rises in temperature. To reduce this problem and make the turbo more efficient, vehicle manufacturers have been adding intercoolers. An intercooler is a radiator for air and is usually located in front of, or behind the main radiator itself. To add to the life of the turbo unit, some turbos are also water-cooled by coolant system connections. This feature limits the operating temperature of the turbo to the temperature of the cooling system, thus, protecting the bearing assemble from excessive exhaust temperature.
Turbo units may obtain speeds up to 100,000 RPM's, depending on the application, so it is extremely important that a sufficient supply of clean oil always be entering the turbo while the engine is running. If for any reason, whenever the oil supply is interrupted or becomes contaminated, "good-bye turbo".
Turbo failures are mostly caused by lack of lubrication or abrasive material in the oil. Other failures occur when heavy particles enter the air stream on the suction side. Therefore, a clean air filter and ducting is necessary. Another type of failure may be caused by objects from within the engine leaving via the exhaust. This could be hard carbon, broken engine parts, manifold rust, etc.
-To prevent most failures, may we offer the following suggestions:
By following these suggestion, and practicing good driving habits, your turbo should last as long as the engine.