Many vehicle owners and workshops have little knowledge of turbochargers and the correct procedure in troubleshooting and identifying the problems and true causes of turbo failures, so it is advisable to get expert advice from officially trained personnel. This is invariably from the company that holds the official agency for all the brands of turbochargers installed as original equipment OE into the vehicle. The OE turbocharger fitted to your vehicle when it was displayed on the showroom floor can be replaced, at approximately 50% less than the vehicle agents charge for the identical unit. The out-of-warranty vehicle will arrive at the workshop and several things could happen:
1. The turbo is replaced at high cost, without checking what caused the turbo to fail in the first place. Without an accurate diagnosis, the turbo problem could well still exist with the replacement of the new unit, causing another expensive failure.
2. Without an accurate diagnosis of the failure, the turbo could be repaired with replacement parts, without the correct experience, knowledge and equipment. This could be a recipe for disaster, leading to another failed turbocharger and/or engine, intercooler and related sensors in its path should the turbocharger fail catastrophically.
3. The owner will find a new cheap knock-off turbo which is manufactured to incorrect tolerances and/or materials which will not last another service life, costing more money in the short term. Often these turbochargers do not include any form of warranty and where warranty claims are processed, the result is a ‘report’ claiming dirty oil, foreign object damage, or lack of lubrication. Never have we seen a warranty being honoured by the knock-off importers, due to their extreme lack of knowledge about turbochargers in the first place.
4. Other bad options are fitting a reconditioned/service exchange unit which has not been reassembled with genuine parts. Or the unit has been sand blasted and your old parts have been sold back to you. This is in essence what a service exchange turbocharger consists of. In the case of variable nozzle turbine (VNT) turbochargers, TurboDirect SA has direct access to genuine VNT parts direct from the manufacturer, guaranteeing you the very same part replacement as used in the first part fitted to your new vehicle. The equipment and intellectual property related to the calibration of these types of turbochargers are not published in the public domain, so no original repair parts are available for the repair of these turbos. This includes 99% of the diesel-powered passenger vehicles and bakkies on our roads today. We have invested in the most advanced electronic test benches in the world, including our own in-house manufactured test rigs, which are able to provide critical operational information about the turbocharger, which we utilise in all VNT repairs we conduct. This makes the difference between a reliable, renewed service life and another expensive turbocharger failure.
5. Some turbo repairers may use Chinese copied internal parts inside the turbocharger to repair/recon or build a service exchange turbocharger. Beware of repaired, service exchange turbochargers for passenger vehicles utilising any form of variable geometry technology.
The solution is to obtain the correct technical information from the officially appointed importers and agents for the specific turbocharger. Ensure that the diagnosis of the failure is obtained from qualified persons with the correct technical expertise and ability before proceeding any further. This diagnosis will determine the path to rectifying the problem and may involve additional work to the engine prior to repair or replacement.
“Many turbo car owners make these mistakes and it ends up costing them a fortune and their vehicle’s engine may consequentially be damaged through a turbo failure,” said Chris Kambouris, founder, owner and MD of TurboDirect SA. “Our company has the technical knowledge and the qualified diagnostic ability to offer all these services. We will accurately diagnose the problem and give a full report. We can do all repairs at very affordable prices and all work is supported by the manufacturer’s guarantee on both product and workmanship, as we are the official agents for all the genuine turbochargers for southern Africa.”
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