How to save your turbocharger

How to save your turbocharger

This is a discussion on How to save your turbocharger within the DIY How To Section forums, part of the RAM 1500 Diesel Garage - RAM 1500 Diesel Mechanics Corner category; Just a quick thread on some things that will help extend the life of your turbocharger. Seeing how a turbocharger is so integral with the ...

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Thread: How to save your turbocharger

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    RAM Jr Member freedomintheskies's Avatar
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    How to save your turbocharger

    Just a quick thread on some things that will help extend the life of your turbocharger.

    Seeing how a turbocharger is so integral with the performance your diesel engine, there are a few things you can do to help extend it's useful life. Like any part, they can wear out and fail, so what can you do to prevent this from happening?
    How to save your turbocharger-turbo_cutaway5.jpg

    The biggest killer of turbos' is heat. Yes, they are directly in the path of scorching heat and that's actually one of the things that make them work. Hot air has more volume than cold, so a turbocharger uses hot exhaust gasses that have expanded in volume due to the heat of the combustion process within the engine to spin the turbine wheel at extremely high speed. Since the turbine is on a common shaft with the compressor impeller, it results in increased airflow (boost pressure) to increase the volumetric efficiency of the engine and ultimately to build more horsepower.

    1. Use good oil. Synthetic engine oil will maintain it's viscosity better than conventional oils and is more resistant to coking (not the kind for your nose, but the crusty carbon that is created when the oil reaches higher temperatures than it is designed for). When the bearing lubrication cavity becomes coked, it reduces the flow of life sustaining oil to the turbo bearings.
    How to save your turbocharger-3336488663_dfebc7c11e.jpg


    2. Be cool- Proper cool downs are essential for long turbo life. A couple minutes of idling will go a long way in coolant and oil flow within the turbo housing. This will minimize heat soaking after engine shutdown and will allow the oil to lubricate the bearings as the turbo spools down when the engine stops (and the oil flow stops). I checked my turbo temperatures after shutdown today and found that when I shut the engine down with a turbo temperature of 300F, within 1 minute, the turbo temp increased to 371F. Imagine what would happen if you shut down when the turbo was at 800 or 900 degrees! You might see temperatures of well over 1000 degrees! Keep in mind that your turbo is also cooled by engine antifreeze. It will boil off at about 265 degrees, so once this happens, the coolant will boil off and create pressure in the cooling system, which will be vented, but the main concern is the coolant will not be there to help cool the turbo and the temps will soar.
    How to save your turbocharger-4-359259-6b56f8c07e86106351e05e6-750-470-0-0.jpg

    3. Use a cool down timer. Life is hectic, so if you can't sit in your truck for the 2 minutes it takes to allow for a proper cool down, a timer will do it for you. They are certainly cheaper than a replacement turbo.
    How to save your turbocharger-11420d1448291806-turbo-bad-turbo-chart.jpg


    4. Foot to the floor- Equals high exhaust temperatures, which will, over time cause erosion (gas cutting) of the turbine wheel and inlet guide vanes. These engines can see EGT's of over 1450F, so imagine a red hot poker spinning at over 160 000 RPM. Yeah, just crazy! So keep your foot off the floor and save yourself some fuel and the turbo.
    How to save your turbocharger-2014-ram-1500-front-three-quarter-002.jpg

    Anyways, keep those turbos happy and enjoy your investment. Feel free to chime in with other ideas...
    Last edited by freedomintheskies; 10-04-2017 at 06:45 AM.
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    RAM Diamond Member Captainmal's Avatar
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    All points make sense and to some degree are practiced by most all owners. The oil type is really not an issue as what is specified is an all-synthetic oil. Cool-down is a bit of common sense. It's just that many are not in common with reality and will argue it's not necessary. Makes sense to me that even some seconds at idle, out-of-load, would help cool the coolant for the turbo. High rpm is crazy for any street engine. Real racers race on the track where they are mostly paid to race and expect to destroy their equipment.

    Good thoughts all.
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    If you wrestle with a pig you'll both get dirty and the pig loves it. .

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    RAM Jr Member freedomintheskies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captainmal View Post
    All points make sense and to some degree are practiced by most all owners. The oil type is really not an issue as what is specified is an all-synthetic oil. Cool-down is a bit of common sense. It's just that many are not in common with reality and will argue it's not necessary. Makes sense to me that even some seconds at idle, out-of-load, would help cool the coolant for the turbo. High rpm is crazy for any street engine. Real racers race on the track where they are mostly paid to race and expect to destroy their equipment.

    Good thoughts all.
    Hi Captainmal,
    Thanks for your comments.
    I was thinking of towing and not so much about racing. - I shamelessly grabbed pix from the internet to aid in describing the conditions spoken to in the post.
    The post is just put out there for those who are new to turbo-diesels or who may otherwise gain insight from the post.

    Cheerz!
    Captainmal and Sasquatchilly like this.

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    RAM Guru Henfield's Avatar
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    Been running turbo powered vehicles for over 15 years. Much of what you say I honestly donít think is relevant any more. Oils have improved dramatically in that time. Oil changes remain the best insurance for a healthy power plant. Cover 40,000 mikes a year and yet to have a turbo failure, and engine failure or a transmission failure.


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    RAM Jr Member freedomintheskies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henfield View Post
    Been running turbo powered vehicles for over 15 years. Much of what you say I honestly don’t think is relevant any more. Oils have improved dramatically in that time. Oil changes remain the best insurance for a healthy power plant. Cover 40,000 mikes a year and yet to have a turbo failure, and engine failure or a transmission failure.


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    Hi Henfield,
    Yes, I agree that oils have come a long way. I just created the post as an info type thing for those who may wish to be preventive maintenance minded.
    Being an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, I'll take the extra precautions. On turbine engines there are specific cool down tables and lube specs that are strictly adhered to in order to prevent failures.
    I suppose that at the end of the day, it's our own decision on how to treat our trucks.
    Cheerz.

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    RAM Guru Henfield's Avatar
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    My prevention is halving the atf fluid change interval. I also do all maintenance at home base rather than losing time on the road. Plenty of times Iíve changed the oil early.
    I have a low tolerance for breakdowns. Pilots do to.
    Fwiw last breakdown was 6 years ago when a two year old radiator suffered internal failure and became blocked. We first thought head gasket but that was fine. Some things you canít stop from happening.


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    RAM Sr Member BillF6531's Avatar
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    Since I installed an Edge CTS, I monitor EGT1 and shut down when it drops below 350*F. I've never timed it - just a guess prior to the Edge. I see EGT1 well above 350*F if I pull in directly off of the highway to fuel up or stop for coffee.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henfield View Post
    Been running turbo powered vehicles for over 15 years. Much of what you say I honestly don’t think is relevant any more. Oils have improved dramatically in that time. Oil changes remain the best insurance for a healthy power plant. Cover 40,000 mikes a year and yet to have a turbo failure, and engine failure or a transmission failure.


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    This could be true but turbo's are EXPENSIVE! Anything to help with the longevity for your turbo is a good idea. I always let mine cool down after towing for at least 5 minutes. During the daily drives not so much- but it certainly wouldn't hurt. ( if I just could remember to do it !)
    Do not rule out working with your hands, but it does not preclude using your head.

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    MAS
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    I believe GDE or someone had a bit about turbo cool down and I think they said other than from heavy towing/hwy to stop and turn off there wasn't really a reason to let it idle to cool off. If I'm towing ill let it idle 30 seconds or so before I shut it down, but in my every day driving I am on the highway and then have a mile or two of 30 mph streets before my house then I roll down a 100 yards of driveway and figure its cooled enough when I stop to shut it down.

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    RAM Ninja Perrysburg Dodgeboy's Avatar
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    Yep no need to do a cool down unless you are running hard or towing and jump off the highway to fuel. If you drive more then a mile to get to the station you are as cool as the turbo will ever get.
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