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Qavion

Oil Leak from Turbine Housing

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I noticed a small amount of smoke emanating from the turbo on my '89 SE a few weeks ago. At first, I thought the oil feed line was leaking, so I bought a new gasket and refitted the line. No luck.

 

There was a slight oil (?) stain around one of the clamping plates which holds the turbine to the core of the turbo.

 

 

LotusTurboOilLeak002.jpg

 

 

I pulled off the plate (relatively easy as I had had the core replaced 5,000 km ago) and it was wet underneath the plate (black and gooey).

 

I don't understand how the oil got there. The bolts screw into the turbine housing, so I would have though that there was nothing but exhaust gases in that part of the turbo.

 

Does anyone have a diagram/parts breakdown of the T3 turbo? Are there some kind of oil chambers in that area?

 

Anyway, I cleaned up the plate and refitted it, but I haven't driven the car yet. The white stuff around the bolt holes is high temperature paste for sealing exhausts, but I don't think it will do any good.

 

Unfortunately, 5000 km equates to 5 years of driving for me, so it's unlikely that the turbo shop will fix it up for me for free.

 

Thanks for any insight.

Cheers

Ian.

Edited by Qavion

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Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

I have a similar issue. Im not seeing smoke from the rear but I am leaking oil from what I thought was the return pipe from underneath but have seem a small amount of oil near the infeed pipe too. I have tried a few gaskets on the return pipe but still it leaks. I had started to wondering if it was coming out from the bolts? Any way Im going to investigate mine in the next few weeeks.

 

basicT3web.jpg

 

Good luck hopefully we can get these leaks sorted.

 

Buddsy


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Thanks!

 

If that dish thingy next to item (3) is some kind of seal, perhaps this has failed.

 

There seems to be full (and rather inexpensive) T3 reconditioning/repair kits on eBay, but since the core of my turbo has been modified, I wouldn't be sure of which kit to buy.

 

I noticed that those short clamping plates/brackets are not completely flat. One side is chamfered/indented. I don't know if this is for a better fit or because of heat/pressure/vibration. I was thinking of reversing the plate to provide a better clamping pressure.

 

Those eBay kits make the job look really easy (compared to removing the turbo for access), but I guess you would need to know torque values, buy circlip pliers, buy compatible sealants, etc.

 

Cheers

Ian.

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I think those plates are a type of sprung clamp if I remember correctly. One thing I read was too high a crack case pressure could lead to the oil blowing the turbo seals. Are you feeding your crank breather to the carbs or do you have an oil catch tank fitted?

 

Buddsy


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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Are you feeding your crank breather to the carbs or do you have an oil catch tank fitted?

 

 

I'm not sure if this is applicable to my car (no carbs). I vaguely remember reading something about oil catch tanks, but I'm not sure what they do.

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Basically when your engine runs there is some pressure from the combustion gets past the rings and gets into the other side of the engine. If this crank case pressure gets too much it can push out your dipstick and expel the oil from the dipstick tube. As standard I think most cars take this pressure away from the crank case but fitting a feed to your air intake pipe so you feed this oily gas/air mixture through the engine. The downside is you can get un-metered  oil vapours which can lower the octane. Some people fit an oil catch tank which allows the oil/gas to condensate and be emptied periodically. If this has pipes too small or becomes blocked the old oil dipstick tube gusher can take place.

 

Buddsy


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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There should be a green crank case breather fitted to alleviate that pressure? 

 

CrankcaseBreather_14.jpg


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Thanks guys. I checked the filter about 5000km ago, so it should be ok.

 

I'll probably need to remove the turbo to have it fixed up. Looks like I'd have to remove the impellor to get the dog dish (heatshield) off, and this is beyond me (the impellor would probably have to be rebalanced).

 

Just looking at replacement exhaust gaskets and wondering what the relative merits of the various kinds are. The standard is a simple pressed stainless plate, but this one from Demon Motorsport looks interesting (metal/carbon sandwich, but is it stainless?)

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Garrett-T3-T32-T34-T35-T38-GT30-GT35-GT35R-Turbo-To-Manifold-Gasket-4-Bolt-/370669224183?pt=UK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM&hash=item564d9b80f7

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hmmm.... Called the guys who re-cored the turbo previously and they said what was happening wasn't possible... If I took it back to them, they would just replace the standard components (probably using a $100 eBay kit and charge me the fixed servicing price of $850). He said that they were just workshop guys, they don't diagnose problems.

 

I checked the one-way valve in the crankcase breather line and that was fine (had to take off the chargecooler to get access). The green crankcase breather, which is just a filter, will require a lot more dismantling (too many pipes in the way).

 

At this point I'm open to suggestions :help:

Edited by Qavion

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Not sure if it works the same as my carb turbo but if you disconnect the pipe that goes from that green breather back into the airfilter and then plug the hole into the airbox you end up venting any crankcase pressure to atmosphere. Some of us have made this mod which isnt really permitted as oil can get onto the road surface. |However if your engine is in good condition all that should come out of that pipe is a bit of vapour and not much else. If you find it is puffing almost exhaust out and an amount of oil it is a good indicator that all is not well with the car.

 

Before I rebuilt my engine the muck and fumes being chucked out of the breather pipe was astonishing and presumably if this is happening it may explain why turbo oil seals are knackering. 

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ugh.... looks like I caused the problem. When I had the turbo re-cored with roller bearings, I didn't realise that the oil restrictor needed to be smaller for this type (and refitted the old one).

 

If I haven't already knackered the seals (after 5000km of running like this), what size restrictor should I fit? I hear it's based on oil pressure and bearing type. The Garret website says this.

 

Oil pressure entering a ball-bearing turbocharger needs to be between 40 psi and 45 psi at the maximum engine operating speed. For many common passenger vehicle engines, this generally translates into a restrictor with a minimum of 0.040" diameter orifice upstream of the oil inlet on the turbocharger center section. Again, it is imperative that the restrictor be sized according to the oil pressure characteristics of the engine to which the turbo is attached. Always verify that the appropriate oil pressure is reaching the turbo. The use of an oil restrictor can (but not always) help ensure that you have the proper oil flow/pressure entering the turbocharger, as well as extract the maximum performance.

 
D'oh
 
Suggestions welcome.
 
Cheers
Ian.
 

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Brilliant! Thanks.

 

I spent a day looking for locally made adaptors for off-the-shelf 1mm restrictors. I needed up to 3 parts, which were way too long.

 

Ramspott-Brandt's is perfect.

 

Cheers

Ian.   

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Hello Ian,

 

Please be carefull with fitting random restrictors on the oil feed.

It is correct that ball-bearings require less oil than floating bearings.

But the company that has converted your chra in the first place should know the exact dimension of restriction.

 

Also if there has being excess oil in your bearing housing, check the complete system and oil out hose, 

as remaning residue can result in a new failure within short time.

 

As for the balance, if the unit is not balanced on the compressor nut, mark the orientation of the

compressor wheel relative to the turbine and you should be fine with assembling it back. 

 

Cheers


VAN DER LEE Turbo Systems     -      www.vdlee.com

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But the company that has converted your chra in the first place should know the exact dimension of restriction.

 

 

Ah... I wish I had the same confidence in their abilities. They kept telling me to go to a third party for this kind of information. The specialists they recommended didn't even have adaptors for my car.

 

Anyway, thanks for the tips : )

 

Cheers

Ian.

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Still waiting for the adaptor from Ramspott and Brandt, but it should be here soon.

 

(Mr?) Jaap, I thought a bit more about buying a repair kit and doing it myself, but I don't know what kind of kit I need (I'm not sure what kind of core has been fitted and after 5 years, I'm sure the turbo reconditioning company won't know either). If the car continues to smoke after the new restrictor has been fitted, I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and send the turbo back to the reconditioning people.

 

Also if there has being excess oil in your bearing housing, check the complete system and oil out hose, 

as remaning residue can result in a new failure within short time.

 

 

I'm not sure I understand. Can bearing parts break and enter the oil system? Surely turbo bearings are metal to resist the high temperatures?

 

Thanks

Cheers

Ian.

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Yes bearing parts can break and enter the oil system. But I don't think that's the case.

Looking at the failure mode you are having, there is sludge built-up in the bearing housing.

This can also build up in the oil return pipe. If this gets clogged up you will have the problem over and over again.

 

In your case, a quick cleaning and rebuild might be sufficient, but I think it would be better to let a expert do this.

as they know what to do and what to look for. Also they should have the replacement parts if required.

 

I'm a MHI Turbocharger specialist myself, but yours seems to be a Garrett. Which was rebuild at one time,

looking at the small weld on the wastegate bushing. Best company I know in the UK, is Owen Developments.

Ask for Lee Owen.

 

If you speek to him, send him my regards.

 

Best regards

Jaap van der Lee


VAN DER LEE Turbo Systems     -      www.vdlee.com

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