Turbo Life

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Dec 31, 2017
SE British Columbia, Canada
I was participating in another forum and the life limit of turbos in gas engines came up. How about if we report in at 100,000 miles and 150,000 miles etc to tell the others what oil you used (synthetic or dino) and what weight you used. The brand too if you were consistent with that. If there already is a data base please let me know. SF popcorn
Her Volvo's turbo is original with ~170k and has been on a M1 0w40 diet for about 3 years. I am finally starting to not see any sludge deposits in the filter pleats. Oil changes 1 and 2 were the worst. (The turbo is water cooled btw.) Before that, it was Maxlife blend 5w30 at the dealer every 3k.
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My wife's 96 850 Volvo turbo wagon's turbo was in excellent shape until the car was totaled in an accident at just under 200K. There were zero indications of any unusual wear, no sludge, and only routine maintenance. I used Red Line 5w-30 on 5K intervals with Mobil 1 oil filters.
My cruze has 86k and is the 1.4 turbo. It had m1 syn for the first 80k every 6-7k miles and i bought it 81k. Ive been using penz euro 0-40. I imangine the turbo will last just as long as the motor in my cruze. Only major problem it had was the pcv was replaced at 60k. The pcv is built in the intake manifold so its a 400$ pcv.
2013 Cruze 1.4T, 109K, Valvoline Synpower @ 5K intervals for over 80K of that. One change at the dealership, all done by 6,000 mi., one interval of Schaeffer's 9000, and two of M1. If the turbo lasts past 200K I'll be happy. I'd like to see the rest of the engine go well past 300K. Only thing not original (except plugs and filters, of course) under the hood is the water inlet. PCV, water pump, thermostat, battery, clutch, serp. belt all still going. But I suppose that's what happens when you don't short-trip the dickens out of a car, put 89 octane in a "technically" 87 engine and change better-than-spec oil at 2/3 the recommended interval.
2004 VW Passat, 186,000 km and turbo is still fine and fun. Steady diet of Kendall GT1 5W40, but have been using Canadian Tire full synthetic 5W40 for last year - no issues.
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My 97 A4 1.8t was at 150k on original turbo, and I flashed it at 50k. Oil changes every 5k since i bought it at 40k, varying weights depending on where i worked. Had a turbo timer that idled the car for 1 minute after shutoff, dont know how much of an affect it had. The best Ive seen was an 07 A4 with 250k on it, original turbo still boosting, but did have underboost faults if he pushed it too much. He went the full interval on oil, but his commute was almost 110 miles a day all highway.
All four turbochargers on my cars (one per Volvo, two for the Mercedes) are original. MB S600. 96,000 miles. Mobil 1 0W40. 10,000 miles/annual change (whichever comes first) Volvo V70T5. 192,000 miles Mobil 1 0W40 7,500 miles/ annual change (whichever comes first) Volvo XC70. 229,000 miles. Pennzoil platinum 5W30 7,500 miles Note: all of the cars were used. All were run exclusively on synthetic since I bought them. The Mercedes used M1 0w40 only. The Volvos have had Castrol 0W30, Mobil 1 0W30, M1 5W40 TDT, M1 0W40 Euro, Pennzoil Ultra Euro 5W40, Ultra Euro 5W30, and Platinum 5W30. They’ve all been changed at the factory-recommended interval. My recommendations for long turbo life: good oil, changed on time. Idle for the first 30 seconds. Drive slowly/low RPM for the first minute. Drive slowly/low RPM for the last two minutes. My wife’s commute allows for just that type of driving, which ensures good oil flow to the turbo on start and sufficient cooldown time.
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2011 F150 3.5 Ecoboost. 111k miles. Turbo’s still fine. First 40k or so PUP, then switched to Castrol Edge 0w40. FL 500s filters exclusively. Intervals were 5k, then went to 4K OCIs, then after the Edge went to holding up so well back to 6k intervals. Runs like new: quiet, fast and 17-19 mpg. Original everything except plugs, air filter and vacuum pump. First service on trans @ 110k - new filter and fluid. I suspect the turbos will put the long block in its grave.
My '13 F150 3.5 Ecoboost was fine @147k when I traded it in. Castrol syntech, then Magnetec 5/30 at 9500 oci's. Turbo failure is not a big issue.
Not having a turbo means there will never ever be turbo problems . Most turbo problems are from lack of maintenance and improper operation.
There are plenty of diesels that have racked up hundreds of thousands of miles on a turbo. Turbos have been prevalent in Europe for a long time. I want to say the 3000GT VR-4 my brother had was around 150k when it was sold (it was definitely much higher than 100k) - original turbos.
I don't see turbo failure at all these days...turn of the century I would see 3 or 3 a year. No turbo timers these days, they were a bit of a fad. My Volvo has done 217,000km on all sorts of oil and oil change periods, and the turbo is probably just fine.
If we are adding diesels in, my '02 7.3 had 304k on it when it was stolen. Rotella T 15/40.
Turbos are the one application that "proves" the value of full Synthetics, that's about all you need to do to get long life with a fuel-injected OEM setup, assuming reasonable maintenance.
Concerning the turbo bearing failure issue, XOM says turbos can get to 400 degF, which sounds similar to ring & cylinder wall temperature. Pistons can get very carboned-up after 100,000 miles or so at those temperatures. Therefore, unless the turbo is very effectively water-cooled and oil flow rate is adequate, coking can be a problem. As one example, Ford Ecoboost engines must be very well cooled with high oil flow rates since we see they run on conventional oil.
Well let's see - I had a Volvo Turbo Coupe (242t) with one air cooled turbo that went 170,000 and was replaced by a liquid cooled turbo that went over 210,000 miles and was still spinning fine when the car was donated at 383,000 ... Just sold my Saab 9-5 with a 2.3t engine - the original liquid cooled turbo was still going to full boost at just shy of 153,000 The Volvo ran on HDEO 15W-40 dino for it's entire life. The Saab required full synthetic, not for lubrication; but because to pass Cali smog they fitted dual CAT's and one was just adjacent to the pan. It would cook/coke the oil and plug the pump intake. So full syn to stand the sump temps. I don't think the turbo's cared... But other parts might ...
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Originally Posted By: Johnny2Bad
Turbos are the one application that "proves" the value of full Synthetics, that's about all you need to do to get long life with a fuel-injected OEM setup, assuming reasonable maintenance.
I don't think so. Literally millions of big rigs have run turbos since the late 1960's on conventional oil for billions of miles in desert heat and mid-west snows and freezing. Most OTR trucks and construction/farm equipment run conventional oil with 25,000 mile change intervals. The issue with turbos is oil flow path. As long as the lube enters straight down and drains straight away, they will almost never coke. If the plumbing is off, and they pool oil when shut off hot, they will coke. I dunno how many Cummins, Detroits and Cats I have worked on with turbos - and never had one coke, even when the Pyro stayed at 1,200*F for hours at a time. Just does not happen if plumbed right.
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