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TD4 Turbo Disaster


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Ok so a bit of background..

I got a tidy TD4, new shape freelander1 about 4 months back from a garage, quite high miles, but in great shape body wise.

Had been running well upto about 1 month ago, when I noticed a little lag around 40-50mph & a bit of smoke, nothing serious, so though I'd do a bit of DIY, filter check etc.

Did a bit of reading up on YouTube/Interweb etc & decided to do the air filter & crankcase filter at the same time.

Noticed that there was a bit of oil to the side of the dipstick (indicating a blocked breather) & also a little about some of the hoses (possibly a split).

Plumped for the BMW type crankcase as the one I took out was filthy. With the intention of replacing the hoses eventually with some nice silicon ones.

The car ran much better for the next couple of weeks, no smoke, a little more pokey, happy days......

Yesterday, idling in a jam, my engine started to rev higher & higher, smoke pouring out of the exhaust, ignition off, still running (I papped myself, to say the least).

Mr AA turns up, without checking anything other than the dipstick, he said those dreaded words "turbo's knackered"

Few calls later at home, sitting depressed at the though of £,SSS of pounds to get my nice looking car back on the road, (I had so many plans for this motor).

Now that I've calmed down, I need to know.

I've got a spare run-around motor for work, but I want to get my Freelander back on the road within the next few months.

  • Is buying reconditioned turbo from the internet a good move ?
  • Can a novice fit one with a bit of researching ?
  • Is it better shelling out £1,200 (cheapest I've been quoted) to get a garage to do it ?

In addition to this, was Mr AA correct in presuming the turbo is dead, could I save it by replacing elements of the turbo, i.e. the hoses, seals etc. or do I take his word for it.

Look forward to hearing your replies & I'll keep the thread updated with my progress.


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From what I can tell changing the turbo would be a lot of crawling round underneath but not exactly rocket surgery. The RAVE manual should reveal all.

I'd buy a 2nd hand genuine turbo from a scrapper (eBay for breakers) over a random internet recon or no-brand new unit.

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id worry more about how much damage was done by running on its own oil and potentially starving itself of lubricant as it did so. you could spend a fortune on a new turbo to find out it has buggered big ends, scored bores etc......

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As qwakers says, a little investigation is wise. It's hopefully not so bad that the engine was running with no oil. Did it over rev? That's usually the worst case scenario. Turbos aren't hard to remove or fit, apart from potentially some stuck nuts and bolts (they live in a hot environment). You can tell a lot just by removing the hose from the turbo inlet, grabbing the nut on the front of the compressor wheel and wiggling it around, though. A healthy turbo will have no detectable axial play, and a little radial play.

What the AA man means by "the turbo is knackered" is probably this: The turbo bearings have worn, meaning that the oil seals are no longer able to do their job. This has allowed oil to leak out into the inlet, and this is what your engine was running on. Once the bearings wear beyond a certain point, the turbo compressor or turbine can rub against the housings and wear themselves away, meaning not a lot is salvageable. But before jumping to conclusions, whip that inlet hose off and give that turbo a jiggle.

Agreed with Fridge about the scrapper turbo - I've seen some shocking cheap recons - but do the same test before fitting anything.

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You should get a compression check done on the engine before you buy anything. I recently replaced the turbo on an '07 transit that had run away, and even though the owner knew what to do and stalled the engine it was too late and he had to replace the engine as well, as it had revved beyond it's limits and broken the rings and scored the bores.


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Worth keeping in mind that a running TD4 FL with a dead clutch or IRD is worth not very much if eBay is anything to go by, so you could pull the entire engine out & swap it and be left with most of a car's worth of spare bits to sell on or keep you in parts for years.

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