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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have spent some time scowering the forums and am getting a little baffled and off-track. I have a 2001 9-5 (2.3l base wagon) and am starting to get the puff of bluish smoke upon startup. Seeing as this has not been going on very long and the performance of the car hasn't changed, I was wanting to try to rebuild the turbo. Before I take the turbo off and drain the oil and coolant I wanted to check to see if a rebuild was possible or if I just had to drop the cash on a new turbo. Is there a way to check the turbo's condition without removing it or draining the oil/coolant? I am sorry if this information has been posted already; I was not able to find what I was looking for in my search. Thanks everyone!
 

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There are differences of opinions here but my belief is that the easiest way to check the turbo is to unbolt the down pipe and then stick your fingers in there and check the end play and the side-to-side play of the turbine. There are only three bolts and doing this is relatively simple.


As for when to do the turbo... all depends on what you want to do.

In the situation where you are today with the seals likely starting to fail, you could do a rebuild with new seals and maybe bearings/bushings. It's pretty involved since you have to take the turbo out, take off the housings, disassemble the rotating assembly and replace the seals and make sure that you keep it balanced properly. I've never done this.

If you wait and it totally goes, you may be stranded somewhere since the car will be smoking like crazy and consuming oil. But you can replace the rotating assembly with a NEW one that will replace anything that could be damaged. This uses your old housings so you have to take the turbo out, take off the housings and then replace the CHRA/Cartridge and put things back together.

A new or rebuilt turbo will require you take the turbo out and then put the new one in. That's clearly the easiest path, but I will say that replacing the CHRA isn't much more work. Taking the turbo out and putting it back is a several hour exercise. Changing the CHRA takes about 15 minutes once the turbo us out of the car.
 

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$29 repair kit on*bay. I just installed one. I've done one other turbo before(TD04) and this was about the same. The hardest part was removing the coolant and oil lines without bending the well rusted lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It sounds like the first thing I should do is take off the downpipe and feel for the movement of the turbine. Hopefully I can do this without too much contorting or removing other parts! I am going to check the CHRA out. I am looking for a cheaper yet honest route. Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I just dropped the downpipe off my turbo and saw that there is a whitish/yellowish powdery crust on the turbine. The shaft has no play in it, and the turbine moves very freely. What is the crust and is it a concern? I am not sure if this is really the turbine or what; it is the first thing you touch when reaching through the port the downpipe comes off of. I am unbelievebly unwise when it comes to turbos!:confused:
 

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as long as it's minimal, shouldn't be an issue. Remember, the exhaust gas is coming through there so if there should be some combustion residue.


I had a '99 9-5 LPT that would puff a bit when it was hot out, I drove it for two years after that started and never had an issue. I sold it to a co-worker's son who drove it for two more years until he crashed it. never had to replace the turbo.

But as was mentioned earlier, a rebuild kit for the turbo is in the $50 range, the CHRA is in the $300 range and a whole turbo is in the $600 range, so if you feel like a project and want to put new seals in it, doing it now before something else goes wrong would be good.

the CHRA is the most that you would have to do unless you had a a catastrophic failure that takes out the compressor or exhaust housing, not likely. (my son's GT17 shaft broke completely in half and the CHRA solved his problem)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So how much carbon residue would be too much? The wheel is coated pretty thoroughly though it moves very smooth like I said. Also, is it possible or should I try to clean these deposits?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have one more question... Since the smoke on startup is not everytime and not that heavy, is there any chance that it is caused by my PCV system? I do not believe any updates have every been done to it and I KNOW it does not have the newest one (#6). Could this cause oil to seep into the turbo? Just looking for more options. Your help is greatly appreciated and I am getting more motivated to repair!
 

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I have one more question... Since the smoke on startup is not everytime and not that heavy, is there any chance that it is caused by my PCV system? I do not believe any updates have every been done to it and I KNOW it does not have the newest one (#6). Could this cause oil to seep into the turbo? Just looking for more options. Your help is greatly appreciated and I am getting more motivated to repair!
I think you just found your problem. The old PCV system caused oil consumption/sludge issues. This can manifest itself in burning a bit of oil at start up.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I hope that is all that it is, Tom. I just want to make sure that the turbo is OK. I can see that the appox. 2" tube leading down from the turbo has some oil on the outside of it and that helped to make me think the turbo was going. There are small oily spots at various spots all over the engine though. Like I said before, I checked the turbine shaft for play earlier today and found absolutely none, though there was a considerable amount of carbon deposited on the wheel at the port to the downpipe. So are you thinking that this sounds like a PCV update? That would make me thrilled if that is all it is!!
 

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The tube underneath the turbo is the oil return pipe. If that is weeping you need to change it immediately. If that fails it will drain your engine oil in literally seconds and leave you with a seized motor. Luckily it is a rather cheap repair. Also, excess white material on the "hot side" of the turbo can be attributed to running "lean". Similar to spark plugs, running lean will leave a white color on your turbo. This is actually not as normal as those are stating, and you may need a new Mass Airflow Sensor. Running lean can cause melted pistons and knock under acceleration. If the wheel looks to have a bumpy coating on it, that because it is supposed to. The hot side has a ceramic "stellite" coating (just like the engines exhaust valves) that protects the metal at extreme heat.
Good Luck!
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That is some great information, Tom. I will take those into consideration and investigate into them. Though the car runs fine, I do not want any trouble and I would like to do as little mechanical work as possible for as little as possible. Are the oil return pipe and MAS easy fixes? I am dreading the turbo if that is what it needs so I hope these are easier cheaper fixes!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am getting ready to clean the MAF sensor today. Also, I am going to order the PCV#6 in hopes that that update can relieve some of the problem and be healthy for the car. Is there one place to order from that is better than the others? Is there anything else I should get other than what is included? Thanks
 

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The inconsistent puffs at start up are due to the cat not getting hot enough on last start up to burn off the seeping motor oil from the turbo. You need the $29 turbo rebuild from eBay(GT17).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I was really hoping that my puffs of smoke at start up was from never having updated the PCV kit. I updated to the PCV#6 last weekend and have drove it 4 or 5 times since then. Unfortunately, the smoke persists. That is kind of a bummer. So, as far as I can tell, I am in need of a rebuild. Since there is no play on the shaft and the smoking is not constant, I am going to try a rebuild if that seems like the most logical choice to all of you. I would consider a rebuilt turbo if it is under $400. What do all of you think? Is the rebuilt turbo needed or will a rebuild kit suffice? I am not looking to spend a lot as I drive the car only a couple days a week and also I am a very slow and unconfident mechanic. If I am doing the rebuild I will have some help from someone a little more savy. Any and all sugestions are appreciated!!
 
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