What Does A Turbo Do On A Diesel Engine?

The air entering a turbocharged diesel engine is compressed before the fuel is injected, which is a considerable change from a standard normally aspirated gasoline engine. The turbocharger is crucial to the diesel engine’s power output and efficiency at this point.

The turbocharger’s duty is to compress the air flowing into the engine’s cylinder. The oxygen molecules in compressed air are packed closer together. With more air, more fuel can be fed to a normally aspirated engine of the same size. As a result, the combustion process gains more mechanical power and improves its overall efficiency. As a result, the engine size for a turbocharged engine can be lowered, resulting in better packaging, weight savings, and overall increased fuel economy.

Can a diesel engine run without a turbo?

Is It Harmful To Drive A Diesel Engine Without A Turbo? Even while the car is capable of running without an effective turbocharger, it will not perform well, and you may be forced to make a difficult option. A full failure is most usually caused by a fault with the oil supply or a component.

What happens when the turbo goes on a diesel?

When a turbo breaks, the oil seals on the rotor shaft are frequently the first to fail. This draws engine oil into the inlet tract, allowing the engine to run on its own oil.

What causes a diesel turbo to fail?

A turbocharger is an air pump that provides higher pressure and density air for the engine combustion process than ambient air. The turbocharger air includes a higher percentage of oxygen, allowing for much improved combustion, resulting in increased power, cleaner emissions, increased engine torque output, and reduced pumping losses within the engine, all of which contribute to improved overall performance.

Any errors in these systems, which are a vital aspect of the engine’s oil, fuel, air, and cooling systems, might result in faulty turbo operation and perhaps damage.

The three turbo killers

Manufacturing flaws account for less than 1% of turbo failures. The three ‘turbo killers’ of oil starvation, oil pollution, and foreign object damage cause the majority of failures.

Oil-related problems account for more than 90% of turbocharger failures, whether due to a lack of oil or contamination. Oil famine is frequently caused by clogged or leaking pipes, as well as a lack of priming on fittings.

There are a variety of contaminants that can be transferred into the turbo bearing system by the engine oil and cause harm. Fine particles, mainly carbon from the combustion process, function as a very efficient abrasive, progressively eroding and polishing the running surfaces of the bearing and shaft, increasing clearances and closing the oil feed holes, until the oil is no longer able to control the shaft. This is frequently accompanied by a loud increase in noise and oil leaking beyond the turbine end seal, allowing oil to be consumed and significant exhaust smoke in vehicles without a particle filter.

Other factors, such as poor driving behavior, can contribute to turbo failure, therefore keep these in mind:

  • Hard acceleration from a cold start will not allow the oil to circulate, leading the turbo and engine bearings to become oil starved.
  • Carbon build-up in the turbo might lead to bearing failure if the engine is shut down too hot.
  • Revving the engine above its acceptable limit, especially in commercial vehicles such as on-highway trucks, can cause the turbo to overspeed and over boost the engine (this can also happen in naturally aspirated engines), resulting in oil starvation.

Without proper calibration, a reconditioned unit would have to employ non-original parts, resulting in:

Turbocharger Troubleshooting

Stop before you replace if you suspect your car has a turbo-related problem. Turbo damage is often a sign of an underlying problem rather than the cause. A malfunctioning fuel injection system, restricted or blocked air filters, a damaged exhaust system, or a lubrication problem could cause a lack of power, noisy performance, or excessive smoke or oil consumption.

Use the Turbocharger System Diagnostics Guide to make your work easier because it’s critical to check all systems before replacing the turbo.

What is the difference between diesel and turbo diesel?

To begin, you should be aware that if you drive carefully, both turbochargers and diesel engines can be more efficient than regular gasoline engines. Turbochargers boost the horsepower of your gasoline-powered engine. They accomplish this by boosting the amount of air and fuel that each combustion chamber receives. Diesel fuel, on the other hand, burns at a lower temperature. This results in more exhaust gas being produced, although diesel engines also have higher compression ratings. Because a diesel engine burns less fuel, you’ll see a boost in your fuel efficiency if you drive carefully.

How many miles do turbos last?

Turbochargers have a high level of dependability. In fact, only around 1% of warranty checks uncover a problem with the turbo; instead, blown turbos are typically the result of engine lubrication issues or the entrance of foreign items.


Your car’s engine oil is literally its life blood. It keeps important moving parts lubricated, protected from corrosion, and cool while in use.

The turbocharger requires a steady supply of clean, high-quality oil. A shortage of oil (oil starvation), the wrong grade of oil, or poor quality oil will cause pollutants to build up in the engine (oil contamination). This may cause abrasive damage to the turbo’s interior.

It is critical to replace the engine oil and oil filter at the manufacturer’s suggested intervals.


Oil will seep into the exhaust system if the seals between the compressor and the engine become old or fractured. As a result, the turbo is forced to work harder in order to increase air pressure.

Over-speeding is another term for this issue. In the end, the turbo’s efficiency and boost will suffer as a result.


A turbocharger consists of two basic components: the compressor in the front and the turbine in the back. Foreign objects such as dust, dirt, leaves, and small stones can sometimes enter the turbo through the compressor or turbine inlet.

The air filter is usually where the foreign object enters the compressor housing. When a foreign object damages the turbine, however, the problem is usually caused by the engine itself.

If foreign items begin to harm the compressor wheels or turbine blades, the turbo’s efficiency will suffer. Your air filter should be serviced and replaced on a regular basis to avoid this. Check for debris in your turbo as well.


Turbos are supposed to last the life of the vehicle (about 150,000 miles); nevertheless, depending on how hard you drive the car and the turbo’s original construction quality, they may wear down over time.

What are the signs of a turbo failing?

A turbo failure might be accompanied by a number of other signs. However, if you constantly observe how the car performs, you can frequently see the tell-tale signs of the most prevalent difficulties and so confirm the possibility of turbo issues, eliminating the need for a garage to run a diagnostic test to determine the problem’s source.

What does it sound like when turbo goes out?

Loud noises: If your vehicle’s turbo is malfunctioning, you may hear whining or screeching noises. So, if your car is running and you hear a loud whining sound that gets louder as the problem persists, you’re most certainly dealing with a turbo problem.

Are turbo diesels reliable?

Customers who drive a lot of highway miles prefer diesel engines, according to Bell Performance and Road and Track, because they are more efficient on these roads than gas engines. Diesel fuel simply has more energy per gallon than gasoline, making it more cost-effective overall. Diesel engines are still more fuel efficient than gasoline engines, but they are less so for city drivers. Diesel cars also have higher torque, which means they get better gas mileage and accelerate faster.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that some types of diesel fuel can reduce vehicle performance. Black diesel, biodiesel, and other improved diesel products are among them.

Diesel and gasoline are around the same price for most Americans. Diesel can sometimes be more expensive than gasoline, yet it can also be less expensive than gasoline. Even if you pay more on diesel fuel, a diesel engine will still provide better fuel efficiency throughout the life of the car. This is because an 8-liter gasoline engine would be required to produce the same level of power as a 6-liter diesel engine.

Diesel engines, according to Digital Trends, are more durable and endure longer than gas engines, with reliable operation and low maintenance requirements. Diesel cars used to be substantially heavier than comparable-sized gas cars, but thanks to contemporary manufacturing technologies, this is no longer an issue.

Diesel engines also have fewer components than gasoline engines, reducing the number of potential parts that could fail in your vehicle.

Diesel engines often require fewer repair and maintenance services than gasoline engines, resulting in a cost savings.

While early diesel engines had a well-deserved reputation for being noisy, current technology has largely addressed this issue. Noise pollution and dark smoke have been reduced, so if you were concerned about those issues in prior decades, you may wish to reconsider diesel as a viable option. Today, the driving experience in a diesel-powered vehicle is essentially identical to that of a gasoline-powered vehicle.