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(Post Link) post #1 of 24 Old 04-10-16 Thread Starter
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147 JTD multiple turbo failures

Hi all

South African Alfa owner here.

Onto my issues...

I own a 2006 147 JTD 16v, done around 150k km, I've owned the car since about 58k.

Around 3 months back there was a dreaded metalling tearing and the car was down on power. I immediately was sure it was a failed turbo. Drove it home, drove it to a mechanic the following day - he confirmed what I already knew. The turbo had popped and needed replacing.

I left there car with them around 5 weeks (apparently some other parts around the turbo were blocked? The turbo oil line I think, this took long to order from their supplier).

Anyway, eventually the car was returned, around 200km later it started feeling down on power and the turbo was whining more than usual.

I took the car back again - the turbo had failed again. The impeller blades were worn. The garage, after an argument, replaced this at their cost.

After about 300-500km the turbo failed again, similar to the second time, there was no instant of metallic noise and immediate lack of boost, it just slowly started feeling less and less powerful over time until on one hill it returned a MCSF. On receiving the car it was whistling more than it usually did, but:

a) I hadn't had my car for over 3 months at that point so wasn't sure if it was in my head or not.

b) After asking the mechanic he said that was just because it was new and would quieten over time.

So I've returned it again and now they're saying it's my liability as there were some metallic pieces going through the inlet side and that was what damaged the car.

Now it's unclear to me HOW metallic chips can get past the air filter, but they're, essentially, blaming me.

Has ANYONE ever heard about this sort of thing happening? Is there something fundamentally wrong with the car? Is there any value in replacing the turbo again or will it simply fail again in 500km time?

Thanks all!
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Id say that despite what they say they didn't replace the oil feed pipe or if they did then they didn't make sure that oil was actually coming out of it. There is no way they want to stump up the cost of a second turbo so they will try their hardest to blame it on you.
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did they even bother to check oil pressure, and the oil pick-up screen?

Also, I've known cases where the oil return pipe was blocked, so no flow although good oil feed from the block.
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I would suggest its poor installation and most likely oil feed problems.

Something is clearly awry with the lubrication side of things on your car. I would not spend anymore on it until you can establish why subsequent turbos have failed.

My own turbo has been on and off the car at least 3 times for VNT calibration and I have had no issues in the 13k since the new (hybrid) turbo was fitted.

Proceed with caution on this one as unless the underlying fault us found and fixed it will almost certainly happen again.

Best of luck.
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Did they recondition the turbo themselves or was it sent out for reconditioning ? Are they fully equipped and certified to recondition turbos ? If not, thats the problem, and solution.
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It was sent out for a recon by specialists, so should have been done properly.
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Originally Posted by TBP88 View Post
It was sent out for a recon by specialists, so should have been done properly.
One thing I learn't over the years garages are full of sh*t, Im sure we can all relay a horror story from garages stick to your guns on this one let them try and prove your at fault.
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It was sent out for a recon by specialists, so should have been done properly.
Has a warranty then. So the problem lies with the fitting garage and the turbo reconditioners. Not you. Did they change the oil and oil filter ?
Here's the procedure they should have followed https://garrett.honeywell.com/wp-con...tion_91913.pdf
I wonder which step was missed.
I work in a BMW dealers and they have recently issued an instruction to fill all replacement turbos with a special additive supplied by them before fitting. The initial start up is crucial.
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"Metallic pieces through the inlet" is, I am afraid, a common and unrelated fault. It will be a detached swirl flap broken off its spindle and passed through the engine. The shrapnel eventually leaves via the exhaust port, and can damage or destroy the turbo.

It's not the garage's fault, nor yours, it's a ****ty bit of design and engineering on the 1.9 16v CF4. Failure is a matter of when, not if.

It's not unlikely that one or more of your previous turbo failures were caused by flaps detaching. There are 4, and will break off at random times.

See Autolusso - Swirl Flap Delete for details

I repaired my car back in Jan/Feb. It lost 2 flaps. One was stuck in the inlet tract, so did no damage. See my avatar pic: that's the broken-off flap. The other did plenty. My turbo was fine, but needed a recon head because of bent valves, and also an injector rebuild. Plus belts, pulleys, tensioners and all the rest. It's now fine. damage to a piston was cosmetic, and I have deleted the flaps and spindles and blanked the EGR.

EDIT: Here's the full saga, with pics, of how I and a 159 16v 1.9 owner blundered our way through DIY repairs after swirl flap failures
http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...e-159-1-a.html (Swirl flaps How To and MAF clean How To anywhere? 159 1.9)

Last edited by halftone; 07-10-16 at 17:56.
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Good shout halftone.

We had all forgotten this.

Mine is "de -flapped" so it didnt cross my mind ..but it would almost certainly explain thd turbo failures.

So mani off ,head off check for debris ..remove the flaps and remove the actuator rod and motor.

Map out.

Worth checking if there is any debris anywhere else.

Unlucky this but not entirely surprising

Fyi not just alfa. Bmw,audi merc, saab ,vw and vauxhall or have the same system.

So new turbo im afraid.
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But surely the mechanics should have checked this prior to fitting the replacement part? I don't see how it can be my liability if I came in with a failed turbo, they replace, the replacement fails, they re-replace and then that replacement fails and then they say that I'm liable because of something they could have easily checked and is a known issue?
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That's really a legal position to work through, it will also reflect how big the town is and who values what goodwill.

I have moonlighted a bit in garages and one failure that sticks in my mind was a Mitsubishi turbo diesel, exchange short block supplied by the customer, which seized after 90 seconds on the first start. The pressure is on to get work completed, you presume the supplier has done the right thing, you go "by the book" (informally) for assembly and startup, then BAM! The sump had been subtly crushed and it choked the oil pickup, causing one of the gear driven balance shafts to seize in its bearings. Who was going to own up to that one?

To relate it to the situation you face, how would you have felt previously if the garage had - at your expense - dismantled, cleaned and inspected the intake tracts when primarily you had engaged them to repair something attached to the exhaust manifold? Maybe, if they knew the marque and that engine intimately, they might have worded you up - but it's not something you would take a bet on...
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It just sounds like a case of really bad luck. It's not your fault but it probably not the garages fault either. I guess if you asked them to diagnose why the turbo failed, fix that issue then replace the turbo you may have a case. I expect most garages would check there is a good oil supply when replacing a turbo but I doubt they would think it was necessary to investigate beyond that.
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I read that link - surely if something expires and passes through the engine it'd damage the exhaust side of the turbo (ie - the turbine end?) this damage is all on the inlet side of the turbo so it's drawing in air rather than getting spun by exhaust gas? Have I missed something perhaps?

Regards
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Shouldn't there be an MCSF warning if the swirl flaps have gone?
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Quote:
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Shouldn't there be an MCSF warning if the swirl flaps have gone?
Depends how they've faulted.

If the flaps have become jammed in position and prevent the stepper motor turning, then the ECU knows it can't actuate the flaps and you get an MCSF error light.

If the flaps detach themselves from the spindles then the stepper motor carries on running and turning the spindles in the breeze.... ECU thinks all is hunky-dory, when there's actually carnage downstream where the detached flaps have wrought havoc.
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Quote:
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I read that link - surely if something expires and passes through the engine it'd damage the exhaust side of the turbo (ie - the turbine end?) this damage is all on the inlet side of the turbo so it's drawing in air rather than getting spun by exhaust gas? Have I missed something perhaps?

Regards
If it actually is the case that the damage is on the inlet side, then the swirl flap theory is wrong. But you would have to see the turbo yourself first to confirm it. Then if they are still denying liability it would be time to get an engineer or the AA to inspect it, and the engine, on your behalf.
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OK, where were the metal fragments? Exhaust turbine side or clean air impeller? If the metal is identifiable, swirl flaps are stainless steel. Bearing or impeller fragments won't be that.

Another Alfa gotcha/probable cause of early turbo failure is the gauze filter in the bolt that secures the oil feed pipe to the block. It's extremely small, very fine gauze and blocks. Autolusso recommends drilling the filter out from the bolt. On most turbo cars good practice is to replace the pipe to avoid blockage. This is unnecessary on this model because the problem is in the bolt. If they replaced the pipe, but not the bolt and didn't remove the filter, oil starvation is likely which will kill the turbo.

This is all good reason to use specialists for servicing and repairs. Specialists have found out this stuff the hard way and worked out solutions. A GP garage can't know the wrinkles of every marque, and nobody's going to pay them to read techie owner forums to find out and sift good advice from noise. Standard good workshop practice can easily overlook them. They're often not as well understood - or are denied - by franchise dealers whose practice is just fit brand new everything until it's mended. The actual problem will then recur later, that an indie specialist or informed owner would have fixed for good.
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100% inlet side. The turbo blades on the inlet were completely "chewed" away. What caused this is now a cause for debate - either way. This shop is named "ItalSud" and they purport to be Alfa Romeo specialists, if there is a known problem that they ignored then they must be liable? Whether this is by negligence or ignorance seems immaterial to me.
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Looks like you have 2 choices then. I don't think we can help you any further here, so your looking at the legal route, or a method to allow you and the garage to save face, a compromise. Without a doubt, if the damage is all intake side, something has caused the impeller to implode, thats an issue with quality of parts used or workmanship, meaning garages issue. But he needs to play ball with you to get a satisfactory outcome for both parties, he might not want to if you are too hard on him.
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If the bearing is deprived of oil and the shaft starts wobbling about, the inlet impeller gets ground away and falls apart. That's why I mentioned the oil feed bolt and it's cloggable filter. But there are other possible causes, like a poorly remanufactured unit. Garrett don't supply any repair spares at all for these VNT turbos as they insist they can't be rebuilt and calibrated to original standard and must be replaced with new units. So all replacement bearings, impellers etc are aftermarket, reverse-engineered, and, uh variable in quality. Ebay cheap refurbs have a reputation for grenading, where established specialist companies like Turbo Technics do not.
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Has there been progress on the diagnosis or repairs?
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TBP88 have you contacted TurboDirect? They're the only authorized Garrett importer in SA. I phoned them awhile back and they had a brand new genuine turbo for a JTDm 16v for R10500. Have a look at the below links for some info.

GARRETT turbos for Alfa Romeo passenger cars and vans - Applications - TurboMaster
TurboDirect
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They've failed to respond to an initial letter, a subsequent legalese letter and a final letter (I called after each to confirm their receipt thereof, which they did). The matter has been escalated to the MIOSA, so I'm essentially out of car and pocket for the duration.

To describe the service as abysmal is to do disservice to the word.
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