Turbochargers use a turbine wheel driven by exhaust gases that spins at up to 250,000 RPM to force extra air into the engine, allowing more fuel to be burned and raising an engines performance.
Because of the rotational speeds turbos can reach, the tolerances on manufacturing are minute and the units have to be in perfect order to function, they operate at very high temperatures of nearly 1000 °C and at tremendously high pressures, as a result, the air and oil passing through the unit needs to be cooled by the engine cooling system.
Turbocharger failure is not uncommon on Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles and unfortunately, the result is likely to be an expensive repair bill.
Causes Of Turbocharger Failure
The main cause of turbo failure is oil supply, engine oil is used to lubricate and cool the turbo, if there is a lack of supply due to a blockage or a leak, the turbocharger will overheat and fail very quickly. Similarly, an oil of incorrect specification or contaminated with diesel may not adequately lubricate the system leading to the same result.
Failed seals can also wreak havoc on turbocharger units, this is because the boost pressure generated from the turbo will be escaping into the exhaust system, meaning the turbo will have to spin faster (over-speed) to compensate for the loss of pressure, pushing the unit past its operational limits.
On top of these issues above, if a vehicle is not maintained properly with regular replacement of air and oil filters, foreign objects or deposits may find their way into the turbine shaft and damage the unit.
How To Spot Turbo Failure
Turbo failure can be quite easy to spot, owners may experience a drastic loss of power along with an engine management light, there will no longer be a sensation of boost when accelerating.
Sometimes, a turbocharger will give some advanced warning of an impending failure, it may start to make a whining or whistling noise similar to a siren that progressively gets worse. This warning should be taken as a clear message to book your vehicle in for repairs as soon as possible.
If a failure is caused by an oil leak on the turbo unit itself, and that leak makes its way into the exhaust system, you may notice a large amount of blue smoke coming out the exhaust, the level of smoke will likely increase under acceleration as this will cause the turbocharger to spool harder.
Which Jaguar And Land Rover Models Are Affected
Any JLR vehicle using a turbo diesel engine can suffer from turbo failure, but some engines used on certain models are more affected than others here is a list of the models that are most commonly affected:
2.7 TDV6 | Discovery 3 & Range Rover Sport
The turbo used on the Land Rover (Lion) 2.7 TDV6 is a single, variable geometry unit. The variable vanes that are designed to reduce turbo lag can become blocked with carbon deposits leading to failure, replacement will require splitting the body from the chassis.
2.0D Ingenium | F-Pace, XE, XF, New Defender, Discovery 5, Discovery Sport, Evoque, Velar Range Rover Sport L494
The Ingenium 4 cylinder diesel used on modern Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover models is unfortunately quite susceptible to turbo issues. There appear to be several factors at play here including fuel diluting the engine oil weakening its lubrication properties.
How To Avoid Turbo Failure
Turbo failure is best avoided through regular maintenance, by using the manufacturer specified oil and regularly changing your filters, you will greatly reduce the chances of a blockage or oil contamination.
Special care must be taken with DPF equipped vehicles too, when an active regeneration is forced, additional fuel is added to the engine, some of this will make it into the engine oil and dilute it, reducing its ability to lubricate the turbo. This is a primary reason why 2-year, 24,000-mile oil change intervals MUST BE AVOIDED and replaced with an annual service at a lower mileage interval.
This will not guarantee a trouble free turbo, but it will mean you can rest assured knowing you have done everything you can to prevent the worst from happening.
Can I Drive My Vehicle With A Failed Turbo?
Driving around with a failed turbo can lead to a phenomenon called diesel runaway. This is where oil will make its way into the intake system causing the engine oil to be burnt off as fuel, resulting in the engine running uncontrollably at higher and higher speeds with no way of shutting it off other than trying to stall or suffocate it. This is a very dangerous scenario as when all the oil is burnt off, the engine will seize and potentially explode into shrapnel.
Because of this, If you suspect turbo failure, it is best to switch your vehicle off and get it recovered so it can be inspected by a qualified technician.
K Motors have years of experience replacing turbochargers on Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles and will be able to assist if you find yourself in this situation, call us or book in a repair for your vehicle here.