View Full Version : Turbo Failure Imminent

10-26-2018, 08:52 PM
So after a 700 mile trip my van was experiencing some high oil consumption.

Haven’t noticed any power or mileage issues, van seems to run normally. Now she smokes warm or cold along with being under boost there is a fair amount of black smoke indicating to me some extra fueling.

I pulled the intake hose off and notice some oil but also some damage to the compressor blades, see attached picture. There is not much play in the shaft, but the blades look damaged to the point it makes me wonder.


10-27-2018, 02:20 PM
I wouldn't condemn turbo just yet. You can disconnect the turbo compressor outlet and idle the engine for short period with a piece of paper near the outlet to see if excessive oil gets blown out. Do the same for the turbine outlet. excessive oil leaking past the turbo seals at idle will show up with this test. Obviously keep your fingers clear of the turbine and compressor wheels.

The heavier engine oil will often show up as a different smell to the exhaust. If it's coming from the compressor seal. If it's coming from the exhaust seal it'll be definitely be a darker smoke and you may find an oily residue in the exhaust after idling for a few minutes.

High oil consumption can sometimes be driven by a pluged filter screen inside of the crankcase breather assembly on the passenger side of the valve cover.

10-27-2018, 02:38 PM
Compressor blade damage is only caused by foreign bodies in the air stream so have you checked your air filter for damage and/or correct fitment?


10-27-2018, 02:50 PM
Thanks for the thoughts gentleman.

I’ll give it another check today. I will say I haven’t really inspected the turbo before and it has close to 200k, so not totally sure what has happened to it in the past.

This was definetly something that seemed to happen quickly.

10-31-2018, 09:05 PM
I removed the oil separator and I don’t see anything bar stands out as a problem.

On cold startup there is a fair amount of smoke and continues after the engine warms, my next thought is to pull the turbo and see what happens

10-31-2018, 09:57 PM
Turbo removed, pictures below...still stumped.

10-31-2018, 10:11 PM
I suspect you may have an overfilling issue due to a bad injector. Did you perform the test I suggested to check the turbo for oil leakage at idle?

10-31-2018, 10:13 PM
So yes and no, I did the compressor outlet side with no real significant oil but did not do exhaust.

10-31-2018, 10:14 PM
Was there any sign of excessive blowby?

10-31-2018, 10:16 PM
There was some slight oil, I’ve never done a test like that so im not sure what’s considered excessive.

10-31-2018, 10:26 PM
I am mostly concerned with blowby from the crankcase. As far as the turbo is concerned a few small drops is okay.

10-31-2018, 11:57 PM
I’m conceding on this one, removed the breather system and still smokes horribly. Going to have my local sprinter tech check it out this week.

11-01-2018, 12:03 AM
I am going to guess a badly overfueling injector. That is the primary smoke cause. The secondary cause may be a melted piston. If your van starts smoking, especially at idle. Avoid driving it.

11-01-2018, 12:07 AM
I’m hoping not as this was a newly rebuilt engine about 3,000 miles ago...

But help me understand why an injector when it’s heavy oil smoke

11-01-2018, 12:44 AM
Are you certain its oil? They do smell a bit different, but diesel is not to far from engine oil. An overfueling injector can cause piston damage though. I hope thats not the case. There are other possible causes.

11-01-2018, 12:56 AM
It’s heavy blue oil, right off idle and heavier when under load.

However fuel mileage, cold start and every other function is totally normal and doesn’t give any indication of a problem

11-01-2018, 01:04 AM
Okay. That sounds like oil smoke. Have you blown through the turbo oil lines, and the return into the block? If the oil return is obscured, lots of oil will get pushed past the turbo seals.

You could pull the injectors to see if any are oily. If just one or two are, you may have a bad oil control ring on a piston.

Aqua Puttana
11-01-2018, 01:50 AM

This may have value for Sprinter owners. AP/vic

From a Sprinter book:

The High-Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) diesel engine should emit very little smoke. White smoke is not considered normal. The different types of exhaust smoke indicate different problems. Following is a brief discussion of black, blue, and white exhaust smoke.

Black Smoke

Black smoke is created by incomplete combustion. The reason for the fuel being only partially burned often relates to one of the following problems:
• Excess fuel in the combustion chamber
• Insufficient air supply (clogged air filter, kinked hoses, faulty turbo)
• Advanced injection timing due to poor diesel fuel quality not recommended being used in the vehicle. Black smoke is caused by too much fuel or poor fuel quality and not enough air or time to burn the fuel. Black smoke is not considered normal and is often
related to low power or poor fuel economy problems.

Blue Smoke

Blue smoke is an indication of engine oil burning in the combustion chamber. Blue smoke is usually accompanied by excessive oil consumption. Any of the following con­ditions can cause excessive oil consumption:
• Overfilled crankcase
• Worn piston rings
• Failed valve stem seals
• Failed turbocharger seals

White Smoke

White smoke is caused by particles of fuel passing through the combustion chamber without burning and exiting with the exhaust gas. Fuel not burning is often related to low combustion chamber temperature. At light loads, the temperature in the combus­tion chamber may drop to 260°C (500°F). The lower temperature delays combustion, causing some fuel to be partially burned and
blown out with the exhaust gas.


When diagnosing diesel driveability concerns in the absence of codes, use the symp­tom-based diagnostic tables in the Service Information. Always follow the Six-Step Diagnostic Process when diagnosing a customer concern.

... a newly rebuilt engine about 3,000 miles ago...

Factory rebuild? Jasper engine? Other shop?

If completed by a small shop, unfortunately most anything is suspect. Worn/damaged parts that were not replaced, improper replacement parts, improperly installed parts, piston oil sprayers not properly serviced/installed, to name a few. Even factory or Jasper isn't a 100% guarantee of no problems. (But they do have a warranty.)


You can make your own screw type puller tool to remove the oil sprayers for individual testing with shop air set at about 25-30 psi.

Re-installation is easily done with the elaborate factory tool which locates them in the correct orientation and safely drives them into the block's oil sprayer bores. Sans this tool, you can likely improvise paying close attention to nozzle orientation.

Doktor A

Reports by those more qualified than I am indicate that there are some pitfalls that work against successful Sprinter engine rebuilding.

I hope that none of the above is the case, but a recent rebuild may not mean no problems. Apologies for being "That guy". I don't make the news, I only report the news as I see it.

:2cents: vic

11-07-2018, 01:29 PM
So I just wanted to update this as the conclusion is an interesting one.

After having the vehicle tested for multiple issues by a mechanic for turbo failure, injector failure, valve and cylinder issues the answer was there is no problem.

Going back to what changed since the problem started and the only thing was changing oil.

I am not totally sure what oil was in it previously, I can only assume it was a standard conventional oil. This oil change I went to the Liqui Moly 5w-30 , the only thing that I can determine is there is something with that oil and this particular engine that don't like each other.

Going to do a diesel purge tonight and change the oil to something different and see what the result is.

11-07-2018, 01:44 PM
Many gasoline engine type oils (conventional or synthetic) cannot handle the conditions in a turbo diesel. They loose viscosity rapidly. So yes, the wrong oil could double your oil consumption.

Aqua Puttana
11-07-2018, 01:47 PM

Going to do a diesel purge tonight and change the oil to something different and see what the result is.
Thanks for the update.

I might just change the oil rather than adding two variables with a diesel purge. Or, do the purge and wait a while to see if anything changes before changing the oil.

Keep us posted.

:cheers: vic

11-07-2018, 01:53 PM
Many gasoline engine type oils (conventional or synthetic) cannot handle the conditions in a turbo diesel. They loose viscosity rapidly. So yes, the wrong oil could double your oil consumption.

This is a valid point and an easy way to spend alot of money for no reason. Since I'm in a warmer climate I am going with a 15w-40 formula that meets the MB standards, ill post my findings after some time.

11-07-2018, 02:39 PM
If a very poor oil was run in the engine, it could have resulted in build up at the rings, turbo seals, etc. If your oil consumption does not return to normal, you may need to run a ring cleaning product through the oil for a short period. BG products makes a engine cleaning product that is added to the oil for a short period. It is nasty stuff, so read the instructions. Diesel engine oils have detergents, which should clean a lot of that out with just a fresh change of oil. That may be all thats needed.

11-07-2018, 05:17 PM
I wouldn't say it was poor oil, and I'm fairly certain it had the MB approval on it.

I'm going to use Liqui Moli Diesel Purge.