What Happens When the Turbo Stops in Your Car?

Updated on October 19, 2017
How a Turbo works
How a Turbo works

Most turbos fail gradually and manifest as burning oil or coolant in the exhaust, or a LOT of oil in the intake, depending on where the seal fails.

Turbos generally provide ample warning signs before failing suddenly, the most noticeable is a whine that grows louder when boost occurs. If the condition is not fixed, it becomes a howl. Bad seals and bad bearings generally fail.

When the turbo fails, you will no doubt experience a sudden loss of power. In smaller turbos, like a 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2, you will still be able to drive, albeit WAY slow and very poorly. Some have driven some 25 miles in this state. Such a drive will use over a quart of oil because of the broken seals. You will also have a lot of blue smoke, you will be embarrassed. With small turbos, like the Capri, the only time when the turbo is activated is when you need boost upon certain types of acceleration, at all other times, the engine acts as a non-turbo.

The good news is that engine damage seldom occurs due to a turbo failing. If the impeller chips off, they usually end up in the intercooler and catalyic converter.

Replacement Turbo
Replacement Turbo

What to Do

Usually when a turbo fails the pieces go into the intercooler along with a good amount of engine lube oil. If you do not shut it down quickly, smaller pieces get into the engine, again with engine oil. The engine can actually run on this spilled oil and "run away."

If you have a failure, remove the intercooler and ALL intake system tubes; this includes the airbox, filter housing and associated tubes. Clean them well. These pieces are usually what causes a second, immediate failure.

For a Capri, a new turbo runs between $500-600. The turbo may not even cause damage, it may just stop for other reasons. No boost = no acceleration! The car will run but not very well. In this case, check inlet hose, outlet hose, the turbine could be damaged or its bearings have seized, the Wastegate is stuck open or something as simple as a clogged air cleaner.

Where's Your Turbo?

The turbo in a 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2 is low and behind the radiator, it is not located in the throttle area where it says, Turbo.
The turbo in a 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2 is low and behind the radiator, it is not located in the throttle area where it says, Turbo.
Here is the turbo. The hose off the top of photo is the  exhaust, while the bigger hose beneath is the incoming air via the air cleaner.
Here is the turbo. The hose off the top of photo is the exhaust, while the bigger hose beneath is the incoming air via the air cleaner.

Diagrams: Turbocharger on 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2

For 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2
For 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2
For 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2
For 91-94 Mercury Capri XR2

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Fabion91 

      12 days ago

      If a turbo needs replaced in a 03 Saab 9.5 is it still drivable

    • profile image

      Fabian 

      12 days ago

      If your turbo needs replaced in a 03 Saab 9.5 is it drivable still

    • profile image

      Sof 

      2 weeks ago

      Hello I would like to know how much worth a car (Vauxhall astra 1.7 yr55) with stopped Turbo?

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      6 years ago

      If you have a ton of smoke, suspect the turbo has failed.

    • profile image

      salvatore 

      6 years ago

      oil escap from exost and lots smog with blu nissan micra diesel wath can by?

    • profile image

      turboman 

      6 years ago

      that turbo sucks your better off upgrading it to a mitsu evo turbo and gain 80hp

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, axleaddict.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://axleaddict.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)