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VF40 goes Kaboom

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Hi all,


Long time lurker, haven't had much reason to post except for now. First off the bat, thanks to everybody whose contributed so much to content to help me understand what the h-e-double-hockey-stick started happening with my sweet baby RBP LGT.


Just a quick taste, this is a symptom of what happened:



If you're interested, read on. If you want to see a VF40 teardown, read on. If you want to hear about my stupidity, read on.


So a little story...


I was driving from Charlotte, NC back home to Asheville, NC. about 100 miles, and about 2/3 through, I have to make a big elevation climb to get up into the mountains of WNC. At the beginning of the trip though, I got a CEL. I had my bluetooth OBDII transmitter plugged in, but for some reason, my phone wouldn't connect and I couldn't pull the code. About 2 months ago, I replaced the rear wheel bearings in the LGT, which had been making a real racket. At the beginning of the trip, I thought I heard what sounded like the front wheel bearings starting to get bad. I got halfway to Asheville to fill up for gas, but had a funny feeling, about what was happening, so I popped the hood and checked the oil. Sh!t. Oil was way low, hardly showing up on the dipstick (more about the oil later) so I bought a quart and poured it in and off I went.


15 minutes later, I heard a strange noise coming from behind my dash. What sounded like a vacuum canister rapidly losing vacuum..vhoop! vhoop! I quickly realized this sound came only after I took my foot off the gas pedal. "sh!t i'm losing boost. That's the wastegate actuator." Just a couple minutes later, and I realized that when I put my foot down, I had no boost. I still had to get up the big hill. I was weighing my options and decided to drive it home. In hindsight, I should've had AAA and I should've just stopped and gotten it towed... I limped it back as best I could, going slow. Very slow.I thought a 2.5i legacy was slow, but there really is nothing slower than a newly rebranded naturally aspirated 2.5 LGT.


I got to a stoplight, started from a stop and heard a terrible sound. Truly, like nuts and bolts in a tin can. I thought "God, that sounds like a loose turbine wheel in the turbine housing." (serious foresight here) Got to the next stoplight and started off even slower. Fewer nuts and bolts in the tin can, but they're still there. Got to my destination, shut off the car. Important observations: I never noticed any smoke out the back while limping it home, however after I parked it for a day I started it back up for a hot second and created a most heinous cloud of blue smoke, not to mention that terrible sound.


This is where the story starts.



Edited by MoarBoost
stupid photobucket
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Start disassembling. I didn't quite know what I was doing, so I just started taking things off. I never had much reason to work on the LGT because it's always been so reliable and perfect. This is the first smudge, I guess. Obviously, if the turbo blows, which is what i suspected, my first concern is if I have parts of the compressor wheel going through the intake system. My second concern is getting metal shavings in the oil. I can easily inspect for comp wheel bits, but I'll have to drain and send off a sample of my oil for inspection later on.


First off, TMIC off and inspect for loose aluminum bits.


outlet seems clear of bits.



inlet seems clear of bits. that's good. (sh!t photo, but I could see)



shot down the compressor outlet. Nothing blatantly obvious, but then again, any loose bits will fall to the bottom of the volute. There is quite a bit of oil on the flange though... curious.



A shot of the VF40 in its home with the heatshield:



and without the heatshield:



I thought I had to take off the intake manifold to get to the turbo, but it turns out, you don't need to. I still took off all those bolts. This is me trying to stay organized.



Took off the hose pipe from the TMIC to the throttle body and found a weird pool of sludgy milkshake in there:



poured it out to get a better look:



this had me freaking out a little bit. "sh!t do I have a bunch of coolant in my oil?!" I drained the oil, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was all completely black. No milkshake, no globules of water, just black. As stated before, I'll send off a sample of that to blackstone to be analyzed.


I finally figured out that all I needed to do was remove the downpipe and I could get to the turbo. I removed the downpipe carefully, brought it over to a scrap of paper and shook out whatever got caught by the catalyst:



Those metal shards sure do look like turbine wheel bits. More to come later.

Edited by MoarBoost
stupid photobucket
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OMG this brings back memories. Vhoop sound, metallic popcorn popping sound and me still driving it. You at least got a tow I limped it back home 20 miles to go grab a rental.


Real question is what did the oil in the pan look like?

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By all means interrupt! The ending of the story hasn't been written yet ;) I haven't disconnected the battery yet so the code should still be saved. I'm going to still try to pull it. I'll post it when I know.
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Sucks man. I'm sure you'll be able to tackle a lot of the work yourself. I'm only about an hour and a half away so let me know if you need a hand for anything!


I love how you East coasters just hop about states like its no big deal. It amazes me how much closer everything seems to be over there.



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Yeah, this east coast living is new to me. Been here almost 4 years, but I grew up in Minnesota and Iowa. I gotta say, the driving up here in the mountains of WNC is SOOOOO much better than the boring state-long straights that criss cross the midwest. Winter driving is a little less exciting though. Back where I grew up, it would've taken no less than two hours to cross the state border in any direction, now I can hit three states in that time!


Thanks for the offer, seanyb505. I will no doubt be seeking out a lot of advice here.

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Lets see if google photos is a good for image hosting...


New turbo:



i'm surprised. The turbo looks nearly brand new. Or maybe anything would next to that mangled turbine wheel.



Oil seems good. No milkshake. Just black. I took a sample and am sending it off to Blackstone Labs.


Edited by MoarBoost
fixed images. I've been out of the game for too long! also: f*ck photobucket
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OMG this brings back memories. Vhoop sound, metallic popcorn popping sound and me still driving it. You at least got a tow I limped it back home 20 miles to go grab a rental.


Real question is what did the oil in the pan look like?


Ahh that Vhoop sound.. I was trying to describe that sound when it happened to me.. it sounded almost like a sound that would be in a cartoon... in my case I was over 50 miles from home.. round trip you are talking like 100 miles I did with no boost.. 2nd turbo died until 300 miles and when I pulled the banjo filter behind the head (I forgot that one) I was unable to see much of any light behind the filter.


But that sound... you 100% wont forget it :(

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Glad to hear I'm not the only one and thanks a lot for the words of wisdom/experience.


So what else do I need to do to fix this issue before I just replace the turbo? Do I need to detach the uppipe and shake it out? Do I need to remove oil filters in the oil lines on the turbo and motor side? What else should I do to ensure a safe and healthy motor (assuming the oil filter caught all of the particles)?


This is my plan at the moment:

1) get Blackstone Labs to tell me that my motor isn't ready to spin a bearing

1.5) oil system flush

2) replace turbo with VF52

3) install wideband o2 sensor into stock downpipe

4) install boost gauge

5) replace intake manifold, turbo gaskets with stock replacements

6) if necessary for a safe, reliable fix, have tuned

7) if budget allows, upgrade fuel pump/injectors, intercooler

Edited by MoarBoost
added 1.5
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