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Old 07-21-2005, 03:11 AM
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Buying a used turbocharger

I'm looking at picking up a used turbocharger at Pick-n-Pull sometime in the near future, and I have some questions. What are some warning signs to look for when examining a turbocharger? Is surface corrosion on cast parts a big redflag, or just something that a wirebrush and some wd-40 will take care of? Will I be able to see coking without taking the turbo apart, and will I be able to see it at all? Would coking be a problem in itself, or just an indicator of other problems (uneven wear, balance issues) that are harder to see at first glance?

Is it worthwhile to buy a used turbo at all, or is it a crapshoot?

Thanks for the feedback

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Old 07-21-2005, 09:58 PM
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choose wisely. If you can find one that will rotate without problems, doesn't have excessive endplay you ought to be alright. although i wouldn't run a used turbo of unknown origin without rebuilding or having it rebuilt first.
but mostly, i'm bumping this up so it'll get seen again, and someone who really knows can give some better input.
thats the only way too run a turbo, out of a junkyard. I say do it.
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:49 PM
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I'd be very hesitant of it, I bought a used turbo and got a *week* out of it at 'low' boost (15-18 PSI).

The major things to check for is how freely it spins and how much play there is in side to side movement. Also check *very* closely to make sure there are no bent or damaged 'vanes', that could cause an imbalance that would be multiplied considerbly @ 100,000 RPM, or indicate that the turbo injested something, also not good. If there's a lot of coking, you can assume that it needs to be rebuilt the bearings are probably shot and it wasn't treated properley (cooled before being shut off). There's no yea I can really think of to see coking without taking it apart since it would shor up on the center of the shaft.

I'd consider what your needs are and buy a used turbo from someone who is upgrading there stock one. For example, a couple turbos off a stock supra would be great for a driveable torque happy Big block. And a lot of those guys upgrade to larger turbos, and are more then willing to sell the stock stuff that's junk to them.
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Old 07-21-2005, 10:50 PM
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As per Gm service manual for t-type buicks,

Radial movement, up/down of the shaft in the middle, must be between .003" and .006". Thrust bearing movement is .003". PTE (Precison turbo) suggests "if you can feel endplay it is too much."
Do not get the turbo if the wheel comes in contact with the housing. .Different turbos require diffrent clearance but these are fairly standard (and Safe) clearances. HTH
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Old 07-22-2005, 11:57 AM
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As long as you are going to the wrecking yard. you will be able to check out the car that the turbo was in....If the inside of the exhaust system looks really oily, the seals in the turbo are probably toast..
What are you going to put it on???
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Old 07-22-2005, 02:19 PM
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I'm going to try and put it on a 1986 Volvo 240 wagon with the 2.3L B230F engine (comp. r. 10.0). I've got plenty of room in the engine bay, I just need to lower the compression. The 230FT (turbo) engine that came out the same year had an 8.7 compression ratio and a stock boost of 7.5psi @ 3000 rpm

Thanks for all the input so far

Last edited by wutzu; 07-23-2005 at 03:36 AM. Reason: removed abbreviations
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