Sunday, February 23, 2014

Oil Leak

So after many hours of poking around up top and below the car, I think I've narrowed the problem down to 2 areas where leaks are probably originating from. The first is the oil cooler which is located underneath the oil filter meaning that I'll need to do some fancy unbolting to get to the location. The bad thing is that on this car, I'll have to essentially remove the exhaust system all the way up to the exhaust manifold in order to get enough room to get to the oil cooler. The picture above shows where the leaking oil is leaking hitting one part of the exhaust from up top. That whole pipe snakes below the car to the muffler and has to be removed, as well as the large metal piece to the left going up, and also an unseen turtle-shaped part that is even higher.

The second leak/problem area is the turbo. This is a shot of the intake of the turbo which is not supposed to have oil leaking down. The pipe is only supposed to contain air from the intake. I learned that there are 2 tubes that can contain "some" oil that lead to this location. The origins of these tubes are the blow-off valve and the PCV valve. On this car the PCV valve was fairly dry and blow off valve pipe was wet with oil. All this means bad.

This next picture shows that oil is being ejected from the turbo and is spewing through the intercooler system. Most of the pipes have oil in them and yeah it's disconcerting that all of these pipes are only supposed to contain a whole shitload of air.

All of this means that my turbo is either broken or leaking and/or both. Either way the seals in it are definitely shot and it will need to be rebuilt or replaced. Since this car is so old I guess you can't just buy a new turbo at the closest parts store, which led me to research a whole another set of automotive information with regards to turbochargers. If your car is new, you buy a brand new turbo which costs a lot of money $1-2k+ just for the part. You can also buy a kit for $80-$130 and try to rebuild it yourself, but if you have no idea what you're doing, it could be more trouble than it's worth. Last option is to send it out to a shop that specializes in rebuilds, which will cost $300-$800 not including shipping. These shops supposedly do a bunch of fancy diagnostics and balancing which I don't totally understand, but yeah all those extra tasks are things that an average guy with a rebuild kit would not be doing and I have no idea how important all of the extras are. All in all pretty fucked up options. Do you know what I think? I think turbos can go to hell.

I used to think that they were pretty cool since turbos take the spinning mechanism from exhaust gases and turns that energy into pressure to push more air through to the intake system which produces more power, but if the damn part is this much to replace AND the fact that it has so much piping and a device called an intercooler which is a radiator for air, I see a waste of space and lack of efficiency. I guess I could totally blame the old owner of the car since I wonder what the average failure rate of a turbo is during regular driving...but still it has been an annoying ride and continues to be that way until I can get that turbo into my hands.

I just bought a bunch of more tools to try to get the exhaust off so yeah, the adventure continues.