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How to prevent common turbo failures with the Peugeot / Citroen / ford HDI engine?

Author – Steve Burgess | Post date – Friday, January 03, 2014

Now these HDI engines are used in many vehicles and believe it or not when they go they go, typically the main failure being one of the most expensive to fix. The problem normally lies within the 1.6 HDI Engine but can occur in the 2.0 HDI too. I’m not saying everyone will get this problem, if you are lucky you may never experience the issues with these engines but the ones that do, have a nightmare and it normally starts from the turbo.

Why do these Peugeot HDI engines suffer with turbo failures?

Well there are a lot of reasons for how a turbo normally fails but the main reason with this engine is carbon build up. These engines can be considered by some professional’s as a very dirty engine and can produce high amounts of carbon inside the engine. This in turn can cause a huge amount of troubles overtime.

Here are a few reasons why the Peugeot / Citroen / Ford HDI turbo fails on these engines?

  1. Oil Blockage and carbon build-up. With the high amount of carbon build up these Peugeot HDI engines can suffer with oil blockages. They have oil pipes to and from the turbo which lets the oil pass, keeping the bearings inside the turbo lubricated. When there is a high carbon build up these pipes can get blocked preventing the oil to get to where it needs to go. Eventually the lack of lubrication will cook the bearings inside the turbo causing the turbo to go faulty. Another way this can happen is if the oil pump is blocked. This normally is quite frequent to occur also. 
  2. The Turbine nut fell off or came loose? In some cases new or old the nut on the turbine can come off, first instinct is to think that it was not screwed on properly in the first place but this is where most people are wrong. The nut on the turbine for these HDI engines is self-tightening and from new is only hand tight. The reason for this is as the turbine goes round (when the turbo is active on the vehicle) it tightens the nut because the travel in opposite directions. If your nut should come off the most likely reason is down to oil blockage normally from carbon build up once again?? Why and how you ask? Well as the carbon blocks the bearings the turbine should not turn properly or in some case if the bearing have gone it may not turn at all. This will then cause the nut to stop tightening. When this happens there normally is a lot of vibration which over a short amount of time loosens the nut till it eventually comes off.
  3. There are many other reasons that turbo can break here are a few more. 
  • Foreign objects somehow making their way to the turbo, 
  • Worn oil seals in the turbo
  • Wrong oil in the vehicle
  • Lack of servicing

How can you prevent these Peugeot / Citroen / Ford HDI engines from oil blockages and turbo failures?

Firstly if you haven’t suffered with this problem yet. Then to help prevent this from happening we recommend a few steps you should make to help the life of your vehicle.

1) Service regularly. If you want to be extra cautious service your oil more than recommended. When servicing make sure everything that everything is changed i.e. failing to service an air filter could eventually cause a foreign object to enter the intake.
2) Take up a Terraclean service – We provide this for all vehicles. This cleans your engine and fuel inside helping the engine to run as good as new. For more information get in touch or click here to find out more
3) Don’t use the wrong oil, it is very important the wrong oil does not go in these engines so don’t use any oil as it may cause more than just a common turbo failure.

4) If you’ve got a miss fire or a light on the dash but the car seems fine? Make sure you get it checked, normally this means something is wrong or not working as it should. The car may appear to run ok as most vehicles run on a default setting when an error occurs but this is a temporary solution. Get this fixed as soon as possible or it could eventually lead to more problems later.

If your turbo has gone on your Peugeot 307, 407, Citroen Xsara Picasso, Ford Fiesta etc?

What you should do when changing this turbo to prevent it happening again?

So the worst has occurred? I will go through somethings to bear in mind when changing the turbo. Make sure you check and follow carefully to prevent it going again a month or so down the line. If you HDI engine or if any other fault should occur when changing the turbo you may find this invalidates the warranty so it is very important it every area is covered.

  • Firstly try and buy an O.E. (original equipment) Turbo i.e. like a well know brand such as Garrett. Buying a cheap turbo is more than likely going to mean it’s made up with cheap materials – you pay for what you get. 
  • When changing these turbos on these engines you want to replace the oil pipes. Most manufactures recommend this in case the originals are blocked. 
  • You want to check the oil pump (if not replace these too) for any iron filings and that it is working correctly.
  • We recommend our Terraclean service to make sure the engine is nice and clean inside just in case you miss anything you can’t see. This also has its added benefits. Please do not hesitate to give us a shout if you require this specialist service from us.
  • You want to make sure that nothing else is faulty to cause the engine to either run lumpy or make the turbo faulty. Again at a later stage.
  • Pre-lubricate the turbo before fitting. Most turbos come with a fitting kit which has a syringe with the oil.
  • You then want to give the car a full service (VERY IMPORTANT – with the correct oil), this will normally involve an oil and oil filter change along with a new fuel filter, air filter if required.
  • Check to see if the DPF, catalyst is blocked or damaged. If they are blocked or damaged the may require changing.

There may be a few other methods that are worth checking but these should pretty much cover every angle.