Shot Turbo? or something else?
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This is a discussion on Shot Turbo? or something else? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I want to know if any of you guys think this sounds like a turbo going bad or not. I'm ...

  1. #1
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    Shot Turbo? or something else?

    I want to know if any of you guys think this sounds like a turbo going bad or not.

    I'm Stage 2 w/a 3" catted cobb TBE. I have 137k on my engine and turbo, but have an almost new transmission.

    Over the last couple weeks, I've been hearing what sounds like a bearing going bad whenever I have the clutch engaged and am in the mid to lower RPM range and anywhere from light to hard on the throttle. It's really difficult to tell where it's coming from, but it sounds more in front of me than behind me (although I don't want to rule anything behind me out). Like it or not, the sound is now unavoidable and it seems like something is going to break soon.

    Just this evening when I was on my way home from work I noticed some smoke coming from my hood scoop and when I looked down, my oil temp light was on. I removed the heat shield and observed smoke coming from somewhere just down stream of the visible (from the engine bay) downpipe. I noticed nothing coming from my turbo.

    Additionally, something smells like it's overheating towards the front of the engine. Although it's probably unrelated, I didn't want to leave out any details.

    The reason I am leaning towards the turbo is in part due to the fact that it has 137k on it and there are moving parts inside it that could be causing the sound. Now I'm not sure if it's possible, but could oil be leaking from within the turbo into the down pipe and cause the cat to steam out? There's a V Clamp seal between the catback and the DP, so I'm not sure how gas would get out of the exhaust at all.

    Thanks for your help!
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

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  3. #2
    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    And your oil level was ?? when you checked it? You need to find what the cause of the smoke was and if it was oil where it is coming from. No offense but this is common sense. Don't drive it untill you find out. It could be the turbo but you will have to either remove the turbo or the downpipe to verify.
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  4. #3
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    cause of the smoke is... no idea.

    I've had the car since 05 and have used mobil one ever since. For at least the last 2 years, I've had to top off my oil each week. For at least the last year, I've been topping it off with 12 oz of oil. I put about 400+ miles on each week between work and weekly escapades.

    Anywho, I checked my oil level, and it seems to be normal for the week's worth of driving.

    By oil temp light, I mean oil pressure indicator. When i got the light, I quickly turned around and went back to work (only a couple blocks away). I shut my car down to remove the heat shield and check oil levels. When I fired it back up, smoke was still rising up from the downpipe area but the light was gone and stayed gone so I test drove some more and eventually drove home.

    I'm going to troubleshoot some now.

    Are there any tell tale signs of a TD04 going bad?
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

  5. #4
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    Well, I guess I have to rule out the turbo. I took the turbo back off and checked for free play within the turbine housing and there is none. Plus the shaft still spins real smoothly. I guess that explains why it seems as though I have no lack of power... If something was wrong, I was expecting something like this: Linky.

    Also since I had the car up on 4 jack stands, I tried to recreate the noise by putting it in gear and giving it some gas. I get nothing since there's no load on the engine...

    My problem has to be either in the motor or in the trans/clutch. The trans is pretty much a brand new trans and the clutch was replaced w/the trans, so I really want to rule that out too.

    As or right now, I'm clueless...
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

  6. #5
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Define "bearing sound"? Like does it kind of sound like an airplane taking off when the speed increases? Just a shot from the hip here..pinion bearing, wheel bearing etc etc...say your crusing at like 60 mph and just throw the car in neutral do you still hear the "bearing noise"? As for your "oil issue" Did you notice any oil in the Downpipe? Since the car is up on jackstands did/do you notice any other external leaks of any kind ( oil, coolant, gear oil etc etc...)? Also define "pretty much a brand new trans"...

  7. #6
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input!

    I replaced the trans with a rallispec built unit this past march-ish. So it's got all new internals.

    The front wheel bearings were replaced this summer (the front right was replaced twice actually).

    My radiator top cap popped about a month ago, so I replaced that, put all new fluid in, and replaced the thermostat.

    Timing belt and water pump were replaced at 110k.

    Like I said, the noise is only audiable when I have the clutch engaged and give it mild to WOT gas. I should mention, the noise sometimes sticks around for a little bit while after disengaging the clutch. I'm guessing while the engine is decelerating.

    I didn't notice any oil in the down pipe and the cat looked clean (white-ish color) with no signs of falling apart. There was something shaking around in the muffler, but it sounded like a really small piece of something. I'm not concerned with it.

    Where is the pinion bearing?

    Thanks for reading.
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

  8. #7
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    pinion bearing is in the rear of the trans by the transfer gear... I was just thinking usually they only make noise when they are under load so if your just on the gas cruising than you would prob hear it and as soon as you let up off the gas or throw it in neutral it would most likely go away...Are you sure the noise your hearing isn't just a characteristic of the rallispec trans?
    Last edited by EvoEatr; 09-14-2009 at 03:47 PM.

  9. #8
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    I don't have dog cut gears or anything crazy like that, so it's not some kind of whine like what you might be thinking of. I am not going to rule out the pinion bearing... I just don't know how I would diagnose it... or replace it w/out taking a couple days off from work, so I'm hoping that's not it...

    I posted some audio in my dropbox if you want to hear the noise. I recorded it using my mp3 player, so it's not the greatest quality, but you can definitely hear the noise.

    Wobble noise while accelerating

    Wobble noise while engine braking

    I have a new theory that it's something attached to either my v-belt or ac belt.
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

  10. #9
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    Well if It is something attached to either of your drive belts you should hear it at idle than...example: like when your PS pump is bad you turn the wheel and you hear it whine...That noise does sound somewhat like a pinion bearing, but that is a shot from the hip going by the info youve and sound clips you've given...So you only hear it when you accelerate? What if your crusing in 5th at 60 mph and just completely let off the gas staying in 5th gear..do you still hear it?
    Last edited by EvoEatr; 09-13-2009 at 02:57 PM.

  11. #10
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    What if your crusing in 5th at 60 mph and just completely let off the gas staying in 5th gear..do you still hear it?
    Yea, it's still there, but since I'm going faster, it's harder to hear (wind, tires, ect drown it out).

    Well if It is something attached to either of your drive belts you should hear it at idle than
    Yea, your right... I realized that earlier today... dumb...

    It also still smells like something is cooking in my engine bay. It's not like burning coolant and I don't think it's like burning oil either though. I get a good wiff of it when I come to a stop sometimes. When I go to look under the hood, the smell is gone and there's no smoke to be seen.
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

  12. #11
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    You mention your smelling something "burning" Have you poked under the car to see if there are any leaks? Also check your Axle boots ( sometimes the P/S inner DOJ boot rips and throws grease all over the downpipe. ) As for the noise how about if you take it out of gear when your cruising at 60 is it still present than? On another note I see your from the Philadelphia Area? Where exactly in Philly are you?

  13. #12
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    Also check your Axle boots ( sometimes the P/S inner DOJ boot rips and throws grease all over the downpipe. )
    haha, been there done that! This already happened and, although it spewed grease all over the place, most of it already burnt off my heat wrapped DP. There are parts of the engine, out of reach, that still have some grease stuck to it. But that grease has been there for 6+ weeks now. It's weird that I would see smoke coming from the DP area only after running my car for 5 min but not see any run after run at the autox 2 weeks ago.

    I'll try the 60mph thing. But it's tough to hear the sound when I'm going that fast as is. I'm going to head to a small parking and have someone stand out side my car as I drive around slowly to see if they can identify if it's comming from the front or back. Within the car it sound like like it's below or slightly in front of me. It's hard to tell.

    Oh, do you know where Blue Bell is? Ever go to any of the Victory meets? I've been to a few over the past couple years.
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

  14. #13
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    My bet is your pinion bearing...let me know what you find out..Blue bell I think thats north of me. I did notice you work at lockeheed martin? The one in Chester kind of by harrahs casino?..

  15. #14
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    Is that behind here:

    If that's what went bad, I'm screwed because I'll have to pull the trans and have Rallispec fix it for me...

    I went with my dad to an empty parking lot in hopes of determining if it's front or rear of the driver while one of us drove back and forth. You can't hear the noise at all from outside the car (just the cool wrx rumble ). So.... scratch that idea.

    He thinks it's something in my drive shaft. Like something related to the cv joint or a bearing in there somewhere. I think my plan of attack is to pop it up on stands sometime tomorrow and see if there's any play in the drive shaft. I didn't bother checking it before because I could have sworn the noise only existed when I had the clutch engaged. Although not nearly as loud, when I put it in neutral, I hear a quieter version of the same sound. ...

    I hope this doesn't seem like a wild goose chase. I don't mean to give you false information. It's just been extremely difficult to pinpoint and I get hyper sensitive to everything and anything I hear or see.

    I need to change my profile! I work at Piasecki now which is right by the airport. You were thinking of Boeing which is right by the airport as well. Kennit Square looks like it's a haul from me, but if I still can't find the problem, would you be willing to look at it in person?
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

  16. #15
    Registered User AgentH's Avatar
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    Front and rear pinion bearings are listed as 8 and 19 in this image:



    But 2 is also a bearing and could potentially have failed.
    2nd WRX...
    More than meets the eye.

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