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Thread: whole turbo or just the cartridge?

  1. #1
    Regular Member justin32's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra c SRI Facelift

    Trim : SRI

    Engine : 1.9 CDTI 150

    Year : 2006

    Default whole turbo or just the cartridge?

    My car is on 160,0000 miles and ive noticed over the years its loosing its poke even though its got:

    Teapot map
    FMIC
    EGR blanked from turbo end
    Swirl bar mapped open and EGR removed
    Back box delete
    Race tube
    Fairly recent Clutch and flywheel
    New manifold

    Theres nothing wrong with it and ive always kept up on things like cleaning throttle body, boost sensor, regular oil changes, Vacuum hoses replaced (GM ones). There are no strange noises or anything and injector readings are pretty good so my only other thought could be turbo. The turbo has always whistled from the day I brought the car about 7 years ago and when I had my clutch and flywheel replaced (by a member on here) he did mention that there was a screeching noise at high revs and also slight play in the shaft. The screeching noise I can remember but it disappeared.

    A friend of mine brought a Vectra last week that is pretty high mileage (almost 200k) and is standard with no mods at all.I drove it and was expecting it to be no match for mine but I was really shocked at how fast it was. The turbo spooled up quickly and when it kicked in it lifted the front of the car and had to grip the steering wheel due to the torque steer, it also revved a lot quicker and had better throttle response which I havn't had that from my car for years and years!

    Now its got me thinking that could my turbo just be a bit tired now and need replacing? I remember watching an episode of wheeler dealers and I forget which car they brought but Edd ended up replacing the turbo as it just felt a bit sluggish and under powered which in truth is what mine feels like.

    Ive looked into replacement turbo but also came across a replacement cartridge for the turbo which is half the price but not sure if its worth the hassle of stripping it down and I read that it is a delicate job and can be a bit fiddly

    What do you guys reckon?

  2. #2
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    Vehicle : Saab 9-3 (Vectra C in disguise)

    Trim : Linear Sport

    Engine : 1.9 TiD 150

    Year : 2005

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by justin32 View Post
    My car is on 160,0000 miles and ive noticed over the years its loosing its poke even though its got:

    Teapot map
    FMIC
    EGR blanked from turbo end
    Swirl bar mapped open and EGR removed
    Back box delete
    Race tube
    Fairly recent Clutch and flywheel
    New manifold

    Theres nothing wrong with it and ive always kept up on things like cleaning throttle body, boost sensor, regular oil changes, Vacuum hoses replaced (GM ones). There are no strange noises or anything and injector readings are pretty good so my only other thought could be turbo. The turbo has always whistled from the day I brought the car about 7 years ago and when I had my clutch and flywheel replaced (by a member on here) he did mention that there was a screeching noise at high revs and also slight play in the shaft. The screeching noise I can remember but it disappeared.

    A friend of mine brought a Vectra last week that is pretty high mileage (almost 200k) and is standard with no mods at all.I drove it and was expecting it to be no match for mine but I was really shocked at how fast it was. The turbo spooled up quickly and when it kicked in it lifted the front of the car and had to grip the steering wheel due to the torque steer, it also revved a lot quicker and had better throttle response which I havn't had that from my car for years and years!

    Now its got me thinking that could my turbo just be a bit tired now and need replacing? I remember watching an episode of wheeler dealers and I forget which car they brought but Edd ended up replacing the turbo as it just felt a bit sluggish and under powered which in truth is what mine feels like.

    Ive looked into replacement turbo but also came across a replacement cartridge for the turbo which is half the price but not sure if its worth the hassle of stripping it down and I read that it is a delicate job and can be a bit fiddly

    What do you guys reckon?
    You cleaned your MAP sensor recently? How old is your MAF?

    If it is the turbo mine is probably got the same issue as yours (I'm at 147K now and after the timing belt snap repairs had been done I have a screech if I floor it hard)

    I might end up going hybrid though I'm not decided (also depends on funds)

    I hear varying things about swapping cartridges, so be interested to see if this pans out

  3. #3
    Regular Member justin32's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra c SRI Facelift

    Trim : SRI

    Engine : 1.9 CDTI 150

    Year : 2006

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrF View Post
    You cleaned your MAP sensor recently? How old is your MAF?

    If it is the turbo mine is probably got the same issue as yours (I'm at 147K now and after the timing belt snap repairs had been done I have a screech if I floor it hard)

    I might end up going hybrid though I'm not decided (also depends on funds)

    I hear varying things about swapping cartridges, so be interested to see if this pans out
    Yeah I clean my map sensor every couple of months but as my EGR is blanked at the turbo end it doesn't get that dirty.

    My MAF hasn't been changed since ive owned the car which will be 8 years this year and im pretty sure the previous owner who was also a member on here didn't need to change it so that would make it 13 years old. Ive never had any issues with it that I know of, well not from a fault code side of things but I suppose I could get some figures from OP-COM and compare but I would have to get some readings from a fully functional MAF sensor.

    The screeching which developed about 4 years ago came and went but I don't know if that is just because the turbo is fully working now but I just assumed that it would fail at some point but It didn't.

    The frustrating thing is that every time I did a mod the car would feel great for a week or so and then revert back to how it is now for example when I fitted my FMIC last year ( I think) the difference was night and day but over a period of a couple of weeks or so I noticed the power loss. I can get in the car and it feels quite responsive and quick and then get out and back in an hour later and it feels underpowered again. It does pull through the gears but I seem to get more engine noise than power and the whistling doesn't seen as loud these days which im not sure is a good or bad thing.

    The only time ive had a similar experience of the lack of power was when I fitted a cone filter in the middle of summer and the engine was suffering lots of heat soak so although it was running "ok" it was just lacking any grunt.

    I was thinking about a hybrid a few years ago but the cost of the turbo plus fittings and then another remap was just too much given the age and value of the car.

    Ive looked a bit more into cartridge swapping and a lot of people do it, its definitely cheaper and as long as you get a quality part then it looks pretty straight forward if your willing to spend a bit of time swapping bit over. There is a company in London that sell very good cartridges and can also supply gasket kits too and they seem to have a very good reputation. They are not the cheapest especially when Ebay are knocking out whole turbo's for around £150-180 but I wouldn't trust one of those nor would I trust a second hand unit that Ebay is full of.

    I might try swapping MAF sensors and see how that pans out, also I might have a look at replacing the vacuum solenoid that sits at the front of the engine bay because that has always vibrated and pulsed which I havnt seen on any other vectras
    Last edited by justin32; 14th April 2019 at 02:21.

  4. #4
    Midlands - Head case Organiser Dog_Book's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra Estate

    Trim : VXR

    Engine : Z28NEH

    Year : 07

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    Sounds like your starting to answer your own question, that noise from the turbo a long time ago doesn’t sound healthy though.
    As funds permit I’ve slowly been replacing sensors on mine as like you they will all be old but not done any in a while as they are expensive. Not related to yours as your lucky in this department but I’ll be swapping the other vac lines with one way valves too some day as they like to fail to
    Vectra VXR estate 2007 Sapphire Black
    Teapot Tuned 245/300
    Eibachs B8's, fully loaded factory options

  5. #5
    Regular Member northpole's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra C

    Trim : SXI limited edition

    Engine : 2.0 16v DTI

    Year : 2003

    Mileage : 140000

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    in my years of turbo diesels with VNT equipped turbo's i found that if the VNT is getting grubby you'll notice power loss sometimes full on sometimes it slowly get's worse and there will be times when it actually works just fine... with that noise you've had once but it went away could mean that the main shaft has to much play... but in my experience 9 out of 10 times the vnt mechanism is the culprit... now coming from the VW brand i have changed cardridges on turbo's but it was always a fiddly job and 9 out of 10 times i had to take the turbo to a specialist to have the actuator set properly... so in my experience, if a clean up of the VNT isn't on the charts ( and by the sound of it yours is like that) i would just get a replacement turbo that doesn't have any play on the shaft... I wouldn't even bother with new, i would get a good 2nd hand one of a scrappy with the actuator connected... last time i payed just 100 pounds for one and that was because it was one that actually came with a cast manifold(vw uses them that way) the turbo's used on the vectra CDTI's can be had from 50 pounds complete when they are used... so that is what i would go for...

    I know it is best to use new parts but to be fair, if you are going to go OEM it doesn't make sense to pay new price... and with them being so cheap 2nd hand you can decide to split the vnt mechanism and clean it out with some foaming ovencleaner, rinse it and put it back together.... if it goes wrong you can always get another one on the cheap

  6. #6
    Regular Member justin32's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra c SRI Facelift

    Trim : SRI

    Engine : 1.9 CDTI 150

    Year : 2006

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    Quote Originally Posted by northpole View Post
    in my years of turbo diesels with VNT equipped turbo's i found that if the VNT is getting grubby you'll notice power loss sometimes full on sometimes it slowly get's worse and there will be times when it actually works just fine... with that noise you've had once but it went away could mean that the main shaft has to much play... but in my experience 9 out of 10 times the vnt mechanism is the culprit... now coming from the VW brand i have changed cardridges on turbo's but it was always a fiddly job and 9 out of 10 times i had to take the turbo to a specialist to have the actuator set properly... so in my experience, if a clean up of the VNT isn't on the charts ( and by the sound of it yours is like that) i would just get a replacement turbo that doesn't have any play on the shaft... I wouldn't even bother with new, i would get a good 2nd hand one of a scrappy with the actuator connected... last time i payed just 100 pounds for one and that was because it was one that actually came with a cast manifold(vw uses them that way) the turbo's used on the vectra CDTI's can be had from 50 pounds complete when they are used... so that is what i would go for...

    I know it is best to use new parts but to be fair, if you are going to go OEM it doesn't make sense to pay new price... and with them being so cheap 2nd hand you can decide to split the vnt mechanism and clean it out with some foaming ovencleaner, rinse it and put it back together.... if it goes wrong you can always get another one on the cheap
    I was looking into the VNT system on youtube and I can see what you mean about them getting dirty and effecting the workings of it.

    My worry about buying second hand was that most of the turbos listed don't have any info on the history of the car it came from so knowing my luck id get a duff turbo from a car that has done 1,000,000 miles lol

    When looking for a second hand turbo is it just play in the shaft that would mean its no good or is there anything else I should look out for?

  7. #7
    Regular Member northpole's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra C

    Trim : SXI limited edition

    Engine : 2.0 16v DTI

    Year : 2003

    Mileage : 140000

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    Play in the shaft... more than 2mm is bad when it isn't mounted.. you should also check the housing for obvious drag of the blades other than that check if the vnt mechanism is smooth to the touch, full movement on the lever is 1cm on the short lever on the vnt mechanism...(and with the short lever I am on about the lever directly mounted to the vnt mechanism)

  8. #8
    Midlands - Head case Organiser Dog_Book's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra Estate

    Trim : VXR

    Engine : Z28NEH

    Year : 07

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    Quote Originally Posted by northpole View Post
    Play in the shaft... more than 2mm is bad when it isn't mounted.. you should also check the housing for obvious drag of the blades other than that check if the vnt mechanism is smooth to the touch, full movement on the lever is 1cm on the short lever on the vnt mechanism...(and with the short lever I am on about the lever directly mounted to the vnt mechanism)
    2mm ?????!!!!! Maybe .2 mm but I don’t have any exact figures for turbo shaft but I’d even think under .02mm
    Vectra VXR estate 2007 Sapphire Black
    Teapot Tuned 245/300
    Eibachs B8's, fully loaded factory options

  9. #9
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    Vehicle : Vauxhall

    Trim : Best

    Engine : 2.0T

    Year : 2008

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    If you buy a replacement cartridge you'd then have to pay to have it balanced, surely?

  10. #10
    Regular Member northpole's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Vectra C

    Trim : SXI limited edition

    Engine : 2.0 16v DTI

    Year : 2003

    Mileage : 140000

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    When it isn't mounted to anything the play is still fine of it is less than 2mm once it hits 2mm it actually makes the blades touch the sides and leave a nice scrape in the housing... both are easily checked... I should know I have rebud a few vnt turbo's

    That said hybrid turbos will have a lot less play and brand new units will have about 0.2 or less play... has everything to do with the stuff being new and not ran yet.

    For a good comparison I had a new and used one side by side... virtually no play on the new one and about 1mm play on the used one... put the new one on had it calibrated and within a months time I took it of to check the play... it was about 1mm just like the old one that came off...

    So yeah 2mm means it is touching the sides 1mm on a used one is normal.

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