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Old 29 Jun 2007
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: London
Posts: 60
Turbo oil leak

Hi to toyota land cruiser experts!

We are in Gabon and we have oil leaking from the turbo through the air intake pipe and into the cylinders. a new turbo in Libreville is 1000 euros so i attached a second hand one; which of course did not work: it goes through half a litre of oil per 500 km. The turbo is still working.

my question is - how far can i go before i do serious damage to the engine? will I make it to namibia? will i make it to cape town? should i stop driving immediately?

Any help will be much appreciated:

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Old 30 Jun 2007
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Ledbury, Herefordshire, UK
Posts: 326
Personally I would want to replace the turbo as soon as possible.

The oil going through the engine could end up leading to a build up of deposits on the injectors.

However, more worrying is what has caused the oil to start leaking in the first place? If the bearings are going in the turbo resulting in excessive movement, wearing the seals away you could be in line for the turbo to go pop.

Are you sure the oil is beiing lost through the turbo? If you have had the turbo off, was there much/any play in the spindle?

The exhaust gas recirculation system will result in oily deposits in the air intake - is this what you are seeing?

Are there any other oil leaks?

Julian Voelcker
Overland Cruisers - Specialising in Land Cruiser preparation and servicing.
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Old 30 Jun 2007
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Location: Nottingham, UK
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If it's intercooled, it's probably not the end of the world if the turbo does disintegrate - the little pieces almost certainly won't reach the engine. However, from your description, it's not intercooled, so there is some danger that bits of metal would end up damaging the valves, pistons, and bores.

Be very careful of a catastrophic oil leak into the turbo. The engine can run on the oil, and won't shut down until it's revved itself to death, or used all the oil from the sump... If that starts to happen, you'll have to put it in top gear and stall it with the clutch. Or, in the case of an automatic, you'll have to seal the air intake with a plastic bag, or disconnect the turbo outlet pipe, pronto.

It might be worth while seeing if you can run the vehicle without the turbo at all - I don't know what's involved in removing the turbo innards, or re-routing the hoses. In that part of the world, you don't *need* a lot of engine power anyway.

If you're heading N from Gabon, you can probably buy another secondhand turbo, preferably from an intact vehicle/engine. Turbo units are surprisingly robust, but if you buy one that is already detached, it might well be detached because it was known to be damaged.

If you're heading S, it gets more difficult, but probably not impossible.


Michael & Sandy
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Old 30 Jun 2007
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Derbyshire, UK
Posts: 161
Hi. I have to agree with Michael, oil leaking into the engine from the turbo is bad! Like Michael said, the engine can start to suck the oil out of the sump and run on that oil, turning it off won't stop it. the engine simply runs on the oil being sucked out of the sump, until there is no more oil.... too late engine knackered!!
I had a customer once who said he was overtaking a car on the motorway and he put his foot down to accelerate, there was a load of smoke out of the exhaust and he flew past the other cars, took his foot off the pedal, and kept on going faster and faster!! He managed to pull over and stall it.
If the turbo is knackered then you could take it off, but you'll have no exhaust and it will be VERY loud, like an aeroplane!!
unbolt the turbo from the manifold, block off the oil feed to the turbo, and put the pipe from the air filter straight to the inlet manifold.
Or, wedge the waste gate open so the turbo is not producing any boost, this will ease the pressure on the turbo, but the oil will still come through but hopefully not as much.

You need a new (or working second hand) turbo as soon as possible. Or order one from here and get it sent to you. I could help you with that if you want.

For now I would keep on driving but take it easy, keep topping up the oil in the engine, and if it does start to run on the engine oil get ready to stall it if it's manual, or block the air intake if it's automatic. By the way, blocking the air inlet to stop the engine is not that easy if you've not done it before and you are panicking, and the engine is revving at 5000 rpm!

Good luck!

Matt Savage
VIAIR - 12 & 24 volt compressors and systems. Tyre levers, Land Rover parts, Sand Tracks, Allisport Intercoolers, Overland Prep, and much more...
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Old 3 Jul 2007
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ghana
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pretty standard african "repair" is to remove the turbo (butchering the housing with an arc welder so you still have an exhaust!) Of course you are then WAY down on power, and in a loaded Defender with effectively no turbo due to a blown hose it was no joke at all. I would try and get one shipped if you are not in a big rush - or be prepared to wave past bicycles and donkeys!
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