Foreign Object Damage?

What is a foreign object and what causes it?

A foreign object is simply any object that enters the turbocharger through the air inlet or exhaust inlet. When a foreign object enters the turbocharger, its performance will be affected very quickly.

Signs of foreign object damage:

  • Noise from the turbo during operation;
  • Loss of performance;
  • Chipping of compressor or turbine blades;
  • Pitting around the compressor inlet;
  • Pitting on the compressor blades.

Causes of foreign object damage:

  • Small particles entering through damaged hoses;
  • If the air filter is damaged (or faulty), of a low quality or missing, objects will be sucked into the air intake;
  • Debris from a previous turbocharger failure;
  • Broken engine components, e.g. valves or fragments of damaged piston, injector tips;
  • Bolts, nuts, washers, rags or other items left in the intake pipe during servicing.

Preventing turbo failure caused by a foreign object:

  • Make sure air hoses are clear from blockages and other loose objects;
  • Check that air hoses are intact and in good working condition;
  • Ensure the air filter is the correct one for the vehicle;
  • Ensure no debris or engine fragments remain from the previous turbo failure;
  • Using new gaskets helps to prevent the possibility of gasket break up and also ensure a perfect seal.

Please note: Never continue to operate a turbocharger with damaged blades as the rotor balance will be affected and this could impact its service life.