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Robert, BMW Technician
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 4716
Experience:  Fully qualified 19+yrs exp/self employed technician in the UK
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HiI have a 2005 (new shape) BMW 320d. Both the turbo and

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I have a 2005 (new shape) BMW 320d. Both the turbo and engine damage has taken place. Is it possible that the turbo failure has caused engine damage e.g. timing chain, etc?


Hopefully i can help..

Normally a knock on effect of a Turbo unit causing damage to engine is either through whats termed as "run away engine" in which the oil seal fails on the compressor side of the turbo and the engine then ingests its own engine oil and dumps it in via the inlet and thus the engine just runs at very high RPM on its own oil until of course it runs out of oil and causes all sorts of wear internally,especially with the timing chain too considering that needs a flow of oil to keep lubricated or the engine seizes up or theres no compression due to the wear around the bore/rings etc etc - Another failure could be parts/bits of the turbo vane again on the compressor side has got into the engine,they would only know that for sure phiysically checking the turbo unit itself..there are two sides to a turbo a compressor side which forces air into the engine and turbine side which is driven by the exhaust gases to drive the compressor side to force air into the engine..... On the other hand you may have had an underlaying regards ***** ***** pressure/oil pump problem - normally when a turbo unit is replaced you must always replace the oil feed and return line to the turbo unit or it core when a turbo is replaced,if they've done that then you could rule out that.obviously a full oil and filter change too..if the last or this Turbo was starved of oil,usually the turbo manufactuer would check for overheating or blueing cause by lack of oil - then that might be your problem aswell as the engine damage.if its wear or timing chain related wear...I do hope this helps

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So, I think what you are saying is that it is entirely possible that the turbo failure has gone on to cause engine damage? Is that right?

The Turbo is still under warranty and therefore if the turbo has failed then BMW should sort out the engine damage.


As highlighted above - it depends on "how" the Turbo has gone faulty,and that would be something to have investigated or you'll risk the same problem again..I do know some turbo re-conditioners might not warranty it if the engine has oil flow issue,or the feed/return lines where not replaced to cause turbo failure not to sure why they will fit a new turbo if they say the engine damaged? at to what extent you dont say..considering what use is a new turbo on a damaged engine..

A turbo depending on how it fails can go faulty but the engine can still run be it very under powered/black smoke - the most common Turbo failure in most cars including BMW on that engine is either due to starvation of oil flow to the turbo - the turbo/core needs a constant supply of engine oil - so if the oil doesnt get there for what ever reason either due to oil pressure problem/blockage in the feed and return lines to the turbo or an oil pump problem - would eventually damage the turbo core/bearings,seals and thus risks breaking up and ingesting small parts of the turbo into the engine or the shaft inside breaks..Or in some cases the oil seal could blow in the turbo..this in turn send oil into the engine and the engine just "runs away on it own oil" destroying the engine in the process as it uses up all its oil....very rarely will a engine damage its own turbo mechanically its always usually an oil supply issue

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The issue for me is that if the Turbo failure caused the engine damage then BMW should foot the bill because it was the BMW garage that replaced the turbo last time (Feb 2013) and gave me two years warranty. Incidentally, this will be third turbo in 5 years and BMW have replaced it each time.

I have asked BMW to establish for certain if the Turbo has gone or not and if so, what was the cause. I thought they had already established this but apparently not. They will strip the turbo down tomorrow.

May just have to dump it and go for a Honda or a Toyota!


Never been a great fan of 320d to be honest myself... have replaced a few 320d turbos before but thats about it..never had any come back with the same issue....3 turbo's in 5 years well i guess there's a reason for that..either the quaility of the turbo - if straight from the dealer source then they should be fine quaility wise..which sort of leads me to think you have or had an underlaying issue to cause continual turbo failure like you've had in regards ***** ***** supply - they might know that once they strip the turbo and check for wear or recognise simply by the blueing of the bearings or the shaft caused by/exposed excessive heat as its the engine oil that keeps it cool an lubricated..No doubt they will if the engine is damaged advise a new engine anyway.. Yes id say probably best of with a Honda ;)

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Robert.

I'm happy with your support and plan to give you a rating tomorrow once I have the answer from them!

thanks again


Hi..Rafi..yep thats no problem..
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Robert

They have now confirmed that there is 'excessive play' in the turbo meaning that the turbo is officially declared defunct! They have said that they still don't know what has caused the engine failure and wont know what has caused this without stripping the engine. I have asked them to have a look at the engine to see what has caused the problem. They have said that I will be liable for costs if they find that the turbo did not cause the engine failure.

Here's hoping!

Hi..there thanks for your update..

Yes well excessive play could still be lubrication/oil supply fault... the excessive play means the bearings that hold the shaft inside the turbo housing which are under very tight tolerances for perfect balance has worn out..thus causing the play on the turbine/compressor shaft,which can result in the turbine wheels to scratch the housing inside.that could send particles into the engin - If thats the case then as highlighted above - its either been a oil supply fault.then turbo hasnt been getting a proper supply of oil - carbon particles in the oil,oil filter "lack of proper oil changes", dirt ingress, previous mettalic deposits from the last turbo failure in oil/pick up...But keep me updated on how you get on

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Robert

Good news! They have accepted that the engine failure was down to the turbo and will put right the engine damage.

I did ask them about the oil feed and return line to the turbo unit and they confirmed that this was replaced last time with the turbo.

So I am none the wiser as to why the turbo keeps failing, checked the records and its the 3rd time in four and half years that the turbo will have been replaced by them.

Worryingly, they have also said that the warranty on the new turbo and the work they do on the engine will be warranted only until Feb 2015. The reason is that that is when the warranty was due to run out on the existing turbo and they wont extend or provide a new warranty for the work they are doing now - needless to say that that appears to be a little harsh.

Rob, what is the purpose of the "breather pipe"? I noticed that this had come loose, could it be that this may the cause of the turbo failure in some way?

Hi Rafi..

That great news regarding the turbo - engine rebuild...

Yes well its is standard practice to replace the oil feed/return /gaskets and o rings provided when a new turbo has been installed - they need to also "prime" the turbo core with oil too - so it good to read they have done that..but like yourself its puzzling as to why its failing so quickly which would lead me to think that the fault must be with the supply of oil to it..and only the engine oil system would be culprit to a way of low quaility oil / the engine running on low oil / bad oil pump / problem with the pick up in the sump / or the oil filter housing/element inside.. or as i detailed before particles in the oil mettalic/carbon being circulated around the system and eventually causing problems with the turbo bearings/wearing them out.if the engine was still running then that would need to be checked for.However if the engine is being rebuilt then that should eliminate that...Yes the warranty does sound a little harsh to be honest..basing on the failed turbo they are could probably persue that further with them to extent that..but considering the age of the car as it stands might be against it - that can happen.. In regards ***** ***** breather pipe..there are no breathers to it..the turbo is bolted to the exhaust manifold - and you only have two large hoses - the intercooler hose and the intake hose - the actuator or wastegate on these are electronic so not old system vaccum controlled which would have small vaccum hose to it aswell - the breather..there are a fair few breather on that engine you would have to be more specific as to its position on the engine..but i can see that being the main cause for the turbo failure..

Personally speaking whether you take this advise or not..but i would get the work done now..and then try and sell it on...I do hope this helps further

Robert and other BMW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Rob


Happy new year to you!


Good news, finally I have my car back (only taken them seven weeks to sort out). Bad news is that it the engine seems a lot noisier than it did before.


They have replaced the crankshaft and piston rings - am awaiting a written statement as to what has been done/replaced.


I know you don't have a crystal ball, however, any ideas as to why it would be noisier than normal?