Maintenance Matters

September 2009 Issue

Turbo Overhauls: Sooner Not Later

Turbos live a miserable life and are just waiting to blow oil seals or crack exhaust components. Proactive mid-time overhauls are worth considering.

Pity the poor turbocharger: It sits in your engineís exhaust stream, subject to extreme heat and corrosive gases, spinning at up to 120,000 RPM, boosting manifold pressure. Pity also the turbocharged aircraft operator, since he or she gets to pay for maintaining and overhauling the turbo, its controller and its wastegate. Although turbos often last as long as the engine itself before needing overhaul, they also can need attention well before scheduled TBO. And, even if the engine doesnít need work before an overhaul, you might want to consider overhauling the turbo halfway to the engineís TBO anyway. Itís sort of like paying it forward. In some cases, problems with the engine can mean turbo issues, too, since they share the same lubricating oil; what gets into your engineís oil also can get into your turbo. Whether your turbo is sent out for overhaul with the engine or removed before TBO after a routine inspection uncovered a problem, there are few things you need to know and decide before giving the shop a go-ahead for work.

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