What Are The Symptoms Of A 6.0 Powerstroke Turbo Failure?

6.0 Powerstroke engines come with variable-geometry Turbochargers or VGTs, which are designed to allow the optimum amount of airflow to change depending on engine conditions. 

The optimum airflow or aspect ratio changes depending on engine RPM and engine load conditions. The aspect ratio at low speeds is very different than the aspect ratio at higher speeds.

However, many consumers have experienced turbo failure, but they could have prevented the problem if they were aware of the initial sign and symptoms to get a hint. 

Therefore, in this very article, let’s learn how to detect when your 6.0 Powerstroke turbo needs immediate attention.

What Is The Sign Of 6.0 Powerstroke Turbo Failure?

The most common and obvious sign of 6.0 Powerstroke turbo failure is that VGT actuators are subject to mechanical failures, as well as electronic failures.

When the turbo vanes are seized and will not move the actuator, they will try to rotate to move the vanes open or closed. It may put a bind on the actuator gear and cause the motor that operates the gear to overheat and fail.

6.0 Powerstroke Turbo Failure Symptoms:

There are other significant symptoms by which you can easily identify when your 6.0 Powerstroke turbo needs proper inspection and repairing or replacement. 

So, let’s learn more about those symptoms and how to detect 6.0 Powerstroke turbo failure

1. Loss Of Power

One of the most common symptoms is power loss. Your car will become slow to react to your input if power loss happens. 

Again, if your turbocharged car cannot accelerate as powerfully as it once could be or it struggles to maintain high speed; this might be a sign that your turbo is failing.

2. Noise From Engine

All turbochargers make some amount of noise as the compressor inside it speeds up when you accelerate the rev range up. However, most people don’t even notice that.

But a faulty VGT turbo can result in a loud whining noise coming from the engine. The noise is a bit like a

dentist’s drill or police siren. The noise will get louder if the fault becomes worse.

Actually, the turbocharger muffles the sound of air intake and thus makes the engine quieter. So as soon as you hear these noises, you should get a professional mechanic to look at your car.

3. Increased Oil Consumption

You can have increased oil consumption due to VGT turbo issues. The turbo helps create better fuel economy. If you experience a noticeable decrease in your car’s mileage, that might be for a turbo failure.

There can be different reasons behind the failure of the turbo. A bearing might have failed, or you can have hot shutdowns or oil contamination.

The raw fuel leaking from the turbo into the exhaust without ever being burned can also cause this.

4. Exhaust Smoke

One more thing that turbochargers do is reduce the amount of smoke coming out of the exhaust pipe.

So, if there is a crack in the turbo housing, you’ll see excessive exhaust smoke coming out from the pipe.

5. Black And Blue Smoke

When oil leaks into the exhaust system due to the crack in the turbo housing, it produces a distinctive blue smoke as it burns off. On the other side, a burned engine, clogged air filter, obstructed air intake

duct to the turbo compressor, etc., can cause black smoke. If the turbocharger is causing this symptom, you are highly likely to see the colored smokes as the engine revolutions increase right after the idling. 

However, whatever color the smoke is, you should take your car to your mechanic as it is a very bad sign.

6. The Boost Gauge

Some turbocharged vehicles have a boost gauge that lets you know how much boost your turbo is producing. You can also fit one in your vehicle if you want to. If your boost gauge doesn’t go up as much as it used to, then there is a good chance your turbo needs repair.

These are the most commonly identified symptoms that indicate the turbo failure condition. So, if you also own one of the 6.0 Powerstroke engines on your vehicle, make sure to keep them in mind.

What To Do When You Detect 6.0 Powerstroke Turbo Failure?

Whenever you encounter any symptoms indicating that your turbo may fail or has any damage, make sure to follow the below instructions in order to fix the problem-

Cleaning The Soot With Turbo Cleaner

A good turbo cleaner like Bardahl Turbo Cleaner removes the soot in the turbo without disassembly.

This soot is the cause of the fact that the variable turbine vanes get stuck and the motor loses its power. It prevents soot on the turbo blades caused by poor combustion of the soot particles (unburned soot particles). It also prevents excessive fuel consumption and power loss.

To use it, you need to pour the content of the can, when the engine is warm, in the fuel tank min. 30 and max. 60 liters of diesel. Drive a high RPM (in low gears up to + / – 3500rpm). Drive the tank empty as much as possible before refueling again.

Checking the Lines

The carbon deposits may be built up to the point that the vanes are stuck in the open position. This makes the truck act like it has a large fixed turbo (instead of a variable geometry unit) because the vanes cannot move to constrict the limited exhaust flow produced during low-rpm and low-load driving.

After removing the actuator piston that controls the drive plate (unison ring), and the vanes from the turbine housing, you need to use a media blaster cabinet loaded with glass beads to remove the carbon deposits inside the turbine housing, on the drive plate, and on the vanes. 

Glasswork is best because it leaves a clean and smooth surface, unlike sand. 

Is Replacing A 6.0 Powerstroke Turbo Typically Expensive?

If we try to say this in a word, yes. Replacing a VGT Turbo is a challenging task. Back in history, cars were not this compact as today, and the machines were also big. Hence, it was easy to find a turbo under the hood. 

But nowadays, car engine bays are compact, and many turbochargers are fitted in a small space to make the vehicle fuel-efficient and lightweight. It also makes replacing the turbo very difficult. 

While finding a part of the machine has become hard for this compact size, tool use is harder. 

So, if you have to troubleshoot or change your VGT Turbo, you need to have some rich tools with a lot of patience. Sometimes, you even have to remove the engine to work on the turbo. 

However, removing the engine isn’t difficult nowadays. To remove the turbo, you’ll have to remove a number of tools from the car engine first. They include all air intake ducting, turbo heat shields, boost sensor wiring, wiring plug coolant lines, oil lines, etc. 

Again, to replace it, you’ll need to perform certain things that include cleaning all exhaust mating surfaces, replacing exhaust gaskets, keeping blanking caps on the new turbo until the turbo is in place, etc. So, it is quite time-consuming and hardworking. 

That’s why it’s always the best option to go to a mechanic or expert. They’ll have the tools and experience to do all these things. As the replacing is tough and VGT turbos are quite expensive, this task also costs a lot of money. 

On average, $1000-$4000 is charged for changing a VGT Turbo or troubleshooting it. New VGT turbochargers cost $2500, which is a big amount. But you can use remanufactured versions to reduce the cost. Therefore, it’s both stressful and costly to replace a VGT turbo.

Final thoughts

Turbochargers or turbos boost the engine power of your vehicle. It adds air into the cylinder to provide more power for the vehicle to run. So it creates a lot of problems in a car when the turbo fails or gets worn. 

So, those above discussed symptoms will help keep a close eye on your 6.0 Powerstroke turbo to prevent any severe issues.

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