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8.3 Cummins Turbo failure?


Jeff-C-IL
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This spring the 9230 just didn't seem to have any power.  It was running smooth, no stumbling or hesitation or missing, started and revved up fine.  BUT...the EGT were pushing right up to 1250 or more, and felt like you were pulling really hard.   Then I noticed the boost gauge just wasn't working like normal...instead of climbing and falling as the ground conditions changed, its was sitting right around 12-13 and not changing much.   Talked to Big Steve who said I should be running 20+ pounds of boost. He suggested 1) poor fuel flow or 2) turbo failure.  As the easiest test, I tried revving the motor fully open and shutting it off and listening to the turbo spin down to see if I could hear the turbine hitting (bad bearings).   Well...I couldn't hear the turbo spin down at all!    So I looked at the turbo visually....not sure why I did this, but I grabbed the intake hose and wiggled it.....and the whole turbo air & bearing assembly rocked in the exhaust turbine housing.   The 4 bolts holding the turbo bearing center into the exhaust casting are loose.  (this is NOT the turbo to the manifold - the "snail shell" is solid - the turbo bearing center is loose in it.)  Its not a lot - the turbo only "wiggles" enough to see it move.  And it does not appear that a lot of exhaust is blowing out there (its maybe a little sooty in that area, but not blackened).    So I'm confused.

  • The turbo is not completely frozen, its producing boost, just only about 1/2 of what it should
  • Its not hitting the sides (no noise)
  • The turbo is loose in the exhaust turbine housing, but only a little, and its not leaking around it very much.  I wouldn't think it would affect exhaust pressure enough to drop the boost.
  • I should point out this is a "standard" turbo - not a wastegated turbo.   No wastegate to dump pressure or be screwed up.

So - two questions in my mind:

  • Why is the turbo only producing 1/2 boost
  • What might cause the turbo to work loose like that

Has anybody seen this before?   Could it be possible the bearings are "stiff" and the turbo is not spinning up freely?  Broken vanes putting it out of balance?  Will the loose connection have ruined the "seat", or can it simply be tightened?   Any suggestions?

Obviously my next task is to pull the turbo and either rebuild or replace....

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Steve called me about this one. Glad you found the issue. On a turbocharger, if everything is not perfect, it will not perform perfectly. Odds are the bearings are dragging, wheel rubbing. It would likely not even be a rebuildable core. 

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Like injpumped said it probably rubbed off some of the fin height and lost it's efficiency

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Thanks for the replys.   

Oil is Archer 15W40.   

Its been a long time since I replaced a turbo.   Injpumped, where do you even go around here (NC-IL) anymore to get a turbo rebuilt or replaced (other than CIH$$$)

Which brings up another question....we all hear about upgrading the turbos on the 400 series motors.    I know I replaced the turbo on my 4386 (DTI466) and it made a huge improvement.   How about the Cummins?   Is there a better choice for the 8.3L to make it run cooler with HP than the OE? 

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Most diesel injection shops like myself are dealers for turbos. I will pm with options I can offer, and just drop ship to you.

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Thanks.   I'm not looking for crazy HP, or anything that may cause problems in the engine or drivetrain.   Just want the "best" solution for durability and good performance.   I know when we went to the L03 from the OE on the 466, it ran cooler & more efficiently, with probably 10-20hp increase.  I actually had the 3LM fail, nobody had one that day, so I put the OE back on and it was like losing an entire gear....I had a 3LM back on it ASAP!   I don't "push" an engine if I can help it.  Prefer to throttle back a bit until the boost begins to fall off and let it eat.

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The turbo on those are about as good as any that will be a direct replacement. What you're talking about on the older IH is going from a little T04 to a 3LM466 which in that case made a big difference. Your H1E on there is a pretty good unit.

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1 hour ago, Jeff-C-IL said:

Thanks for the replys.   

Oil is Archer 15W40.   

Its been a long time since I replaced a turbo.   Injpumped, where do you even go around here (NC-IL) anymore to get a turbo rebuilt or replaced (other than CIH$$$)

Which brings up another question....we all hear about upgrading the turbos on the 400 series motors.    I know I replaced the turbo on my 4386 (DTI466) and it made a huge improvement.   How about the Cummins?   Is there a better choice for the 8.3L to make it run cooler with HP than the OE? 

I found out that on the Cummins that is in my Steiger it hardly makes any sense to get a Cummins part through Case. I bought some parts years ago only to find out they were just calling the Cummins Central Power warehouse having it shipped to them and then marking it up. I can buy Cummins parts from the warehouse at the same price as the Case dealer. Anyone can walk in and get parts. It’s great for me because the Cummins warehouse in Kansas City is closer than the Case dealer anyway. Just read them some #’s on the ID plate and they knew what I needed. May be different on an older model than a newer one regarding pricing at Case, but might be worth just calling Cummins. 

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I found that also for my Dodge. Reman starter from Dodge, after core was almost $600, week or more wait. Brand new, no core, drop shipped from Cummins was $265 to my door 10:00 next morning. The more hands that touch it, the more it's going to cost.

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59 minutes ago, Injpumped said:

The turbo on those are about as good as any that will be a direct replacement. What you're talking about on the older IH is going from a little T04 to a 3LM466 which in that case made a big difference. Your H1E on there is a pretty good unit.

Great info, thanks.   Good to know.   You are correct, T04- 3LM.   (I corrected my post above...can't imagine why I was thinking L03 instead of 3LM)

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Regarding CaseIH and Cummins on parts availability and pricing, that can work in many different ways. 

I'll give you a couple examples.

Example #1. About 3-4 years ago, we were having a hard time getting CAPS injection pumps from CNH, and they were expensive. We were able to get them from our Cummins distributor, put our normal markup % on them, and they were still cheaper than our cost from CNH.

Example #2. This just happened a couple weeks ago. One of our partsman came up to me...asked for help about an accumulator used on the CAPS pump of an 8.3L engine. One of the dealers that we buy truck parts from wanted to know if they could get this accumulator from us as the local Cummins distributor said they were on backorder from Cummins. We not only had one in stock...we were cheaper than getting it through Cummins.

With all the Covid stuff going on, the parts system has had a lot of interesting situations happen lately.

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