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Replacing a Leaking Turbocharger

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I recently had my 2004 CTT in the dealer to track down an oil leak from the front left corner of the cayenne, the dealer indicated the oil leak conditions could stemmed from either the left turbo or a faulty oil seperator (located in the valve cover). I've already replace my oil seperator 2 1/2 years ago and no smoke has been observed when the turbo's kick in. Therefore, it looks like my left turbo is leaking and needs to be replaced. My plan is to remove the left turbo and have it rebuild for under $500 vs. a new OEM turbo for $1900. My question to forum is, can the turbocharger be replace without removing the engine from vehicle? Is it a DIY project or should I take it to a shop for the remove and replace?

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I will check the intercooler hose for present of oil build up later this week. I wondering why the dealer did not report that the intercooler hose could be a potential problem. If the intercooler hose is the problem, that would be an excellent fix.. 

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Are we sure we're talking about the intercooler hose or the breather hose....an updated intercooler hose may be true...but it has nothing to do with how the oil gets into the air stream.....oil comes from either the turbo bearing seal or the breather hose....99% of the time it seems to be the breather

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Are we sure we're talking about the intercooler hose or the breather hose....an updated intercooler hose may be true...but it has nothing to do with how the oil gets into the air stream.....oil comes from either the turbo bearing seal or the breather hose....99% of the time it seems to be the breather

thanks clarksongli


I really want to avoid the turbo bearing replacement option. The problem is just to much oil is getting into the turbo. I going to remove and inspect the vent line (PN 94810721651), check valve (PN 94810721750) very closely.  

Edited by reckelman
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  • 2 months later...

My path forward is to have the a pair of used turbo's that were purchased off Ebay for $200 rebuilt. The two Southern California local turbo shop I've talked with were Comp Turbo Technology gave me a rebuild quote of $399 and Pure Turbos rebuild estimate was $450. The best price for new turbos I could find were approx $1800 each. If you can repair and have the turbos rebuilt to factory specification there a huge cost savings.


Comp Turbo Technology Inc.


3214 Producer Way

Pomona Ca 91768



Pure Turbos


353 Airport Rd. Oceanside, CA 92058

Phone Number:(760) 721-7669

Edited by reckelman
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Thank you for the quick reply, greatly appreciated. I will check out those sources and see if they can help. Hopefully they have in stock rebuilds and will swap my cores. Looking at their site, there isn't much detail as to options. I will look further

Edited by gravityalwswins
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  • 10 months later...

So guys, what ended up happening? Did you get your Turbochargers rebuilt? Did you get them out with or without removing the engine? How $$$ did it set you back?




Don't you hate it when people drop in, ask a question, get helpful answers and then disappear? I do. I try to remember who those people are so I never bother answering one of their drive-by queries.

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Yes I do brother. You know I get it, life happens, but if you can make the time to jump on here with anticipation asking for answers NOW and having selfless folks willing to help you out, then you surely can make the time to update your outcome so you then can help out selflessly other folks that might be in the same predicament, right? Anyway that's my Friday night rant haha

Back to the post, if anyone has any info to add with their leaky turbo fixes please, if you have time, feel free to post your outcome.


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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

P2281 is a leak between the turbocharger and the throttle valve.

It may not be the turbo charger that is cracked, but could be the ducting from the turbo to the throttle valve.

If it is leaking ducting, it should not be hard nor an expensive issue to rectify.

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I'll try to get to get under it and look, I wouldn't be surprised either way. Dealers in my area seem to be pretty corrupt in general - even worse with Mercedes. They tried to charge me almost $10k to repair the active suspension on my SL500, when it turned out to be a $180 part that I fitted myself in 1 hour.

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So the turbo can definitely be removed with the engine in place.  Downpipe comes off with some wobbles and long extensions from the rear.


The bolts for the turbos are also easily accessed with the same method but from the top.


The more difficult part are the coolant lines and oil lines.....very little room to swing a wrench.


As for the turbos themselves  (up to 06, don't quote me) had the IHI RHF5 VF43 turbos.  guess what....all they are used elsewwhere.....you can usually find them used for 100 to 200 bucks shipped.  Careful because some came with 3 bolt hot sides. There is a huge aftermarket for these things now.....so you can buy everything from hot side wheels and shafts to simple rebuild kits.


Don't let the stealer take your money.....while somewhat involved to take out......you only need basic hand tools to do it.

Edited by clarksongli
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That's very interesting. Everyone I spoke to on the phone and in forums has told me it can't be done. Do you know what other parts are needed to complete the job, eg gaskets, hoses, sensors etc? Any pics or links to DIY would be great, as there is very little info online for replacing turbos yourself.


I haven't seen the correct turbo (for my 05 car with 80k miles) anywhere less than about $500 on ebay, but that was from a 130k mile donor car, so probably not the best candidate to re-use.


The engine is too big for me to take out at home, but I would definitely tackle a turbo replacement if it can be done on jackstands without dropping it out. I'd even write up a DIY post if I got enough info beforehand to make it a feasible DIY project.

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So the exhaust side you'll need (don't hold me to this, doing it off of memory)

gasket between the manifold and turbo

gasket between turbo and first cat downpipe

gasket between the downpipe and the secondary cat


You will need a bunch of long extensions and I used 2 swivel joints

An O2 sensor socket will make it easier as well. 


The cold side of the turbo:

I'd get a new o ring for the charge pipe because their cheap.

The inlet pipe also has an o ring.....you can replace it if you want, but it really doesn't matter

The oil feed and return both will need o rings


Another tool that is a must is a set of those flexible clamp pliers.


The turbo itself is really small, and wiggles out through the front.  My guess is it could probably go out the back too.  I'd plan on several days if this is your first time pulling anything big out of the cayenne.  Everything is just really tight and you're knuckles and arms will be bleeding from all the crap you are hitting.

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