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2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

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xyourobob
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2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by xyourobob » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:17 pm

Yesterday morning my XC90 threw a 0234 code and it feels like the turbo has been disabled. On inspection I can see an oily mix is being sprayed out onto the pipes that lead to the turbocharger as per the picture. Any idea on what is causing this? Thanks for any input.

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by SuperHerman » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:29 pm

what engine?

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by xyourobob » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:44 pm

It's the 2.9L, here are the pic links

Image

Image

https://ibb.co/Wsg9NqV

https://ibb.co/592CtKT

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by SuperHerman » Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:30 pm

How many miles and how has the service history been? When was the last time you looked at the engine - did the oil appear suddenly or has it been some time since you looked.

You may have a failing turbo or two - usually bank 2 (Driver's side) goes first.

Your problem could be a bad hose, a failed boost control solenoid, a failed boost pressure sensor, bad or leaking inter-cooler, a bad turbo or two, or a leak in your system (if it has been working well w/o any changes you can exclude hoses that are improperly installed).

Most likely you have a failed hose and turbos that have seen better days. Unless the turbos are smoking - I would leave them be.

First place to look is behind the driver's side cylinder head (by the transmission dipstick) - there is a hose that comes off the boost control solenoid (attached to your air filter box) and routes to a T joint right by Bank 2 turbo (look by the transmission dipstick pull handle). The T has one inlet and two outlets - the source hose from the bcs is the inlet line, the outlet lines are a short rubber hose to turbo 2 that does a 90 degree or so bend out and down (maybe 3-4 inches) and the other outlet is a longer rubber hose that is fairly straight and plumbs into a hard line across the back of the cylinder head to some rubber line and hard line then down to turbo 1. The short bank 2 line is the one that fails first as it takes a bunch of heat.

This is where I would start - that short hose goes bad and basically the turbos no longer work. Check yours and its condition if it is bad that is your problem. You can replace the hose with stock hose of similar inside diameter, suitable for vacuum and fuel/oil, found at Autozones or related. That is where I sourced mine.

Report back answering ALL the question above and also if you have a tire or ball pump, mighty vac and any way to generate 5-10 psi to see if you have a leak in the system - if the little bank 2 hose is not the culprit.

I just went through this so I know the system and engine fairly well.

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by xyourobob » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:07 am

I have been servicing the engine for the past 10 years. She currently has 220K miles and normally runs like a kitten. There has always been evidence of oil where the plastic turbo pipes meet the metal pipes but just not as bad as it is now. I put a vacuum tester on the hose that connects to the solenoid in addition to a visual inspection and those hoses that run to the turbo appear to be intact.

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by SuperHerman » Sun Mar 03, 2019 12:30 pm

Excellent follow up information. So we are clear, you took the hose from the turbo boost solenoid that runs back to the T fitting I mentioned and it held a vacuum. If so we can conclude a leak in that section, the most common problem, is not your issue. Moving forward you have to exclude various causes. I will list things to look at, in no specific order other than what pops into my mind. I would read through what follows and look at items as you see fit. Eliminate and move on.

One question though - have you done any work on the car in the last 5k miles that involved the plastic pieces that go into the aluminum runners for the air intake and inter cooler?

Can you reverse your vacuum tester and/or fashion a pump to provide positive air pressure? What is needed is to test to see if your diaphragms could be the problem.

Same basic test - just send air in 5-10 psi - and examine the arm that goes from the diaphragms to the turbo waste gate is 1) moving, 2) holding in place consistent with air supply (it does not need to be exact - just smooth increasing and holding while you watch), and 3) returning (at the same time see if it is moving smoothly or jerking). Bank 2 is easy to do, Bank 1 will need a helper to either supply the air or to watch. The person watching should be the same as the person that watched Bank 2 - the movement should be the same.

On my 2004 XC90, the waste gate flapper on Bank 2 was binding due to contamination and pitting. I found this after taking it apart and grinding off the flapper arm and removing the waste gate flapper. I had to source a used exhaust manifold. If yours is binding you can spray the flapper arm, where it enters the exhaust manifold, with brake cleaner. Do this a number of times from different angles and work the flapper arm back and forth. Realize that any crud will go into the turbo area unless you remove the exhaust manifold which is a world of work. That is why you want to use brake cleaner and let it evaporate. This may free it up enough to continue to work. Some people recommend using a lubricating spray, but be warned the oil will bake and cause more problems so I would urge against it - maybe WD-40. You could have a more serious problem here, but to find it you will have to remove the exhaust manifold or the turbos - we will save that for later if all else fail.

I don't think this is your problem. The next place to look is the Turbo Boost Control Solenoid - it may be getting old and slow. You can try removing it and cleaning it to see if it improves things. I ordered a new one and it made no difference, but the part is cheap enough to give it a try. These fail so if you are going to keep the car it may be worth swapping out, but only after you have eliminated air leaks.

Some back ground information, as the turbos get up in age, the sealing ring that prevents oil from getting into the turbo, starts to wear. There is only one little ring that does all the work. Your car may be in the close to failing state at 220k. When the ring can no longer provide an adequate seal oil will pass through and enter the exhaust air side and the car will smoke out the tail pipe. Do you have any smoking, under hard acceleration or at start up? Puffs when the car is accelerating and going down a gear?

Next on the list is the turbo boost controller. This is another part that you could pull off and clean, although I don't know if cleaning these does anything. It is located on the turbo inter cooler pipe on the driver's side in front of the radiator. Look down and you will see a sensor, it is attached by one screw. These can fail and cause the over boost condition.

Now backing up to the entire plastic plumbing system. You have two plastic pieces - the smaller middle pipe and the big pipe. The big pipe can start to leak through the seals over time. Looking at your pictures you have the newer design which was made to minimize turbo whistle noise - hence the rubber seals and bulges. The part is expensive and I would only buy it new if it has failed, or replace it with a used older design piece (from an early model S80 usually)(any used part you buy will have similar miles and/or age - hence potential for failure).

Your picture only shows oil on the smaller pipe so focus on this. An over boost condition can be caused by a leak anywhere here or even the inter cooler itself. From your picture, the oil shows that air is exiting the runners. This is air out of the turbos if I recall the set up. Check the plastic for cracks here. It is common to see cracks at the mold line. If you find no cracks, you can try to tighten the clamps a bit to get a better seal. Take a hair dryer or heat gun and gentle warm the plastic as it has become brittle and hard with age - plus it has a memory of where it has remained undisturbed for 220k miles. If you warm it up it will be easier to get a better seal. Don't tighten it much as you could bend the aluminum runners, just snug both sides up. If you take off the pipe you will see a good deal of oil that is blowing by the turbo seals. You have an equal amount of oil on both sides, again it usually is Bank 2. This hints at the PCV being something to look at. If I recall a new plastic pipe is around $40-60 - you can try and source a used one. One person tried to fix theirs, but it was a fail as it wouldn't seal.

Stepping back - the PCV system - has this been recently serviced and have you tested it to see if it is pressurized or if it has a slight vacuum? A dying PCV system could be the cause of the excess pressure. Need to eliminate this. Also examine any hose that you can. If you can put the vacuum tester on one end and cap the other end with your finger you can test most of them.

The system is closed - so air entry can be the problem and most of the time the issue. Air comes in through the intake, runs to the turbos, the turbos pressurize it and send it back into the engine. The turbo air control is handled by the turbo pressure solenoid with volume monitored by the turbo pressure sensor. The waste gates are open and closed to release and/or build pressure by the diaphragms. All of this "air" runs through plastic and rubber hoses.

Ideally one would do a smoke test and eliminate or locate any leaks. You can work around this by isolating the branches and testing them with what you have.

Run through these items and report back. As you have not stated whether your car is smoking, I have stayed away from saying bad turbos. I can address these later if you find nothing.

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by xyourobob » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:04 pm

Thanks for taking the time here, I will follow your advice here and see what I come up with. One symptom I failed to tell you is I get a whistle when I step on the gas and then it feels like I lose the turbo. Does help narrow this down a little?

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by SuperHerman » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:00 pm

The whistle doesn't really tell me anything. On my XC90, all my problems started when a shop removed me engine and I had them rebuild my turbos - easy when the engine is out. They broke the Bank 2 turbo by chipping a fin, so I replaced it myself. Subsequently, I changed everything I listed above (all the plastic, all the lines, boost solenoid, boost pressure sensor) and finally the entire Bank 2 exhaust manifold. I even did a smoke test. In the end everything was new.

Finally I handed it off to a second mechanic and he went through all my work and that of the shop that pulled the engine (this was done for transmission issues they caused when they did my wheel bearings). He found the first shop had incorrectly plumed the hoses for the boost control solenoid. He plugged them in correctly and problem solved. I will not tell you how much time and money I wasted. I will say if it was only the Bank 2 turbo, I would have been in and out for $250.00 for the turbo.

The Bank 2 turbo was changed four times - every time I had a whistle and would get over boost 234. My feeling is a whistle doesn't equate to a bad turbo and yours is not smoking. Any part of the system which doesn't let the boost vent correctly could be the cause.

Start your focus on the hoses, I want to tell you to check the turbo diaphragms, but the fact you have blow back on both pipes, and two turbos failing at the same time is unlikely, I would look else where. Although a sticking waste gate flap could be the culprit, again both at the same time is unlikely.

This leads me to the boost solenoid and pressure sensor, if your hoses checks. I would start with the boost solenoid if you want to throw a part at it. They are under $50 and take 10 minutes to swap.

One thing to try is unplug the connector and see if it throws an immediate applicable code. I think it will, but if it doesn't this points more to it failing. You can take it out and test it, but from what I have read they get slow with age, so even though they work, they don't function correctly.

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by xyourobob » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:42 pm

I have not any work recently that involved removing the plastic turbo manifold. In the last few years I have replaced every rubber hose on the car, I did a visual inspection and vacuum tested most of them today. I sent some air to the waste gates and they appear to be moving smoothly, I sprayed a little brake cleaner on them just for good measure. Good point on equal amount of oil spray on both sides. She doesn't appear to putting out puffs of smoke. I replaced the turbo boost controller about 2 years ago, I also serviced the PCV system at that time but I don't know how to test it for vacuum? the $40-60 plastic pipe, is that the big pipe that ties into the intake or the plastic pipes that sit on top? Do you think the diagnostic software would isolate the cause? I cleared the code and took her for a spin and she is back to normal but I do get the whistle when I punch her.

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Re: 2004 XC90 Turbocharger issue

Post by SuperHerman » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:05 pm

For PCV testing see the last few posts in this link by June: https://www.matthewsvolvosite.com/forum ... =9&t=88644

Sounds like your have been on top of your car service wise.

If you have not touched the car for a long time and nothing has been going wrong, then improper plumbing is not an issue.

The small plastic pipe is the one that appears to be leaking oil - the inner two aluminum runners tie into it (the big one ties to the outer two aluminum runners. You can take both pipes off and look at them, they will have minimal oil in them, and lots of oil in them if your turbos are about finished. They have lived a good life at 220k miles.

As you changed out the TBC about two years ago it is even less likely the issue.

At this point you are left with the turbo pressure sensor and the turbos. I assume you checked the tightness of the clamps on the plastic piping.

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