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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, having a real problem here. I had my tired gen 2 engine swapped by a reputable shop very well known by the mr2 community and have been having problems with it ever since. After about 3 weeks of daily driving the gen 4 it started blowing smoke at idle after warming up. It was showing no other symptoms other then a lack of power compared to another members gen 4. After getting feed back from the shop who performed the swap and other mechanics, the turbo was the main culprit.

I had the turbo rebuilt and upgraded and reinstalled by a very reputable member here who runs a performance shop. After install i was seeing signs of what i assumed to be worn valve seals (because i ruled out the turbo being it was rebuilt by a very reputable shop) other then the traditional smoke at initial start up. About two weeks later I started experiencing the same heavy smoke at idle. I assumed it was a botched rebuild and removed the turbo. I did some diagnostics with my mechanic, obviously the turbo is getting oil since it is was pissing straight into the exhaust and no oil was found in the intake piping. We poured a whole bottle of oil down the oil return line to ensure there was no blockage, and turbo coolant was not a concern because the oil is the main source of coolant for the turbo. Installed a used ct15b and after a short drive no more smoke.

After installing a used ct15b bought off of a member here, everything was good, no smoke, tuned mbc to stock 13psi to ensure i wasnt pushing the turbo too far, 3 weeks later i let the car idle for a bit while taking some pictures and she starts blowing smoke again. So whats the deal here? Compression test is showing good numbers, went to do a leak down test but after my mechanic found massive play in the rebuilt turbo he said there was no point in the leak down test as the turbo was definitely the problem.

So what am i missing? Is my gen 4 blowing every single turbo i install? Do I have such bad luck that not only did I get the first gen 4 swap with a blown turbo, but also got the first botched rebuilt turbo, and also bought a used ct15b that just so happened to only last 3 weeks?

Any insight is greatly appreciated.
 

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Replace crankcase ventilation valve as stated. Apart from the well known exhaust manifold issues the ct15 is a pretty reliable turbo. If the seals on that 2nd turbo are bad I'd be getting in contact with the rebuilder and asking them to try again and naming them if they're not interested. It's possible your wastegate isn't actuating properly and increasing pressure inside the housing but you should see that on a gauge... I'm scared that your mbc piping is giving you negative results, I'd remove that for a start.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
When it started smoking the first time after the swap I borrowed another gen4 owners spare PCV valve and there was no change. I mean maybe both are shot but I doubt it. Seeing as every time I change the turbo it seems to fix the problem for about 3 weeks. Other then the botched rebuilt one which smoked right from install and slowly got worse.

All my gauges are showing I have good oil pressure, good oil and coolant temperature, and my boost gauge seems to be very accurate. The lines from my mbc are run as straight as they possibly could be. I will try removing it seeing as I'm only running at stock boost anyways. But I'm afraid I have already smoked this turbo.

I don't see any smoke while driving, after the car warms it starts to blow smoke and if let to idle warm for more then 5 min it starts to smoke. It will blow smoke while driving for about 5 minutes then clears up until left idling for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dumped a whole bottle of oil down the return line and no clogs. Someone gave me an idea that maybe the turbo is getting oil but there is something restricting the flow in the feed line and it's not getting the right oil pressure. I contacted campos to see if I could pick up a set of his quick connect braided lines but I haven't heard anything yet. Not sure if he has any left.

We used the gaskets provided by the rebuilder and on the stock ct15 I installed a couple weeks ago I bought oem metal gaskets. No silicone or anything like that.
 

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Dumped a whole bottle of oil down the return line and no clogs. Someone gave me an idea that maybe the turbo is getting oil but there is something restricting the flow in the feed line and it's not getting the right oil pressure. I contacted campos to see if I could pick up a set of his quick connect braided lines but I haven't heard anything yet. Not sure if he has any left.

We used the gaskets provided by the rebuilder and on the stock ct15 I installed a couple weeks ago I bought oem metal gaskets. No silicone or anything like that.
Sounds like you're doing everything correctly. Other than a mysterious blockage, or maybe kink in the OEM feed line, the only off-the-wall idea I have is that maybe the oil feed banjo bolt got replaced by a standard bolt, and doesn't have an oil feed in it? When I was painting my block I used a regular bolt to block off the port, maybe something similar happened?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bit of an update, unlike the first turbo that came with the swap where the smoke got progressively worse over a period of a month at idle, there has been no change. No smoke on cold start till left to idle 5-10 minutes, will smoke until I start driving and will stop after about 2-5 minutes of driving. I have just been getting in the habit of not letting it idle too long.

I dont believe the ct15b has a banjo bolt, both the feed and return line is one flange with two bolts. Not sure about the oil pan side though.

I have reached out to a ton of people about this problem and no one has any clue what it could be. I am really thinking the turbo is not the issue here as the problem has not gotten any worse. Unfortunately I feel like the only way I can solve this problem is by throwing parts at it. Which is a horrible way to diagnose a problem. So heres what im thinking:

Oil catch can- Maybe this particular engine needs something more then just a PCV Valve

New SS quick connect oil feed, return, and coolant lines from Campos- Maybe there is a small blockage in the line

Install warrantied upgraded ct15b


What about valve seals? Does the fact that the engine has to run for 5-10 minutes before starting to smoke, instead of smoking right after ignition rule them out? As well as no other symptoms?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Another update, just changed my oil from 5w40 to 5w30 and it made the problem a little worse. I guess due to the oil being thinner. Now it doesn't take as long for it to start blowing smoke and when it does it lasts longer. Not sure if this helps diagnosing the problem.

After spending so much money on this swap, and then spending even more just trying to keep her on the road you can imagine how frustrated I am that I still have this problem. Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

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I have gen2 and after I upgraded the turbo to CT21B I noticed the smoke only after I would leave the car idling. It would make a cloud literally of smoke if I would leave it idling for a longer time. I tried thicker oil, tried to kind of drive it through. Nothing helped. No smoke while driving, only on idling. I would have to hold rpms higher if I would not want to start blowing smoke at the traffic lights. It ended up to be a bad rebuilt. The turbo I bought came from reputable shop, so they swapped to another rebuilt CT21B and the new turbo did not smoke at all.
I believe your initial turbo was bad, and the one you replaced it with most likely failed on you too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have gen2 and after I upgraded the turbo to CT21B I noticed the smoke only after I would leave the car idling. It would make a cloud literally of smoke if I would leave it idling for a longer time. I tried thicker oil, tried to kind of drive it through. Nothing helped. No smoke while driving, only on idling. I would have to hold rpms higher if I would not want to start blowing smoke at the traffic lights. It ended up to be a bad rebuilt. The turbo I bought came from reputable shop, so they swapped to another rebuilt CT21B and the new turbo did not smoke at all.
I believe your initial turbo was bad, and the one you replaced it with most likely failed on you too.
I know the first one was bad because the problem got worse. They rebuilt and upgraded it but it smoked right after install. But then I replaced that one with a used stock ct15b and it was fine for 3 weeks then started smoking again. Once I start driving the smoke stops until the car is turned off and cools down. Only smokes at idle after it warms up then nothing after driving it.
 

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I know the first one was bad because the problem got worse. They rebuilt and upgraded it but it smoked right after install. But then I replaced that one with a used stock ct15b and it was fine for 3 weeks then started smoking again. Once I start driving the smoke stops until the car is turned off and cools down. Only smokes at idle after it warms up then nothing after driving it.
So the car would not smoke when you start it cold until it warms up and smokes at idle. Same as I had. Now when you drive and stop driving, and leave the car at idle for 5 , 10 , 15 min. It never starts smoking again? My would start. But again, car smoking at idle only - turbo issues. If valve seals would be bad, I believe it would smoke on cold start only.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So the car would not smoke when you start it cold until it warms up and smokes at idle. Same as I had. Now when you drive and stop driving, and leave the car at idle for 5 , 10 , 15 min. It never starts smoking again? My would start. But again, car smoking at idle only - turbo issues. If valve seals would be bad, I believe it would smoke on cold start only.
Correct. After driving it won't smoke until another cold start after warming up. Okay thanks for your help. I am going to try new turbo and coolant lines and a catch can before installed the warrentied rebuilt turbo next season. Fingers crossed
 

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So what maintenances did you do on the swap before putting it in?

I'm assuming you didn't have the head rebuilt? Valve seals and clearances checked? Not that this should create play in your turbo... that's ridiculous that you had it rebuilt and it has play? I get mine from campos with the billet wheel installed.

This the big reason I chose to spend more $ and do a hell of a lot of maintenance before sticking my gen 5 in. I knew there would be issues and I wanted to have piece of mind if something easy to fix while the engine was out. I tore it down minus the crank/pistons, cleaned everything, had the head rebuilt, injectors cleaned/tested, all the hard to reach sensors replaced, rebuilt turbo etc etc.
 

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My engine does same similar thing and has for a while. No smoke on start-up. No smoke during normal driving or WOT. No smoke during idling (usually). But every once in a while, while idling, blue smoke will start to waft out of the exhaust. This can last up to a minute, but if I rev the engine it will seem to clear up more quickly.

I'm 99% sure it's not the motor because I had the motor swapped (for other reasons) and the problem has persisted. Aside from that, the engine runs great. Perfectly strong.

I was already pretty sure it was the turbo, but as a last effort, I installed oil catch-cans to see if that'd help but alas there was no change. So I figure it's the turbo and annoying as it may be, I'll just live with it until some day I need to replace it.

My set up is: Gen4 w/ PTE-5558 turbo
 

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I have the exact same issue and circumstance to the letter as OP. Only difference is I have not replaced the turbo.

A couple more data points:

-I noticed extremely light oil residue in the intake piping for about 4 inches just after the compressor outlet. There was 0 residue anywhere else in the intake piping. I discovered this about 200 miles after the swap was done. Cleaned it all out and the residue has not returned after ~1000miles despite the car still occasionally smoking at idle.

-There is no sign of oil residue in the turbine housing or down pipe. Just very dry soot. Although I'm not sure oil would stay there and not burn. O2 sensor deposits look normal.

-The inside of the pipe leading from the PCV is saturated with oil. Not sure if this is normal.

-There is no oil residue in low pressure side of the intake or compressor housing.

-The intermittent smoking at idle does not seem to be related to how hard I was boosting. It will happen on a laid back drive when I never get into boost, and it will happen after I've been doing pulls at ~16PSI. I'd wager it smokes at idle 10% of the time and rarely twice in the same drive.

-The motor consumes about 1quart of oil per oil change/ 3k miles

-No other complaints. Motor runs smoothly, not down on power.

Any further ideas?

My gut tells me it's something to do with PCV system and not the turbo.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have the exact same issue and circumstance to the letter as OP. Only difference is I have not replaced the turbo.

A couple more data points:

-I noticed extremely light oil residue in the intake piping for about 4 inches just after the compressor outlet. There was 0 residue anywhere else in the intake piping. I discovered this about 200 miles after the swap was done. Cleaned it all out and the residue has not returned after ~1000miles despite the car still occasionally smoking at idle.

-There is no sign of oil residue in the turbine housing or down pipe. Just very dry soot. Although I'm not sure oil would stay there and not burn. O2 sensor deposits look normal.

-The inside of the pipe leading from the PCV is saturated with oil. Not sure if this is normal.

-There is no oil residue in low pressure side of the intake or compressor housing.

-The intermittent smoking at idle does not seem to be related to how hard I was boosting. It will happen on a laid back drive when I never get into boost, and it will happen after I've been doing pulls at ~16PSI. I'd wager it smokes at idle 10% of the time and rarely twice in the same drive.

-The motor consumes about 1quart of oil per oil change/ 3k miles

-No other complaints. Motor runs smoothly, not down on power.

Any further ideas?

My gut tells me it's something to do with PCV system and not the turbo.
I would start by replacing the PCV valve as it’s a really cheap and easy swap. If that solves your problem install a oil catch can and call it a day.

BUT I don’t think that’s it. The only thing that solved my problem was to stop using the garbage rebuilt/ upgraded turbos I was getting from TCS Motorsports and replace it with one from Campos. His is shipped with the manifold which I thought was a great way to protect the turbo during shipping.

Good Luck!
 

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I would start by replacing the PCV valve as it’s a really cheap and easy swap. If that solves your problem install a oil catch can and call it a day.

BUT I don’t think that’s it. The only thing that solved my problem was to stop using the garbage rebuilt/ upgraded turbos I was getting from TCS Motorsports and replace it with one from Campos. His is shipped with the manifold which I thought was a great way to protect the turbo during shipping.

Good Luck!
Thanks,

My next question would be, if the issue persists after replacing the PCV valve and adding a catch can, would there be any harm in not bothering to replace the turbo until it gets much worse?

It's really just an annoyance at this point.
 
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