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Old 10-10-2002, 10:43 PM   #1
Scooby Guru
Member#: 7089
Join Date: May 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Western Wa
2016 STi

Default Two Bad VF34’s? (long)

Did I Get Two Bad VF34’s?

I’ll tell the whole story –

About a week ago the car started smoking badly under any load. Blue/Gray smoke. Thinking I might've pushed my VF29 too hard (too much boost), I pulled it out. Compressor side, I/C y-pipe, intercooler, intake manifold were spotless. I clean them regularly. Top of uppipe was clean (blackened like any exhaust pipe, but powdery black). Inlet of turbine side was clean, outlet of turbine side was nasty with burnt oil. Downpipe was nasty with burnt oil. The VF29 had a slight amount of play end to end on the shaft, so I definitely munched the bushings, and was leaking/burning oil. I took the turbo to a local shop to have it rebuilt. Compression tests showed great numbers - 167, 164, 167, 162.

So I installed a VF34 (new). Took it for a drive and started smoking like a banshee. Real Spy Hunter smoke screen. Same color smoke, same acrid odor. Crap. I pulled the intercooler off, and found the y-pipe full of oil – it was dripping out. The induction pipe was clean, and the compressor inlet was clean. To my thinking then, the only thing that could cause this is a bad oil seal on the compressor side of the VF34. Compression test showed great numbers - Cylinder #1 166#, Cylinder #2 170#, Cylinder #3 164#, Cylinder #4 172#.

Pulled the VF34 out, cleaned everything up. Installed the stock turbo. Started the car up, sucked several different cleaning solutions through a vacuum hose on the intake manifold to clean all the deposits and burnt oil from the valves, exhuast pipes, and anywhere else it built up. Smoke like a crack whore while I was cleaning it out, and stopped smoking when I was done. Reached 15psi a number of times with the stock turbo, didn’t smoke once.

My 2nd VF34 came. I pulled the stock turbo, installed the 2nd VF34. Went on a 20 mile drive, no smoke. Went on another 20 mile drive, no smoke. About 5 miles into my 3rd drive, started smoking like a wh0r3 again.

Got home and ripped everything apart. Again, the compressor inlet and induction pipe are clean as a whistle, and the compressor outlet and y-pipe are dripping oil... When I removed the intercooler, oil actually gushed onto the block from the y-pipe and the outlet of the compressor.

I pulled the turbo from the car, laid it on a clean shop towel on the floor, and (I'm not exaggerating) at least 4 ounces of oil poured out of the compressor outlet. Not cool.

The compressor inlet is clean

Thinking that there would be no way to get two bad VF34's in a row, something is causing oil to be pushed from the center section into the compressor side of the turbo.

Since I have an oil pressure guage and have had completely normal pressures, it's not excessive system pressure…
The VF34 has an oil inlet restrictor (approximately same size as the stock turbo - really damn small), so it's not excessive oil flow into…
That means it must be excessive pressure inside the turbo - the drain line must be clogged. I drained the oil, and found out the drain line is definitely not plugged. With the oil pan drain plug out, oil will drain thru the drain pipe and out the oil pan just as fast as I can pour it in. Spraying brake cleaner into the drain pipe had no effect... not that I thought it would - there's nothing to unplug.

I do have a catch can, with both valve cover vents and the crankcase vent going to the catch can. I just emptied it a week ago. Yesterday it was still empty. I have clear tubing running from the valve cover vents and the crankcase vent to the catch can, and clear tubing running back to the induction pipe. The clear tubing still has no oil in it, either to the catch can, or to the induction pipe.

Did I just get two bad VF34’s in a row?

Thanks for your insight.
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