View Full Version : k03 shaft play...

11-29-2010, 02:39 PM
So while I was doing my timing belt this weekend (biggest diy I've ever done btw) I figured I'd check my turbo out since it's been whistling for some time. The compressor wheel looks to be in good shape except I noticed that with some force applied there is about .5mm, or a couple hundredths, of play. It seemed to spin okay and the fins looked good, doesn't look like any contact has been made. Is it bad to have ANY shaft play, or is this about right with a decent side load? It doesn't really wiggle around, but if you push it to the side it gets very close to the housing.

If this is out of spec, it would be a good candidate for a rebuild right? I'd love a bb turbo, but it might be a little much for my 220k mile engine and auto trans, not to mention the supporting mods I'd need.


11-29-2010, 06:01 PM
A little bit of lateral shaft play is normal, as long as it isn't hitting the compressor housing.

Axial shaft play on the other hand could be a bad sign...

11-29-2010, 06:24 PM
Yep all journal bearing turbos will have some side to side play. Impossible to have none.

My brother's K03 has some lateral play, slightly more than normal, and lots of axial play. Probably 1/16th of an inch. I would think the turbo would be dead or dumping oil or something. But his car runs GREAT. And the boost is phenomenal (20 psi). Mine feels perfect, but the boost is a little low and slow. Go figure.

11-29-2010, 09:16 PM
Thanks for the replies. I have a pretty good understanding of how the journal bearing works so I can see why there needs to be room for the oil film. I guess my turbo whistle is just the bearing itself going out... I think it burns some oil too, but I can't tell with all the other oil leaks.

11-29-2010, 09:34 PM
Whistling.... like a high pitched dentist drill?

Are you making full boost pressure and spooling at the same rate as before, or has there been a noticible drop off?

The high pitched noise could just be turbo spool... though it can be a little hard to hear on a K03 unless you're really listening for it.

11-30-2010, 06:17 PM
Yea, the drill of death is what it sounds like to me... I'm not chipped so I have relatively low boost levels, but I haven't noticed any change in psi or power. I hold around 5-7psi and occasionally spike a little higher. I thought it could be an exhaust leak, but I installed a new gasket at the cat when that broke and it still makes the noise.

11-30-2010, 07:20 PM
If you have 220k mi on your turbo, then without a doubt, it is time to replace it.... it's actually amazing if it lasted that long without being replaced...

11-30-2010, 07:37 PM
Well actually it only has about 100k on it. The turbo, along with the head, were replaced/rebuilt by the PO before selling the car at around 120-130k. A spark plug dropped its electrode and it bounced around between the cylinders before chewing up the turbine blades on the way out. He had full documentation of it because he filed a lawsuit against the spark plug company. I can't imagine the sound that one made...

Since it only has about 100k on it, do you think it would be worth a rebuild at G-pop or somewhere similar? I like the idea of buying something completely checked over with a warranty more than a used one in unknown condition for a little bit less.

11-30-2010, 08:01 PM
100k is getting into an area where I would expect a replacement would be needed....

Save your pennies and buy the F4HL and tell the rest of us how it goes =]

12-01-2010, 08:34 AM
100k is getting into an area where I would expect a replacement would be needed....

Save your pennies and buy the F4HL and tell the rest of us how it goes =]

It is tempting but I wouldn't just be saving for the turbo, it'd have to be that plus intercooler, injectors, exhaust, chip, tip chip... Do you really think it'd run ok on stock programming?

IDK how long it has left and saving for all that stuff might take a little more than it has to give. I'm trying to get this done over my winter break from school if I rebuild since I work super close to home and could do without the car for a week.

12-01-2010, 12:09 PM
If you stick with stock boost pressure and ECU, then it's likely that you could bolt on the F4HL and the ECU's stock tune will be rich enough to compensate for whatever gain in airflow you would see versus the OEM K03.

Talk to Slappy Dunbar (Doug), I'm sure he could give you some better input. At 7 PSI, I strongly doubt that you'd run out of fuel on the F4HL.

As far as expense, the kit appears to be good value. An IC, modified ECU, and injectors will be necessary to take advantage of the different turbo.... If you don't plan on going for more power later on, then you're better off looking for a K03S for a slight improvement.