does a Turbo Charge decrease the life of an engine?
Aug 2, 2010 at 1:09 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 39

rhythmdevils

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I'm looking at a few different cars right now and I'm wondering if a turbo charged engine will last as long as one without turbo charge.  I've done some research online and it seems that a lot of people say the modern turbos, if well maintained, don't affect the life of the engine.  But I'm skeptical.  I thought it might be a good thread in addition to providing me with some more info. 
 
I currently have an 05 Legacy Limited and really don't like it, the handling or the Auto tranny.  But I loved my 99 Legacy 5spd, so I'm just going to a switch and right now I'm looking at an 05 Legacy GT w/87k or an 03 Legacy GT w/65k.  The latter doesn't have turbo charge, which was a plus at first.  But it sure would be fun!  Especially the better handling and cornering of the 05 with it's likely better suspension, etc. 
 
So any thoughts on longevity or reliability of a turbo?  I need a reliable car for work and can't afford a new engine or turbo in a year...
 
Aug 2, 2010 at 1:29 AM Post #2 of 39

earthpeople

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If driven moderately and maintained well, a turboed car should last about the same as a non turbo.
The problem with buying used is that you might not be able to tell how the previous owner drove it.
 
I would take them both out for a drive. If you feel that the '05 drives a lot better, then I would go for it. The Legacy isn't really known to be a racer's car like an STI or something, so I would guess that the owner didn't abuse it too much.
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Aug 2, 2010 at 12:38 PM Post #3 of 39

Darkestred

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A turbo is essentially spun off exhaust gases.  Pushing more air through the engine.  If you plan on destroying the car, turbo or not would probably have the same life span force inducted or not.  If you don't plan on redlining the car then the only thing you'll have to worry about is replacing the turbo somewhere down the road. 
 
With any higher tier car (turbo v8 etc) its always good to take someone with you who knows what to look for.  The biggest problem you have to worry with a turbo is proper maintenance (letting it cool down on a long or hard drive), age and how well the car was kept.   What i mean by that is, if you drove it hard or a long trip its always best to let the turbo cool down for 30 or so seconds.  If you don't you run the risk of oil clumping up on the blades and could lead to it breaking.
 
There is no reason why a turbo shouldn't last at least 80k miles.  Even if driven hard.
 
Aug 2, 2010 at 9:26 PM Post #4 of 39

Omega

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A modern implementation in a modern engine should be ok.  The cautionary tales of turbo were totally justified years ago, but between a 2003 and 2005 Subaru, no worries.
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 7:12 AM Post #5 of 39

krmathis

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If the configuration (engine, turbo setup, management, ..) is well designed and the engine is well maintained I do not see why a turbo charged engine can not last as long as a naturally aspirated one. In the opposite end it is those after market equipped high output engines that do not last more than a month or so with hard use.
 
My fathers Audi S6 is still running strong with 300.000+ km on the meter. I do not doubt it still has a long way to go...
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 9:50 AM Post #6 of 39

MaZa

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No. If you abuse it of course your engine and turbo suffers, but this counts on naturally aspirated engies too. Turbocharger is a brilliant device IMHO. Properly implemented with efficiency in mind it gives free HP and torque with lower fuel consumption than similar NA engine. Only thing it does is adds short lag to sudden accelerations, when you suddenly slam pedal down it doesnt response immidietly. This has gotten much better, but it is still there compared to immidietly responsing NA engines. But again this only applies to sudden accelerations.
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 8:58 PM Post #7 of 39

Darkestred

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Quote:
No. If you abuse it of course your engine and turbo suffers, but this counts on naturally aspirated engies too. Turbocharger is a brilliant device IMHO. Properly implemented with efficiency in mind it gives free HP and torque with lower fuel consumption than similar NA engine. Only thing it does is adds short lag to sudden accelerations, when you suddenly slam pedal down it doesnt response immidietly. This has gotten much better, but it is still there compared to immidietly responsing NA engines. But again this only applies to sudden accelerations.


Of course if you're in the powerband of the turbo this becomes non-existent :)
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 9:28 PM Post #8 of 39

Uncle Erik

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It should be fine if maintained, but I see turbo as another point of failure. Yes, there are performance benefits, but is a tick off the clock worth a hefty repair bill down the line? My philosophy has always been to buy cars with the least amount of things that can go wrong. The few cars I've had with lots of features also were the ones with the most things that went wrong. I'd simply look for a NA manual car. Clutches aren't that bad to replace, especially considering what a rebuild on a modern automatic costs.
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 9:58 PM Post #9 of 39

rhythmdevils

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What kind of car do you drive Uncle Eirik?  What's the HD800/K240DF/HP1000/K1000 of the automotive world?  I'm thinking something well balanced, that is neutral in allowing you to feel the road, but still comfortable. 
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Thanks for the thoughts everyone!  I'm leaning towards getting the turbo car.  I love driving and can honestly say that I am really good at it.  I think it's kind of sad that I've spent so many years driving a normal car.  That being said, I don't really care about acceleration.  I mean anyone can step on the gas and accelerate quickly, that's just about the car technology.  What I think is really beautiful and fun is a curvy road, hitting the curves perfectly, and a turbo doesn't let you go any faster than the handling of the car allows.
 
It's too bad they don't make cars that handle really well but don't have turbo. 
 
Then there's the gas milage as well.  But its really only a few mpg less, which at the end of the day isn't going to have any affect.  If it were 60mpg vs 28mpg then it would be a bigger deal for me.  But 26mpg vs 29mpg - I'm just patting myself on the back if I think that makes any difference...
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 10:22 PM Post #10 of 39

nealric

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Quote:
What kind of car do you drive Uncle Eirik?  What's the HD800/K240DF/HP1000/K1000 of the automotive world?  I'm thinking something well balanced, that is neutral in allowing you to feel the road, but still comfortable. 
biggrin.gif

 
Thanks for the thoughts everyone!  I'm leaning towards getting the turbo car.  I love driving and can honestly say that I am really good at it.  I think it's kind of sad that I've spent so many years driving a normal car.  That being said, I don't really care about acceleration.  I mean anyone can step on the gas and accelerate quickly, that's just about the car technology.  What I think is really beautiful and fun is a curvy road, hitting the curves perfectly, and a turbo doesn't let you go any faster than the handling of the car allows.
 
It's too bad they don't make cars that handle really well but don't have turbo. 
 
Then there's the gas milage as well.  But its really only a few mpg less, which at the end of the day isn't going to have any affect.  If it were 60mpg vs 28mpg then it would be a bigger deal for me.  But 26mpg vs 29mpg - I'm just patting myself on the back if I think that makes any difference...


 
Of course they make cars that handle well and don't have a turbo. 
 
For example: 
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 10:38 PM Post #11 of 39

rhythmdevils

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True!  That's kind of my dream car actually.  Except for the fact that it's not practical or usable for anything other than joy rides.  But most of the time, the different versions of a car that a company makes, like the "sport", "LL Bean" "GT" etc, good handling comes with fast acceleration hand and hand.  Because understandably, most people who want one want the other. 
 
Aug 4, 2010 at 2:54 AM Post #12 of 39

krmathis

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Quote:
It's too bad they don't make cars that handle really well but don't have turbo. .


I have never driven one, but from what I understand the Caterham RST-V8 handle quite well.
380hp from a 2.4 liter NA engine.
 

 
 
Or how about a Ferrari 458 Italia?
 

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Aug 4, 2010 at 5:14 PM Post #14 of 39

rhythmdevils

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Quote:
I have never driven one, but from what I understand the Caterham RST-V8 handle quite well 380hp from a 2.4 liter NA engine.
 
Or how about a Ferrari 458 Italia?
 
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I know, I didn't really mean turbo specifically.  But a V8 is much less desirable to me than a turbo charged smaller engine.  Unless it ran on air or something.  What I meant was just that cars that handle well, also accelerate well.  And I would like a car that handled really well, but didn't worry too much about acceleration.  I just think acceleration is kind of a pissing contest.  On a curvy road it's just about handling and raw skills.
 
Aug 4, 2010 at 5:37 PM Post #15 of 39

marvin

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Quote:
 
I know, I didn't really mean turbo specifically.  But a V8 is much less desirable to me than a turbo charged smaller engine.  Unless it ran on air or something.  What I meant was just that cars that handle well, also accelerate well.  And I would like a car that handled really well, but didn't worry too much about acceleration.  I just think acceleration is kind of a pissing contest.  On a curvy road it's just about handling and raw skills.

 
If that's your mindset, I'd highly encourage you to look into a used Acura TSX (MY2004-2008, A-Spec if you can find one). It's down on power a bit and power goes to the wrong wheels, but it does everything else a sports sedan should do very well.
 
Don't understand why a V8 would be less desirable than a turbo 4 though. A 2011 Mustang GT with the 5.0L V8 gets a respectable 17/26 mpg. My 2009 WRX with a 2.5L turbo F4 gets a near identical 18/25 mpg. The Mustang manages this despite a penalty in curb weight and significantly more power. I know which one I'd rather have.
 

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