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Old 06-06-2008, 12:02 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Loose bolt in Turbo Charger

Dear Members,

My name is Wilbert, I am new to this forum and reach out to you as I have an interesting and maybe almost unbelievable story, for which I am curious to hear your opinion

Three months ago the timing belt of my VW Beetle 1.8 engine broke and ripped apart the engine (cylinder block). I had to buy a 2nd hand engine, which was exactly the same engine with 88,000 km on the odometer. My mechanic (let's call him "D") has taken out the original engine and replaced this with the 2nd hand. "D" put the turbo charger of the original engine on the 2nd hand engine as the 2nd hand came without one.

It run fine for a week; then all hell broke loose. "D" checked the engine again, could not find anything, despite the strong oil smell, smoke and the complete lack of acceleration when shifting gears. I took the beetle to a different mechanic (let's call him "M"). "M" took the Turbo Charger off and found it was full of oil. "M" opened the turbo charger for a more thorough inspection and found a loose bolt (!) in the turbo charger... This bolt is a non-VW bolt. "M" showed me the bolt and explained what happened to the turbo charger. The metal pieces (which were once the turbo fan) has been ripped off by the bolt and were sucked in the engine. As a result, all four cylinders are faulty now (leakage test has been carried out) and the engine is dead. According to "M" this is probably a human error as the bolt does not fall out of the sky (especially as it is a Non-VW bolt). "D" works on VW cars, but also on other cars. "D" has taken the original engine out and completely dismantled it on the floor (have seen this myself). I have paid "D" $1,000 to do this job (getting the original engine out and put the 2nd hand in).

I am in doubt right now as on the one hand I want to confront "D" with this (I am sure it has not been done on purpose, but a small mistake like slipping a bolt is certainly possible). I don't see any other logic, other than that the 2nd hand engine already had this loose bolt in it. Which I really doubt, as it is an engine from a trusted source, tested and the bolt was in the turbo charger (which was not part of the 2nd hand engine). On the other hand, I don't have hard evidence and don't like to fingerpoint to people when I am not 100% sure.

I am just curious to hear feedback from the forum members what you would do and/or your take on this.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:00 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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The turbo was full of oil? Sounds like it's not the only thing full of something, but I'm not familiar with turbo, so maybe it's possible.

Now that I think of it, I don't recall seeing a turbo with a bolt in it. They spin at such a high RPM that they would vibrate a lot, seems like any bolt would come loose.

Further, the turbine being disintegrated by another peice of metal would make A LOT of "I'm pulling over because it sounds like a bull is trying to get out from under my hood" noise. I think you would have noticed it.

As I stated earlier, I'm not that familiar with turbos, so lets say that this is indeed what happened. Even if you get a used engine from a reliable source, they are not going to check literally every nut an bolt. It easily could have been loose enough to where it wasn't making any noise but was still loosing as it was driven.

Even if it was the original mechanic's fault, you don't know it and he doesn't know it. He may give you a discount of some sort to keep your business, but not much more.
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