ProRacing - More power! - HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CAR?

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How to drive in order not to destroy your car quickly - a short guide for owners of turbo-diesels and other turbocharged cars.

More and more modern cars are equipped with turbocharged engines. This is particularly true for diesel engines.

Almost 90% of cars with diesel engines, manufactured currently, are equipped with a turbocharger. The older models had a fixed geometry turbochargers, but since the end of the nineties of the twentieth century, they were replaced with variable geometry turbochargers.
In fact, from that moment started problems with their durability. Variable Geometry Turbocharger has significantly better performance, but requires more care, and a completely different operating rules.
Showrooms and companies selling cars are reluctant to talk about it, fearing a drop in sales.
That's why they have created a kind of conspiracy of silence on the subject. Sellers try to convince customers that their car is virtually maintenance-free. This means that you just simply tank a fuel and every ten thousand miles replace the oil, and besides that, you do not have anything else to do. Just hop on and go. Unfortunately, this is not true, and despite aggressive advertising, from the time when an apple fell on Newton's head, the rules of Physics have not changed.
I will try in a few sentences to identify a few principles of modern turbo diesels use.

RULE 1 - Gently after starting
Right after starting the motor must not be subjected to heavy loads. For the first few hundred meters you should drive calmly, not to exceed 3000 rpm, and do not press the accelerator pedal more than to 1/3 of the maximum. This is especially true in the winter period, but even in the summer, when the car was parked for longer than a few minutes you should observe this rule.

RULE 2 - Engine must warm up
Full engine loads are possible only after reaching normal operating temperature, approximately 90 ° C and also after a few more minutes to increase the oil temperature, which is usually not displayed on the dashboard and you do not know its value.

RULE 3 - Turbocharger must warm up
Warming up the engine does not mean warming up the turbo! Imagine that the driver turns on the engine and leaves it idling for 10 minutes. Coolant and oil temperatures are already correct but the turbine is almost cold. Full load of such motor leads to immediate damage of the turbine. 

To understand why this is happening is enough to know the structure and the general principles of operations of variable geometry turbine.
The vanes controlling the flow of gas, are located in the cast iron housing so tightly that the free space for movement is sufficient only when the vanes and the housing have the same temperature.
In a situation where the driver immediately after the engine starts will drive on full throttle, the hot exhaust gases flowing around the vanes immediately will raise their temperature, which will increase their volume and the disappearance of the clearance between them and the turbine housing.
This is because the mass of the blades is several hundred times smaller than the mass of the housing and they warm up much faster than the housing. Since when driving at full throttle the controller tries to set the maximum charge pressure, the vanes blocked in this position prevent reduction of pressure that builds up to such a high value that can damage the turbine, cause a rupture of the intake pipes or switch the car into fallback mode of operation and rapid loss of power, which is not pleasant or safe, especially when overtaking.

RULE 4 - Do not turn off until it cools down
Turbocharger operating temperature reaches about 800 C, and the rotor is rotated at a speed of 200 000 r / min. While driving turbocharger is cooled and lubricated with oil and airflow also improves the working conditions.
Imagine that you're rushing in your car on the highway and suddenly your partner shouts - "please, stop at this station, I have to have a cup of coffee!" Obedient to the request, you immediately press the brakes, pull up to the station, stop the car, turn off the engine. Then you rush to the store to get some coffee to quench their thirst. After returning to the highway, it turns out that the car works somehow worse, is little smokey - it looks like something is broken.
Why it mustn't be done like that? 
Switching off the engine resulted in an immediate decrease in oil pressure ie lack of lubrication in the bearing of the turbocharger rotor, still rotating by force of inertia. If keep repeating several times such an operation, it will lead straight to the damage of the bearing. Stopping and immediate turning off the engine resulting in a lack of air flow in the turbocharger and at the same time also stops the flow of the cooling oil, which means that there would be a temporary high increase in temperature and overheating of the turbocharger. To avoid this, after performing a fast drive, you should not turn off the engine for 1 to 2 minutes. If you were driving calmly in the city, this period can be reduced to about 10-15 seconds - this is as much as needed to apply the handbrake, to switch the gearbox into neutral and to unfasten the safety belt.

RULE 5 - Be careful with everything what writes and says cars manufacturer.
When specifying the maximum speed of the car, car manufacturers forget to add that it's a momentary speed and trying to drive at such a rate, for a long period of time, has to end a motor failure. How long can you drive at top speed? Good question. I think a few kilometers in the summer should already be enough to have shown symptoms of overheating the engine. It is worth mentioning that it is not about the temperature of coolant, which can still be normal.
It is assumed that a constant speed, that is, the one with which the car can drive all the time without fear of damage, is approximately 15-20% less than the maximum speed given by the manufacturer. So if the manufacturer states that the top speed is of 200 km per hour, it means that for a longer time you can drive about 160-170 km per hour.

RULE 6 - Take good care of your car
It is mainly about the application of good oils and their regular replacement - every 10-15 thousand kilometers, especially when the car is mainly used in the urban cycle. At the same time change the air filter and also ask a mechanic to drew attention to the possible intake system leaks and oil spills.

At first reading of this text, it seems that adherence to these recommendations is extremely difficult and annoying, but I can guarantee that it is not.
If we implement them, the drive will be nice, and the car will reward us with trouble-free operation for many years.

This text is mainly dedicated to the owners of the new turbodiesels, but it certainly would not be against if these rules would be applied during the operation of all types of cars.

This text was written by Engineer Andrzej Godula



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