Turbodiesel engines have become commonplace in South Africa, but CAR magazine’s technical editor Jake Venter questions their reliability. What do you think?

Turbodiesel engines have become commonplace in South Africa, but CAR magazine’s technical editor Jake Venter questions their reliability.

In an article in the June issue of CAR magazine, now on sale, Venter says turbodiesels’ torquey power makes then fun to drive, but warns consumers to think carefully before going the turbodiesel way.

“It seems that a significant proportion suffer premature failure, often due to overheating. A lot of manufacturers’ money is being spent sorting out the problems, but these are so widespread that the best advice we can give is to be extremely wary when buying a turbodiesel until the matter has been sorted out,” said Venter.

Turbodiesel design is currently at the level where petrol engines were 20 years ago in terms of life expectancy. The designs are good, but there is no margin for any errors in driving, servicing or cooling, and most people in the trade do not understand them. None of this bodes well for trade-in values.

There are a number of problems with these engines; in particular, overheating. The cooling systems are so marginal that the addition of an aftermarket bumper or spotlights is enough to cause overheating.

Other reasons for overheating include a partially blocked radiator, a malfunctioning automatic fan coupling, or retarded injection timing.

There are also problems of carbon build-up in the intake manifold. This is aided by the presence of an exhaust gas recirculation system. If these deposits are not regularly removed, they start to restrict the air intake, causing a drop in delivered volume. Choking the air supply leads to power loss as well as an increase in heat inside the engine, which soon leads to failure.

For more on this issue, read CAR. Venter also gives tips on how to drive a turbodiesel and lengthen the life of your engine.

Give us your views.

Original article from Car