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Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:52 pm
by mcgarrett
I am considering a new vehicle purchase this summer, and hopefully this vehicle will be a long-term acquisition. I am planning to retire in 2-3 years, and will be moving out west to an area with an altitude of 6000+ feet, and this CUV (Subaru Ascent) has a turbo engine that might come in handy at that altitude or when traveling to higher elevations. I typically keep autos for 8-10 years, and will almost certainly top 100,000 miles (or much more), but I have never owned a turbo. The general opinion seems to be that this 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Boxer direct fuel injection turbocharged engine is the latest advancement in a line of engines that has been evolving, but I have a bit of concern that turbos get more wear than a non-turbo engine, and I would hate to have to do a significant repair or replacement while not working any longer. I was wondering if anyone has experience with hi-mileage turbos and can offer any advice about this possible purchase.

Thanks,

McGarrett

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:04 pm
by crystalbank
The 2.4H4 in the Ascent is a relatively new engine and the Ascent is one of the first cars to get it in the USA if I'm not mistaken. So no solid stats on it's reliability yet, but the modern era of turbo engines are pretty good reliability wise and Subaru turbo engines seem to be doing ok. The only thing I would keep an eye after a few years of usage is the oil level. Pretty much all turbo engines burn oil (significant compared to NA) and some owner manuals even recommend topping up oil if necessary.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:12 pm
by iamlucky13
In addition to the turbo, the boxer engine in general seems prone to experiencing oil consumption...or perhaps it's just a Subaru thing.

I would not say the oil consumption is a reason not to buy the car, unless you strongly don't want to check the oil. However, it's a pretty normal recommendation to check oil levels roughly every 1000 miles regardless.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:18 pm
by InvestSlow
I had a 2004 WRX STi for nearly 15 years and over 120k miles.

No problem with the turbo, and that was a 2.5 liter that was tuned to within an inch of it's life. (300 hp, 300 lbs torque).

Subarus are very reliable, and they have used turbos for a long time. I wouldn't worry.

P.S. Mine used no oil.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:32 pm
by Scrapr
Have had 2 Volvos w/turbos. They both went 300k miles. No problems. I do see on the message board that one line tends to clog up (either in or out I forget) but that is a fairly simple repair

Current Volvo no problems but only 50k miles

I would not let the turbo dissuade a purchase. Now a first year engine???? As Walter White said...Tread lightly

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:34 pm
by mcgarrett
Thanks for the insights. I did note some oil consumption issues with previous Subarus, and I believe these were ultimately improved, but I realize that keeping an eye on oil level would be a priority. I think boxer engines have been evolving and although this particular engine might be a new version, this might represent a new generation of a design that has some track record. I am very encouraged by the history of that WRX STi, InvestSlow!

McGarrett

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:43 pm
by walkerbait
I have a 2003 VW diesel with a turbo that has ~175k miles (and nearly 16 years) on the original turbo. No signs of it quitting any time soon, though it's not uncommon for them to last "just" 150k.

The bigger factor for the Ascent, which has already been mentioned, is that it's a new engine design and therefore long-term reliability is an unknown. I don't anticipate any problems, but then again I wouldn't have guessed the CR-V to have problems either...

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:46 pm
by tibbitts
mcgarrett wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:52 pm
I am considering a new vehicle purchase this summer, and hopefully this vehicle will be a long-term acquisition. I am planning to retire in 2-3 years, and will be moving out west to an area with an altitude of 6000+ feet, and this CUV (Subaru Ascent) has a turbo engine that might come in handy at that altitude or when traveling to higher elevations. I typically keep autos for 8-10 years, and will almost certainly top 100,000 miles (or much more), but I have never owned a turbo. The general opinion seems to be that this 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Boxer direct fuel injection turbocharged engine is the latest advancement in a line of engines that has been evolving, but I have a bit of concern that turbos get more wear than a non-turbo engine, and I would hate to have to do a significant repair or replacement while not working any longer. I was wondering if anyone has experience with hi-mileage turbos and can offer any advice about this possible purchase.

Thanks,

McGarrett
I think you're asking too much to predict at this point. Based on reputation, which seems to be what you're going on, would you really have predicted the Honda problems? Sometimes you just pay your money and take your chances. Besides, maybe six month after you buy, it you'll decide you want to buy a completely different kind of vehicle.

In terms of the concept of a turbo I don't think there are reliability issues. it's the implementation that would be the issue.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:13 pm
by mcgarrett
I understand and agree, this particular iteration of the engine does not have a history to use as a guide, and therefore there is an inherent uncertainty and risk. But it is encouraging that even with the increased complexity and wear, turbo engines can often perform for many miles.

Thanks,

McGarrett

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:19 pm
by Nissanzx1
Synthetic oil of the manufacturers recommend viscosity is required with turbos. Nothing to be scared of, just keep in mind the synthetic oil rule and let the engine idle down a few seconds before cutting off the ignition. Once your engine shuts off, your turbo no longer gets oil even though the impeller could still be spinning quickly.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:37 am
by lazydavid
A friend of mine just totaled out his 2000 VW Jetta with the 1.8L turbo 4 at 280k miles. Never had any turbo issues while he owned the car. My own 2011 BMW 335d is at 97k with no hint of turbo-related issues.

While individual engines may have reliability issues, it's been a long time since having a turbocharger was a good indication of it. Yes, the troublesome 1.5L Honda has a turbo. But the oil dilution issues have nothing to do with it being forced induction. The old naturally-aspirated Toyota 3.0L V6 was about as under-stressed as engines get, but had massive sludge issues due to poor design.

Do the maintenance according to the manual, use a good quality synthetic oil, and don't shut it down right after running it hard (WOT runs or heavy towing), give it a minute or two to cool. If you're driving normally/conservatively, there's no need to wait. The Ascent appears to be a really good car (haven't driven one myself), and Subarus tend to be pretty reliable now that they've finally figured out how to make a head gasket. :)

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:45 am
by Swansea
Nissanzx1 wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:19 pm
Synthetic oil of the manufacturers recommend viscosity is required with turbos. Nothing to be scared of, just keep in mind the synthetic oil rule and let the engine idle down a few seconds before cutting off the ignition. Once your engine shuts off, your turbo no longer gets oil even though the impeller could still be spinning quickly.
A note: some of today's turbos are cooled by engine coolant, not oil. However, a short cool down period never hurts. I do it even though my turbos are not oil cooled.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:58 am
by Nissanzx1
Swansea wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:45 am
Nissanzx1 wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:19 pm
Synthetic oil of the manufacturers recommend viscosity is required with turbos. Nothing to be scared of, just keep in mind the synthetic oil rule and let the engine idle down a few seconds before cutting off the ignition. Once your engine shuts off, your turbo no longer gets oil even though the impeller could still be spinning quickly.
A note: some of today's turbos are cooled by engine coolant, not oil. However, a short cool down period never hurts. I do it even though my turbos are not oil cooled.

Correct and engine coolant stops flowing when the engine/ water pump is shut off as well. Heat/friction is something to be avoided with these turbos as much as possible. Enjoy yours!

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:26 am
by Fletch
Nissanzx1 wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:19 pm
Synthetic oil of the manufacturers recommend viscosity is required with turbos. Nothing to be scared of, just keep in mind the synthetic oil rule and let the engine idle down a few seconds before cutting off the ignition. Once your engine shuts off, your turbo no longer gets oil even though the impeller could still be spinning quickly.
+1

I had a 1995 Volvo 850 with turbo for 17 years. No engine or turbo problems of any kind for over 210,000 miles. I ALWAYS used full synthetic oil, started with Mobil One, then switched to Castrol Edge Professional after about 10 years when the dealer changed to the latest Volvo recommended oil. I changed oil and filter every 5000 miles or so.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:26 am
by lazydavid
Nissanzx1 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:58 am
Correct and engine coolant stops flowing when the engine/ water pump is shut off as well.
It doesn't have to, with engines starting to switch to electric coolant pumps. The PCM could certainly run a 90-second (or whatever) cooldown cycle after the engine is shut off. I don't have specific knowledge of models that do this, but I would be surprised if none did.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:34 am
by Nate79
We have had our Ascent for a little over a month now and love it. We really enjoy the drive.

I wouldn't be too concerned about Subie turbos. They have a good history of turbo reliability. New Subie motors have had issues that they have worked out over the years but this one doesnt seem to be a major change so hopefully it also reliable.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:13 am
by alfaspider
lazydavid wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:26 am
Nissanzx1 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:58 am
Correct and engine coolant stops flowing when the engine/ water pump is shut off as well.
It doesn't have to, with engines starting to switch to electric coolant pumps. The PCM could certainly run a 90-second (or whatever) cooldown cycle after the engine is shut off. I don't have specific knowledge of models that do this, but I would be surprised if none did.
A lot of modern cars in fact do continue cooling the turbo after the engine is shut off. For a pedestrian daily driver, I wouldn't worry too much about cooldown with today's modern turbos. If you were coming off a track with a glowing red turbo that is a very different situation from driving around town where you are only likely to even be in boost during situations like freeway entrances.

Turbos are an additional moving part to fail on a car, but modern manufacturers have made them incredibly reliable for the most part. They are nothing like turbos of the 80s and 90s. I might recommend against a turbocharged car if you were looking to get 500,000 miles on the original motor (although turbo diesels can get this sort of miles), but I think your turbocharged Honda should be good for at least a solid 200,000 with proper care. Most cars these days get retired due to things other than the motor failing.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:14 am
by alfaspider
Nate79 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:34 am

I wouldn't be too concerned about Subie turbos. They have a good history of turbo reliability. New Subie motors have had issues that they have worked out over the years but this one doesnt seem to be a major change so hopefully it also reliable.
The motor in the Ascent is a derivative of the WRX motor that came out in 2014. It's detuned from WRX form, so should be more reliable- and the WRX motors haven't been significantly problematic.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:56 am
by mcgarrett
Thanks to everyone for the impressions of turbo reliability and recommendations for proper care. I feel more secure with having a turbo in my retirement vehicle. To be even more secure, I might wait for the 2020 version of the Ascent, given a general hesitation about buying the first year of a new model.

McGarrett

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:29 am
by Morgan Dollar 1921
Nissanzx1 wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:19 pm
Synthetic oil of the manufacturers recommend viscosity is required with turbos. Nothing to be scared of, just keep in mind the synthetic oil rule and let the engine idle down a few seconds before cutting off the ignition. Once your engine shuts off, your turbo no longer gets oil even though the impeller could still be spinning quickly.
+1
Years of diesel turbo experience in AG/Farm related equipment, we relied on the pyrometer located in the turbocharger exhaust streams, to keep tabs on the turbochargers' health, and gauge the point at which it was safe to shut the engine down and thus stop the oil flow to the lube chamber of the turbo. One older model had no pyrometer, so I would always count to 60 prior to fuel shut off, allowing the turbo exhaust vanes to cool. I presume that gasoline turbo (unless high perf app's) temps never reach the extreme temps that a tractor under full load doing tillage work does. I however agree totally with waiting 20 - 60 seconds under idle low RPM range to insure cool-down. Your owners manual or the service manager of the Subaru dealer may have more info more in tune with the Ascent. The tech counter parts person can clue you in on what is breaking or failing early for this model and powertrain combo.
Also ditto to proper oil selection and strict compliance with change intervals, one could even consider oil analysis for the range from 3-6K, up to 30k miles to get a handle on how the brand of synthetic you are using is really working for you under your driving habits and climate, etc. Good Luck & enjoy.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:48 am
by Jack FFR1846
Subaru has used oil lubricated/water cooled turbos for years. It uses the turbo's heating characteristics to produce coolant flow. The car or turbo doesn't have to be running and it keeps cycling coolant through until the turbo is at ambient temperature.

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/random-f ... -514111544
.....when you shut off the engine with a hot turbo, the coolant begins very quickly to boil. Obviously this hot coolant and steam rises quickly to the intelligently located mini-reservoir. This convection draws cool(er) coolant from lower in the system into the turbo and this process continues until the turbocharger cools sufficiently. In this way, even after shutdown with heat soak from the turbine section, the bearings never get much above the boiling temperature of coolant, protecting the oil from coking.
Oil consumption has been an FA/FB issue, is covered by the class action settlement and I would expect by now, Subaru has figured it out. It's never been a problem in EJ's (like in the STi to this day). To address the last major thing I can think of, the transmission has evolved from the CVT used in early cars and part of the voluntary coverage to 100k miles, newer HCVTs (TR690) haven't been an issue that I'm aware of.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:11 am
by Epsilon Delta
I'm surprised that the computer doesn't monitor the turbo and give you a warning if you try to turn off too quickly. "Do you want to destroy the engine? Abort Continue". Maybe they think that would ruin the true sports car experience.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:56 am
by db79
lazydavid wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:37 am
A friend of mine just totaled out his 2000 VW Jetta with the 1.8L turbo 4 at 280k miles. Never had any turbo issues while he owned the car.
The internal wastegate was a common weak point on the KO3's

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:35 pm
by alfaspider
Epsilon Delta wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:11 am
I'm surprised that the computer doesn't monitor the turbo and give you a warning if you try to turn off too quickly. "Do you want to destroy the engine? Abort Continue". Maybe they think that would ruin the true sports car experience.
Back in the day when this was still somewhat of a problem, it was pretty common to install a "turbo timer," which kept the motor running for a minute or two after you turned off the ignition.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:22 pm
by Morgan Dollar 1921
Amazing info reading the rest of the posts, obviously I am living in the 1980's still, and still used to thinking for myself, :oops: Still a good idea to check your tire pressure monthly and pull the dipstick every now and then too.
All good stuff, good to have some up to date gearheads respond, I am starting to tell family and friends that being away from GM for 3 years now, my knowledge is stale. The modern cars do so much for us, it is easy to become complacent, just remember when those prices go up you are getting a lot of features and benefits that your father did not have on his Oldsmobile. I still miss my 88 Ciera with the 3.8L V6 and mulitport FI, what a leap from a 2.5L in an Omega :D I am beginning to realize my skill set and knowledge is rapidly fading over the sunset, but I am enjoying retirement! The Ciera felt like a muscle car compared to the Omega built six years earlier with the miserable knock-knock 2.5.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:29 pm
by RootSki
I would not buy a car unless it has a turbo. Don’t fear the boost.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:39 pm
by azanon
mcgarrett wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:52 pm
The general opinion seems to be that this 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Boxer direct fuel injection turbocharged engine is the latest advancement in a line of engines that has been evolving, but I have a bit of concern that turbos get more wear than a non-turbo engine, and I would hate to have to do a significant repair or replacement while not working any longer. I was wondering if anyone has experience with hi-mileage turbos and can offer any advice about this possible purchase.

Thanks,

McGarrett
According to Scotty Kilmer ("famous" youtube mechanic with 51 yrs experience), the boxer engine design that Subaru uses, is the oldest engine design being used in any modern car, and the other companies don't use it because newer designs are overall just plain better (so, not because they don't know how to design a boxer engine itself, rather because there's no good reason to do so). And Scotty also agrees with you, in that if you're most concerned about maximizing reliability, then you don't get a turbo engine because it puts more stress on the engine.

Now that being said, I personally own a GTI with not only a turbo, but an upgrade one (K04) that I put in it for power. But I freely admit I didn't go with a GTI because I believed that it was a super reliable car. I bought it because it was a hot hatch with a lot of bang for the buck.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 2:55 pm
by il0kin
I’ve always steered clear of turbos, but then again I bought a Nissan Frontier in 2015 and one of the selling points in my mind was that they’d been using the same 4.0 V6 in those trucks for 10 years at that point.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 4:51 pm
by TexasPE
For your comfort level check out a Subaru Gold extended factory warranty. Cost should be in the ~$1500 range for a 100,000 mile version - extends factory coverage - covers essentially everything that doesn't normally wear out (brake pads, etc). Shop various dealers for the best coverage price - don't have to purchase from the dealer who sells you the car... see

https://www.subaruforester.org/

for recommended low-price dealer for the warranty.

Re: Experience with turbo >100,000 mi

Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:17 pm
by sambb
most reliable has been porsche for my experience