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 Post subject: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Newbie

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:03 pm
Posts: 5
Just want to warn others that an oil leak from the intercooler is a sure sign that turbo failure will follow.

It happens like this:
The crimped join in the intercooler core fails after a pitifully small mileage. The visual evidence is a small amount of oil leaking from the front left side (as you look at the engine from the front of the car).
The presence of oil is merely a nuisance as the turbo employs a 'wet' bearing lubrication system that is designed to allow a small amount of oil loss past the seals, so you would expect a small amount of oil inside the intercooler even when new. The real issue is that if the intercooler is leaking oil, then it is also leaking air.
This really is a problem as the boost sensor fitted to the intercooler will tell the ecu that more pressure is required to achieve full boost, thereby allowing the turbo to over-speed beyond its safe design limits which wrecks the turbo bearings, leading to turbo failure.

I should know, mine is now on its fourth turbo in 140,000 miles, three of which were replaced in the first 60,000. That's why I decided to research what was causing the failures.

So what's the answer? Don't replace the intercooler with a Nissan part, which will only do the same, but instead buy one of the after-market ones with a welded, not crimped core.

Incidentally, I fitted a replacement turbo from Midland Turbo for about £500 and I would recommend their service. Welded core intercoolers are on ebay. A pressure test would be a good idea before fitting any new intercooler, just to make sure.

Hope this helps others to avoid some of the problems that I have experienced.


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:53 am 
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Xtrail Nut

Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:23 am
Posts: 1452
Good write-up lad, sure that will be of help to others.

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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:26 am 
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Xtrail Nut

Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 2837
Location: Cumbria
Car:: Xtrail
Model: T30
Year/Plate: 56
Colour: Silver
Excellent heads-up Wheelnut! Thanks ever so much. Of all the car-related fora I generally hang out on, this really is head and shoulders above the others for technical know-how! Just one question - does your post relate to T30, T31 or do both suffer the same design flaw? I heard that very early T30s were prone to turbo failure, but that later ones were better?


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:12 pm 
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Xtrail Nut
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:33 pm
Posts: 3097
Location: Ireland
I decided to take off te intercooler today and investigate what state it was in and see if the turbo was also in good condition.

While I had seen some oil on the engine, I wasn't overly concerned about it. To test if there are any leaks in the intercooler, you can hook up a compressor with some pvc pipe and a modified homemade adapter and push some air through it. If you squirt some soapy water over the crimped edges and around the intercooler, the air leaks will shown up as bubbles.

I was going to seal mine with chemical metal that I got in a handy tube, with a pre mix twist nozzle, but decided that this wasn't necessary. I may do this however in the future.

As you can see from the photos below, a little oil can make a big mess. I cleaned the intercooler, inside and out, and also cleaned the rubber hoses and oil catcher.

One thing I noticed, is that the clips had not been tightened adaquetly and oil was present between the rubber coupling and inlet pipes. I suggest that instead of using a screwdriver, using a 7mm socket.

While I had the intercooler off, I started the engine, placed a rag just outside the pipe to the turbo to see if any oil was present. After revving the engine a coupe of times and leaving it run for about 5 mins, no oil was noticed.

To really test the turbo, a deflection guage should be used to test the lateral and radial play on the turbine shaft. If you can move it with your finger, safe to say it's gone or on the way out . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:16 pm 
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Xtrail Nut
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Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:33 pm
Posts: 3097
Location: Ireland
Some more photos and a video of the engine running with the intercooler removed.

Title: Nissan Xtrail 2.2 dCi running with Intercooler removed

http://youtu.be/bzNYYTJPPFI


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:08 pm
Posts: 18
One year/good 9thousand miles ago(recent mileage is:75K miles/120K kms) I've encountered exactly the same feature.
The car was taken immediately to the local car-radiator&cooler repairer.
The intercooler got a thorough inner-outer cleaning and was welded precisely, after a proper pressure-check the master mounted it back.
The turbo is still OK.
I was briefed by other 2,2 dCi users,that it is indispensable for turbo "health and life" to change (motor)oil in every 6,25K miles/10K kms,change air filter twice a year -regardless of mileage- and NOT to stop engine immediately after longer etaps(especially motorway & highway usage almost overheats the turbocharger): let the motor run idle for a few minutes... :thumbs:


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:03 pm
Posts: 5
That last piece of advice on leaving the engine to run for for a minute or two after a run is particularly vital on these engines, and is especially vital after a motorway run when stopping for fuel, when heat-soak can rapidly build up and 'cook' the turbo bearings.
More modern engines often have a turbo cooling system that operates independently of the engine, but this is absent from the T30 X-Trail.
Good quality synthetic engine oil should be fine for 10-12,000 miles, but it certainly doesn't harm to change it earlier.


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:01 am 
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Soft Roader
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 77
Location: South Tipp...R.O.I.
Car:: Xtrail
Model: 2.2DCi Elegance
Year/Plate: 2005
Colour: Silver
Mods: I have one tattoo and my left ear pierced...(",
Great Post...
I have a slight oil leak from the intercooler and wasn't sure what to do. Thanks to Wheelnut I now know ho to get it sorted.

Cheers.


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 10:08 pm 
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Soft Roader

Joined: Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:33 pm
Posts: 26
X-inactive, do you know if liquid metal would have worked? I.e. Is it ok to use for this?


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 Post subject: Re: Intercooler oil leak warning
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2020 11:01 pm 
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Extreme Off Roader

Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2018 7:54 pm
Posts: 322
Location: East Hertfordshire
Car:: Xtrail
Model: Aventura Explorer diesel auto.
Year/Plate: 2008
Colour: Blue
a9blue wrote:
X-inactive, do you know if liquid metal would have worked? I.e. Is it ok to use for this?

I don't know whether you have noticed, but the above posts in this thread are all 7 years old.


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