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No oil getting to Turbocharger - 1.0 Ecoboost


RayC333
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Hello all, my daughter has a troublesome Ford Focus 2012 1.0 Ecoboost. History: A few months back the car suffered from a known issue (blocked oil pump strainer). Fixed at an established garage with a new oil pump, oil pressure solenoid, oil and filter change. Since then it ran ok for a couple of months before another known problem occurred (low power/poor acceleration). Fixed for a few weeks with a replacement diaphragm in the vacuum pump turbo valve. The car lost power again recently and I have confirmed it has a wrecked turbocharger.

The Turbo has failed because it is not getting any oil feed (and I mean none!). I've removed the turbo oil feed pipe to confirm it's not blocked and started the engine with the pipe removed. No oil is coming out the engine block. The oil pressure light in the car goes out immediately indicating to me the pump is still working ok.

Could anyone help me with knowledge of how oil is routed from the output side of the oil filter to the turbo oil feed location? Noting that the oil filter is mounted at the rear of the engine and the oil feed location is at the front I'm assuming there must be some sort of internal piping or complex oilway?

If the blockage could be cleared without removing the sump, or heavens forbid the engine block, it would be a bonus. Car is still on finance but not in warranty.

Thanks, Ray

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Hello Ray, I suspect that your Ecoboost engine is doomed to fail, sooner rather than later. The vehicle is almost 10 years old and I assume the wet belts have not been replaced. When you had the previous trouble with the oil pump strainer becoming blocked, it would have been with bits of the wet belt as they disintegrate. The little bits of rubber and fabric get everywhere and whilst the original issue of a blocked oil pick-up strainer has been fixed, I suspect that some of the small oil ways and oil channels may be blocked with bits of debris, and hence no oil to the turbo.

Which ever way you go from here you are looking at some major expense. You already need a new turbo and the problem with no oil feed and investigated. On top of that if the wet belts have to be replaced you can add another £1200 to £1400. The potential damage that has probably already been caused to the engine by oil starvation would make me think that its not worth trying to save it.

A brand new ecoboost engine from Ford is £2500 and about 8 to 10 ours work to fit, so probably another £1400 in labour costs. There is no easy fix to your problem.

 

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Yes, as UNOFIX says, you have debris in the oil ways.

Your only options are:

1 Fit a new engine AND turbocharger - not viable due to age/value of car.

2 Fit a known working (see it working before they remove it) 2nd hand engine and turbo

3 Remove your engine and completely strip it down and send it away to have all the oil ways cleaned (block and head) and rebuild with a new turbo - but there is still no guarantee it won't go bang one week after rebuild

4 leave the car somewhere and forget to lock it............ooops

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Not looking good. After checking for oil flow using the oil pressure switch location (poor - approx. a third of a litre in ten minutes running), then with the oil filter and oil cooler removed (still poor) that suggests the oil strainer is indeed blocked again!.

The mechanic who fitted a new pump 6 months ago said he had never had one back for a further blockage. Maybe that's because the owners gave up on them.

Almost at the point now where I can drop the sump. Not too difficult so far and easier without the turbo in the way.

If I find the strainer is blocked (can't think of anything else to stop the flow from a new pump), I will clean and flush it out. Provided that the flow is fully restored (and of course getting to the turbo feed pipe) I'll fit a new turbo (already purchased before finding the oil system issue).

Up to my daughter then. Maybe offload it to webuyanycar or suchlike at a poor return, in tandem paying off the finance.

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6 minutes ago, RayC333 said:

I will clean and flush it out.

Don't flush the engine !!!!

The wet belts react very badly to engine flushing oils/cleaners.

What is the mileage on the car now ?

8 minutes ago, RayC333 said:

I can drop the sump. Not too difficult

Unless you have already done this yourself, I think you will be in for a surprise. The exhaust front section has to be loosened / removed and a few other bits to give the clearance needed to get the sump out.

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1 minute ago, unofix said:

Don't flush the engine !!!!

The wet belts react very badly to engine flushing oils/cleaners.

Agreed, but it sounds a bit late to be worrying about the state of the wet belts now. A good proportion of them seem to be in the oil strainer. ☹️

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Having seen pictures and videos of the strainer I think the strainer is a strange design. On old cars the bottom of the strainer was flat mesh. These ones seem to have a sort of cup that seems to hold the debris in there so it can’t float away from the mesh. I don’t know if it’s like that to try to stop the strainer being left with no oil when driving madly on corners. Anyway, if you again find it’s blocked perhaps I would try removing that cup shaped bit from the bottom of the strainer. I know it sounds a total bodge.

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Too late re flushing products. Not used flushing oil but have used an STP pre-treatment in prep for oil change. 

Have already lowered the Cat. Turbo and Heatshield was already off so just needed 3 more small bolts taken out from the front plus 2 studs/nuts from the main clamp underneath the car. 

Belt tensioner has a simple 1/2inch square hole (socket set extension fits nicely). A/C pump only has 2 accessible bolts and is moved out of the way.

I have considered  removing the strainer, but yes it would be a bodge and risk pieces of debris clogging the internal pump gears.

Thanks for your comments everyone 👍

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I didn’t really mean remove the strainer, I meant remove the bit below the mesh so that the debris does not all get held against the mesh in the cup thing. Without that cup bit beneath the mesh my theory is that the mesh can stay clearer as debris can kind of be washed off it sideways by the sloshing about of the oil

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Also. Has anyone worked out if it is possible to get a small camera in the sump drain hole to look at the strainer. I would imagine it’s not easy but it would be good if the strainer could be inspected at oil change time to see if the problem is imminent

 

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There are endoscopes which would be able to see the strainer, however it would likely be very expensive as most cheap ones have no facility to manipulate the camera end. 

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2 hours ago, RayC333 said:

Too late re flushing products. Not used flushing oil but have used an STP pre-treatment in prep for oil change. 

oh dear !

Whats left of the wet belts will certainly not be happy with the STP pre-treatment. Is this what was done last time when the new oil pump was fitted ? If so that would explain the rapid clogging up second time around.

 

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Update. Have removed the pump ok.

Clogged up again! Will attach some photos. Debris is mostly black, many hard bits and mixed in were some shiny metallic flakes and a tiny strand of wire.

In my opinion the black deposits look like carbon (burnt oil?) and the metallic flakes possibly from metal spalling of a bearing (turbocharger bearing?). The wire, who knows, possibly went in during a previous oil change.

Visual inspection of the belts shows nothing untoward but deterioration may not be obvious.

Will soak the pump gauze area in penetrating fluid and brake cleaner overnight before flushing it through with brake cleaner.

Regarding the STP 450ml pre-flush, it was in there for 15 mins at idle. Will just have to hope it doesn't make the belts worse. Looked at the data sheet and it's only got two ingredients. Mainly Kerosene with a bit of oil additive. STP says ok for all engines so I hope they're right.

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If that was mine, and this is the second time that strainer has been cleaned, the only journey it would be making when I got it back together would be to we buy any wreck. I would be praying that it made the journey without catastrophic belt failure. 

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That's quite a pile of debris you have there. I'm 90% sure the black 'carbon' stuff is in fact bits of the wet belts.

You're right about the main composition of the STP being Kerosene with a bit of oil additive, but I have a feeling that it is the kerosene reacting with the belts and reducing there flexibility that accelerates there deterioration.

At least know you have been able to see the size of the problem.

Next stop 'webuyanywreck.com' !!

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14 hours ago, pcaouolte said:

If that was mine, and this is the second time that strainer has been cleaned, the only journey it would be making when I got it back together would be to we buy any wreck. I would be praying that it made the journey without catastrophic belt failure. 

Absolutely.

Get rid ASAP

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Update: Have fitted the oil pump, new oil filter and engine oil.

After initial optimism seeing the oil light go out immediately, I'm gutted to say there is still no oil flow to the turbo oil feed pipe.

Looking through the filler opening there appears to be plenty of oil about around the camshaft area and the engine runs ok without undue noise.

After shutting off the engine, I rigged up a way of blowing down the oil pipe and was surprised that it was clear enough to allow air through and that the action was pushing air out of the filler hole!

What the hell is going on? If the oil is getting to the head ok but not to the external feed pipe it must escaping somewhere.

Has anyone come across/heard of a cracked oilway or failed internal feed pipe?

 

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Hi Ray, sorry to hear your problems continue. Very odd that you can blow air back down the oil way but still get no oil.

Is there some way you could try and suck "siphon" oil back up the feed to the turbo. I assume (but I don't know) that the oil pipe that feeds the turbo should be full of oil, and so it should be possible to draw oil up. If all that happens is you draw air up then it would seem that there is an internal failure, possible cracked oil way.

The 1.0 Ecoboost bottom end is not considered by Ford to be a serviceable item and so there is almost no information on things like oil ways

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Thx unofix, whilst I had the oil pipe rigged up I also tried sucking instead of blowing. it felt harder to do than blowing but there was still no sign of oil

Can't seem to find an oil system schematic/diagram anywhere on the internet. I suppose the only way we'll ever find out is to have the cam cover or even cylinder head off.

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3 minutes ago, RayC333 said:

I suppose the only way we'll ever find out is to have the cam cover or even cylinder head off.

Your in this far now you might as well keep digging. Lets hope when you get to the bottom you can find a way to fix it. 👍

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After a few hours searching and examining photographs from the internet I'm pretty sure the oil feed should be coming from the adjacent oilway shown in the attached photo. It shows the front left of the engine, the turbo oil feed outlet and the blanking plug of an oilway (which comes across horizontally from the oil filter outlet location.

Can't quite see if it has an Allen keyed head - if that were removable it could really help to identify the blockage.  

Ecoboost engine block - best view of turbo oil feed pipe outlet and proximy to adjacent gallery plug (2).png

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I don’t really think this would help but is there an oil pressure relief valve somewhere that is playing up? I had a triumph tr7 with low oil pressure which was due to broken spring in the oil pressure relief valve. 

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There's a relief valve in the pump itself but that is almost new. There's a pressure control solenoid but that only controls oil pressure to the variable valve timing.

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