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1.8 TDCI Lack of Power


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Son's car, has done 115k miles and now short of power. You used to always feel the turbo cutting in but not any longer. Have to change down to get up quite minor hills, but once revs raised the power seems to get better but no clear cut in, just a general increase in power as revs rise. Also tends to stall on pull away because of low power. Had flywheel, clutch and timing belt changed recently, garage reported low power after the work and say they have not done anything to effect turbo. My son is a bit vague about when problem started but I get the impression it has been deteriorating for some time previous.

All ideas welcome.

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7 hours ago, pauljoanss said:

Also tends to stall on pull away because of low power

Stall on pull away will not be turbo problem, unless doing a racing start, and then it is unlikely to stall!

EGR valve can cause the engine to stall, and if jammed open, could cause loss of power, and probably make it smoke a bit.

I can never really feel the turbo cutting in on my 1.8, I can monitor the boost pressure while driving, so I can see it working, and it starts to ramp up the pressure at quite low rpm and power. So there is no abrupt "Turbo on" stage. But it may be a different mapping.

I would try blanking off the egr, at least for diagnostic purposes. (Stainless steel plate costs a few quid off Ebay).

Then I would invest £15 in getting a Forscan system. This can monitor boost pressure, and many other things. It may suggest that a faulty sensor is causing the problem, or the fuel system.

Other possibilities are air filter, fuel filter, leaks in the air hoses or intercooler, blocked intercooler.

Only when all else has been eliminated, would I consider replacing the turbo.

For more on Forscan, see:


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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a quick update.

Air filter changed and checked with basic OBD2 (has worked well with Fords in the past), result shows no stored codes.

I was driving the car yesterday and the problem seems to be low power at low revs eg below 2,500 rpm, once the revs reach 2,500 rpm the the power really seems to kick in. So all is well if you keep in a lower gear than normal. That's why it is very easy to stall as you pull away.

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Standard with no tuning the 1.8 tdci turbo won't kick in till around 2500rpm anyway mate.

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On 07/08/2016 at 9:27 AM, pauljoanss said:

once the revs reach 2,500 rpm the the power really seems to kick in

Specified maximum torque of 280Nm is at 1900 rpm for the 1.8TDCI. And to achieve this, the turbo will be at max boost, already. That is certainly the case in my (2006) car.

There could well be a bit of delay in reaching max boost & max torque, which will be more apparent at the lower rpm.

The EGR valve is usually commanded to fully close at 2500rpm, so if the power is lacking below 2500 rpm, it suggests a problem with the EGR system, or the sensors (MAP, MAF) that are used to control the amount of EGR.

Re-maps could alter the situation, but they usually tend to bring the turbo in earlier, rather than later, so as to reduce turbo lag.

So one explanation for the lack of power at low rpm is that the EGR valve is opening too much in the lower rpm range, but still closing ok at 2500rpm. This might cause visible smoke at times.

Forscan can monitor & log Turbo Boost pressure (aka as MAP reading), and probably EGR valve position. That could tell you if the turbo is still operating ok.

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