I never thought I would get to the point where I am rebuilding turbos, but I guess it speaks to how far I have come in a year working on this thing. At first I was scared to even pull the valve cover off, now I am yanking apart things that spin at 50,000 rpm.
I received the rebuild kit from Turbo Lab America and got to work.
First I had to take the seals out and replace with new ones. I don't have any reason to believe these seals were bad, but when in Rome...
Rear seal done. By the way, the link is just from a cloth. I dunked everything in acetone after this. Now for the front seal! This one is a little more tricky as the seal seems to hold a part of the cage in place.
We will see if this works. The seal was just slightly larger than the old one but I believe that is because it is compressed during its entire life, so naturally the seal will be smaller in size. It still fit. We'll see if it seals!
Next up is the worst part. The ball bearings. These things are hard to work with, small, slippery, and very easy to lose. This is foreshadowing. I first tried spending 15 minutes to load the cage without anything to assist but this didn't work. Balls just kept falling out. After this I checked out Turbo Lab's youtube video on this and they recommend wrapping tape around the outside. I did this to much success.
And just like that, it snapped into place and spun freely. Very satisfying mechanics behind that! A fantastic tip to use the tape. And then catastrophe.
That is a missing ball bearing. The last one needed to complete this turbo rebuild. Darn. I spent some time on the ground and eventually found the ball bearing. Success!
Now I will get into part two. This is the section where I struggled for hours and then finally realized what I was doing wrong. I missed a step. Follow along and see if you can spot it.
It was at this point that I thought I was home free. Surely this had to work. Surely I could just drop that bearing cage down into the center and it'd seat, right? Wrong. To anybody that has worked on a turbo before, you know exactly what I did wrong.
As soon as I tightened the 12-pointed nut the whole thing came apart as the bearing cage was not properly seated, and the reason for that is because I did it incorrectly. I was supposed to remove the bearing from the shaft and then assemble the cage with said bearing. I did not do this and it was never going to work! Of course, I caught this error and no harm was done.
I want to also address the method of installing the cage. In the pictures here you can see I used some lithium grease. I have since realized this was a stupid idea and went back on this idea. Now that I have the bearing free I will be using the tape method as showed earlier. This means I won't have any gross residue in the oil or coolant passages. I will be cleaning everything first before reassembling.
Now for the bearing! I headed over to Harbor Freight and grabbed a simple bearing puller. It had a bunch of lovely attachments that fit what I needed perfectly.