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Can Diesel Particle Filter (DPF) Cause Turbo Failure?

The short answer is yes, the diesel particle filter (DPF) can cause turbo failure and is related to more turbo related failures than you might think. A DPF can remove around 85% of the particulates from the exhaust gas. Before the introduction of a DPF, reducing the size of the particulate matter from the combustion process to this level was not possible. This filter effectively captures soot and other harmful particles, helping to keep the turbo engine running.

When the DPF is blocked, it will not work correctly. In order to clear this blockage, there are two ways of going about it: active regeneration and passive regeneration. Active regeneration is the process of removing the accumulated soot from the filter by adding fuel post combustion in order to increase exhaust gas temperatures and burn off the soot. This is only a temporary solution. Passive regeneration is a process that takes place automatically on motorway-type runs when the exhaust temperature is high. When it comes to implementation, most manufacturers opt for active regeneration, since most motorists do not drive prolonged distances enough at high speeds to clear the DPF. Constant short distances are not good for the turbo or the exhaust system.

What Happens to the Turbo When a DPF is Blocked?

When a DPF is blocked, it prevents exhaust gas passing through the exhaust system at the required rate. As a result of this, back pressure and exhaust gas temperatures will steadily increase within the turbine housing. Increased exhaust gas temperature and back pressure can affect the turbo engine in a variety of ways, including leading to problems with efficiencies, oil leaks, exhaust gas leaks from the turbo, and carbonization of oil within the turbocharger.

How To Spot a Turbocharger That Has Had DPF Problems

Here are a few ways you can spot a turbo engine that has unfortunately suffered from DPF issues.

Blocked DPF

A blocked DPF force exhaust gas through the smallest of gaps, which includes the clearances in the bearing housing VNT lever arm and turbine housing waste gate mechanisms. If this happens, then carbon buildup in these mechanisms can restrict movement of the levers that affect the performance of the turbo. Sometimes, soot buildup can be seen on the back face of the seal plate where the exhaust gas has been forced through.

Carbon Buildup

Carbon build-up in the turbine side piston ring groove is caused by the increased exhaust gas temperatures.

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks into the compressor housing is seen as a consequence of exhaust gas that forces its way into the assembly core from the turbine side and then forces oil through the oil seal on the compressor side.

Turbine Wheel Failure

Turbine wheel failure through high cycle fatigue caused by temperature increase.


The discoloration of parts within the core assembly usually with evidence that the heat is transferring through it from the turbine side. This excessive temperature within the CHRA is caused by back pressure that forces the exhaust gas through the piston ring seals and into the core assembly. The high temperature exhaust gas can prevent efficient oil cooling within the core assembly and even carbonize the oil, which ultimately restricts the oil feeds and causes wear and tear to the bearing systems. This type of failure is often mistaken as a lack of lubrication or contaminated oil.

If any if these issues are the case with your turbocharger, then you can bring it down to our turbo rebuild shop, where our expert staff can begin working on it.

Preventing Turbo Failure Caused By DPFs

It takes a long time for a DPF to block the turbo engine. Sometimes even years. However, once it is blocked, then the turbo failure can happen very quickly. Here are some ways to prevent turbo failure caused by DPFs.

  • Determine whether the DPF is blocked.
  • If the DPF is blocked, replace the turbocharger core assembly in order to prevent possible oil leaks.
  • Check that the actuator achieves its full range of movement. This is especially true if the actuator is electronic, since internal components could be worn.
  • Replace the DPF with a high-quality replacement. Choosing a low-cost option will likely lead to the same problems!
  • Contact a DPF specialist (like Long Island Turbo!). For more information about getting turbo repair done, please reach out to us today.

Request a Quote

When you reach out to our turbo repair shop, we can provide you with a no-obligation consultation to go over some of the issues you are dealing with a troubleshoot a solution.

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