How to handle Engine/Supercharger/Turbo Oil Consumption Issues

Author: Jon Bond

We all love the power that boosted applications provide. For some, it can help provide the extra work needed to tow a camper, leave a stop light, or compete at the track. We can also enjoy the improved fuel economy if you can learn to forget where the foot feed is.

Whether you favor a turbo or a supercharger, here are some recommendations if you own the following:

-high mileage turbo
-high mileage supercharger
-high mileage engine
-if you own a new/used Sprintex Supercharger (sorry guys- but if you own one, you know.)

1. If you have engine blowby- add an oil trap to the PCV line. If your engine is MAF controlled- don’t vent the PCV to atmosphere. It will act like a vacuum leak. That air, at one point, passed through the MAF.

2. If you have an intercooler and your engine, turbo, or supercharger is consuming oil, clean the intercooler and keep it from becoming saturated or clogged with oil. Oil will slow down the movement of air between the cooling fins, attract particulates, restrict boost and reduce the cooling effect on the air. This can lead to an increase in charge air temperature, which can cause reduced performance and even damage an engine from detonation. We often get complaints ‘I lost boost!’, after rebuilding a supercharger, and cleaning the clogged intercoolers of the debris. The real statement should be ‘I gained power.’ A restricted intercooler, causing higher boost does not translate into more power. Did you know that JB Performance owns ultrasonic cleaning equipment? We can clean and in many situations, pressure test your intercooler.

3. If your engine, turbo, or supercharger is consuming oil, check your spark plugs often for fouling and replace as necessary. A dirty spark plug can cause engine detonation. Many of us know what engine detonation can do. For those that do not, it can cause poor performance, reduced power, head gasket failure, and even more serious internal piston/valve damage. Detonation can also cause rotor to rotor contact damage on any twin screw or roots style supercharger.

4. Oil sludge inside a supercharger can lead to rotating noises and damage to the supercharger. Excess amounts of oil attract dirt and debris which doesn’t exit the supercharger. It just keeps rotating around. It reduces the efficiency of the supercharger and increases the charge temperature of the air. Superchargers do not have the clearance to pump fluids. Turbos and superchargers were designed to pump air. Oil sludge can accelerate wear in a supercharger and cause many other issues internal to the supercharger.

5. Oil loss out of a turbo or supercharger can reduce the cooling effect on the bearings or gears, leading to shorter lifespans, and possibly failed gear sets and shafts. It can also increase the overall operating temperature of the supercharger/turbo and require more power to rotate the unit.

If you ever encounter any of these issues, it doesn’t mean you need to spend money rebuilding these items right away. Monitor and maintain. If problems become persistent, where it could lead to a failure or increased labor/maintenance costs, then address these areas. If you are a Sprintex owner, we feel for you. Sadly, all you can do is maintenance until such time, Sprintex completely corrects the design issue.