What is causing repeated turbo failures on our Land Cruiser?

I wonder if you can give us some advice. Our Land Cruiser has done 90,000 miles with no problems whatsoever until the engine suddenly died while overtaking a lorry up a hill on the A46. It had to be put on a trailer and sent to a Toyota dealership who, after lengthy investigations (and we discovered a missed recall for that model) decided Toyota would cough up for a new engine, but we had to pay for the labour bill which was huge.

We had it for a few days and I was driving it up a hill, accelerated slightly and the engine died again, so I turned it off when safe to do so and read the manual which seemed to be telling me it was traction control and to contact a dealer. The road was free of any ice or rain at the time. When I turned the ignition on all the lights were off and I started it again and it was fine.

They now say we need a new turbocharger. They have been very helpful but we feel this is going to be very costly and is more than likely Toyota's problem in the first place due to the failure of the recall. We would very much appreciate your thoughts on this.

Asked on 30 March 2013 by MC, via email

Answered by Honest John
Turbos and even replacement turbos often fail because although the turbo has been replaced, the oil feed to the turbo has not been. Turbos usually fail because they are switched off too often while still almost red hot. This stops engine oil circulating through their bearings, cooling and lubricating the bearings as the turbos spool down. The oil then carbonises in the turbo bearings. What gets forgotten is that oil in the feed pipes to the turbo bearings also carbonises and if these are not also replaced, the restricted oil flow through them to the turbo causes turbo bearing failure through lack of lubrication and oil cooling.
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