S320CDi Turbo Kaput. Will it cause damage?

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Paul S320CDi

Active Member
Jul 19, 2008
S320 CDi LWB
HI. the turbo in my 2002 W220 gave up the ghost the other day. When I put my foot down it accelerated well as normal, then there was a splutter and a cloud of grey/brown (not black) smoke out the back and now it's not working.

I still drives ok. The lack of turbo is noticeable but the engine seems to cope ok on its own for town driving, not tried motorway speeds.

Will driving like this cause any damage. I can't get it fixed for a while.
Paul, if you decide to recon the turbo I have an impellor for it (genuine garrett) if you need one, new in box. Part no. 70259-0014
I cant imagine that you'd do the engine much harm unless you put it under heavy load. I would've thought that the ECU would adapt to the lack of extra air it normally gets, but i could be wrong.
I think you are all forgetting if the turbo has gone pop there will be debris and excess oil, a potential disaster waiting to happen:eek:.

keep an eye on oil level. normally when the turbo goes you loose pressure on intake and this pushes the oil straight into inlet manifold. the car will loose performance but also suck all the oil out of sump.if you keep oil topped up apart from excess smoke the car should suffer no further damage.
good luck

I quite simply cant believe the replies so far:eek:, wont cause any damage:D Apart from sucking the excess oil vapour into the engine causing it to runaway on the oil fumes and scrapping the engine, a blown turbo is a serious problem full stop, and if its gone bad the intercooler and pipework will have to come off to remove any debris.

Being an auto you cant stall the runaway engine you will have to lift the bonnet remove the air filter and ram a jacket or similiar into the inlet pipe to starve the motor of air causing it to stop safely, but dont forget it will be revving beyond its limiter at a standstill.

Of course if its just a vnt tutbo with stuck vanes thats a different matter, but either way it needs attention asap.

See here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peIMnjs9xl0 guy says ring failure its almost certainly turbo failure as Renault diesels are famous for it:D

See the guy standing on the hard shoulder ? remember to keep a warm jacket in the car in case its raining:rolleyes:

Google diesel engine runaway, pretty rare nowadays except for the renaults that is.

Being an auto you cant stall the runaway engine you will have to lift the bonnet remove the air filter and ram a jacket or similiar into the inlet pipe to starve the motor of air causing it to stop safely, but dont forget it will be revving beyond its limiter at a standstill.

Sorry my question is OT, but what would happen if you leave it in drive and step on the brakes?
It would be pshing so hard. there is no way of turning them off. I have had it in my workshop and its scary. All from a blown turbo on a S320CDI.

Are your sure its a turbo problem?
Heard several cures for a runaway diesel which as you quite rightly say is scary.

Apart from running away and hiding, I am told that emptying a CO2 fire extinguisher into the air intake works.

We were rebuilding a chieftain tank engine pack in Soest W germany in the early 80s - when it "ran away" so did we. It took the roof off the pack house and we found a piston over 400 yards away :)

Father in Law had a pug diesel about 10 years ago that very nearly ran away as the wet air filtration system had filled with oil, until the engine all of a suddenly decided to run on neat used engine oil only uphill on the M25! I rammed it into 4th and stopped it on the footbrake by stalling it and all the time I was thinking about that Chieftain pack! Apart from a huge pall of smoke that obliterated all 3 lanes no harm was done because I could stall it.

Just get it sorted - Olly has a decent line in recon turbos, I know as I fitted one to an ML270 engine for him during my week helping him out!
Why would you want to risk driving around in a knackered motor?

Seems nuts to me.

I can understand driving a short way just to get it home or to a dealer but anymore than that isn't worth the risk.

Olly, Don't suppose you have one for a 2004 E320CDI?


I might have a brand new one insealed merc box , can you send me your chassis number and I will check part number tomorrow . Ps it will be half retail price !:thumb:
Thanks Phil, you have a PM
I'm just supprised someone who drives an S class wants to even try and drive round with it knowing its broke?


I don't pretend to understand cars if something makes a noise, feels wrong etc the car goes in or I get the part fixed.

A small expense now could mean larger bills after.

If I were you get it looked at.
someone who drives an S class

How do you describe someone who drives an S class? They're not all company directors on 100K a year.

I should not be driving an S class. I think a Vauxhall Vectra or a Ford Mondeo would suit my means more. I don't have the money to throw at any repair.

I don't want to damage it further by driving it, that's why I asked here. I wasn't sure if just meant I would lose power. If there is any doubt then I wont.

Anyway It's all academic at the moment as it's now off the road because of a burnt out (I think, judging by the burning smell preceeding a loss of height and a permanent TOO LOW warning) AirMatic pump. Probably a sticky relay :(

I had only driven it a couple of times since the turbo episode. I am really only guessing it's the turbo. It just seemed the most obvious thing from the symptoms I noticed.

Thanks for all the replies. A runaway does sound scary and not something I would like to encounter.
Air leak on one of the strutts causing the pump to run continously burning the pump out?


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