Bad Actuator or Diesel Engine VGT Turbo?

Are you having a problem with your VGT turbo on your diesel engine? You're convinced that's what it is, right? Well, it might not be as simple as that. Depending on your engine and the type of failure you're experiencing, you might actually have an actuator that's giving you trouble. 

So, it's important that you find out exactly what you're having a problem with, before you drop a bunch of cash on a new turbo. How do you tell if your actuator is the problem and not your variable geometry turbo? That's what we're going to take you through!

Want to know more? You can always watch our video on the subject:



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Is Your Actuator or Diesel VGT the Problem?

So, is your turbo bad? Or your actuator? Or possibly both? One of the easy ways to tell what's going on with your unit is to pull the actuator off.


bad vgt sector gear movement | Highway & Heavy Parts


So, if you're getting codes that are directing you toward the actuator, we still don't know if it's truly an actuator or a turbo issue. But if we take the actuator off, take a hold of the sector gear, and try to move it from stop to stop and it doesn't make full travel, you definitely have a turbo issue that caused your actuator to fail.

If you pull it off, though, and your turbo moves from stop to stop very easily when you move the sector gear then it's not likely that you have a turbo problem as much as you do have an actuator problem. So, that's a good place to start. If your turbo moves well, then tackle the actuator first. If it doesn't move, you definitely need a turbo and possibly an actuator.

Installing a diesel engine VGT? Follow our VGT install guidelines!


What Other Problems Might My VGT Turbo be Experiencing? 

If it turns out that it is your turbo causing the problems in your engine, you might be wondering what might be happening. So here's a few things that might cause a diesel VGT failure.

  • Excessive Oil Consumption: You might notice excessive oil consumption caused by your turbo. This could be from a failed bearing, hot shutdowns, or extended drain intervals with contaminated or incorrect oil. You could also have a a blocked crankcase filter that pushed oil out into the turbo. It's important to note that outside failures will have caused these issues, not the turbo itself. That issue needs to be resolved, or your turbo will continue to fail.
  • VGT Mechanical Faults: Because of the intricate nature of the VGT turbo, there are a lot of opportunities for mechanical failure. You can identify whether or not it's a mechanical failure if the turbo won't shift from a big to a small turbo.
  • VGT Electrical Failures: A lot of these turbos have electric actuators on them, and this can lead to a failure within the electronics of these actuators. 

Want more info on these problems? Read our blog on other VGT turbo failures!

So, if you're having a problem with your VGT turbo, you should first identify whether or not it's actually your turbo that's giving you trouble. Then, you should be sure you know what's causing the failure and resolve all those issues. This can prevent future failure, as well as save you money from preventable repairs.


Need some parts or advice on your diesel engine VGT? Let our ASE Certified Technicians give you a hand! Call us at 844-304-7688, or request a quote online!