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Turbocharger Replacement – Turbo Regal

The article below details turbocharger removal and replacement on a 1987 Turbo Regal. This is meant as a general guideline and it is not a textbook how-to. Try this at your own risk.

Tools needed:

Sockets and socket wrenches
7/16 open end wrench
thread sealer/paste
Liquid Wrench or equivalent
Tray to organize bolts/nuts

Tools recommended:

oxygen sensor
Mechanixwear gloves

Removal of the turbocharger

1.Remove the heat shield to turbo.
2.Remove MAF pipe and set it aside.
3.Remove intercooler hose going to the intercooler neck.
4.Spray Liquid Wrench on the two bolts holding the down-pipe to the exhaust housing. Let them soak for a few minutes.
5.Remove two bolts holding down-pipe to exhaust housing.  These are the bolts with the tension springs.  Put these and remaining bolts in a tray.  I like use a small plastic bait box to organize bolts and nuts in compartments.  There should be a lead doughnut gasket between the pipe and exhaust housing.  Save it because you will need it to re-install. Mine was toast, so I bought a new one at NAPA. The part number is #31511 … $12.
6.Disconnect vacuum hose that runs from the boost solenoid to the wastegate actuator.
7.There is a bracket that holds the turbo to the block, as shown below.  Remove the two bolts.  I found that going in from the front with an extension is easiest, especially on the bottom bolt.  There isn’t room from above to use an open end wrench.  Note the bottom bolt has a ground strap on it.  Now is a good time to clean this contact to ensure good ground.
8.Remove the three bolts that connect the turbo to the header.  These are tough, so use Liquid Wrench.  Don’t worry about damaging them since the rebuilder should put in new studs for you.
9.Unbolt the oil return line, which has two bolts holding it to the turbocharger. It will probably be tough to break the hold on the gasket once the bolts are out.  My rebuilder shipped the turbo back with a new gasket.
10.The turbo should now lift out.  Remove the bracket (step 7) from the turbo housing prior to shipping. Also, remove the brass vacuum fitting and keep it for installation on the new turbo.
11.If you are replacing the oil feed line, which you should, remove it now. You will need a 7/16 wrench and thread sealer for the reinstall.  This is a real pain, but you should be able to get at it from above with a long wrench or from the front by moving the radiator hose out of the way.

Installation of new turbo

1.Set the turbo in place on the exhaust header by lining up the three studs and placing them in the proper holes.  I used a gasket to ensure a leak free install.  The bolts are metric fine thread.
2.Snug the above bolts.  Use copper anti-seize compound if you want.
3.Connect the oil return line with the two bolts as seen here.  Don’t forget to use a gasket.  You will probably need a new one since the old one is likely to break apart upon removal. These bolts are quite a pain to get started, which is why you wait to connect the turbo bracket.
4.You will probably need to re-clock the turbo to line up the outlet to the intercooler inlet neck.  My turbo was a bit off.   To do this loosen the six bolts with an open end wrench.  Rotate the housing until the outlets line up and retighten the bolts in a star pattern.
5.Connect the oil feed line.  Use thread sealer on this one.
6.Connect the bracket  to the head/block using the two bolts.  Don’t forget to attach the ground wire to the bottom bolt.  Also, attach the two nuts that hold the bracket to the turbo housing.
7.Connect the downpipe to the exhaust housing using the two long bolts (with spring tensioners).  Don’t forget to install the lead gasket.  It has a ringed top and wedged bottom.  The ring goes into the exhaust housing.  If you break it, like I did, it can be had at NAPA under part # 31511.  $12.00.
8.Make any other plumbing connections, i.e. boost lines.
9.Connect the MAF pipe to the turbo.
10.Connect the wastegate actuator to the flapper arm.
11.Connect the intercooler hose to the turbo outlet.
12.Fire it up and let fresh oil circulate.  Check things over and go easy on the turbo for a while to let it break in.  Make sure to check for leaks around the exhaust housing.  I had to adjust this connection a few times to get it to seal up. That’s just a matter of loosening the blots, wiggling the downpipe and re-tightening equally.