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Knowledge Base

Turbocharger Units: The options…

(Updated November 2013).
When rebuilding engines, naturally we look out for any other potential problems in an effort to ensure that our customers money is being well-spent.
The turbocharger unit, which includes the exhaust manifold and waste-gate actuator, is an ancillary part of the engine and is not covered by any engine work. If customers would like us to check the turbo unit out please let us know when booking the car in.
The Turbocharger and exhaust manifold unit can be a problem on smart cars, because neither the turbo or exhaust manifold is available separately; both must be bought together as a unit, which comes with a new waste-gate actuator also. The turbos on smart cars are very reliable, but sometimes, when a cylinder head exhaust valve burns out, the particles of molten metal can damage the vanes of the turbo itself. This does not happen very often, but it is a possibility and unfortunately the only remedy is a new turbo unit.
The far more common situation with smart cars is that of cracked exhaust manifolds.
We charge £550 to supply and fit a new turbocharger unit, which we believe is the cheapest in the country.
However, at Smart-TECNIC we totally recognise that this is a considerable cost. Our experience with these units has brought us to consider that the owner has four options when it comes to the subject of cracked exhaust manifolds:
Option 1. Leave it as it is; At Smart-TECNIC we firmly believe that every single smart car out there is running on a cracked exhaust manifold, yet they all appear to be running fine. We have seen some very badly cracked manifolds, yet the owner has been totally unaware because the car has been running completely normally. If we are asked to check the manifold, we will advise the owner honestly on what we think the best option for this particular manifold is.
Option 2. Have the manifold repaired; Update: Unfortunately we have decided not to carry out any further repairs to these manifolds as we have found that the repair does not last much beyond 12 months.
Option 3. Have the engine rebuilt, and consider having the turbo-manifold unit changed at a later date; We have found that owners are often delighted with how their car is performing after having had the engine rebuilt. All the car’s previous issues, such as poor performance, indifferent fuel consumption and a thirst for oil disappear after a rebuild. The owners often finds that their cars are very nippy indeed, the car returns to doing 45mpg around town, and the oil consumption stops.
Therefore, rather than facing one big bill, it might be better for the owner to delay having a turbo fitted, have the car back after the engine rebuild and get to enjoy again all of the brilliant attributes of the smart car. Then, perhaps some months later the owner may feel that it is worth having the turbo unit replaced for peace of mind.
4. Have a new turbo unit fitted; The units are supplied by Smart/Mercedes-Benz and come with a 12 month guarantee. This will ensure that the newly rebuilt engine will give years of fresh service and give great economy,  reliability and peace of mind.
If you’re having your smart car engine rebuilt by us here at Smart-TECNIC, we will be only too happy to advise the customer and give a totally honest appraisal on the condition of the turbo unit if required. We will always be happy to answer any questions the owner might have, as indeed we would be anyway about all aspects of smart car ownership.