July 7

2012 BMW X1, Turbo Air Duct Pipe



Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 17 time winners, almost unbelievable, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well.

Mark: So we’re talking BMW’s. We’ve got a BMW X1, what was going on with this mini SUV

Bernie: Well this vehicle came to our shop, pretty low mileage vehicle in great shape but had a oil leak coming from the turbo area and the owner had taken it another shop to get this maintenance service done and they didn’t want to repair or look at the turbo issue. They figured the turbocharger itself was leaking oil and it was a big job and beyond what they wanted to take on. So they brought it to us to have a look at it.

Mark: And what did you find?

Bernie: Well what we found was actually the turbo itself wasn’t leaking which I figured would be kind of a long shot with a low mileage BMW. What we found was there was oil seeping out of the turbo duct, the air intake turbo duct right at the turbocharger so it looked like it was coming from the turbo, but in fact wasn’t.

Mark: So maybe explain, how that air duct hose leaks oil.

Bernie: Excellent question. So inside, so the turbo, with a turbocharged engine there’s a lot of air ducting pipes that go from the turbocharger to the intake manifold, from the air cleaner and these are all hooked up to the crankcase breathing system and there’s a small amount of oil vapour that goes, leaks out of the crankcase ventilation system and it gets into the air ducts. So over time, some oil will build up and if the seal is leaking slightly, it’ll cause the oil to drip out. This especially happens in a low part of the system which is where this particular pipe was. So that’s basically how the oil gets in. Usually it take a lot more mileage to develop a leak, but we see it a lot on VW’s on those seals and ducts, but that’s basically how it works.

Mark: Did you just replace the seal?

Bernie: Well not in this case, this particular seal, you have to buy the whole pipe which is unfortunately an expensive repair. I’ll share some photos here, you can actually see the seal’s a rather special type of seal, not that they shouldn’t sell it separately, but for some reason they don’t. So let’s look at the pictures, so there’s our 2012 X1, basically an X Series platform just built into a little SUV, nice little small vehicle, compact, good fuel economy. This is our oil leak. So you can, this is basically the bottom of the turbo, now it doesn’t look like a lot but you can see a sort of oily film around this area here and this is the duct hose and the seal is inside that area. So this pipe, it was the piece we replaced.

Mark: And up at the top left, that’s the turbo housing?

Bernie: This is the actual turbocharger itself, this is the intake side and this is the exhaust side of the turbo, just right up here which is way out of focus, but yeah this is looking underneath the vehicle. Now where’s our other photo, yeah, so this is basically the seal inside the pipe, you can see it’s a kind of a special, double lipped type of seal. They also use nice easy to replace clip clamps so everything snaps together in a rather easy fashion once you remove all the covers and remove things as necessary to access it. It’s a fairly straight forward job and again it’s just removing everything to get there.

Mark: Alright we’re back to you

Bernie: Back to me

Mark: So is replacement of these air duct pipes pretty common on turbocharged vehicles?

Bernie: Well we do some and there’s a lot of turbocharged vehicles out there. These ducts, I mean things like oil leaks from ducts will happen from time to time, there’s also air leaks that can occur and that’ll affect engine performance. Sometimes you hear like a hissing noise, check engine light maybe on for low turbo performance and that happens from a variety of vehicle. We see a lot of older VW TDI’s that have leaks from ducts, intercoolers especially, they’re located very low down in the front right corner of the vehicle and if there’s oil that drips out, that’ll often be the intercooler or the actual seals on the turbo duct. So that’s not an uncommon thing we see, not too common for BMW’s with this low mileage but you know, anything happens on any car, at any time. So you’ve got to be prepared for it but usually they’re reliable.

Mark: How are these X1’s for reliability?

Bernie: Yeah, they’re pretty good, fairly decent vehicle, don’t see a lot of problems with them so far.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your BMW X1 in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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