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Durability of the 1.4 turbo engine

69647 Views 42 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  jc.
I know this is highly speculative, but has anyone an opinion of how long a properly maintained 1.4 turbo engine will last? At 20,000 a year, 50% highway, will it go 200,000 without major repairs? Have we any data on this yet?

Will it for example be as tough as the old 3.8 litre GM engine?

thanks,
Joe
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IMO, the 1.4T won't hold up to as much abuse as the GM 3800 could. But properly maintained, the engine itself should be good for 200k+ miles. The turbocharger is my only concern about this engine making it to 200k without any major repair.
 

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IMO, the 1.4T won't hold up to as much abuse as the GM 3800 could. But properly maintained, the engine itself should be good for 200k+ miles. The turbocharger is my only concern about this engine making it to 200k without any major repair.
The key word is "with proper maintenance."

The GM L67 and L36 required significant work to remain reliable. Regarding the L36, we had a faulty upper intake plenum that required replacing due to the EGR valve causing the plastic to crack around the coolant passages, potentially flooding the engine with coolant, in addition to lower intake manifold gaskets that were in terrible shape well before 200k miles. We had the coolant elbows that liked to crack, an oil pan gasket that was notorious for leaks and required a removal of the subframe to remedy, and very common idler pulley bearing failures. The supercharger added another maintenance item that was very often ignored.

I suspect that, like the 3800 series, the 1.4T will be just as reliable once known issues are remedied. The key to this is proper maintenance and preventive maintenance. It goes without saying that good lubricants that are changed according to their usable service life will go a long way. Going 10,000 miles on DEXOS1 oil in city driving is a sure way to reduce the life of your engine just as going over 90,000 miles on transmission fluid for either engine is sure to reduce the life of your transmission.

The turbocharger is lubricated through the use of scroll bearings and cooled by both the oil and the turbo. So long as a lubricant is used that withstands the heat produced by that turbocharger without shearing, oxidizing, or becoming acidic, the turbo should theoretically last the life of the engine. This would also assume that the antifreeze is maintained to its service life of 150,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first. The cooler you can keep the turbo and the better you can keep it lubricated, the longer it will last you.

Mazdaspeed3 owners learned this lesson the hard way when Mazda insisted that they use conventional oil. Turbo failures between 30k and 60k miles were not uncommon. Subaru WRX/STI motors suffered the same fate, only those turbos ran so hot that they oxidized the heck out of the oil, which then caused it to sludge and clog the oil mesh screen inside the oiling system, thus starving the turbo of oil. With turbocharged applications, oil is absolutely critical to the turbo's service life.

That being said, there was one instance of a turbo failure reported where the compressor housing literally cracked. Unfortunately, the best lubrication won't save you from that, but excellent cooling will help prevent it. This is not intended as an AMSOIL plug, but this is one reason why I run the Dominator Coolant Boost, which increases surface tension between the metal and the antifreeze to provide better heat transfer. In theory, this should keep the turbo cooler, which in theory should extend its life.
 

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It is worth noting that your driving conditions are especially light and easy given that your driving is 100% highway at relatively calm highway speeds. Your car also experiences far fewer heat cycles as a result of your trip duration than any other outside those driving conditions would.
While this is true we have a few members at or above 150,000 miles on their 1.4T engines who drive a more typical driving pattern. The biggest concern I've run into over the years is calendar age. Parts dry out with age, regardless of maintenance.
 

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While this is true we have a few members at or above 150,000 miles on their 1.4T engines who drive a more typical driving pattern. The biggest concern I've run into over the years is calendar age. Parts dry out with age, regardless of maintenance.
Some of that does have to do with the heat cycles. I'm fairly confident with this motor's long term reliability however. There are far fewer rubber parts than in older cars I've owned.
 

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Thanks for the comments and insights. One thing this little 1.4 four cylinder turbo has going for it is that it only revs up to 2200 at 70 mph. So that has to be big. My 3.8 litre Impala ran at 2000 at 70.
Yep. My Eco runs 2000RPM at 65mph. Very impressive for a 1.4L four cylinder engine. In addition, the pistons are very low friction using a DLC (diamond-like coating) on the pistons rings that allowed GM to significantly close tolerances. This is also why the engine barely consumes any oil, if not none at all.
 

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Personally, I think that any modern car that is well taken care of can last a long time. As for how long, I'm not really sure, but I'd say that you could probably expect the 1.4T to be reliable for 200,000 miles or more as long as it was well taken care of. For comparing it to GM's 3800's, I'm really not sure. My sister has an '04 Monte Carlo with the L67 in it. However, it has less than 45,000 miles on it. Although, I can say that in those 45,000 miles it hasn't had any issues. I've read too about how tight the tolerances are and the low friction pistons in the 1.4T, so take care of it, and I'm sure it'll keep going for a long time :)
 

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Those Series I 3800's were absolutely fantastic engines.

I would be happy if the car got to 150,000 miles before it needs major maintenance - a clutch, radiator, sensors - stuff like that. I fully expect to do a suspension overhaul around or before 100,000 miles living where I do.

The only cars we've EVER had powertrain issues from were 30 years old and 20 years old, that one with 320,000 miles. It's everything else that falls apart first.
 

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I am currently at 67k and I have had a water pump, and a turbo replaced. I am not confident in the life of the second turbo. I also have the whining manual transmission, so I am hoping by 70k+ I can get it replaced as well. I plan to ditch this cruze at the end of my extended warranty. Fun car , but I don't trust it.
 

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I am currently at 67k and I have had a water pump, and a turbo replaced. I am not confident in the life of the second turbo. I also have the whining manual transmission, so I am hoping by 70k+ I can get it replaced as well. I plan to ditch this cruze at the end of my extended warranty. Fun car , but I don't trust it.
What did you do to require a turbo replacement? Also, what lubricants and at what capacities are you using in the transmission and engine?
 

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I am currently at 67k and I have had a water pump, and a turbo replaced. I am not confident in the life of the second turbo. I also have the whining manual transmission, so I am hoping by 70k+ I can get it replaced as well. I plan to ditch this cruze at the end of my extended warranty. Fun car , but I don't trust it.

Your turbo go for the wrist pin or crack at the waste gate port?

As for tranny, in those 67K miles did you change the under filled and sub par quality OEM fluid?
 

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On the first 10k on my cruze i lost a manual transmission. (The bearing whine) On my replacement i didn't mess around and swapped the trans fluid with ams oil. Still runs great. @ 55K miles now.

I blew my second turbo by hitting the track 5 days in a row, by the 5th day i could hear a whine when it was spooled. A week later it failed on my way to work. Stock turbo is amazingly reliable as long as you let it rest between pulls.

Im very confident in the engine *knock on wood* We'll see how it holds up to the bigger turbo.
 

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On the first 10k on my cruze i lost a manual transmission. (The bearing whine) On my replacement i didn't mess around and swapped the trans fluid with ams oil. Still runs great. @ 55K miles now.

I blew my second turbo by hitting the track 5 days in a row, by the 5th day i could hear a whine when it was spooled. A week later it failed on my way to work. Stock turbo is amazingly reliable as long as you let it rest between pulls.

Im very confident in the engine *knock on wood* We'll see how it holds up to the bigger turbo.
Ah yeah, that bearing failure. Thank GM for under-filling the transmission. I'll shoot you a PM about the turbo thing though. I have a few ideas.
 
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