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Discussion Starter #1
How much play should be in the compressor wheel?
Realized my air filter somehow fell off during a 260 mile ride. probably on mile 1! Was loosing boost towards the end of the ride but kept the hammer down. After clean up pulled my AA blow off valve for a cleaning. Figured that was the source of what seemed like loss of power due to loss of boost. Discovered dirt on the clean side and popped open the air box. Surprise! loose filter.

Plumbing between the turbo and intake is filthy. Compressor wheel seems to have lots of play but is not contacting the housing. Oil looks good gonna do a compression test this afternoon.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
UPDATE

I spoke with a reliable source yesterday evening regarding the slack in the compressor wheel. He tells me there is a surprising amount of play in the wheel found in a healthy stock turbo. He advised me to clean up the plumbing thouroughly. Also advised me to clean or replace the map sensors in the charge tube and intake tube. I cleaned everything thouroughly with throttle body cleaner. cleaned out the turbo and buttoned everything back up. Took the rig out for a test rip and everything seems to be back to normal. Throttle response and boost are spot on. Currently tuned with an AA stage 1. No smell of burning oil or other signs of motor damage. Hopefully I caught this in time before any real damage was done. I am sure the lifespan of the turbo has been compromised but for now she is good to go. Going to order one of the Donaldson Filters from AA today that clamps on. I am not sure how the stock filter came loose. No one I talked to has heard of that being an issue. I will be more diligent in my air filter inspections from now on.
 

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Morris Racing #711
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563 Posts
A little side to side play is ok as long as the blades aren't touching the housing and/or the seals aren't leaking, but if you have up and down or around (however you want to word it) play then I would suggest a rebuild.
 

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I used to work for Air Research on turbocharging automotive engines. The bearings "float" so it appears to have a lot of play on the shaft. In some cases the compressor blades initially rub so that clearance is minimized. I doubt that you can ingest enough dust to damage the compressor before internal engine damage occurs. Biggest damage potential to the turbo is large object ingestion like fasteners or debris.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input. I did not mention I fired the motor up with the intake tube loose and let it run up to operating speed. I shut it down and watched the compressor wheel free spool with ease for a long time. I figured that is a good sign. I also checked the play in the wheel warmed up and it was quite a bit less. I imagine the large tolerance cold is to compensate and leave room for when the turbo gets hot and expands.
 
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