After waiting 2 months for part of the exhaust, yesterday my car was finally fitted with (in this order) a lightened flywheel, Sachs clutch, VXR turbo, full Milltek exhaust, and FMIC, all bought from Courtenay. Took 2 of us (me handing spanners to an experienced mechanic) about 10 hours in a workshop with a ramp without rushing. All day everything went exactly to plan with no problems whatsoever... until we started it up.
From the word go there were plooms of thick white smoke coming out of the back, so much that you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. We switched it off and had a look around for obvious signs of problems under the bonnett. Nothing to see. Started it again thinking it might just be 'newness' and that it might go away after a few mins but it didn't. Revved it a bit, but only a bit.
We took the bottom boost pipe off the intercooler inlet, and (oh my god) roughly a pint of oil drained out of the intercooler onto the floor. (Swear Swear).
After scratching our heads for a while and phoning a few folk for advice we took the boost pipe (turbo outlet to intercooler inlet) completely off the turbo and disconnected the sports cat section from the pre-cat replacement pipe (more oil in the exhaust) and started it up again. Oil was clearly flowing (more than a drip but not quite a pour) equally out of both sides of the turbo - boost and exhaust gas outlets. A look in the header tank and under the oil filler cap and on the dipstick saw no mayonaise, so oil and water aren't mixing. A small amount of oil has got past the dump valve and reached the air inlet, there's some oil at the exhaust tail pipe too.
We took the intercooler and sports cat section completely off and stood them upright on some rags to allow the oil to drain out overnight. Is the cat going to me knackered now? Can the intercooler be swilled out with petrol or anything or has that had it too?
The car was in perfect (standard except dump valve) running order before we started anything. It's a 53 plate GSi with 21k on the clock, had oil changes every 5k since I got it at 10 months old.
Swapping the turbo is basically like for like with the old one, so I can't see how we could have piped it up wrong. It's difficult to see with the radiator moved back now but we had a good look, comparing to the old turbo, and we are happy that everything is right. We did as advised by Mark Watts at Courtenay - one of the small pipes had to be moved and the actuator from the standard turbo fitted until the car is re-mapped.
The guy who did all the work is well experienced with Vauxhalls, he's spent years working on, re-building and modifying loads of C20XE and C20LET engines and putting them into everything from Novas, Corsas, Astras and Astravans (inc a Mk4) and a Vectra, you name it. In the past he's also built a rally car on big carbs and most recently spotlessly re-built a crashed Subaru Impreza WRX STi which had also suffered engine damage at the front. Admittedly this is the first time working on a Z20LET, but we can't think of anything we could possibly have done wrong to cause this. Or is it a dud turbo because that's what we're thinking?
I've got a photo of inside the exhaust gas outlet of the turbo, I don't know how to post photos here so if you email me I'll send you it if it will help, but it's basically a blather of oil over everything.
Please please help! Cheers