The Parts Bin – How to Clock a Turbo

In this post we wanted to share with you a very simple, but beneficial tech tip: how to clock your diesel engines turbo. If you have spent a lot of time playing with turbos, this may be simple for you. However, if you’re new to diesel turbos or looking at adding your own, it can be daunting trying to figure out how to line everything up. But don’t worry, it’s actually pretty easy and we’ll walk you through it below.

Understanding the Three Main Parts to a Turbocharger

To get starting clocking a turbo, it’s important to know and understand the three main parts of a turbocharger. First there’s the compressor housing – the large aluminum port typically seen from the front of the turbo. Next, you have the cartridge. This is where are all the workings for the turbo are. It connects the compressor housing to the turbine housing. And this is the third major part of a turbo, the turbine housing.

Aligning the Turbine Housing

There are four bolts that connect the turbine housing to the cartridge and compressor housing. To align the turbine housing, these four bolts need to be loosened, but not removed. Once loosened, the compressor housing and turbine housing will rotate freely on the cartridge.

Next, connect the turbine housing to the exhaust manifold. Install it finger tight so you can see where everything lines up, but can move and adjust parts as necessary. Once the turbine housing is in place, align the cartridge with the turbine housing.

Aligning the Turbo Cartridge

Aligning the cartridge is pretty straight forward and you just need to set it up how you want. Typically this means having the oil drain straight up and down. Once the cartridge is set where you want it, tighten one or two of the bolts that connect the cartridge to the turbine housing. It doesn’t matter which, just those that are most easily accessible. Once these are locked down, your housing and cartridge should no longer move, and the compressor housing should be the only thing that freely rotates.

Aligning the Compressor Housing

Now that everything else is locked down, it’s time to line up the compressor housing. Simply rotate the housing until it lines up with your intake tube and connect it, and even clamp the intake tube on. Then, just like before, tighten one or two of the bolts connecting the compressor housing to the cartridge to hold it in place.

Now that everything is locked in place, you can take the turbo off and then tighten all the remaining bolts to ensure everything is locked down and secure. Be careful not to overtighten any bolts. These do have a torque spec, but getting a torque wrench into place can be difficult, so just make sure everything is snug without being crazy-tight.

And that’s it. If you have questions for any other turbos, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 435-962-9555 or text us at 435-962-9506 or leave us a comment below. Don’t forget to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for more product tests. Leave us a comment below about what you’d like us to cover next.