Tech Info

FAQ and Tech Support

This handy information (and more) can be found on our website under CUSTOMER SERVICE tab.

Failure to follow these instructions can result in premature turbocharger failure, most failures occur due to incorrect installation or operation.

The installation tips listed here are general guidelines that apply to all turbos and do not include vehicle-specific details. Please refer to the authorized original equipment service manual for detailed installation instructions. If you do not have the experience, proper tools or manuals, please seek the services of a qualified technician. 

Before the install:

  • Inspect the oil supply and drain lines for degradation and cracking. Clean or replace all oil lines. 
  • NEVER put thread sealant on the turbo oil feed fitting. Using thread sealant will lead to turbocharger failure.

Installation guidelines:

  1. Install the turbocharger, taking care to ensure that no dirt or foreign material enters the turbocharger openings. Always, use new gaskets and O-rings (where applicable). Do not connect the oil supply line or the air cleaner duct yet.
  2. Pre-lube the turbocharger by pouring clean engine oil into the oil inlet hole of the turbo.  
  3. With your fingers, spin the compressor wheel several times to coat the turbocharger bearings with oil.  
  4. Pour more oil into the oil inlet hole to top it off. There may be some drainage, but this is of no concern. 
  5. Connect the oil supply line and the air cleaner duct. 
  6. Check for proper crankcase oil level. 
  7. With the fuel shut off to prevent engine start, crank the engine for 10-15 seconds, or until the gauge shows an oil pressure build up. 
  8. Start the engine and let it idle for 5-10 minutes. Do not rev the engine during this time. 
  9. Check the installation for any oil leaks. 
  10. Drive with low boost/light throttle to ensure proper break-in.

Most turbo failures are caused by oil starvation, oil contamination and/or foreign object damage. Turbochargers with manufacturing defects tend to fail “out of the box”. All CTS Turbo turbochargers are manufactured to meet or exceed OEM standards.

Here are the most common causes, which are very easily identified during professional inspection after disassembly:

Engine oil contamination: small carbon particles can enter the engine oil and erode the components inside the turbocharger. Over time, the tolerances will increase and cause the turbocharger to fail. The evidence of this failure is the “dentist drill” sound coming from the turbo and evidence of oil leaking from the turbine end seal. Results: oil leaks from the exhaust side of the turbo, burning oil smell, loss of power, complete seizure of the turbocharger, catastrophic failure of turbocharger.

Prolonged engine idling can create a vacuum with the turbine. Results: oil leaking into the intake (cold) side of the turbocharger.

Hard acceleration from cold start may not give the oil enough time to circulate, causing oil starvation to the turbo and engine bearings. Results: turbocharger seizing, bearing failure, catastrophic failure of turbocharger. Just don’t do this.

Hot engine shutdown can cause carbon build-up in the turbo, leading to bearing failure. This is prevalent on high-mileage engines. It’s easy to avoid this.

Over-speed, over-boost, brake-boosting, anti-lag: This is a very common cause of failure, as these conditions will lead to oil starvation (or even a mechanical failure).

CTS Turbo air filters are re-usable DRY element filters and cleaning them is straight forward and easy. Examine your air filter for dirt every 4-9k miles. For optimal engine performance, we recommend cleaning the filter every 20-30k miles, or as required.

For cleaning a CTS Turbo dry filter, the best way is to follow these basic steps:


Put the air filter into the soapy (we suggest using a alkaline based soap like DAWN, do not use a lot of soap – less is more in this situation) water mixture and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.


Gently move the filter around in the bucket to loosen any debris. Assess the filter for any large debris lodged and remove accordingly, followed by rinsing with water. DO NOT use a pressure washer or jet option on your hose nozzle. RINSE ALL THE DETERGENT OFF!


Shake excess water out and let the filter AIR DRY COMPLETELY.  DO NOT use compressed air as too much pressure will damage the cotton mesh. Washing the filters with water can result in wavy filter pleats, which is normal.

OR you may use any filter cleaning kits (AFE Restore kit for Dry filters or equivalent)

Follow the instructions provided with the cleaning kit.

Verify Clearances

Before installing your CTS connecting rods it is recommended you measured all the critical clearances. Make sure to record the measurements for each rod and number match them to the bearing set, crankshaft journal, and wrist pins.

** You must use a quality bore gauge and micrometer, record the following measurements:**

  • Wrist pin diameter
  • Wrist pin bushing bore
  • Wrist pin clearance (Bore minus diameter
  • Rod journal (w/bearings)
  • Crankshaft journal diameter
  • Journal clearance 

Torque Specifications


Before you final stretch the rod bolts, it’s important the bolt and rod threads are fully seated.

  • Install rod bearings
  • Align matching printed numbers on rod and cap
  • Assemble cap to rod
  • Apply ARP assembly lube to bolt threads
  • Hand tighten bolts
  • Using a quality calibrated torque wrench, torque bolts to 50 ft/lbs
  • Break bolts loose, and again torque to 50 ft/lbs
  • Break bolts loose, then torque to 50 ft/lbs one final time

The final torque spec is .006″ (stretch gauge) or 50 ft/lbs (torque wrench) with ARP assembly lube. The preferred method of measuring bolt load is with a stretch bolt gauge.

Stretch Gauge

  • Loosen bolt and zero stretch gauge
  • Tighten bolt to .006″ stretch
  • Loosen second bolt and zero stretch gauge
  • Tighten second bolt to .006″ stretch

Torque Wrench

  • Loosen bolt
  • Tighten bolt to 50 ft/lbs
  • Loosen second bolt
  • Tighten second bolt to 50 ft/lbs

Important notes

  • Do not exceed rod bolt stretch/torque. If bolt stretch is exceeded, replace rod bolts with new ones.
  • Torque wrench settings are given as a guide only, to ensure proper bolt installation a stretch gauge is required.
  • Do not install bolts dry or with any other lubricant than the supplied ARP assembly lube.