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Gary, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mazda
Satisfied Customers: 1054
Experience:  Senior Technician
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I own a 2003 Mazda RX7 that is a limited build number car,

Customer Question

Hello,I own a 2003 Mazda RX7 that is a limited build number car, one of the last RX7s ever made.
The car has done low k's but had an issues that made the motor fail.
The engine was rebuilt and tuned and found that it would not tune to its full potential due to one of the turbo's being mildly damaged from the engine failing.
Not long after this happened, and about 9 months ago now I sent the turbo's away to a company Turbocare in Christchurch to get reconditioned.
One turbo was ok and one was damaged. They could not find parts to rebuild the damaged one so I found a good turbo from a earlier model RX7 and sent that to them to use as parts.
Once rebuilt they bench tested them and sent them back.
Myself and a mechanic friend carefully refitted them making sure everything was spot on.
The car was started and test run and all seemed well.
I drove the car to work a few days later (about 10ks). Was driven quietly as the car barely warms up in this time and I wanted to make sure everything was ok. I then drove it home at the end of the day pretty quietly again just introducing a bit of boost to ensure the turbo's were working.
I then drove it to work quietly again just to try and get a few k's on it and then noted plumes of smoke coming out the rear. I turned it off and managed to coast most the way to work.
I pulled some parts of the car to try find what could possibly be doing this and found the front turbo had failed.
I rang turbocare and they said to return the turbo's for inspection which I did.
Initially they took responsibility saying it was a bust in the turbo that had failed supplied by them.
Unfortunately when the turbo had failed it did a lot of damage to the turbo sending bits of metal right through the intake system and back into the motor and I suspected possible engine damage from this and contamination to all the oil system and intake pipes from the bits of broken turbo.
Turbocare said they were going to do an insurance claim to overhaul my engine, turbos and clean all the contaminated lines and pipes.
After months of back and forwarding I was told by both their insurance company (Vero) and them that the claim had been accepted. I have this confirmation on email.
The car was sent to Dynopower in Tauranga to get the motor removed, pulled down and inspected.
Dynopower also received an email confirming the job task they were allowed to do which included removing the motor, pulling it down, inspecting it, replacing a few parts, reassembling it and fitting it back in the car on completion.
While it was in their care an assessor also inspected the car.
Dynopower removed the motor stripping it down to a short block and then received a call from the assessor saying the insurance claim was now to be revoked and no work done.
The insurance company has now confirmed with Dynopower they will only pay to reassemble the motor and refit it with out "pulling it down" and inspecting the internals of the motor.
I have since spoken to Turbocare who say they have changed their mind and say it was a nut that came loose on the turbo due to a backfire from the car and that they take no responsibility.
I question how a correctly rebuilt turbo can fail in less than 30k's of travel!?
It is very common for most cars and especially a rotary engine to backfire and they do this all the time and yet their turbo's usually do not fail like this!
I question that they have actually used the correct "locktight" on the nut to prevent it from coming loose?
So my question really is where do I stand with this case? It has already cost me a lot of money, $1000 rebuilding the turbo and time and money removing the turbos and inspecting the damage etc that they had caused, draining oils and cleaning lines etc (approximately 6hrs of mechanic fees). $500 getting the car transported to Dynopower for the work to be done as directed by the insurance company. Also now wof and reg has expired with no use of the car, another small cost.
Presently the car is sitting in Tauranga in pieces and I live in Taupo so now I have to go and get the car or pay for it to be returned to me another cost I don't feel I should have to be responsible for.
I also now have to pay to get the engine inspected and pay to get more turbo's to get the car going. Unsure of this cost yet but suspect it will be around $4-5000.
Can I take Turbocare to court and do you think I have a valid case? Or am I just wasting my time? It is a bit of a curly one as people that do not know cars may find this hard to understand but at the end of the day my reconditioned turbo's lasted less than 30ks and this just seems ridiculous no matter how you look at it!
Some advice would be appreciated so I know which direction to take.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mazda
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hi Jimmy,

A difficult case for you.

I can say I have never seen a turbo nut come undone under any normal circumstances.

The compressor wheel would show evidence of backfire (wheel blades bent backwards), if it was the cause of the nut coming undone.

My bet is the turbine /compressor wheel assembly wasn't balanced after assembly, and that vibrated the compressor wheel loose.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I get the feeling they were maybe trying to blame the blow off valve not working? (so pressurised the turbo on throttle shutting stalling it making the shaft stop and nut spin off) but that is not true as I know it was working and blow off valves are not standard on all turbo vehicles.
It was after the inspector assessed the car in Tauranga (in pieces with all the turbo's and pipes removed) that they came back to Dynopower and said the claim would not be accepted. I am yet to speak to the assessor as he has been away.
Both myself and Dynopower have emails from the insurance company saying the claim was accepted so how can they back out from that??
Turbocare say the turbo was bench tested on the rig and balanced up fine etc.
I have spoken to a guy I Australia who said it is common for the earlier turbos to spin the compressor nuts off after being rebuilt as they were a right hand thread. I have never heard of a factory set doing this so I would assume mazda use very good lock nuts and locktight to prevent this. I have pictures of the whole process and the findings but am gutted I can not find an email of Turbocare admitting fault initially after I sent the turbo's back for inspection, which I'm sure I had as well as verbally over the phone to me.
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hi James,

I would agree that once the claim was accepted, they can't change their mind at that point.

Yes, some turbos are right hand thread, are more to this condition, but generally only after being after being reassembled.

I would say the torque on the nut was not the specified torque by the turbo manufacturer.

That may be hard to prove.

Regardless the insurer said yes to start with, and that would be reason enough for a court case now?

Gary (Brisbane Australia)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
would I be looking at 2 cases? Turbocare for replacement turbo's and the insurance company to complete what they had given the go ahead for?
This would be just small claims I would suspect?
Have not had experience with this so all a bit of a learning curve but I really don't feel that this is fair. Only 30k's is just wrong. Even if the blow of valve wasn't working and the car was running like crap I would expect to not have turbo issues such as this. So basically it sun the compressor nut off, the shaft tried falling out the bum and the compressor tried eating the nut and floated forward eating the Teflon liner in the front cover and all the alloy and Teflon went through the whole intake system and possibly into the oil system too as we found traces of aluminum in the oil filter too.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
typo up there should say "spun" the compressor nut off
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Yes, 30 kms is most certainly abnormal, and most certainly a workmanship/parts failure claim.

I think this is the clincher, a failure at only 30kms.

Ground up alloy can be small enough to go through all of the engine, including the lubrication system.

I feel for your case, I wish I could offer further advice.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
you gut feeling is I have a case and should be taking them to court? I was thinking the turbo's caused the issue so would try and take turbocare for the whole expense. Maybe get an independent referral as well from Mazda here where live or another turbo or performance shop so I have some proof that it is them that are at fault not something I have done or something wrong with the car?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I agree with you.

I fail to see how this can't be honoured by Turbocare.

As far I can can see, a failure has happened within the rebuilt components warranty period.

And on day one, that is just not good enough.

Have you made any mention to them of a pending court case?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not yet I haven't. I wanted to get my parts back from them first so at least I have one good turbo to work with if it all goes pair shaped and I get nowhere rather then them thinking they can keep it all.
Also wanted to get some advice to see where I stand before I start firing bullets at them.
They are defiantly not willing to help out on this now.
I think it's because of them the whole claim stopped as initially the motor side was accepted but insurance said the turbo's caused the issue so they would not pay out on those so then Turbocae got shitty because they did not want to pay to fix those or replace them as was most likely going to be the case and jumped up and down and probably told the assessor there end was all done to the book and there must be an issue with the car and that it backfired or had no operating blow off valve which caused the damage so then by doing this they got themselves cleared but also buggered the already accepted claim I had running at the same time leaving me high an dry and back another 3 steps!!
Pretty gutted I spent $1000 to recon my turbo's and now 9 months later I have a car that has no turbo's, does not go and a motor that needs to be pulled down for inspection which potentially alone could cost $5000 if there is damage internally and my car is now stuck in Tauranga so potentially their mistake will cost me between $4000-$10000 to rectify and in the mean time I have also had no car to use! Also a lot of my time running round trying to sort it all out and a hell of a lot of stress and more to come :(
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hi James,

I really do feel your pain.

Unfortunately these days, customer service is not what it used to be.

An insurer will look for a loophole.

My bugbear with parts failure claims is they should pay for the full result of the failure, not just the cause.

Good night for now, hopefully tomorrow you will have some more news.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok thanks.
I need to get to bed too.
I will wait till I get my parts back before saying anything to them and will also try again to talk to the assessor to find what grounds he has to cancel the claim after having confirmation that it was accepted.
Would be good to have something to go back to them with to say I have it in writing from them to go ahead and that is a legal binding contract and it will be fulfilled! The said work will be completed!
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hi James,

Good luck for the next few days.

Hopefully a good outcome.


Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hi James,

Any news on your turbo claim?


Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Sorry for delay. I got hold of them and had no joy. They said the claim had to be started for them to be able to look into it so I said that I have it in an email to myself and the engine rebuilders that it had been accepted to do the engine work so that's a legal binding contract and he spluttered a bit and basically said not necessarily so I said where do I stand with getting reimbursed for the transportation fee of getting it to the work shop that I was told to go ahead with and couldn't answer that either and said he would speak to the assessor and get back to me. That was last Wednesday and no reply yet so guess I will have to go chasing him again...
Expert:  Gary replied 12 months ago.

As you say James, they gave you a binding contract in agreement.

I would say an independent mechanical asseseor with turbocharger experience should look at it.

To be it is a no-brainer.

Any turbo failure that the engine swallows, should be blamed only on the turbo.

No BOV, aftermarket BOV, different exhaust etc, does not affect the outcome.

If the turbo was spun too hard, ie 25 psi WITHOUT a BOV, then I could see a RH threaded compressor nut coming undone.

But I've never seen this myself.


Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Good you agree. It hit 10psi briefly twice and the second occurance is when they failed. The car is tuned for 10lb and normally hard to make them do more. Normally if they habe issues they run less boost. Mine was tuned on the old set up prior to getting the rebuilt turbos back on so was freshly tuned
Expert:  Gary replied 12 months ago.

30 kms, and 2 hits to only 10 psi is workmanship failure, end of story.

Can they not see that?

Even though they did initially agree to the whole claim?

Of course it should include engine rebuild.