Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review] - Honda-Tech


Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

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Old 03-08-2017, 08:38 PM   #1
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Default Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Preface:
Early 2016 I changed the turbo in my setup to a Garret GT2871R. I picked up the turbo used. It had 'no' shaft play, but it was my intent to refurb it to like new anyway. The previous owner must not have ran it with a filter and it looked like he sucked up rocks (and spit them out) because both the hotside and coldside were tore up.

Parts:
Turbo Lab of America ceramic ball bearing rebuild kit ($180)
New Garret turbine wheel/shaft ($100)
KTS billet compressor wheel for GTX30 ($160)
ATP Turbo GTX30 backplate adapter and compressor housing ($270)

Service:
Balanced as a rotating assembly at Durabilt Turbo - Turbo Rebuilding Bradley, IL which is sort of local to me
Welded internal wastegate shut, using Tial 44mm wastegate on ramhorn mani

Problem:
Shaft play. Bad. At first I was wondering what part of my exhaust had become loose. Sounded like a heatshield, a rattle sound. But I took off the filter finally a couple weeks ago and it's definitely the turbo. I can move it with my fingers, and tapping on the exhaust no longer rattles when I hold the turbine shaft. So that means less than 1 year on the Turbo Lab of America ceramic ball bearing rebuild kit, and it's toast. Lol. I thought ceramic were supposed to be better?

More tidbits:
The balance didn't give a printed report. But the operator says it was well within tolerances. I wish I could remember what he said exactly, but he said it was very well balanced.

From the beginning, there was an obvious flat spot-sound when you spun everything. I hoped that would go away in time. Nope. Probably attributed to the quick failure. I kept the original bearing pack. So I'm not too bummed, as long as I didn't scuff up my KTS wheel. I'll just swap bearing packs, get it rebalanced, and off I go. (It's totally time to take the head in for servicing anyway). I do drive it in the cold, sometimes I let it warm up, sometimes I don't. I don't baby it with a turbo timer or any of that. I expect to be able to use it and abuse it, and it continue to work (just like everything else on my car). I made sure it was built properly and had all the right resources to last. I used an Earl's inline oil filter, and no oil restrictor on the line (since the turbo has one built into the feed port). And an air filter, unlike the last guy! Nothing but Mobile1 non-synthetic motor oil, 5W or 10W-30 depending on the temps. The engine is 11:1 B16, so the turbo hardly even got used! I was pushing like 6-8psi. It spooled up nice and fast though. Too fast. No matter how much I tuned the low end, I couldn't dial out detonation (I knew that was probably going to happen when I built it). But that's a good thing, for me. I can live with it, since I'm the only one who drives it and I tuned it. Anyway...So it hardly saw much for rotational velocity. Perhaps it didn't like my driving style, I have an 8lb flywheel (Toda) and I love to heal-toe downshift, and quick shifting. I put a lot of miles on it. Probably 10-15,000 on it in the 1 year of operation. It loves the highway. 35-40mpg easy.

This is more an update/review for anyone who wondered how that rebuild went I was posting about last year. But if you have anything to ask, feel free.

What are your thoughts or opinions? Is this normal; ceramic ball bearing not good for daily reliability? Can I expect steel ball bearing to last much longer?

Last edited by theYBLEGAL; 03-08-2017 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Majestic Turbo in Waco, Tx did a fantastic job rebuilding my journal bearing S256.

They painted the exhaust housing for me too (which was lightly rusted before) without me asking for no charge.

Also, get your detonation problem fixed.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Ceramic ball-bearings come in different combinations, so it's not really a "ceramic vs. steel" comparison. Some of the “kits” that are offered user a lower-grade ceramic that were similar to the older Turbonetics/Precision CHRAs that used ceramics. They tended to crack and disintegrate over time, instead of the steel ball-bearings which would “wear” down evenly. Garrett now has now started to convert to a silicon-ceramic hybrid ball bearing to replace the steel. No one know exactly why they decided to go in this direction, but I suspect rotational weight and the relative cost to making the steel ones.Even if this is the case, I don’t think that it would disintegrate that quickly, nor would it cause the issues that you’re having. So I don’t think that the ceramic bearings were the issue.I also doubt if the balancing was off, but it could be. You can still properly balance without the need of a full VSR balancer to get the job done for what you need. I do think that you not using the correct restrictor is why you’re having problems. Contrary to popular belief, the internal regulator in the oil inlet feed port of the turbocharger of the GT series of Garrett, just doesn’t suffice when it comes to oil pressures over 20psi . this is why an additional .030” restrictor fitting, (Not a restrictor plate) is needed in your case.I think the following was really your issues.1) Your kit wasn’t that good to begin with2) You needed the proper restrictor fitting Next time, go to an authorized Garrett dealer and pay to play. Unfortunately, they won’t sell their parts for GT series like that individually.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShodan View Post
Ceramic ball-bearings come in different combinations, so it's not really a "ceramic vs. steel" comparison. Some of the “kits” that are offered user a lower-grade ceramic that were similar to the older Turbonetics/Precision CHRAs that used ceramics. They tended to crack and disintegrate over time, instead of the steel ball-bearings which would “wear” down evenly. Garrett now has now started to convert to a silicon-ceramic hybrid ball bearing to replace the steel. No one know exactly why they decided to go in this direction, but I suspect rotational weight and the relative cost to making the steel ones.Even if this is the case, I don’t think that it would disintegrate that quickly, nor would it cause the issues that you’re having.
I was thinking along the same lines. They should crack, not wear down. So that means the metal race they ride in wore out?

Quote:
So I don’t think that the ceramic bearings were the issue.I also doubt if the balancing was off, but it could be. You can still properly balance without the need of a full VSR balancer to get the job done for what you need.
I think his machine was a VSR. He said it only goes to 14,000rpm though, just older model. I feel like it was balanced. That thunk thunk thunk sound on a spin was there from before the balancing job.

Quote:
I do think that you not using the correct restrictor is why you’re having problems. Contrary to popular belief, the internal regulator in the oil inlet feed port of the turbocharger of the GT series of Garrett, just doesn’t suffice when it comes to oil pressures over 20psi . this is why an additional .030” restrictor fitting, (Not a restrictor plate) is needed in your case.
I just need an inline oil pressure gauge this next time around. I swear, the info on this subject is all over the place. Beside the 'if your having problems, change something' mentality, it's hard to know what to use, and I don't have a drawer full different restrictors. Could there be such a thing as an adjustable oil pressure regulator? Heck, is there maybe a limiter? Like a fuel pressure regulator?

But...I do get unburned oil thru the exhaust. It could be the turbo. Could be the exhaust valve seals. I run a bit lean on the highway, and the guides are IMO a little loose, so I think I rewore out my valve seals (bandaid job last time). It smokes on decel. I haven't been heal-toeing much because of it, trying not to engine brake at all.

My detonation could be some oil in the cylinders too. But Chance EG, my low end detonation is because the turbo spools so early, and I'm at high CR, so detonation there is unavoidable. I use water/meth to help at positive boost levels.

Quote:
I think the following was really your issues.1) Your kit wasn’t that good to begin with 2) You needed the proper restrictor fitting. Next time, go to an authorized Garrett dealer and pay to play. Unfortunately, they won’t sell their parts for GT series like that individually.
Next time being this time; you wouldn't rebuild and rebalance it? You rebuild turbos all the time, I can't believe I'm hearing {erm, reading} you say go OEM and that's it. I guess for drag stints and dyno queens custom turbos are fine, but they don't last long? That's what I'm getting.

For about $100 to rebalance it, it should be fine, using the OEM bearing pack. Wouldn't you think?
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

My comments are in Red for clarity
Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL View Post
I was thinking along the same lines. They should crack, not wear down. So that means the metal race they ride in wore out?
No. Not necessarily. It could easily mean that the cage was misaligned or something fell through. I don't speculate that well about a turbocharger internally until I can lay actual eyes on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL View Post
I think his machine was a VSR. He said it only goes to 14,000rpm though, just older model. I feel like it was balanced. That thunk thunk thunk sound on a spin was there from before the balancing job.
No. A VSR machine can go over 150,000 rpms. he has the smaller balancer. It doesn't mean it isn't balanced correctly, even at that low of a rotational speed. If it can balance at 14,000rpms, the turbo itself can do 100,000rpms pretty reliably on the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL View Post
I just need an inline oil pressure gauge this next time around. I swear, the info on this subject is all over the place. Beside the 'if your having problems, change something' mentality, it's hard to know what to use, and I don't have a drawer full different restrictors. Could there be such a thing as an adjustable oil pressure regulator? Heck, is there maybe a limiter? Like a fuel pressure regulator?
Not affordably. I've had the GT2871R on hundreds of automotive platforms for over 20 years, with so many differing oil combinations that I can't even begin to talk about,even at oil pressures of 50psi. In the end, I gave up analytically. As a practical matter... Get the .030" restrictor, ($12-$15 depending upon where you go) and be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL View Post
But...I do get unburned oil thru the exhaust. It could be the turbo. Could be the exhaust valve seals. I run a bit lean on the highway, and the guides are IMO a little loose, so I think I rewore out my valve seals (bandaid job last time). It smokes on decel. I haven't been heal-toeing much because of it, trying not to engine brake at all.
It could easily be a multitude of combinations for the exact issue. But it will help eliminate some of the diagnoses if you'd use that .030" restrictor and go to the next item on the list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL View Post
My detonation could be some oil in the cylinders too. But Chance EG, my low end detonation is because the turbo spools so early, and I'm at high CR, so detonation there is unavoidable. I use water/meth to help at positive boost levels.
I can't comment on that area, really...

Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL View Post
Next time being this time; you wouldn't rebuild and rebalance it? You rebuild turbos all the time, I can't believe I'm hearing {erm, reading} you say go OEM and that's it. I guess for drag stints and dyno queens custom turbos are fine, but they don't last long? That's what I'm getting.
Sure. I'd rebuild and rebalance if there are no issues with the compressor wheel / compressor housing contact or turbine wheel destruction (disassemble to make sure). But I only use Garrett parts, (not even other companies that have parts at the same specifications) and the proper restrictor. Go figure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL View Post
For about $100 to rebalance it, it should be fine, using the Genuine OEM bearing pack. Wouldn't you think?
I don't see why not.
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShodan View Post
No. A VSR machine can go over 150,000 rpms. he has the smaller balancer. It doesn't mean it isn't balanced correctly, even at that low of a rotational speed. If it can balance at 14,000rpms, the turbo itself can do 100,000rpms pretty reliably on the car.
This is basically what the tech said who did the job. I concur.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShodan View Post
Not affordably. I've had the GT2871R on hundreds of automotive platforms for over 20 years, with so many differing oil combinations that I can't even begin to talk about,even at oil pressures of 50psi. In the end, I gave up analytically. As a practical matter... Get the .030" restrictor, ($12-$15 depending upon where you go) and be done.
Alright, I shall

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShodan View Post
Sure. I'd rebuild and rebalance if there are no issues with the compressor wheel / compressor housing contact or turbine wheel destruction (disassemble to make sure). But I only use Garrett parts, (not even other companies that have parts at the same specifications) and the proper restrictor. Go figure.
Who gave me this great idea to use a KTS wheel? Oh yeah that was wantboost lol.

Yeah I will certainly inspect everything before reassembly and balancing.

Hey I tried to use the proper restrictor. I researched, and it was concluded that the internal restrictor is there for a reason. But I completely see why I still need one, now.
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Old 03-12-2017, 05:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Quote:
Originally Posted by theYBLEGAL

Who gave me this great idea to use a KTS wheel? Oh yeah that was wantboost lol.

Yeah I will certainly inspect everything before reassembly and balancing.

Hey I tried to use the proper restrictor. I researched, and it was concluded that the internal restrictor is there for a reason. But I completely see why I still need one, now.
Look.. sometimes experience from others is the best teacher. We used the .030" at Honeywell since about 95'. Automotive engines just use to much oil pressure. Period.

I didn't say anything was wrong with the KTS wheel. I was referring to internal rebuild connects as to using genuine Garrett parts.

Last edited by TheShodan; 03-12-2017 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Is there any merit to this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakBoost View Post
keep in mind that most all ceramic ball bearing cartridges only use the ceramic ball bearing on the compressor section, while still using the journal/bushing bearing on the turbine section...

while the stainless steel ballbearing Garrett GT cartridges utilize the ballbearing on both the compressor and turbine sections.

also, the stainless ball bearing can handle a much higher thrust load than the ceramic ball bearing.

i can say this, in the 4 years that we have been offering the GT stainless ballbearing cartridges, we have only seen one come back....
and it was because the customer "wanted to see how it worked" and improperly disassembled the cartridge...
https://honda-tech.com/forums/forced...aring-1180928/

If this is true, I wonder if it is possible I installed the cartridge backwards? Is that a possibility?

Like, I don't think this is half journal half ceramic ball, but maybe half steel ball and half ceramic ball?

​​​​​​​I haven't started taking it apart yet. Waiting for warmer temps. Hopefully this is last freezing week..
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

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Look.. sometimes experience from others is the best teacher. We used the .030" at Honeywell since about 95'. Automotive engines just use to much oil pressure. Period.

I didn't say anything was wrong with the KTS wheel. I was referring to internal rebuild connects as to using genuine Garrett parts.
Yup, that's why I come here.

I'm going to start by adding the .030" restrictor. But I'm going to take it further for the sake of being thorough. I'm going look for an oil pressure graph for a B series. I'm also going to see if I can find nominal oil pressure vs turbine RPM somewhere but I highly doubt that. A generalized nominal oil pressure for a Garrett dual ball bearing turbo should suffice, but I will try to get as specific to a model number as possible. With that said, if you have any of these info's at hand, and would like to post them, I would greatly appreciate that.

I don't have an oil pressure gauge anywhere in my system, so having one on the turbo oil feed would be helpful. I've been dumping money into home automation stuff lately so the Civic hasn't seen many gizmos lately (besides carputer version 2). If you can recommend an oil pressure gauge, and an oil temp gauge, you'd be even more awesome than you already are! lol

Edit; Adding info I find:
Quote:
Oil pressure entering a ball-bearing turbocharger needs to be between 40 psi and 45 psi at the maximum engine operating speed.
https://www.turbobygarrett.com/turbo...oil_restrictor

Finding a B series oil pressure graph is somewhat challenging so far, but it's easy to see that B series engines peak at 70-80psi

http://www.freelancemotorsports.com/...oil-regulator/

"House of Hose" wow. I love Google...

Last edited by theYBLEGAL; 03-12-2017 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Finding a B series oil pressure graph is somewhat challenging so far, but it's easy to see that B series engines peak at 70-80psi

that depends on a few factors, i can tell you my oil pressure is about 90 PSI while cruising, at idle its about 25 (warmed up).
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:05 AM   #11
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Thanks for sharing that. I've seen some comments of 100-110psi on cold startup. You're also not the first to say 90psi on cruise. Yours sounds healthy though, 25psi idle warm is higher than most posts I've found. Most say 20psi on idle. Some down to 10-15psi.

I think I'm beginning to see there's too wide of a gap, and I need to measure it, monitor it, and see if I can find a restrictor that keeps it within reason 99% of the time. Or, that regulator isn't really bad at ~$125, if it works reliably. Buy the time I'm done ordering restrictors and wasting my time, the regulator may have paid for itself.

I'll wait for .02 on that regulator I posted (the freelancemotorsports link I posted above), if anyone has first hand comments?

Does the location of the restrictor matter? I had mine at the start of the oil feed line, furthest from the turbo (when I had the 14b). Do I need the restrictor to be as close to the turbo as possible then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShodan View Post
As you can see, it is because of not only the size opening of the restrictor, but where it is located, especially when oil pressure is lowest during warm idle. Oil basically only "trickled" into the oil passages of the turbocharger causing the starvation.
https://honda-tech.com/forums/forced...royed-3263966/
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:39 AM   #12
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

Oh yea.. you found that thread!! That's pretty important, I don't know if that's "sticky or not.. I'll make sure that is is.

As for the Peakboost quote.. that was a long time ago, and doesn't apply to the GT series anyway. For Garrett, there are two types of ball-bearing CHRAs.: The GT series (what you have) and the converted 55N series, which is used for converted CHRAs that were originally journal bearings, or had journal bearing parts associated with it. (separate back-plates, JB styled turbine heat shields & flanges, etc). The latter doesn't apply to you at all.

Even if it had, that information is old and outdated, as Garrett never used ceramic bearings for their 55N series or GT series.
Now,many of the 2015+ units transitioned to a silicon-ceramic hybrid ball-bearing instead of the traditional steel ball, but again, your turbo does't meet the criteria for it here, as 1)your turbo was more than likely manufactured before 2015 and the transition never took place, and 2) you're a GT CHRA with a completely different CHRA profile, than what Peakboost was referring to.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:24 PM   #13
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Oh yea.. you found that thread!! That's pretty important, I don't know if that's "sticky or not.. I'll make sure that is is.

As for the Peakboost quote.. that was a long time ago, and doesn't apply to the GT series anyway. For Garrett, there are two types of ball-bearing CHRAs.: The GT series (what you have) and the converted 55N series, which is used for converted CHRAs that were originally journal bearings, or had journal bearing parts associated with it. (separate back-plates, JB styled turbine heat shields & flanges, etc). The latter doesn't apply to you at all.

Even if it had, that information is old and outdated, as Garrett never used ceramic bearings for their 55N series or GT series.
Now,many of the 2015+ units transitioned to a silicon-ceramic hybrid ball-bearing instead of the traditional steel ball, but again, your turbo does't meet the criteria for it here, as 1)your turbo was more than likely manufactured before 2015 and the transition never took place, and 2) you're a GT CHRA with a completely different CHRA profile, than what Peakboost was referring to.
The related links at the bottom of the thread can actually be useful. Lol.

I'm eagerly awaiting your answer to location of oil restrictor. Does it have to be last item before oil enters turbo? Or can it be anywhere along the feed, such as by the beginning where I have it T'd into the oil pressure sensor location?
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:36 PM   #14
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The related links at the bottom of the thread can actually be useful. Lol.

I'm eagerly awaiting your answer to location of oil restrictor. Does it have to be last item before oil enters turbo? Or can it be anywhere along the feed, such as by the beginning where I have it T'd into the oil pressure sensor location?
It must be the last item that enters the turbocharger. Otherwise, you negatively effect the pressurized oil leading to the line and you'll have the same starvation. That is why the threaded fitting is so specific.
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:42 PM   #15
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It must be the last item that enters the turbocharger. Otherwise, you negatively effect the pressurized oil leading to the line and you'll have the same starvation. That is why the threaded fitting is so specific.
Awesome, that's what I thought. I'm guessing if it was further back, it would create a buffer, where a quick increase in oil pressure would take a few moments before the pressure built back up inside the line after the restriction. So being closer to the CHRA, it just means the CHRA will get sprayed quicker. Makes logical sense. Looks like I need -3 size Oil inlet fitting for GT28/30/35R with built-in restrictor : atpturbo.com since I have -3an line. But it's .035" instead of .030".

However, now I'm unsure if putting an oil pressure gauge on the oil feed line even makes any sense. The idea was to know if I'm delivering enough oil to the turbo (and not too much). So if I'm reading pressure pre-restriction, it will be pump pressure always. Crap, so I'd literally have to temp connect a feed line thru a restrictor then to a gauge, and do some tests? I don't honestly know if I'll get time to do all that, but I guess that'd be the right way to go. With all that said, how much of a PSI change will .005" make?
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:44 AM   #16
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Default Re: Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo Rebuild Failing [Review]

You're way overthinking this., The restrictor acts as a regulator to keep the oil pressure constant at the fitting itself, going into the oil galleries, even as there are small fluxuations in the oil feed line itself due to the oil pump. That's why we put that restrictor there in the 1st place.

Here's where you want to get the correct restrictor. For a Ball-bearing Garrett, it is 7/16 -24 .030"
GT Turbo Oil Restrictor
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