15 Steps to Replacing a Turbocharger in a Ford Explorer

Are you a Ford Explorer owner with a turbocharger that needs to be replaced? You came to the right place. This tutorial is written just for you.

How Much Will You Save By Doing This Yourself?

Turbo explorer

The total replacement cost is usually significantly lower if you do it yourself instead of bringing your car into a repair shop. It’s because:

  • Shops charge about $100 per hour for labor. Unless you value your time at more than $100 per hour, it’s cheaper to spend your own time replacing the turbocharger.
  • Shops mark up their prices by about 30%. If you get a shop to do the work, they’ll require that you buy the replacement turbo from them. In that case, you’ll pay about 30% more than the wholesale price. For example, OEM part number AA5Z-6K682-E (for 2015-2018 Explorers) is about $470 wholesale, and that same part is sold for over $700 at repair shops.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to order an OEM replacement turbocharger at wholesale pricing and then replace it yourself. Read on to find out how.

NOTE: The steps below are based on the 2013-2017 3.5L EcoBoost twin turbo engine found in the F-150. The F-150 uses the same engine as the Explorer, so the repair process is similar. But, there will be some differences, as the engine in the Explorer is mounted transversely.

1. Order an OEM Replacement Turbocharger

Turbo explorer

At Blue Springs Ford Parts, we offer wholesale prices for OEM Ford parts, including turbochargers for Explorers. Check out our catalog to see if we have an OEM replacement turbocharger for your Explorer. Here’s also a list of fast links to our best selling turbochargers specifically built for Explorers:

Once you have your replacement turbocharger, it’s time to start the replacement process, which is as follows:

2. Gather Together All the Necessary Tools for the Project

The project will go so much easier and faster if you have all of the following tools on hand:

  • Car lift or quality jack stands
  • Socket wrench set
  • Rivet removal tool
  • T47 Torx
  • Impact wrench
  • Pry bar (optional)

3. Disconnect the Battery

Disconnecting the battery is important. If you don’t do this, someone can accidentally turn the engine over when you’re in the middle of replacing the turbocharger.

To disconnect the battery, remove the negative (black) cable from the battery terminal.

4. Lift Your Explorer

Lift your car in a way that takes the weight off of your tires. If you don’t have a lift, you can just jack up your front end because that’s where you’ll be working. Always remember to use a properly rated jack and jack stands. Safety should be your number one priority.

5. Remove the Inner Fender on the Passenger’s Side

This is a pretty easy step. All you have to do is to remove the bolts and plastic fasteners holding the fender in place, and then take off the inner fender. You will need replacement plastic fasteners. You can find them at a Ford dealership or an auto parts store like Napa. They should have plenty of fasteners in stock.

6. Spray the Turbocharger Fasteners With Penetrating Oil

At this point, you can see the turbocharger. Spray related fasteners with penetrating oil.

7. Drain the Coolant

There’s a coolant line that runs to the top of the turbocharger. Remove the clip holding it in and then drain the coolant from it. Be sure to dispose of the coolant in a safe manner. You might need to open up your bottom radiator hose to get the rest of the coolant out.

8. Remove the Coolant and Oil Line Manifold

To get to the bolts holding the manifold in place, you’ll have to remove the starter. When you undo the two bolts holding the manifold in place, gently pull it down to avoid bending it.

9. Remove the Bolts Holding the Downpipe and Turbocharger Together

These are 15mm bolts that should be easy to unscrew. Once these bolts are off, take the little collar and then pull it up, away from the turbocharger. This will make removing the turbocharger a lot easier.

10. Remove the Vacuum Hose From the Wastegate

You don’t need any tools to do this. Just pull off the vacuum hose and then tuck it out of the way.

11. Take Off Both Hose Clamps Holding the Intercooler and the Turbocharger Together

Next, wiggle the pipe and then remove the coupler. Having the coupler out of the way makes removing the turbocharger a lot easier.

12. Remove the Inlet Air Tube

Do this by taking off the little mounting bracket at the top of the tube and then pulling up the tube until it slides out.

13. Remove the Three Bolts Holding the Turbocharger in Place

You need the T47 Torx and impact wrench for this step.

14. Remove the Turbocharger

This step is a lot easier if you have a friend pulling back the downpipe while you pull out the turbocharger. If you don’t have someone helping you, you can use a pry bar.

Put a piece of tape over the oil lines at the bottom to keep dirt and debris from falling into them.

15. Install the New Turbocharger in the Reverse Order

Basically:

  1. Remove the piece of cardboard or tape over the oil lines.
  2. Bolt the new turbocharger in place.
  3. Connect the inlet air tube at the top.
  4. Connect the intercooler to the turbocharger.
  5. Connect the vacuum hose to the wastegate.
  6. Connect the downpipe to the turbocharger.
  7. Reinstall the starter.
  8. Connect the manifold for the coolant and oil lines.
  9. Put the inner fender back on.
  10. Refill the coolant reservoir with fresh coolant.
  11. Connect the battery.

Got any questions about the turbocharger replacement process? You’re welcome to contact us!