Dmax turbo failure; getting it covered by warranty

I arrived home late one night, to see our new 4WD parked on the driveway. A 2016 Isuzu Dmax, purchased from Victoria and trucked over. Shiny, relatively clean and only 31km on the odometer; an undriven demo.

The Dmax arrived with no number plates, so I arranged a permit to drive to take it over the pits, and booked it in. 2 days later I jump in the vehicle to drive it for the first time, and head to the pit inspections. Not even 750 metres down the road a little icon appears on the dash; the check engine light.

A few phone calls later and the vehicle passed the pits, and was booked in with Isuzu in Maddington for diagnosis and rectification.

I could tell something wasn’t right with the turbo, as it would ‘leak boost’. This was most obvious when it would change gears, from 2000 – 3000 RPM and down to 1500 RPM.

I took one of the mechanics for a drive, and he immediately agreed something wasn’t right. However, as the code had been cleared by the pits, I was asked to take the vehicle back until the check engine light came back on again. It’s funny how things have changed in workshops; diagnosis on modern vehicles is done mainly by electronic scan gauges.

Sure enough, the check engine light came on again on the way home, and it was dropped back off. Their scan tool indicated an overboost fault, and it was confirmed that the wastegate actuator was getting stuck. They put a claim into Isuzu Ute Australia to have the turbo replaced (as its considered one part).

3 weeks later the new turbo was fitted and tested, and I picked the Dmax back up. With 129km on the clock my New Dmax had a new turbo!

I was extremely unimpressed and annoyed with what happened, especially the time frame that it took to occur. Replacing the turbo would take no more than a couple of hours, but the politics, procedures and ultimately poor customer service all get in the way.

Not a good start for the Isuzu Dmax with its fantastic reputation for reliability. Let’s hope its the last of the problems we have!

EDIT – After 6 years, you can read our full review – Isuzu Dmax Review in which we cover everything in a totally unbiased way.

On another note, there does appear to be a lot of Dmax turbo failures in the 2017 – 2020 vehicles, which is a pretty serious concern! I’ve mentioned the Isuzu Dmax Turbo Failure and gone into more detail in a comprehensive post that I wrote on Isuzu Dmax Problems, but there are quite a few people onto their 3rd, and even 4th turbo.

If your Dmax turbo sounds like a siren, get it booked in and checked out!

Isuzu Dmax SX dual cab
Our new Dmax, with a new turbo

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  1. Hey Rob,

    We were lucky in that ours is the model prior to yours, and didn’t have any turbo issues. I think it just seized from a lack of use.

    The 2017 – 2020 Dmax’s have always had bad turbo’s, and I imagine that there must be thousands that would have been replaced at least once, up to as many as yours has.

    I agree that its absolutely diabolical; 4 turbo’s is just crazy; you’d think they would have it sorted by now. I heard they’ve changed the design; were you told more about this? Are they expecting the fourth one to fail as well?

    Have you had any other issues from Isuzu? Generally they are good, but the turbo’s are a major flop.

    All the best

  2. I agree this is bad. I have a 2018 Dmax (I purchased new). I’ve driven 60,000km and am on my fourth turbocharger. The thing is, I feel like I take good care of my Dmax. Never been offroading, always warm it up for a couple of minutes in the morning, always kept under cover, and never driven hard.
    Also whenever I take it in for my “Capped price” service, I am always recommended to spend another $150-$400 on extra services.
    I am unhappy with Dmax service and reliability.