Just having my turbos rebuilt I asked the same question.I was told that some up-down side to side play was absoulty acceptable.<-O-> If you understand my retarted pic.But <-O--O-> is not.Now for the magic explanation O is the wheel < > is direction and <-O--O-> shows the comp wheel and the exhaust wheel moving across its axis and -- is the shaft between.This movement causes oil pumping.
A little play is ok. And I mean LITTLE. If the turbo is off the car, you can't really judge the play. There is no oil on the thrust bearing and, of course, there will be more play. If in doubt, have it balanced at a reputable turbo rebuilder (Forced Performance).
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