I don't have an engine light or get any codes from my code reader (hard or soft codes). I don't have access to a VAG. I replaced the MAF sensor and fuel filter. This helped some. I tried running the car with the new MAF disconnected and it ran a bit better. I can hear the turbo spin up but I don't feel much of a HP increase. My neighbor who is a seasoned European mechanic says that the turbo isn't working at all. He took the car for a drive and said that this car should be way faster. I checked vacuum on the actuator by pulling the vacuum line off of the N75 and pulling suction from a "mighty vac". It did hold a vacuum. If I push on the actuator with my finger, it does move smoothly but it takes a good deal of pressure (assuming this is from a stiff spring inside the actuator).
Is there a way that I can rule out the turbo as the culprit? What signs would I look for if the bearings were shot?