Detailed flow measurements at the inlet of a centrifugal compressor vaneless diffuser are presented. The mean 3-d velocities and six Reynolds stress components tensor are used to determine the turbulence production terms which lead to total pressure loss. High levels of turbulence kinetic energy were observed in both the blade and passage wakes, but these were only associated with high Reynolds stresses in the blade wakes. For this reason the blade wakes mixed out rapidly, whereas the passage wake maintained its size, but was redistributed across the full length of the shroud wall. Peak levels of Reynolds stress occurred in regions of high velocity shear and streamline curvature which would tend to destabilize the shear gradient. Four regions in the flow are identified as potential sources of loss - the blade wake, the shear layers between passage wake and jet, the thickened hub boundary layer and the interaction region between the secondary flow within the blade wake and the passage vortex. The blade wakes generate most turbulence, with smaller contributions from the hub boundary layer and secondary flows, but no significant contribution is apparent from the passage wake shear layers. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.