more questions about smoke

Old 11-18-02, 03:28 PM
nancy g
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more questions about smoke

After adding oil to her engine, a friend forgot to put the cap back on. After a week, she noticed the oil splatters and realized what happened. Oil was immediately put in and the cap replaced. The car drove fine. The next morning when the car started up, lots of white smoke came out of the exhaust. The smoke stopped after the car warmed up.
Questions - does the smoke stop after a few minutes on a problem head gasket or is it continuous? Is it possible that this is some of the splattered oil burning off (as she was informed by her father)?

Old 11-18-02, 04:31 PM
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Vehicle details would be a collosal help.


It is likely the oil burning off from the cap being off. If the smoke smelled like syrup, then that is a blown head gasket/cracked head....not likely due to leaving the cap off, it was probably bad anyhow..or moisture got in as a result of the cap being off and burned out through the exhaust.
Old 11-18-02, 04:55 PM
nancy g
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Sorry, sorry... it's a Kia Sephia LS - 1995 / DOHC / 1.6

Talked to friend and the smoke happened again this morning but it stopped after just a minute.

I guess time will tell if the smoke stops or continues. She has given herself to the end of the week to see if "burn off" stops before she brings the car to the mechanic.
Old 11-19-02, 04:48 AM
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Pay attention to the color and odor of the smoke and where it comes from.

If coming out of the tailpipe, it is burning something...

If it blue and smells oily/petroleum like, it's burning oil. Not good.

If it smells sweet and syrupy, it's burning coolant, not good either.
Old 11-20-02, 01:00 PM
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Is your friend ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY sure that she's not seeing steam? Everything steams at first and it only lasts a minute or five, depending on the car and how fast it warms up.

If the stuff vaporizes (on a calm, not so cold day) fairly quickly then it's just steam. Coming into the winter months this starts happening and I can see the unitiated thinking it's smoke.

If it lingers, then it's prolly smoke. Refer to Joes advice on that.
Old 11-20-02, 05:06 PM
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It probably is oil seeping down one or many of the valve stem guides overnight and depositing into the combustion chamber.To check if the engine is burning oil,let the car idle for ten minutes after the engine reaches normal temperature and then have somone press and let go of the gas pedal vigorously several times while you or someone else is standing at the back of the car and watching the exhaust.If a lot of black smoke comes out, you are burning oil.Your car is probably burning oil all the time but you don't know it because it isn't smoking enough while you are driving but you notice it in the morning when the oil has seeped down the stem guides during the night.You may have engine damage by letting the oil go too low.How much oil did you put in after you noticed the cap was missing.If put in a quart or two,your engine may be ok if you didn't drive very long but a week of driving is a long time. If you put more than 2 quarts in, then you were driving around with 1 1/2 or 2 quarts which may mean engine damage as well as dammage to your purse.
Old 11-22-02, 02:05 AM
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Black smoke is not an indication of oil burning. Blue smoke is. Black smoke is an indication of rich-mixture/unburnt fuel. It is possible to make the black smoke occur if you do what davidf suggests even on a vehicle in good mechanical condition. Make sure the engine is not OVERfilled with oil. Also, this is the time of year when cars seem to make a lot more steam, as mako mentioned.
Old 11-22-02, 11:27 PM
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White smoke is either steam or Trans Fluid.
Probably just steam noticed due to the cooler mornings and paying attention from the oil cap deal.

Smoke will drift in the air and fade away (break up) gradually. Steam will disappear all at once at about the same distance from the tail pipe.

If it's white, tell your friend to check the radiator coolant level (with the engine cold) and make sure it's full. Drive it for a week keeping an eye on the temp guage. Check the coolant again after a week to make sure it's where it's supposed to be. If it's ok, they probably don't have a problem.
Old 11-23-02, 06:09 AM
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my short version on smoke

White smoke is steam normal on cold days for a little while.
Black smoke carb problems not good running rich.
Blue smoke oil problems also not good. However blue smoke can appear on start up and go away due to valve guide wear not worth fixing in my eyes

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