Blue smoke at coldstart up: Should I add this additive?

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  #41  
Old 08-28-08, 05:59 AM
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This morning: No.

Isn't this the oddest thing you ever seen?

Not even ANY steam until about 1 minute. Then it was that early morning damp steam color only.

I do the same thing every day and drive the same places and the car sits off overnight about the same length of time.

It was not quite as cold last night. Hmmmm.

The paint marks I made on the balancer and timing gear were at about the 11:00 o'clock position - close to the 12:00 o'clock position it was at yesterday when it blue steamed within seconds.
 
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  #42  
Old 09-06-08, 10:37 AM
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More of the same - sporadic. ONLY at start up and idle for a while after start up, when it does it. Only. Never problems after that. No steam even. No steam or smoke after hard accelerate and then decelleration. None. Ever.

This morning it was only in mid-40's and foggy out. Dew on the car and on inside of windows.

I almost KNEW it was going to do it this morning. Yep. But not too much blue. Mostly steam. I quickly pulled the breather cap for oil again and no vapors coming out of there. I then quickly took thermometer and put it up exhaust pipe and it quickly got to 130 while it steamed. Then I jumped in the car within about 1 minute (still steaming quite heavily out tail pipe), and drove it down a sunny road and looking in the mirror there was no vapor trail! You'd think that with more acceleration the billowing would be worse. Not so.


It's as if what ever is causing the steam is NOT going through the cylinder but is in the exhaust system. Otherwise, if it is still steaming at that point at idle, would not the steam REALLY billow if you pushed harder on the throttle and made cylinders work faster and harder?

Then I got out of the car down the road 3 blocks and while it was idling there was still steam.(Yet no vapor trail getting there) Now tailpipe to 160 degrees and water running out tailpipe at same time. Then I continued to drive for about 1 more mile and got out of car and no more steam at all, idling, and tailpipe temp buried my 220 degree thermometer, and tailpipe was dry.

This problem is really starting to irritate me. I am trying to figure if it is even oil? It has absolutely no antifreeze odor. Am pondering if a manifold leak draws in fresh cold damp air and condenses it through the exhaust system. Or am pondering if something about the way my vehicle perhaps is not burning fuel quite correctly that when temp outside is in dewpoint range that unburned fuel is condensing. And/or when I shut off the vehicle, that gas lays down in the exhaust/cat and then as motor warms up it starts to steam until it it's all burned off. Or am wonderign if something is wrong where say an EGR valve is not functioning right? Almost at wits end.

This is a most bizzare problem. And such a problem if solved may help others and all of us learn why some cars steam and others hardly steam.(Read more about THAT below).

And like I said, often I stare at the billowing and am not all that sure the steam is really all that blue. It looks like at the VERY beginning it is tinged with blue. But as it billows on while it initially idles, there is no longer any blue in it at all. Absolutely positively.

And like I said, there is that water coming out the exhaust pipe, but no antifreeze smell. And as I have stated in the past; if I hold up a white toweling at exhaust pipe while it does this, there is no coloration that forms on the white. None. Only wet develops on the ground if I blanket it downward.

A couple of cool mornings ago I had my next door neighbor come out and start his 4-cylinder Nissan Sentra (while mine billowed away) and he had no steam at all in the beginning or thereafter. I could not believe that. None. I was expecting some. He had NONE, and no droplets in his tailpipe. Yet the neighbors who were idling their SUV across the street had steam risng up from their tailpipe. Some. Maybe about 1/4- 1/3 what mine was putting out. And my neighbor had NONE.

There must be some explanation of what and how things are routed through these certain engines that are causing like mine to billow, the neighbor across the street to have had theirs idling for quite awhile and theirs was still steaming some, and yet my next-door neighbor had absolutely none.

It's kind of starting to bother me too, now that I can't figure this out. I am starting now to come up with wilder theories.
 
  #43  
Old 09-06-08, 04:09 PM
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you said that it is using some oil and coolant, you need to run a compression test and just to give you more info you might run a leak down test. I would say that you probably have a very small head gasket leak combined with overall worn rings/valve guides and valve stem seals. and yes rings do rotate, and occasionally line up to allow more oil through.

i had a 76 gold wing that when you left it parked on the side stand it would smoke bad for about 10 min on start up and come to find out that when the bike was on the side stand the oil level was above the bottom of the cylinder and on some bikes the gaps in the rings would line up to allow oil to seep into the combustion chamber. Honda had a official notice about this that included using either perfect circle rings or a pinned ring that kept them from rotating.

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  #44  
Old 09-06-08, 04:21 PM
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Insightful and interesting. And thanks for trying to help.

But do you have an explanation why then I can go for a test ride right during it's steaming process and it actually leaves no increased size vapor trail upon acceleration and none at decelleration? You'd think if gasket leak it would really billow upon throttle and only go away after heads warmed up enough to seal up the gasket leak. (I had this once in a car with a block, head or gasket leak and it billowed a vapor trail for blocks!) This is what has me so baffled.

BTW, when it started this morning the engine ran strong and smooth and no missfire while it steamed and no stumbling during acceleration as one might expect if the engine were running on a weak 4th cylinder.
 
  #45  
Old 09-06-08, 08:46 PM
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my 81 goldwing has a small coolant leak (about 1 pint ) in a month and only when I shut it down hot like to fill up with fuel, it only blows white smoke for about 30 seconds upon restart, I know it should be repaired but hay it is such a small amount and causes no running problems so I am just keeping the coolant full and working with it until i get my new house and shop built. doesn't do it regular so am not sure if it is head gasket or maybe small crack in head. probably head gasket but only way to tell for sure is going to be pull the heads.

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies.
 
  #46  
Old 09-07-08, 06:39 AM
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WOW
What a post.
I just read thru it fast so excuse me if I missed something and go off on a tangent. I just don't want to reread the post right now.
First off, which you already know, that car is old and could have and likely will have many problems.
White smoke (water vapor) from vehicles is normal when the exhaust hits the cold exhaust metal. It is a function of ambient temperature, dew-point and exhaust temperature.
Exhaust temperature is a function of mean effective pressure in the cylinders. Cylinder pressures are a function of many variables. One of those variables is the electrical system.

Here,s my theory
The engine is wearing out but the symptoms are not there plain as day until something electrical malfunctions allowing the cylinder pressures to be more or less then what they are meant to be. The variation of the cylinder pressures then impact a possible ring problem/cracked head/valve seal problem/ etc.

I don't even know what kind of car it is or the year (I just skimmed thru the post) but I would be throwing my timing light on to it. I would disconnect the EGR to see if that had an impact to the symptoms while they were happening.

I think the focus on the water vapor from the exhaust is simply a result of a problem which stems from inside the cylinder.
On ships we had exhaust temp. gauges for each cylinder which we monitored hourly because the exhaust temperature is the first place a symptom will show.

Do you have a timing light and do you have a infrared temperature gun?
Did you disconnect the EGR as a test?
 
  #47  
Old 09-07-08, 08:05 AM
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Speedwrench,

Problems sound similar. But, do you smell that sweet smell of antifreeze burning? I don't.

Also, I cannot say really that my smoke is white. It looks more like billowing steam tinged with blue, in the beginning of cold overnight start up only. But then the blue tinge goes away completely while it still has lots(abnormal amount) of steam like color coming out.

I think one of the key things is in learning that if one thinks their vehicle is burning anti-freeze, that you will smell that unmistakeable sweet smell. A lot of the mystery hinges on this fact, actually.

If one knows the vehicle must be consuming coolant because one never sees a leak on the pavement when parked, even right after driving, yet never EVER smells that coolant burning smell, then what is one to presume? One would almost have to presume that you would not always smell that smell.

But say that perhaps a vehicle DOES burn antifreeze, only in extremely small amounts -but the cold start up smoke is from somethigng else. THAT is where the fooler could come in. IF all that morning smoke was from coolant, you'd surely think you'd smell it, to at least SOME degree. I don't. And I know that smell, unquestionably. It is absolutely not there.
 
  #48  
Old 09-07-08, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by frankiee View Post
I think the focus on the water vapor from the exhaust is simply a result of a problem which stems from inside the cylinder.
What problem leading to what (theories?), exactly? Generalities do not help me enough. A cylinder problem of what type exactly, that can cause my exact bizzare time-delay steaming?

We are dealing with 4 things: fuel, oil, coolant containing 50/50 antifreeze, and outside air that has more humidity(dew point concerns) that vary from day to day.

It is funny you should bring up dew point because I was going to post today that my car really smoked or perhaps steamed yesterday, one of the worst. And my car had dew INSIDE my windshield. and there was that fog cloud in the air that hovered over the ground. She (the car) really steamed.

My lastest odd theory is this: I noticed some weeks ago when my newly installed muffler came loose, that the entire exhaust pipe was loose. It felt like I could wiggle the head pipe up and down as it attaches to the exhaust manifold. Could the headpipe gasket or exhaust manifold gasket be bad enough to not make any noise?, but yet be a big enough gap to actually draw IN (rather than pushing out) atmospheric air by way of that same effect as how air cuts across a chimney to draw air, or water going through faucet aerator and draws air in from the side to mix with the water? That effect? So that on more humid mornings, where dew point may be of the most concern, that this is what is really happening? That (humid?)atmospheirc air comes in contact with inside of my exhaust pipe, and only starts steaming when the exhaust pipe gets to that certain warm dew point temperature, and that can explain why it is not steaming right off the bat? Nor smelling of burning coolant? And that the blue smoke in the beginning really is something totally different and unrelated?

In short review, when it billows out that steam in the morning, only after vehicle sat overnight for hours, when the steam begins (and it starts out with no smoke or steam and gradually builds till I get to about 40 seconds and I go, "Hey, this is starting to smoke or steam abnormally") - it has definite blue in it. But then after a number of seconds the blue part disappears completely and then it continues steaming just steam color.

I am going to try to learm more about relative humidity and dew points and measure temp of exhaust and see if I'm onto something here.

Timing light? No. Need to replace nice one I had stolen from me. Infrared thermometer? Yes.
 
  #49  
Old 09-07-08, 09:50 AM
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What I was saying is I would suspect a timing problem with a cold start. Perhaps a capacitor bleeding down after a certain amount of time and causing a problem.

Electronic devices are famous for intermitant problems.
If the car still have mechanical advance weights I would be looking at the condition of them.

What year make and model are we talking about here?
 
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Old 09-07-08, 01:17 PM
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Small dodge 2.5 liter.

A capacitor? To what?

Has distributor with Hall-effect pickup in it.

You think the timing may be retarded and dumping raw fuel in the exhaust? Car has decent power (ESPECIALLY considering I am hauling 600 additional pounds of tools and supplies)and no pinging. Good pedal response under load. Can't imagine it really being out of time by much.

My old next door neighbor likes to come over (he did again this morning while I had the hood open, and was looking at the purring engine while also observing the steam from the tailpipe, and we discussed) and yak while I tinker and he can't believe a car like mine, carrying all that weight for 3 years, driving up and over streep hills even, with no oil changes in 3 years in about 70,000 miles, can run like it does and no engine shake at idle. He said he would like to buy one new from the showroom floor.
 
  #51  
Old 09-07-08, 01:54 PM
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yes i definitely smell the antifreeze burning, that is what first clued me in to it as I had not noticed the smoke it was so slight most of the time.

if we're not supposed to eat animals why are they made out of meat?
 
  #52  
Old 09-07-08, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedwrench View Post
yes i definitely smell the antifreeze burning, that is what first clued me in to it as I had not noticed the smoke it was so slight most of the time.

if we're not supposed to eat animals why are they made out of meat?
Short of me re-scrolling this thread, - are you saying you had that and you could smell that smell, when yours did that? If so, does your vehicle have a catalytic convertor?
 
  #53  
Old 09-08-08, 03:56 AM
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no it is an 1981 honda Goldwing motorcycle, funny thing is i can go for weeks without loosing any coolant or smoke, then for months with it smoking every time it heat soaks for about 3-4 min. when fueling. only uses about 1 pt. a month then though so I am just living with it for now. doesn't have any thermal vac valves or i would suspect one of those with the small amount of fluid loss.


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  #54  
Old 09-08-08, 06:31 AM
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is this true?

driving up and over streep hills even, with no oil changes in 3 years in about 70,000 miles
This is not good maintenance shame shame shame as Gomer Pyle would say. You typed it
 
  #55  
Old 09-08-08, 06:31 AM
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Okay. We're not exactly comparing apples to apples then. Surprised motorcycle has coolant. Been out of touch I guess.

46 degrees this morning. Felt damp out. Yet I could not see my breath, even by breathing out in that certain wide-mouthed manner. Neighbors van had dew droplets on OUTSIDE of windshield.

Started my car and within 3 seconds, blue smoke (not billowing - just some) came out for about 4 or 5 seconds. Then it went away, and no steam/smoke came out at all for a few seconds. And then I could see just steam color grow and grow in size. No smell. Definitely only steam.

I noticed a newer pickup in town pulling away from a stop sign that left a steam trail as he took off. I'm trying to pay more attention to other people's vehicle. Maybe my next door neighbor's totally non-steaming engine is quite the exception to the rule?

Therefore, I'm thinking I have 2 things going on that I really am going to pay extra attention to: That initial blue oil smoke (sometimes only), and then the steam. I'm not getting any clues off of where the engine stops in it's rotation (from the marks I have white-painted on pulleys). It appears no bearing to symptoms.

I have to pay closer attention to when I would call the steam or smoke as 'billowing', as opposed to coming out just 'quite a bit', and try to differentiate between the color of white and steam. That one day about 2 weeks ago where it REALLY billowed and gassed out the neighbors across the street - now I can't remember what the color was exactly, to my dismay.

I am thinking a good theory for the sporadic behavior of having blue come out, but not always, at cold morning start up may indeed be with the ring gaps lining up on occasion in some cylinder on my old likey worn engine with loose parts. Perhaps more so this theory than valve seals theory, from the fact of how it always does not do it under the same circumstances. And then the steam that comes out later and grows is another issue entirely considering all that steam lately is not white, but just steam color with no odor of coolant. But it is an amount that seems quite noticeably more than what other cars have at cold idle.
 
  #56  
Old 09-18-08, 06:22 AM
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Since my last post - More of the same. Does it/doesn't do it. This morning it really did it. About an 8.5 on the scale of what I have ever seen it do. Outside conditions were about 50 degrees and dew. These sort of conditions may or may not be a factor as such observations so far is inconclusive.

Upon starting the car this morning, no steam or smoke for 9 seconds. Then it started out gentle with blue. Then more and more smoke came out with the blue transitioning and to white. Then it kept coming out even more with what appeared to be just steam color. I let it idle for a few minutes this way, and then I revved the engine while I looked back and it shot out even more steam/possibly some white mixed in - but even THAT I am not 100% sure of as to if it was JUST steam. But I know it is not all an opaque white either. if it were, I'd be gassing out the neighborhood (like I did that one morning weeks ago, where it was a 10.) This white and/or steam will go out beyond the tailpipe and skyward say for 10 -15 feet but then not be in the air anymore outside that distance.

I let it idle for about 10 minutes total and the steam reduced in size by about 1/2 or more, but still quite sizeable. Then I drove off. I looked in my mirror as I accelerated and only saw a slight, what appeared to be a vapor trail that would not leave an actual lingering trail in the air, as you'd expect if there was color/actual SMOKE to it. A few blocks away in a business district after I left a stop sign, I did not really notice anything out the mirror or over my shoulder when I turned around to look.

This bothers me because I am sure I'd get pulled over by a cop if it was billowing out smoke. And then they'd always keep an eye out for your car in the morning again, and make you spend 100's of dollars to fix it or get new car. That is why I never even want to have them see this car do it even once and why I idle it at home til the steam reduces in size.

Less than 10 miles down the road where I get coffee, when I parked and let the car idle, there was not even 1 smidgeon of vapor coming out. None! None ever. I stop here every day.

Wouldn't you think that if I had some real bad engien wear issue progressively getting worse with age, like valve guide or rings issue or ring gaps lining up cauing the steam/smoke, that - well, take the ring gap business - wouldn't you think I would get an alignment to occur ONCE in a while where smoke would come out while driving, or while parked at that store? Wouldn't you think that no matter what was wrong, that if my engine were wearing in the rings or guides that I would be getting little by little, gradually over time, SOME vapor/smoke to show up even after the engine warmed up? At least SOME over time? But I get zip, to come out the tailpipe just a little while later. And it has always been like that.


Does anyone happen to know that if say oil ran past a slightly weak guide or down a gap in an exhaust manifold gasket overnight, let's say, and this wound up directly in the exhaust pipe - would this explain the slight delay as to that it takes 9 seconds, maybe more sometimes, for any smoke to come out, and then it initially burns blue and then goes to white and goes to steam? Does oil, if not being continously burned as fresh new incoming oil to the combustion chamber - if oil say gets hot in the exhaust pipe, will it burn off some layer of the oil that then burns blue, then shift to white, then shift to steam, as it continues to heat up basically a liquid laying down in there?

And when it is in the white or steam stage is when it REALLY billows out. Not early on when it is blue.

This problem is bugging the heck out of me with winter coming on as I would like to determine if I am in for sudden catastrophic engine failure (currently it runs smooth as a top, and no shake at idle, even when smoking! A CLUE???), or if I can expect that due to say a gasket failure theory, that I simply will have more of the same, and never see smoke at that store 9 miles away.

Or what about a hairline crack in the an oil port by exhaust manifold that is very small? But if it is, it is not growing due to my explanations Ihave given.
 
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Old 09-25-08, 08:00 AM
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Several mornings in a row now there is no smoke or steam whatsoever, not even a smidgeon, until about 40 + seconds. And then only steam. No coolant smell. No blue or white. 46 degrees out and dew, yet no smoke (thereby shooting hole in theory that lower temp that caused the billowing due to opening up some gap in gasket or crack, is not true).

This is so odd, it isn't funny. If any seal was bad, how can it come and go???!!! If ring gaps align once in a while, why hasn't it EVER aligned driving down the road and caused trail of smoke behind me? Never no smoke or steam a few miles down the road. Never.

Oil leak at rear of engine where I cant' see it well?, that perhaps runs in exhaust gasket and now it is turning to a sealing tar? and isn't letting more in? Or, is there some vacuum device on the car I am not thinking of that can draw it in below the TBI throttle plate? Yet, there is never unusual pressure in crankcase cap cover whether it does the smoking or not - the pressure is always the same, nor does it even make smoke come out the crankcase cover when removed even when billowing was going on, and no oil or oily residue in air cleaner compartment.

This is truly one for the books.

265,100 miles now and it was running so quiet this morning when I went down my drive it sounded like I had the key off.
 
  #58  
Old 09-26-08, 06:26 PM
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all this talk about oil and coolant, have you given any thought to a possible fuel injector that is leaking into the cylinder causing the miss and smoke?
 
  #59  
Old 09-26-08, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by gregtech View Post
all this talk about oil and coolant, have you given any thought to a possible fuel injector that is leaking into the cylinder causing the miss and smoke?
No. But I am all ears for all theories. You have read mine.

I have TBI. Blue and then blue-white smoke is what I first see when it does it. I presumed that is oil and not fuel.

I was behind a rusty VW Rabbit today that was smoking blue. I could smell it in my car with my window rolled up. It had the same smell MY car's tailpipe makes when I smell it. And his, like mine, was blue (but just blue, without blue-white or white) and not black(fuel).

I started to associate the blue to blue white, to steam exhaust with cold mornings -shrinkage in metal or gasket allowing some gap to open up - and possibly dew (moisture in the air) being sucked into the exhaust. But I have enough test dates now that is starting to disprove this theory of mine. If that theory were true, then on the cold mornings when it smoked, and the warmer mornings it did not, the pattern should remain constant. But it is not, I am finding out.

Now I am once again more diligent in recording where the marks are that I have made on my crank pulley and the top timing belt pulley and in my journal every day, I write down where these marks are before starting the engine.

This may help me with yet this other theory, that if I find the marks pointing to some spot always when it smokes the worst, could indicate when a particular valve is open and allowing valvetrain oil to seep in. And on the days the marks are different and it don't smoke, might mean that valve is closed and not letting the oil seep in.

After several days of it not smoking, - today, yet a warmer morning, - it smoked again blue, starting at 9 seconds, then to blue-white up to less than a minute, before I could then say that color was gone and it was all steam thereafter. So much for my one latest theory that the oil running down the back of the engine tarred shut over a leaky gasket.

And as a reminder in review of what you may have read in my posts, that after the blue, then the blue-white, then the steam - down the road a bit,there is NEVER even any more steam. None. No smoke, no steam. Ever.

This has been quite the exciting mystery to me.

Oh. And about the 'miss' you mentioned: Turns out THAT is a non-factor also. More often than not it purrs like a kitten right from the first, and even when billowing it is purring like a kitten; no engine shake or anything! And that is pretty good on a 4 cylinder where the balance means more.
 
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Old 09-27-08, 11:05 AM
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None this morning. Just the typical steam that only starts to show up after 40+ seconds. Forgot to look at my marks, doggone it. GI2
 
  #61  
Old 09-27-08, 01:25 PM
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fuel smoke can be blue as well it does not have to be black. I think that you are worrying too much on such a small issue the car has 260+++ miles on and it is worn out.the cheapest thing you can do is buy a $2.00 for sale sign and get rid of it.
life is too short to worry about the simple things.
good luck
 
  #62  
Old 09-27-08, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gregtech View Post
fuel smoke can be blue as well it does not have to be black.
If it can be blue (never heard of that before, but then again I have not heard of lots of things before until I learned them), and also black - then what conditions make it blue, and then what conditions make it black?

BTW, I am not worrying too deeply. With my problem solving abilities expected of me in various trades, there is this clash between me and mysteries. The two do not go hand in hand.
 
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Old 10-16-08, 06:44 AM
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Mystery likely solved!

I have been looking at marks I made on my engine pulleys, before I start my car, every morning, since and before my last postings here. Out of all the positions I find the engine in, before I crank it over, the engine has not smoked once, when the small mark I made on the crank pulley points up. And it NEVER has smoked when that small mark points up, whether or not another mark I made on the top timing belt pulley, is visible or not.

I drew a sketch regarding engine rotation, keeping in mind how valve positions would be, and I concluded that the reason it does not smoke, even though the top timing pulley mark may be 180 degrees different, is because with the bottom pulley mark where it is, when it does not smoke, means that a particular valve is remaining closed when the top mark is up or down. [Explaining this more: I had a small mark ontop the pulley, and another mark ontop the timing pulley. When these marks are both up= no smoke. But ALSO no smoke when the bottom pulley small mark is up and no mark visible on top pulley, meaning that since the top timing pulley turns half as much as the crank pulley, that the mark I made on top is on the bottom(where I can't see it through this one peep-hole in the timing cover) when the bottom pulley mark is pointed up.]


So in conclusion, the cause of my problem has got to be a leak at a valve stem and cannot leak out when the valve is closed. And the reason it smokes the way it does, with sometimes there being a delay of any number of seconds to when it starts to smoke one day, but little delay another day, must lie in the fact of how the oil flows down the valve stem, and one day may more directly fall into the cylinder, while another day it may have more of the oil just follow around the inside top of the engine head, and follow down toward the exhaust port and instead of dripping in the cyylinder, it winds up in the exhaust manifold where then it takes longer for it to start smoking, because the engine has to warm up a little bit more first, for the smoking to start.

I feel very relieved now, as I do not like things hanging like this that I can't figure out. Now I feel like I won, like some chess match up against this car!

BTW - this morning we had our first HARD frost at about 28 degrees, and every square inch of ground was frost covered, and the small mark was up and it did not smoke. In fact, for the first many seconds, not even any steam came out!
 
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Old 12-12-08, 11:37 AM
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Update: I hope, I hope, I hope!

The last 1 1/2 weeks the problem has suddenly taken a turn for the worse. So much so that not only does it billow more often. And even in that engine rotation position that it hardly ever smoked at before.

But now it has actually started to buck, and lope at idle (Haynes manual troubleshoot lists lope cause can be worn camshaft), while billowing blue-white smoke, and the engine shuts off! Note that when it shuts off there realy is no misfire, like you would expect say if the plugs were being fould with oil. So actually, that lack therof may be an important clue, in it's own right.

Also, this morning while it was billowing at idle, something else happened that has never happened before: Oil smoke was occuring down by the exhaust manifold. And oil was starting to puddle on the ground (about a 3 inch diameter spot). Never has this happened before. But then again, never has the oftenness of the blue-white smoke been happening quite this frequently. It has now been doing it (at idle, only, or before it burns off going down the road a block or so) after every 4 hours or so the engine sits, after I had just driven it.

Then I discovered ------the valve cover bolts were extremely loose! Here I tightened them a couple months ago! So much so that when I pushed on the outer rim of the cover, I could see oil squish out. (I had to work on this outside this morning in 8 below 0!) And I had a pool of oil in my #3 spark plug well. Not that this was the cause of the smoke, but this was the clue that probably oil was leaking out the BACKside of the valve cover, running down to the exhaust manifold, and perhaps into the exhaust manifold, where then when I started the car, after the pipes got hot, the blue-white smoke would billow out the tailpipe---yet not get onto the spark plugs themselves. (Remember how I said once, sometime back, that I pulled plugs and never saw oil pooled on the piston heads?--another favorable clue.)

Please, please let that be it, without having to explore such a theory say as camshaft wear not allowing one intake valve to open causing oil to suck into the cylinder. But I doubt that is it because once the car is wamed up and I drive it, it runs smooth and strong, even though I DO have camlobe wear. No indication of plugs getting oiled upon.

I tightened down all the valvecover bolts, including my discovery that the left 2 on the opposing side of cover require a shoulder bolt washer to compress the cover/gasket, and they were not, because I just discovered the bolt was bottoming out before the shoulder bolt washer was doing the compressing!. So I added more washers and watched it squash down nice and tight, after that. And it was directly behind that one rear bolt where the oil was puddling on the ground while the car idled and smoked.

I'll keep you updated. Other people may have similar problem and waste tons of money at mechanic shop for nothing! Hopefully this thread can help you. Something easy to check out first.
 
  #65  
Old 12-12-08, 03:14 PM
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blue smoke

I think it is time for some of McCains "straight talk" you have blue smoke and white smoke this is indicative of oil and coolant. This is verified by those two levels dropping. With the amount of miles you have on the vehicle it could be anything and you are not going to fix it for $3.00.Its wore out and time for a rebuild or replacement. I know this is not the answer you are looking for but you are beating a dead horse. RW
 
  #66  
Old 12-12-08, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by retired wrench View Post
...but you are beating a dead horse. RW
Hi-ho-Silver! I'll let you know when it poops out.
 
  #67  
Old 12-13-08, 10:50 AM
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Yesterdays theory not totally right

Update: It billowed anyway -last night. And again this morning, even though it was relatively balmy at 32 degrees. This then caused the engine to stall out and die. But can be restarted everytime. It died 3 times.

Now get this puzzler. It took 47 seconds for any smoke to come out the tailpipe!

No engine misfire (even though it can stall out at idle and dies as if someone is slowly turns off the gas supply, type of dying out, as opposed to one down, dead cylinder die-out.

I removed oil fill cap while it was billowing and also smoking out the exhaust donut gasket (what is left of it?), to see if any vapor or smoke = nope.

No signs of oil up in air cleaner compartment, and with engine running, while billowing, no vapprs at TBI injection.

And the engine can even run quite smoothly while this is going on. Then once it warms up -nothing. Smoke goes away. No smoke from accelerating or suddenly letting off the gas while cruising down highway. Runs smooth and strong.

............................

Now for my latest theory, which is somewhat tied into yesterdays theory. External oil leakage could still be the cause. The back side of the engine has oil running down it. Yet nothing, usually nothing, winds up on the ground. Meaning if not winding up on the ground(yesterday was an alltime first -it did not do it today), perhaps either it is just sludging on back of engine -OR - running into exhaust gasket?

I have been adding lots of motor honey additives to my oil, perhaps exceeding recommended amount, due to oil pressure on occasion would drop while idling last summer. So now I am thinking that when engine is cold, the motor honey turns back to a goo and is clogging the oil galleries. Then when I start up the engine when it is cold, it takes a while for oil to start filling up the valve cover with oil that can't escape down the return galleries fast enough. The gasket and valve seals are not able to withstand that kind of pool of oil. It isn't normal. So it leaks out wherever it can, out the back area of the valve cover somewhere and runs down into the exhaust, or goes down an exhaust valve's stem, and rather than be pulled into the combustion chamber, it is instead pushed down the exhaust manifold and pipe where it burns off in there. Btu quits once the engine gets warm enough and the oil can flow down the galleeries better again. Hence the delay time all this takes for the smoking.


If my engine were 'toast', explain the power. The no misfire. The delay, in having oil smoke -up to 47 seconds after start up!! And the fact the plugs are not fouling out with oil.

I am not getting rid of this car without knowing what this problem is. This is one of these types of problems where someone could spend $500 in daignosis, where everyone scratches their heads, and it winds up being something costing 59 to fix it.

For now I am going to change the oil, change the filter,get rid of the motor honey, add new fresh SF additive that will clean the thick goo and sludge - and see.

......................

Another possible theory (horrors if true) could be that IF the head itself or head gasket had a crack rught at the oil passageway and exhaust manifold -IF the crack is open when engine gets cold, then oil could run into manifold and sit in there after hours of engine sitting (4+ hours), and then upon start up, the enigne smokes only after all the metal heats up. Then once heated up, the smoking stops because the crack shuts from the heat.

But is that the way it works? DOES the crack CLOSE from the heat, or OPEN from the heat. I have to know that for sure, because if say the crack CLOSED when cold, and OPENED when hot, then that would not be my cause since the oil would leak out when hot, and it don't do that. Only when cold.

I'm walking over to a nearby parts store and running this(the two paragraphs above about the crack) one past the guys over there. Be back.
 
  #68  
Old 12-13-08, 11:24 AM
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Just got back. He seemed a little annoyed. Like I was wasting my time AND his time (even though noone else was in the store -but he remembers me from some of my other questions -all which are usually lulus. ) over such a silly thing. He said he would not be wasting time over such a thing on an engine with 266,000 miles, with one plug getting steam cleaned, and such a mystery. He heard out my whole story: How it runs like a top, and the smoking goes away, and takes up to 47 seconds to start smoking, and no fouled plug. And all this seemed to annoy him more since he could not solve it with certainty.

But he believed the cracked head at gallery/exhaust theory. He thinks THAT is the cause. He thinks the crack swells shut when hot -he thinks. When I asked him if he was sure he said that metal expands when it gets hot. I said, "I know. So does that mean it expands open or expands shut?" Then he said, 'I don't know! You'll have to just make up your mind what you want to do. If it were me, I wouldn't want to be tearing it apart to find out. I'd just junk it. ...."

I thanked him and left.
 
  #69  
Old 12-13-08, 03:02 PM
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it will, for sure, expand shut.
 
  #70  
Old 12-13-08, 04:23 PM
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done yet?

Have you done a compression check yet? One with a cold engine and one with a hot engine.
 
  #71  
Old 12-18-08, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by michael van View Post
Have you done a compression check yet? One with a cold engine and one with a hot engine.
Sorry. Did not see updated replies. Thanks.

Yes! Cold readings are higher!! LOL - no joke! Warm-hot engine = 120, 117, 130, 112. Retest right away = 117, 117, 130, 114. Real cold engine (and compression gauge cold also): 150, 128, 133, 145. Weird. Also as an interesting note that I did 3 consecutive compression tests and on each test the numbers went down a little. Very high quality compression gauge with braided heavy duty flexible hose and screw in plug adapter/NOT hold against bulb type. No bleed down on readings, while I wasn't looking, till I released shrader valve.

#1 piston dome has some oil oin it. I could see very thin oil down in valve recess ontop of piston, with my super bright penlight. Confirmed by fishing around ontop with long screwdriver.

No oil on plugs! Absolutely all plugs look perfect. Cold or hot engine: No blowby vapors!! - not even steam! coming from removed PVC port or crankcase breather tube! Just air. You'd think with an engine this old there woud be some blowby smoke color!

Everything points to a perfect engine. By perfect, I mean no imminent critical failure that could cause engine to suddenly up and stop/seize/etc. Yet the 'sporadic' billowing.

Two cold nights in a row, while parked at friends house, with car leaning toward curb, it billowed after car sat about 3 hours out in about -2 degree belkwo zero air.

Because I have been testing car in my garage fro last few days (MAN is it cold!), and removing plugs daily to analyze + compression tests several times, I have also noticed that each cold morning I try to start it down in garage (and last night I had -12.8 degrees below zero!), and both mornings NO blue-white billowing. Only the normal silvery steam color that disipates in the air, - unlike the billowing that fogs acres of land (for real) and hangs in the air.

I got out my 4 foot level, pondering theory lately that all my trouble might be is something cvommon: (unlike potential crack in oil gallery, at exhaust manifold, theory) bad valve guide and seal on passenger-side cylinder #1. And car leans in garage way to the drivers side (away from cylinder 1!), by about 1 1/2 inches or more in 4 feet, at the front bumper and also rear of car, so it is equal lean/not twisted car.

I wil keep you all abreast on this. But so far, from all my analyzing and pouring over my Haynes manual on what all my car has on it, and what all the symptoms are, and what symptoms it does NOT have, I'd say now that it is from worn seal and as valve stem maybe twirls some, that on some occasion it hits a spot where it does not leak oil, and another day it twirls to some position where the wear is greater, and it leaks down into the cylinder and runs into exhaust manifold where it burns once manifold gets hot enough. With 266,000+ miles and no oil changes, and only one filter change in last thousands and thousands of miles, and the fact the leaning of the car seems to be a factor (so far, need more tests to rule out coincidence), and the compression is good, and no oil fouled plugs, I think when cylinder #1 explodes and exhaust valve opens, oil is on it just above the valve head and quickly blows down the exhaust manifold, and explains why plug not fouling.

You perhaps have never seen a car with this many miles that has such nice looking plugs = gentle wear, if any, and white tan on insulators.
 
  #72  
Old 12-18-08, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by gregtech View Post
it will, for sure, expand shut.
Okay. Thanks. And to think I was going to buy something there after I talked to him. But after his attitude, I just left.

What is odd though about the crack theory is how it does not always billow at cold idle. And NEVER does down the road once warmed a little. You would think there would be cases where it simply would sometimes.. And the auto parts guys said that this 4-banger was built really tough, and at first sort of doubted that crack theory.

I am presently leaning to the valve guide/seal theory (exploded Haynes diagram shows both), as this simply makes sense with that many miles on the car. Look at how many times them valves have gone up and down. Amazing when you think about that, when you multiply miles times engine rpm.
 
  #73  
Old 12-18-08, 01:35 PM
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Tilt of car theory

As a follow up to my latest theory -So far today I made 2 stops of about 3 hours each. The first time, I was at a curb where the car leans pretty good toward cylinder #1, and it billowed smoke. Gassed out the whole neighborhood. The next stop I parked at a curb where the lean, if any, is away from cylinder #1 No smoke. Just steam that disipates in the air as it comes out.
 
  #74  
Old 12-22-08, 07:07 AM
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Tilt of car theory, update

We had some of the worst possible conditions this weekend. Way below zero plus extreme below zero windchills. Parked car in my unheated detached metal garage all weekend during these temps. and lots of snowfall, and I startd it twice all weekend and each time, all it did is puff out a little blue smoke in the beginning, for a few seconds(I've seen plenty other cars do that at start up). No billowing. This morning then I let car warm up 5 minutes, backed her out of garage, then drove car in town and down highway and no blue white smoke, and car runs like top in minus 14 degrees actual temp, down the road.

If my car were plum wore out - explain this one! In review: Not too bad compression readings (no real red flags), excellent color plugs, no oil on old or new air cleaner (meaning engine not sucking engine oil/vapors into breather/no blowby, no smoke or steam even from crankcase. Car runs like a top. Does not even misfire when it billows! It simply shuts off as if running out of gas. No anti-freeze/sweet smell from exhaust or anywhere. No smell of gas from engine or car like you'd get if charcoal cannister/venting malfunction.
 
  #75  
Old 12-23-08, 01:37 PM
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Still no smoke (so far), in garage. This morning, it was about 6 above when I cranked it, and no smoke/steam of any sort for many seconds. Then it just became that typical condensation steam type smoke. But not blue-white billowing. But then as I idled car for about 3 minutes and backed car from garage, it stumbled, while under load going up over a hump in the floor, and started to smoke for just the moment. Then it idled good again, and no more smoke. And thereafter, driving, stopping, accelerating, decellerating, parking car for a while at 3 shopping centers, no smoke starting it up or while driving.
 
  #76  
Old 12-24-08, 12:07 PM
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Theory stated, AND possible fly in the ointment

- which is something I have not really talked too much about. I added motor honey sometime back. And I kept adding it, in at LEAST recommended doses and THEN some, everytime I added oil. Everytime I removed the oil cap cover, I got those cold honey-like strings that would wisp away connected to the cap cover.

MAYBE what is going on, is now that I have added that additive that is like a thinner/cleaner, that is very popular, is that now I have thinned the oil AND cleaned out oil galleries that were getting gooey with that motor honey stuff. I have noticed just within the last couple days now, that when I take off the oil cap cover, none of those honey-like wisps appear. Like the engine is getting cleaned up inside and the oil thinned.

Perhaps what was happening is that when I started the cold car, the thick gooey oil/honey was not returning through the galleries FAST ENOUGH (until the engine got hot enough, explaining the smoke in the beginning) and building up higher than some worn valve seal. And between that and the lean of the car, away from say a worn cylinder #1 seal, this explains why no more smoke in these cold mornings (so far anyway. But the longer this goes, the more I can start ruling out coincidence).

It did not smoke again today when I started it. And the outside temp had plenty time to chill the engine down as it was parked for about 15 hours in that cold metal garage.

As time goes on, and if this trend continues, I will park car outside again and see what happens. To see if the 1 1/2 to 2 inch lean of the car has anything to do with it.
 
  #77  
Old 01-05-09, 05:30 PM
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Update: I think time is beyond coincidence, now.

For about the last 10 days, give or take some, my car has yet to billow any more blue-white smoke at cold-engine start up, after it has sat out in the cold. And we have had temps now to minus 16. I have been rotating my engine by hand, after I shut the car off and have no intention to drive it for say at least 2 hours. I chose TDC at #1 since that was the only piston where I found oil sitting ontop after the engine sat. Likely coming from worn guides, valve stem along part of the shaft, and seal.
 
  #78  
Old 01-06-09, 08:33 AM
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And no smoke agian this morning! (after rotating engine by hand last night when I shut it off).

AND, now the engine coolant losses I was experiencing sometime back, where every other day I was adding a pint or so - now I do not have to hardly add any, and once again the radiator is drawing coolant out of the reservoir at cool down as it should. WITHOUT me ever having added any stop leak!. It is like the car is fixing itself. Like I'm blessed. And the car has probably 267,000 miles on it (it quit recording in early November at 265,093)- purrs like a kitten, and never has had any out of balance tires on it even. Nothing goes wrong.

And I am overloaded carrying 6-700 pounds of tools and supplies in it for years and still get 20-25 mpg. No transmission problems, fluid still has some pink, no odor, same alternator, same battery, same starter, even though I start and go repeatedly during the day!

Last time I had anything of significance was 2 years ago when I had electric fuel pump put in.

Someone here a while back claimed Dodges are junk. Ha. Ya. I'd buy another one of my cars in a heartbeat! So would others in Eau Claire, as I see my vintage cars (early 90's Spirits, Acclaims, Shadows, Sundance, running around town by the dozens! One old lady said she has never seen a car last so long between brake jobs. Have to give Chrysler a plug as perhaps their financial woes due to making inexpensive cars last too long!!
 
  #79  
Old 01-08-09, 09:33 AM
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Have you done a compression check yet? One with a cold engine and one with a hot engine.
 
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