EGR malfunction code

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  #1  
Old 02-06-09, 09:01 AM
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EGR malfunction code

On same vehicle I have posted on regarding that sporadic "billowing" of oil-burning smoke. The Dodge 2.5L 4-banger.

"Check engine light" came on. I can't even ever remember it ever coming on before. If it has it has been at least 2 years.

I brought up the code when I pulled in the garage and it said code 32, and that is a malfunction of the EGR valve transducer solenoid.

(If it malfunctions, does that mean EGR stays open, like bypassed?, or closed down?)

Oddly enough, no check engine light so far today, driving around. Yesterday, it remained on for 20 miles right on up til pulling car in garage.

Consider the engine has absolutely no oil on the air filter or in the air filter compartment. Everything in there, including throttle body, looks like new engine! No oil vapor comes out the crankcase cap when it billows!; Not even steam vapor! But it does have POSITIVE pressure from the cap, until engine gets warmer, then it starts sucking in. BUT - so did my neighbor's identical car, and HE had no smoke! Yet the engine billows out that donut gasket and tailpipe, as if oil is directly entering the exhaust manifold, not combustion chamber.

If it was in the combustion chamber, shoudn't the plugs be getting oily and the smoke appear at tailpipe in seconds due to high combustion temps? [Just thought of something as I am proof reading this post: I really need to shut off car engine when it is billowing and check plugs! Duh!! Why did it take me so long to figure THAT out?! And perhaps plugs clean the soot off as the engine is warm and not billowing?] But yet it can take from 45 seconds on up to 3 minutes to really start billowing!!

Another hint: The car runs like an absolute top, and still has power! But when the billowing is going on, I'd say 75% of the time, the engine stalls out and quits, from all the billowing, while idling only at that time. But, can be restarted right away and runs a while longer and quits again. This might go on for 3 times, until engine finally warms up enough and billowing stops.

If this hint might be helpful, as crazy as this sounds, when the temps go way below 0 degrees, I had LESS frequency of billowng than mornings that are cold, but above 0. And theorized that worn engine rings, if brought to the top of a culprit cylinder where the cylinder is tighter at the top, caused rings to conform tightly, and allow less oil past it. And by the time the rings got supple to where they could leak, the engine had warmed up by then. Just a theory.

Another theory is that rings are worn and spin around loosely and the wider gaps all line up sometimes, until the warmed uip engine closes down those gaps. Or, worn camshaft lobes and/or leaky valve lash adjusters are causing oil to be sucked into cylinders if air mixture cannot get in, due to less valve lift. But these are just theories. And the sporadic nature of the billowiong is what has me.

Lately, it can take up to a couple minutes before the seemingly engine steam-only converts over to oil-burning blue-white smoke (I can even smell the difference, so I am not imagining this) that can fill acres of land! And you can smell that distinct aroma of oil being burned. And then after engine further warms up, it goes away completely. Ever hear of anything like this where worn engine part can be such a cause?, yet it does not smoke after it warms up?!! This has been going on now for like 3/4 year and the time I drive it down the road, not one time has it ever left a trail of smoke behind the vehicle! Not once.

And compression tests and color of spark plugs look as if no oil in combusion chamber!!!! Craziest problem I have ever seen. I checked the plugs 2 mornings ago, and it has been billowing every morning lately, and yet the plug insulators inside were actually all WHITE. Not even tan. No gray, no black, no soot! How can that be?!!!!! [But as I said above, now I need to shut off engine while billowing and check plugs, duh!]

And yet it does this billowing, and even billows out the exhaust manifold-to-head pipe donut gasket! Until of course this billowing stops, as it always does. So far anyway, to my good fortune.

COULD there be a relationship with this billowing and a faulty EGR valve on an old car engine where say it affects the way exhaust gas can get out the exhaust and some restriction causes oil to get sucked in somewhere? But WHERE if it does? I had cars in the past that burned FAR less oil than what this thing is drinking right now, and the plugs would foul with oil and I'd have to buy those spark plug anti-fouler devices you screw into the spark plug holes. And MY plugs look clean like new.

AND, as far as attributing the clean white plugs to steam cleaning?: My car is actually using LESS engine coolant now than what it was some months back!!

This car is truly a mystery. And I've never been so disgusted over not being able to solve something - in my life!

Can you think of any relationship between an EGR and old car engine, considering worn cam shaft lobes, worn/expanded ring gaps, etc., that may play into this when engine is cold, but completely cures itself when engine warms up?
 
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Old 02-07-09, 11:57 AM
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My fairly mechanical neighbor is out by my car as I crank it up this morning, and we both go to the back of the vehicle to watch the tailpipe, and gradually it starts to steam, then blue smoke, and I said, "If it billows, I will shut the car off and check the plugs". Wouldn't you know it, the smoking quickly subsided back to steam only (and I can smell it too = no more oil burning). Wouldn't you know it. This is the kind of stuff I am having to contend with. It WAS warmer this morning, at 36. But I know I have written in my diary that the billowing has occured when in the 30's.

And once again, like me sounding like a broken record - for the benefit of those who have not been following the 2 threads on this subject from the beginning - driving the car this morning no visible smoke out rear view mirror and none if I quickly accelerate or decellerate. And it idled so smooth when I stopped for coffee I could not tell it was running! -on a car with 268,000 miles, about!

And the "check engine light" has not returned! Maybe I need to remove battery cable to clear and start over and see if that same code pops back up?

The neighbor too said he always remembered when cars had their rings let go that cars would smoke going down the road. Not mine. Only after idling, and can occur from right off the bat to taking up to 3 minutes before the billowing. But none -ever - driving down the road once billowing stops and reverts to only steam. And then that TOO pretty much disappears while driving, and only steam returns while idling somewhere -but no blue smoke that lingers in the air -for sure.

If any of you have knowledge of this or if curiousity has got the cat, and you want to go find out in YOUR vehicle -do you know if your PCV hose has oil in it? Mine does. Maybe that is a clue, in case you(I) are(am) NOT supposed to have actual liquid oil in that tube. But maybe it IS expected to be in there? After all, blowby and crankcase vapors get sucked in the intake manifold through that tube, and maybe it reverts back to actual liquid on the way through the tube? But I do not know? Do you know what the answer is on that?
 
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Old 02-08-09, 06:05 AM
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Well, there would be some oil there as you say from the vapors carrying some of it. Kind of a jugement call on how much is too much. I can't help but think you have some kind of ring problem going on. I didn't notice if you mentioned or not, year and mileage?
 
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Old 02-10-09, 07:52 AM
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Hi Tow guy-

91. 270,000 miles. (I was wrong when I said 268,000.)

Rings?

Or worn camlobes causing valves to not fully open when cold engine, due to combo of worn lobes and leakdown of valve lash adjusters, and not able to fully pump back up until engine oil warms up good, is another theory of mine. And also due to maybe that fact, the piston when it goes down causes suction, and sincee the intake valve does not perhaps open enough, it sucks oil past the rings --extra loose and with bigger end gaps.


Regarding the rings: I have never heard of this symptom I have, ever before! I thought when "rings go", the engine turns into a smoker -always. Not this cold engine only business where it goes from billowing to absolutely nothing after the engine warms! Wouldn't you think there would be at least SOME noticeable oil burning?

This morning, it billowed like CRAZY. Gased out acres a upon acres of land. It's a lovely smell thiough. I remembered today to quickly shut off the engine in the middle of the billowing, and pull all 4 plugs. Yep, number 4, the suspect cylinder, was an absolute blue fog dowen in there, in the chamber. It never left. It just hovered in there. The plugs were all white the other day, remember? Not today. The other 3 were nice and tan. Number 4 had oil running on it(the plug threads, insulator inside and electrodes) and had a gob of black like tar (fried oil) on the insulator.

This now means my one theory that the oil somehow is just entering the exhaust manifold is now history. So much for that theory. Nope. It is indeed combustion chamber related. Reason for white plug insulators is something I guess I never realized and just learned, over this: That once an engine that smokes oil corrects itself, the plugs will actually clean themselves. That is why yuou have to check the plugs when it smokes!

I am thinking about doing a pressure test on the cylinders. A compression test did not reveal an extra bad cylinder. I did both ice-cold engine and hot engine compression test and there is never a cylinder that is really really low. But my trouble maybe with even doing a leakdown test would be the fact I already KNOW it will leak down. So what will that prove? After all, it's subjective in the sense that how much is what is causing the billowing like this?

I have never seen any engine eve billow like this before. I have seen cars already smoke blue out the tailpipe while driving. But - I've never seen one fill ACRES of blue-white smoke, then TOTALLY go away when it warms up, like this!!!

I've never been so disgusted over something in my life. If I ever get the time, which I never seem to have, I have the mind to at least open the valve cover and watch the lift of all 8 valves.

Here is another odd one: This morning, it billowed as soon as I turned over the key! Other mornings it takes from 45 seconds to up to 3 minutes to achieve the type of bilowing I got this morning. It is this sporadic nature that also has me. But the two therories - of rings loose cold worn spinning then lining up or, sporadic leak down and inability of lash adjusters to pump up, might work out for the symptom? And also my query as to if the EGR valve can play into this in causing maybe some pressure imbalance that on maybe a new engine might not matter, but on a worn one might? And the fact that also on some mornings, that were real cold out, it never DID billow!!!! Weird.
 
  #5  
Old 02-10-09, 09:24 AM
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before you reply,I fotgot a third theory.I will discuss at lunch time
 
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Old 02-10-09, 12:27 PM
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Here it is; lunch. The third theory is that the valve seals and guides are bad, especially on #4. And when the metal valve stem is shrunk when cold, the oil enters at that time. Then as the engine warms up, the gap between the valve stem and guide/seal closes up and does not leak anymore.

What might play into this also is with this age of an engine, the oil galleries may be reduced in size(sludge), perhaps especially the return route. And then the oil pools more up onto the head, under the valve cover.

A further tip off to this possibility is the fact I have an oilshield that rests over the valvetrain, under the cover -and yet oil still tries to leak out the valve cover gasket -and once when the car billowed, oil started dripping under the car, from this oil trying to get out.

And that motor oil honey stuff I heavily add to the oil may be playing into this whole mix also, as the oil will be thicker when cold, and maybe can't get back down the return gallery as fast as normal, until all the metal heats up and the oil thins out. And, unfortunately, I pretty much have to have the stuff in the engine because there have been times when the engine idles and gets to the temp at which the radiator fan has to come on, and the oil pressure gauge plummets to way below the bottom line, until I take off again from a stoplight. (Oddly too, it does not do that all the time.)

While mulling over my three theories (four, if you count how the motor oil honey might play into this also), keep in mind that if the oil-fill cap cover is removed during the billowing, no vapor of any kind comes out the hole in the valve cover! And that under the air cleaner assembly is perfectly clean also. You'd think if the rings were really bad (and remember compression readings are pretty good also), that I would be getting SOME kind of vapors coming out where the oil cap is removed.
 
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Old 02-11-09, 08:01 AM
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32 degrees this morning. Car parked in detached metal garage.

I had rotated engine to TDC, and cam rotated to position so that cylinder #4 valves were closed (to stop any oil from above from leaking into combustion chamber). During the coldest of the winter when WAY below 0, and I had car parked in same garage, the car often would not smoke, in this position. !!!

I first removed #4 spark plug, this morning again, like yesterday, and no oil sitting on piston dome. And the plug that was black yesterday from all the smoking yesterday morning, when I shut it off in the middle of it's smoking, was now white again, right now. So -no oil on piston dome and plug white/not fouled. So I put plug back in and cranked it up. Oh ya, I also made sure the valve cover bolts were tight.

Yet, once again, this morning, it billowed within 26 seconds! Acres upon acres of billowing! Afraid police will notice or be notified by neighbors! And they will order me to get it fixed or stop running the car. This smoke travels for blocks downwind!

The car shut off about 8 times, and it took about 20 minutes of idling the car, getting it to warm up, for the billowing to finally slow, then stop. I am able to get the car to restart every time. It does not misfire, but rather stumbles,then stops. The oil fumes in the exhaust-cat-the o2 sensor maybe screws up the mixture, and it just kills.Then restarts.

Then the smoking completely stops! I made a point to accelerate, decellerate today and look in mirror, and no smoke.!! AND the car accelerated nicely up steep hill with 700 pounds with in the 4 cylinder car!!!!! Rings? I can't believe that!! You would think weak or no acceleration, and at least SOME smoking still going on! And even MOREsmoke at sudden acceleration or release off gas pedal/decelleration. Nope. No smoke!

I have never heard of an engine that can go from billowing to NO smoke, like this. I can't believe, anymore, in theories about expansion that can so completely close off an oil leak to 0! I mean, after a while NO vaper was even coming out the tailpipe.!!

The fact it seems to billow the worst in intermediate coldweather, I am starting to rethink my theory that the motor honey additive, when allowed to get cold in the oil pan, is too thick to get out the oil galleries back to the pan, and builds up around some SLIGHTLY bad valve stem/seal, and leaks in. Then when the oil thins, it cannot build to as high a height under the valve cover and goes down the return gallery easier and is not up to the height where it can leak past the valve seal. And the reason maybe it was less likely to leak in WAY below zero temp was that by the time the oil was even able to pump it's way to the top of the cold engine, the metal was warming up by then, expanding closed the gap between valve stem and seal.

So I have 2 choices to test this theory: One is to change oil to 5W -30. (Rather than the 10-40 + heavy dose of motor honey now in there.) The other is to stick on maybe **3**magnetic oil pan heaters at night (one is puny 200watt and does not help). However, I will still have uncertainty about thick oil in the oil filter. The reason I like the heaters approach is that way I still get to have thciker oik when the engine is warm.

I HAVE to solve this problem or else I will go crazy!! I could simply get another car, but nobody is selling that particular car! Everyone loves their gas mileage and drives them til they quit. A lady wih a mint condition one has 200,000 miles on it. Same car as mine. She loves it. Easy to work on everything yourself. I can't simply get rid of the car not knowing what problem was, in case it is something NOT major, and is a simple solve. In the meantime I am keeping eye out for another car like mine.
 
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Old 02-11-09, 12:04 PM
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Hope you took some aspirin for sore fingers from all that typing. LOL
 
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Old 02-11-09, 03:34 PM
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I have strong fingers. It took me about 3/4 of an hour.

I did not have a chance to get more magnetic oil pan heaters. I will stick on the one I have, plus point 2 250 watt infrared lamps at the black valve cover tonight. Then check on it later to make sure nothing that I DON'T want to get hot, is getting hot.

I had the car sitting for spells of 2-3 hours today, and when I restarted it each time, no smoke. It HAS already billowed, when set for 2-3 hours, when temp is around 0 or somewhat less. Today was 34. Same as about the overnight temp when it billowed. But THAT gave the car all night for the oil to congeal more, and the metal to shrink.
 
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Old 02-12-09, 08:04 AM
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Last night, the car sat out in 34 degrees outside and I started it and it never smoked/billowed. I also had first felt the valve cover and oil pan, and both felt cold -yet no smoke. !! This is what is so odd about this problem. Othertimes, this has been the recipe for it billowing.

Last night I rigged up 2 250 watt heat lamps to hood latch pointed at front of engine where oil filter is and valve cover and stuck on magnetic oil pan heater (but forgot to plug THAT in!) I tied cords up to ceiling and made hood so it could not come down by accident. Had to take safety precautions thinking about a cat getting in garage and sleeping on hot car engine and getting caught in the cords and causing heat lamps to fall on engine or floor and causing fire or explosion.

I shot infrared thermometer at car engine at 1 am and it was 68-74 degrees, down in the garage after car had been off since 9:45 pm. Then, this morning engine temp said 50. And it was 30.0 degrees out. The car initially started to blue smoke but was MUCH shorter lived. Never got to billowing status.No fear of police coming, if like that. I can live with that. Only time will tell if the overnight heat helps stop the billowing. One test is not good enough. I need a week straight to rule out coincidence. And about a week straight will be in the 30's, which is in the temp range when it can really billow. So this week will mak for good testing.
 
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Old 02-13-09, 04:05 PM
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Progress report

After 2 mornings around 27-30 degrees out, at a temp when I have had a great amount of billowing several days in a row -after rigging up heat lamps and an oil pan heater, and this having the car engine stay at about 40 degrees overnight - there is still initial blue smoke. It is actually bluer, and less white but not billowing. In about 20 seconds, it has been going away. As compared to the more fogging blue-white billowing that sends the smoke going for blocks downwind for like 15 minutes or so. I may be onto something here.

Also, refreshing my memory: Maybe some of you can recall how I said that my car does not leak oil -but yet that one time when I had severe billowing, and the engine kept dying, oil started to really leak out from somewhere on the firewall side (the side of the engine where the intake and exhaust manifolds bolt on, and it is hard to see back there, even with a mirror). It did not look like it was coming out the donut gasket.

The theory I have about sludged up oil galleries, and running thick motor honey, that may be finding it's way down a worn valve guide/seal, that otherwise would not, if the oil height were not as high, is looking good to me more and more. Now I'm really starting to think the oil started to come out from the loose valve cover gasket. Since the oil cannot shoot out of there, since there is a cover over the valvetrain - it does make possible sense that the oil may build up to an intolerable height under the valve cover, and try to leak out wherever it can.

More time will tell. I will continue heating the engine every night, for a while. Overnight lows are expected to be in the same temp range which makes for good comparative testing.
 
  #12  
Old 02-13-09, 06:03 PM
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so how often do you have to add oil to the engine how much oil does it consume?
if you have gotten 270,000 miles out of it would say you have been lucky most of them ended there life burning antifreeze due to a cracked head that wasnt worth fixing long before they ever hit 200k and with the mileage on yours you may want to look for another car or if you like it that much consider getting another engine to put in it.
 
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Old 02-14-09, 11:50 AM
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bejay,

I could buy my dad's car (Plymouth Breeze) that is just sitting there for the taking. But there goes my IRS money.

And also, I do not want power windows or dual overhead cam and individual injectors and who knows all the sensors this car has. I like my car. Simple. I can get to stuff quickly. I can change bulbs in seconds, pull plugs in seconds, put a new alt/water pump belt on in a few minutes, remove the valve cover in maybe 15 minutes. The brakes are easy to do. Etc. Only 1 cooling fan (not 2, like the Breeze). The Breeze also looks like it has this real complex rear suspension control arms system. Mine looks simple. I want a car **I** can work on. I can't affored to wait for mechanic to get to it 5 days from now and get a whopping bill because of expensive parts and they have to take hours dismantling stuff in the way. Forget it!

I like the good old days like the 1960's where you could get at stuff quickly and do it yourself. MY car is still close to that (except for the fuel pump in tank business). My Interstate battery has cranked over for me at way below 0 and I have not replaced it in the time **I** have owned the car. My distributor is right there out in the open also. Everything about it I like. And it's been old faithful. A 4-banger carrying aound 700 pounds of additional weight for the last 4 years I have owned that car -on top of it! Phenomenal!

The head gasket was reploaced the day I bought the car about 4 years ago. I suspect there is SOME problem with it though, but it actually is using less water now than months back! (I am blessed, I think)

I understand cars, better than the average Joe, and know how to treat them: No passing gear to whip lash the timing belt. No jack rabbit starts with all my weight, to save on any clutches in transmission (even my trans oil never changed is still not burned up! And it uses no trans oil/have not had to add. I also brake by slowing way down in advance so I can catch the light when it turns green so I do not have to start from a dead stop, when possible. The tires have always worn evenly/no out of balance. Rides liike a Cadillac (probably from the weight). The front end is 'tight'. I can't believe that. The car brakes straight and true. I have an air bag, tach, oil GAUGE, water GAUGE, GAUGE for alternator with actual numbers...and even a flashing "check gauges" light in case something goes wrong if you do not see the gauge. And the car reads it's own codes.

This is my kind of car. And I want to stall on mine til I find another one like it. AND I have gotten up to 25 MPG's in the summer with the car pulling that additional weight. My dad says his Breeze only gets like 18 (if he knows how to check it right).

Rather tnan try to figure how much oil my car consumes, I think it is actually better to find out how much my car consumes only after it is warmed up and going down the highway. Over the last couple days, it **appears**, so far (hate to gert overly anxious, prematurely), that since my billowing has been reduced, so has oil consumption. Before this (with al the morning billowing going on for 15 minutes or so), I was adding about 3/4 qts. every 3rd day (drive about 60 miles per day). But a lot of that consumption may have been during cold idling when it billowed sending blue-white smoke for blocks.

This morning, it was 16 degrees. Infrared thermometer read on valve cover was about 42, and front of engine at 37. I want it hotter, dadgum it! It smoked blue for a short bit, but again, did not billow. 3 days in a row now, no sustained billowing. And I am guessing it will almost clear up if the car engine can remain warmer overnight. I need to either hope for at least somewhat warmer overnight temps, or find out the best heater, blanket, whatever for that engine, to have on it at night. I really do believe that the oil can be PUMPED up to the top in cold weather, but then gravity has to try to return it through the galleries, and is not doing that very well, until the engine heats up. So far, anyway, until I see evidence to the contrary - I think that is the cause.
 

Last edited by ecman51; 02-14-09 at 11:59 AM. Reason: corrections + added more
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Old 02-16-09, 08:42 AM
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Update

After about 4 days in a row now of applying the external heat at night, each morning when I start the car, I only get some blue smoke, mixed in with the regular engine steam, for about 20 seconds. No billowing for 15 minutes, and no engine dying, like I WAS getting. I would like to find though a better and hotter way to keep the engine overnight. I am anticipating this will also cut down on my oil consumption, as I believe most of the loss is in those 15 minutes. I see no vapor trail traveling down the highway or at acceleration/decelleration, as I have said. Thick engine oil whn cold, together with valve seal leak, with buildup of oil flooding around the seal under the valve cover, when cold mostly, is my current best theory.
 
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