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    Thread: Can't stop smoking! (blue exhaust smoke)

    1. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      02-28-2011 03:16 PM #1
      Ok, I've asked before, and need some more opinions. When I bought my car, after long periods of idle, I'd notice it'd smoke when you hit the gas. Didn't seem like a big issue and actually forgot about it. Last summer I put a 3" catless dp on, and notice after about 1min of idling, sometimes less, it'd start smoking, and hitting the throttle would cause big plumes of smoke. Then it started to do it in the amount of time just at stop lights and stop signs. Then it was pretty much every time I'd accelerate. The intercooler would fill up with oil, probably about a cup or two of oil every oil change. So this is what I did. Thinking it's probably the turbo, but thought I'd start with simple things first.

      First I ditched the PCV system and installed a catch can... didn't help with smoking, so it's not the PCV valve.

      Winter hit and the smoking seemed to go away (probably mostly just blending in with typical winter exhaust vapor). but it did seem to stop consuming as much oil as it did. Then it started up again.

      Earlier this month I swapped turbos, and it seemed to help a lot, but I still notice after idling for a few minutes, it'll put out a significant quantity of smoke. Now, I drained the intercooler, but didn't really "clean" it out. So parts of me says it's just that, but other parts say I'm kidding myself and there's more problems.

      Can anyone else give me ideas? Smokes after periods of idle. Doesn't smoke on cold start-up, but will smoke a bit if started after only a short period of being off. Turbo new, PCV system redone. That's about all I can say right now.
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      02-28-2011 07:16 PM #2
      turbo might be leaking oil directly into the exhaust causing the smoke. If so itll smoke really bad at idle and go away when you rev it up.

      it might also be your valve stem seals.
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    3. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      02-28-2011 07:17 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by jeffs789 View Post
      turbo might be leaking oil directly into the exhaust causing the smoke. If so itll smoke really bad at idle and go away when you rev it up.

      it might also be your valve stem seals.
      Turbo is new.

      I did notice a little kink in my return line, I'm gonna try replacing that and see what happens.
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    4. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-01-2011 10:48 AM #4
      This is "comforting" to me, lol
      http://www.rx7club.com/showthread.php?t=727476

      I know it's from an rx7 forum, but it's about turbos in general, and I'm thinking that's what is going on with mine.
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      03-01-2011 02:32 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by jeffs789 View Post
      turbo might be leaking oil directly into the exhaust causing the smoke. If so itll smoke really bad at idle and go away when you rev it up.

      it might also be your valve stem seals.
      I had this problem and was hoping it wasn't the VSS... Yet the fact that i can pour oil out of my old turbo and I get no smoke now, leads me to think its more likely the turbo .


      does it look like there is some fresh oil on the turbo driping? run fine but just have the blue smoke?

      it used to be only after long idles for me too, then not long ago it just started dumping oil out the exhaust

      i don't think there is a real good way to test which it is, but im going to put my bets on bad turbo seals.

    6. 03-01-2011 03:12 PM #6
      I have the exact same problem. Haven't really dug into it yet but I checked my intercooler and charge lines which were bone dry. Very curious to see what you find.

    7. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-01-2011 04:40 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by elliott18t View Post
      I had this problem and was hoping it wasn't the VSS... Yet the fact that i can pour oil out of my old turbo and I get no smoke now, leads me to think its more likely the turbo .


      does it look like there is some fresh oil on the turbo driping? run fine but just have the blue smoke?

      it used to be only after long idles for me too, then not long ago it just started dumping oil out the exhaust

      i don't think there is a real good way to test which it is, but im going to put my bets on bad turbo seals.
      Once again, turbo is not even a month old. Since I had oil in the intercooler, it must not be VSS or Rings because it wouldn't be going to the intercooler, it'd have to work it's way against the flow of the engine.

      It still seems the return line is the culprit, at least that's what I'm going with now, I'll let you guys know when I get it done.
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    8. 03-01-2011 05:00 PM #8
      Consider checking your head gasket. Take a mirror and look behind the engine as well as as the front for any signs of wetness or leakage. These are the same symptoms as a failed head gasket.

    9. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-01-2011 05:02 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by tsouth View Post
      Consider checking your head gasket. Take a mirror and look behind the engine as well as as the front for any signs of wetness or leakage. These are the same symptoms as a failed head gasket.
      No white smoke, just blue, and haven't gone through ANY coolant, and coolant is free of oil and oil is free of coolant.
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    10. 03-01-2011 05:08 PM #10
      My car didn't have any mixture of oil and coolant vice versa as well, but the headgasket has blown.

      Another probable cause may be that the water condensates inside the catch can which is then burnt through the pcv system. Check to see if there is any liquid inside the catch can and pour it out.

      Either way, good luck to you man. I hope it isn't anything serious.

    11. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-01-2011 05:11 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by tsouth View Post
      My car didn't have any mixture of oil and coolant vice versa as well, but the headgasket has blown.

      Another probable cause may be that the water condensates inside the catch can which is then burnt through the pcv system. Check to see if there is any liquid inside the catch can and pour it out.

      Either way, good luck to you man. I hope it isn't anything serious.
      Thanks, I'm pretty sure it's not the head gasket because it's definitely oil smoke, not coolant smoke, but yeah, hopefully this will fix it. There is liquid in the catch can, but that's what it's supposed to do and with the temps lately it catches a lot, but nothing coolant like that I can tell. Thanks for the suggestion.
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    12. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-03-2011 11:22 PM #12
      Replaced this tonight, well see if it helps, I sure hope so, but it got dark so it was tough to see if it was starting to smoke again. I'll check in the morning after a few highway runs to try and clear things up.

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    13. Member martin13's Avatar
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      03-03-2011 11:57 PM #13
      does your catch can vent to air or back into the intake? when i took my pcv off and put in a recirculating catch can my car smoked like crazy at idle so i got a different catch can that vented to atmosphere and it fixed it. the first can i had didnt have baffles. it was a ****ty ebay one but i bought one from 034 and its way better.

    14. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-04-2011 12:08 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by martin13 View Post
      does your catch can vent to air or back into the intake? when i took my pcv off and put in a recirculating catch can my car smoked like crazy at idle so i got a different catch can that vented to atmosphere and it fixed it. the first can i had didnt have baffles. it was a ****ty ebay one but i bought one from 034 and its way better.
      Yeah, mines a eBay one, but I have ran it venting to atmosphere before, and it didn't change anything, but it was just for a short time.
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      03-04-2011 12:31 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by sdavis872 View Post
      Yeah, mines a eBay one, but I have ran it venting to atmosphere before, and it didn't change anything, but it was just for a short time.
      what size is the tubing youre running to it? if the tubing is too small (it should ideally be like 3/4" -1") then it wont let enough gas vent and it can cause oil to burn.

    16. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-04-2011 12:50 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by martin13 View Post
      what size is the tubing youre running to it? if the tubing is too small (it should ideally be like 3/4" -1") then it wont let enough gas vent and it can cause oil to burn.
      3/4 from the breathers to 5/8 (since that's what the fittings on the can are). Maybe I will try larger hose, or just stick a filter on there and let it breath freely, haha.
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      03-04-2011 10:53 AM #17
      i have the same problem i changed my turbo recently thinking it was that and nope samething. just the other day i changed the pcv valve and still the samething and lost alot of boost.

      any update on it?

    18. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-04-2011 12:01 PM #18
      I'll let you know after a few days. I might also go back and rework my catch can. I'm feeling confident that it was this return line.
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    19. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-06-2011 11:43 PM #19
      Well, it still seems to be smoking....
      Parts of me want to say it's just residual, but I've done too many mile since to think it's just that.

      But here's the update:
      I completely ditched the catch can and just stuck 2 breather filters on (one for valve cover, one for the lower block breather). Why? Because I was thinking if I was getting excess blow by in an amount that the catch can couldn't catch, maybe that was it. But it didn't seem to help.

      I noticed today it gives a little huff on start up, so maybe it's bad valve stem seals....

      Here's when it smokes (a clearer description):
      It smokes a very little bit on cold starts.
      It smokes a lot on "hot" starts (such as if I drive, then shut it of, then within like 15min start it again).
      And after periods of idle (maybe even only like 30 seconds).

      What I just dont get is it seems to, for the most park, be smoking almost as much, but I replaced the turbo, the oil return line, no blow by is able to get in, so how did oil collect in the intercooler from the turbo? Things seem to lean towards valve seals, but I dont see how oil could get in the intercooler from that.
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    20. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-07-2011 12:07 AM #20
      One thing I'm thinking still is, could I just have not enough back pressure? I mean, people run straight piped and have no problems, but maybe I'm just unlucky enough to have a car that doesn't like it. The smoke really didn't show it's face until I switched to a catless 3" down pipe. If it doesn't clear up soon, I'll probably either put the stock DP back on or buy a cat to put on the 3" to add a little back pressure and clean some of the oil smoke.
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      03-08-2011 04:48 PM #21
      do a compression test. normally blue smoke = oil, or is a sign of bad piston rings.
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    22. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-08-2011 05:50 PM #22
      It's definitely oil. I do need to do a compression test, I just dont really want to, lol. But what are the symptoms of bad rings and why do bad rings cause smoke? I just dont see my symptoms fitting bad rings.
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      03-09-2011 11:50 PM #23
      do a compression test and you will see the symptoms are. When you start you car at cold start, blue smoke for a few seconds - blue smoke while driving in some cases. I recommend doing a compression test asap, its also cant hurt. Lmk
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    24. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-09-2011 11:53 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Pg-Getta1.8 View Post
      do a compression test and you will see the symptoms are. When you start you car at cold start, blue smoke for a few seconds - blue smoke while driving in some cases. I recommend doing a compression test asap, its also cant hurt. Lmk
      It's more like when I start it cold, the's a tiny little wisp of smoke, and I've only seen it happen once actually, but then as it get warmer, it smokes more after idle. If I shut it off and restart while still warm (say, 10 min later) it'll let out a big puff of smoke.

      Usually in all cases when I hit the throttle, lets out it's puff then it goes away until I start to idle for a time.

      But yes, I'll try and get a compression test done soon.
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    25. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-13-2011 09:40 PM #25
      Haven't done a compression test yet, but I've found that if I drive aggressively, it DOESN'T smoke as much, if at all. Thought I'd share that. Oil level hasn't dropped (at least to notice it). Once I get a friend with the stuff to do a compression test I'll do it.

      Could this be residual that I just cant get cleared out, but when I'm driving more aggressively it clears it to a place that makes it smoke less, then when I'm less aggressive it "pools" back to where it was? I'll have to check my intercooler as I haven't since I did the oil return line. But how much oil need to be sucked in to cause smoke? Because if just a little amount can cause it, then maybe this is plausible.
      Last edited by sdavis872; 03-13-2011 at 09:43 PM.
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      03-13-2011 10:06 PM #26
      i dont know if a compression test is gonna do much for checking your rings, you probably have to do a leak down test to properly check them. it could be rings though because at idle there is negative pressure in the combustion chamber that can draw oil up past the rings and once you start driving and hit boost, some pressure can get past the rings and cause positive crank case pressure putting more oil into your pipes than normal. my friends honda had bad rings once, it was so bad that when he hit boost his dip stick would blow out lol

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      03-13-2011 10:35 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by MKIII_96 View Post
      i dont know if a compression test is gonna do much for checking your rings, you probably have to do a leak down test to properly check them. it could be rings though because at idle there is negative pressure in the combustion chamber that can draw oil up past the rings and once you start driving and hit boost, some pressure can get past the rings and cause positive crank case pressure putting more oil into your pipes than normal. my friends honda had bad rings once, it was so bad that when he hit boost his dip stick would blow out lol
      But wouldn't that oil being drawn up be burning right away? I dont have any smoke until I accelerate or after I start the car after it's only been sitting a few minutes.
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      03-13-2011 10:49 PM #28
      I had to clean out ALL of my charge pipes and FMIC after my last turbo blew, I'm still in the process of finishing the install since my not so helpful helper thew away my coolant banjo bolt

      I haven't had the chance to start her up yet but the amount of oil that had been passed through the turbo all the way into my intake manifold would sure to have caused alot of smoke.

      Did you have a turbo go bad before the swap?

      Have you checked your intercooler and charge pipes and possibly your manifold for any pooling?

      Just a couple thoughts.
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    29. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-13-2011 10:57 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by DMVDUB View Post
      I had to clean out ALL of my charge pipes and FMIC after my last turbo blew, I'm still in the process of finishing the install since my not so helpful helper thew away my coolant banjo bolt

      I haven't had the chance to start her up yet but the amount of oil that had been passed through the turbo all the way into my intake manifold would sure to have caused alot of smoke.

      Did you have a turbo go bad before the swap?

      Have you checked your intercooler and charge pipes and possibly your manifold for any pooling?

      Just a couple thoughts.
      Well, I replaced the turbo because I was certain the smoking was from there, and there certainly was a lot of oil in the intercooler and charge pipes. I drained it all out, didn't get the chance to really thoroughly clean them, but it should have mostly been cleared. Then I noticed the kinked return line a few weeks later, replaced that, havent had the chance to clean out anything again, but I wouldn't imagine it being much. And it's been over a week since that's happened, so I'd think things would be clearing out a bit by now.
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      03-16-2011 06:33 AM #30
      Had the same problem, it was the valve stem seals. Is`s common problem with 1.8T engines, at least here in Europe. After driving, leave the car to idle min or two and then push the throttle, if you se blue smoke coming out 99% that the valve seals are bad. You can test this, drive the car downhill in 2 or 3rd gear without touching the throttle paddle, ask your friend do drive behind you, if blue smoke starts to come out then your valve seals are bad. If I understand this correctly, when the engine is idling, it is in vacuum, oil starts to leak through bad valve stem seals into combustion chamber.

      Best regards

    31. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-16-2011 08:40 AM #31
      Thanks,

      I'd rather it be that over piston rings.
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    32. 03-16-2011 02:10 PM #32
      I have the exact same symptoms as the op. I have not come to a defined conclusion but this is what I have checked.

      - Checked the pancake pipe for oil. It was bone dry.

      - Removed the turbo oil return line. Clear

      - Checked compressor side turbo shaft play. I would say 1/32th of an inch radial play no axial.

      - Did a leak down test on all four cylinders. The results were 3 of the cylinders were extremely low 2-3% leak down and the fourth was around 14% with audible air noise from the oil filler and dipstick holes, meaning rings. The absolute value of 14% is not bad (if you believe the gauge is accurate) but you can also look at it as the fourth cylinder is 6 times worse than the other three.

      From what I have checked I do not think it is my turbo or PCV. I would have to say it has to do with either cylinder 4's rings or valve guides and or valve seals. I am not exactly sure how to do an isolated test to determine the valve guides or seals.

      What are your thoughts?

    33. Member Pg-Getta1.8's Avatar
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      03-17-2011 08:52 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by HighFive_GTI View Post

      What are your thoughts?

      First i would say do a compression test with the car "warm". You are looking for 148 - 203psi and no more then 10% difference between cylinders.

      If you do this and ur numbers are good, its prob the head (valve seals).

      before you go pulling ur motor apart, i recommend draining the oil and pulling the pan. Check to make sure the oil pump is good, and the pickup tube isnt clogged.

      i hope this helps, when u preform the comp. test post up some numbers.
      2003 Jetta 20v big turbo, FFE mini me turbo kit w/ Precision 5557 Ceramic Ball Bearing Turbo, tile WG, UNI 630 file with 630 injectors, walbro inline fuel pump, Precision 650 front mount w/ 2.5in alum. Piping, Wisco pistons (9:1), AEB head, IE rods, o2m Trans, South Bend stg 3 endurance clutch kit, deleted AC, SAI, PS... Semi tucked wiring harness. More to come

    34. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-24-2011 11:59 PM #34
      Compression test results:

      175psi
      175psi
      170psi
      160psi

      According to Bentley, they should be between 140psi-200psi with no more than 25psi difference between. So compression test it good. The smoking at start is is really making me lean towards valve stem seals.
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    35. Member sdavis872's Avatar
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      03-29-2011 11:04 PM #35
      So, whats next? Here's the current situation.

      Compression test is good.
      Oil consumption has dropped drastically. To a point where after weeks, still no noticeable change.
      Smoking under periods of vacuum.
      Smoking on start up, significantly after warm starts, not much if any on cold starts.
      When driving aggressively, i.e. increased boost over longer periods of time, it smokes less.

      So my logical, vac pulling oil into compression chamber, boost keeps it out, and after the car is turned off oil seeps in for a while (valve stem seals?) but after an hour the oil drains past the piston rings and there's no significant amount of oil in the cylinder. Would this be normal for piston rings to allow the oil to drain so quickly?
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