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Thread: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

  1. #1
    Engineer lozzd's Avatar
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    Default Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Hello all,

    Yes it's that time of month again, time to be paranoid about your engine Laurie!
    When I start up when the car has been in the cold for longer than a day, I get blue smoke on light accerlation for the first minute or two, as I gently drive down the small road I live on, going at about 10 mph. I thought blue smoke was oil, but it must be unburnt diesel, right? Because the engine is too cold to be efficient enough to be burning it? Because it goes away so quickly, and I'm unable to use my glowplugs since one of them is disconnected (it snapped off inside the head). If I use the glowplugs its actually worse; because I have 3 warm cylinders and one stone cold, so it runs like a sack of crap whilst they even out, at least when it starts with no plugs it runs a bit lumpy for a few seconds then smooths out.

    So two questions really. Can someone please confirm to me that what I said make sense, and its just unburnt diesel? And secondly is this harming my engine? I can't imagine it likes being run stone cold, but how much is it going to be to remove the head to remove the broken glow plug? It may be worse for me since the car only gets driven Fri-Sun, I'm away during the week.

    Thanks in advance,
    Laurie
    Last edited by lozzd; 16th Feb 2008 at 16:41. Reason: I can't spell increasingly
    Laurie and "Sammy", the 1990 200TDi 90
    http://www.bloodynora.co.uk

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    if it was unburn't diesel, it would be black smoke. if its blue its most probably oil and if it goes away pretty quick it might be the oil rings and clearences ( depending on the milage/wear and tear) which, when things warm up a bit are then ok. people have attributted oil smoke at start up to valve guides and seals but ive never been able to reconcile that. a hint, however is your lack of glow plug use... IF the motor is over rich at startup , a fair amount of that extra fuel goes by the rings and dilutes the oil AND fuel washes the cylinder walls which makes things wear out pretty quick.

    i can tell you that fuel diluted oil will get by the rings so fast you won't hardly believe it.

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    Consultant bvudzichena's Avatar
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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Valve stem seals...
    Don't forget to visit the LRUK SHOP

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Blue smoke is oil being burnt.

    My money is on the valve stem oil seals. When the engine has been running and is shut down, the oil that is left in the head will drain down the oil passageways as normal. But it will also be able to slowly make its way down the valve stems since the seals are perished and hardened (therefore not actually sealing it).

    You may also notice that if you're going up a long ascent at a slow pace and the engine is just chugging along at a slow pace, then it also may begin to visibly burn some oil again too. This would be for similar reasons to as above, in that the oil is leaking down the valve stems while the engine is running.

    Really I think you should be looking to take the head off sometime in the near future. That way you can inspect the bores, but also at the same time you can replace the valve stem seals and remove the "stud" of the glowplug that's stuck in the head.

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    If it was fuel, you'd get a dirty mark on the bodywork and a black sooty tailpipe.

    If it's using a fair bit of oil it will more than likely be as said, inlet valve stem seals. You can see it better on a carbed petrol engine ( more than an Injected petrol engine, just to clarify the carb and petrol bit) as Rich says, when on a low throttle and greater draw through the intake.

    Worn rings will use oil, but make it gas/breath heavier and a poor starter.

    Chris
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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    ******, that wasn't what I was hoping for!
    Well, it's used little to no oil, hardly any movement on the dip stick. I am not mechanically minded at all and would never dare take my engine apart in fear of ruining it, so how much would it cost to get a garage to service the engine including replacing these seals (or how long would it take?) I really can't afford to knacker the engine!

    It starts instantly and very well (although a little rougher when it's been sitting all week) and I never see any smoke apart from this amount at start up for a couple of minutes, which isn't very much at all (I can still easily see the world behind me I only notice it from my mirror which has dropped down as is pointing at my exhaust )
    Laurie and "Sammy", the 1990 200TDi 90
    http://www.bloodynora.co.uk

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Quote Originally Posted by lozzd View Post
    I am not mechanically minded at all
    You will be at this rate.

    Cost wise, think of the cost of a head gasket change by a garage and then add some more for the head to have the work done on it.

    Or you could give it a go yourself, and permitting you follow the manual you should have no problems. I myself wasn't too keen on doing anything like this on my 2.25 until the head gasket blew, which subsequently left me with no choice but to get on with it whether I wanted to or not.

    It took me about two days worth of work in total from starting the procedure (draining of coolant etc) to finish (ready to drive). That involved taking the head off prior to cleaning the two 'mating' surfaces. While it was off I also changed the valve stem oil seals (they had gone hard and leaked) and removed excess carbon from the valves.

    As long as you're willing to learn and not rush a job, you should be okay.

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    To be honest, if it's just a bit of smoke after standing all week, it isn't using a load of oil and it clears pretty quickly, I'd leave it.

    It's called " Let it develope.... " in the trade.

    Spend the money on something else.

    chris
    ........Such are they, whom God chooses for Himself, and gathers from the furthest ends of the Earth, servants from among the bravest, in Israel, to guard watchfully and faithfully, His sepulchre and the Temple of Solomon, sword in hand, ready for battle.
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    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, the trouble is, yours is ridiculous.

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    well... i agree with your approach... but at next oil change i would run my fingers thru the oil and sniff it to see if its thinned out...

    as for the guide/seal issue... you guys are english so you have to know this... you know how many cars youve produced that have NO seals fitted ? i can think of 20 without hesitation. as for my own experience i have see this issue on dozens and dozens of various vehicles over time and on no occassion where that fix was presumed to be " valve seals" and that fix then employed, did it ever fix the problem. not once.

    i can understand the diagnosis. they get hard and break apart and you look at them and just can't believe its not the problem... but it never is and all those cars that started life without them don't smoke at start up...

    its always something else...

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Chris, that's definately more the response I would've hoped for. Infact, I started the car this morning with 3 seconds of glow plug and it started well and with none of the blue smoke at all. I think I will keep an eye on it for now; Although my friend got a shiney new TD5 disco yesterday, I didn't realise how cheap Discos had gotten! Had a silly look through autotrader and now I want a V8 Disco Stop Laurie! How much does a 1989 Defender with a Defender 200TDi with 110,000 on the clock go for nowadays anyway?

    Rich, I'm certainly willing to learn and have a go, but I don't really have the time I'm in London Monday 9am - Friday 9pm, so that just leaves two days at the weekend which means at my slow rate I probably wouldn't get it quite done and then I'd be stuck with a no engined car!

    Steve, well what do you reckon since I started it with some warmth and there was no smoke? Admittedly it had only been sitting 12 hours which is short compared to normal but still.

    Thanks guys,

    Laurie
    Laurie and "Sammy", the 1990 200TDi 90
    http://www.bloodynora.co.uk

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Quote Originally Posted by stevesxm View Post

    its always something else...
    So, the Toyota MR2 I did the other week that was smoking badly and had a fouled plug on no 2 cylinder, had oil and carbon build up on one inlet valve on no2 cylinder, which happened to have had a split seal on that valve, which stopped smoking when I fitted a new set, wasn't really the problem...

    I'd better get it back off the customer and look again, thanks for the diagnosis, I'll know better next time.

    Chris
    ........Such are they, whom God chooses for Himself, and gathers from the furthest ends of the Earth, servants from among the bravest, in Israel, to guard watchfully and faithfully, His sepulchre and the Temple of Solomon, sword in hand, ready for battle.
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    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, the trouble is, yours is ridiculous.

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Wouldn't worry about it Laurie, mines been starting to do the same, blue smoke for a bit, I also get smoke when I boot it hard like up hills or whatever, any time its pulling hardish. If I'm using it on short runs it'll use oil, but if its long runs then won't use hardly any, I was thinking piston rings but this thread's made me think a bit. I'll see what happens like Chris said, if it does need doing then I'll probably take it out and strip/ rebuild it in a week I've got off work. In the summer when I can rind my bike in the warm well

    Can't smell diesel in the oil, if the rings were shot would diesel definatly get in the oil or just maybe depending on how bad they are? If I was rebuild it then I'd probably do everything anyway, wouldn't have to touch it for years then. Whats a normal amout of oil to use in 1K would you say Chris? Also, by the corner where the engine number is, where the head meets the block, theres always a bit of oil Don't know if its coming out the breather and blowing down and across or weeping out the head gasket, any ideas?

    Sorry Laurie, turned into a bit of a hijack there I wouldn't worry about your truck, just keep an eye on the oil, long as it isn't burning huge amounts then don't worry about it.

    Cheers, Ben

    P.S should of said on mine, the mudflap where the exhaust blows over is black with soot on the edge, as is the inside of the exhaust. Been like it for ages, been running some injector cleaner through it too to see if that was the cause of the smoke, but the exhaust was sooted up long before that.
    Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it!

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Compared to the problems of the PT Cruiser, I wouldn't worry too much if you used a pint or so on a higher mileage engine. Just check the level regularly and before you do a long journey. If you know it's using oil, you get to know when it needs a top up.

    http://www.ptcruiserproblems.com/

    The things to do to help is to have a good air filter element, that helps the engine breath and less chance of oil being drawn through inlet valves. Don't leave an engine idling, it just polishes the bores. Clean the breathers regularly, that should stop leaks from starting. Start and shut down a turbo engine properly. New oil doesn't burn off as quick as old oil, so change it regularly. As has been said earlier, if the oil feels thin and gritty, it's got fuel in it, so change it. If the level keeps rising, check the lift pump ( a TD5 needs more investigation).

    Chris
    ........Such are they, whom God chooses for Himself, and gathers from the furthest ends of the Earth, servants from among the bravest, in Israel, to guard watchfully and faithfully, His sepulchre and the Temple of Solomon, sword in hand, ready for battle.
    YCHJCYA2PDTHFH and PhD Hons Drvl Cleckheaton and Grand Master of the Forum Lodge of Enlightenment

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, the trouble is, yours is ridiculous.

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    Consultant Ben Breese's Avatar
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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    I let the turbo wind down properly Chris, I do leave it idle when scraping the frost off the windows or something, only a couple of minutes tops, air filters like new. Which breather pipe on a 200? The one between the rocker cover and the inlet pipe before the turbo?

    I'm not worried about it, still pulls fine, it doesn't use gallons of oil, certainly A LOT less than my old TD If it develops into something worse then I'll look into it then, just getting other peoples opinions really

    Cheers, Ben
    Nothing is impossible for the person who doesn't have to do it!

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    Default Re: Increasingly worried about blue smoke at startup

    Interestingly, on the V8 there are no seals at all on the exhaust valves, and the inlets only have a flat washer (called a seal) whose real purpose I cannot figure out. Since a petrol has a vacuum in the intake which a diesel shouldn't, I'd have thought they should need a proper stem seal.

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