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Smoke upon startup

Old 01-13-2019, 05:19 PM
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Smoke upon startup

Upon startup my 1988 3VZE emits white smoke with some blusish gray tint. The smoke isnít terrible thick but itís defi enough to notice. It dissapates in 5 minutes or less. It usually happens only when itís cold outside or itís been sitting overnight. Also it smells like itís running rich.

Is this any cause for concern? Like head gaskets going bad?

Coolant is slap full. There is a small amount of oil on one of the valve cover bolts.

Last edited by gilesitis; 01-13-2019 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:41 AM
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When you say the engine emits smoke on startup, do you mean immediately after the engine starts or within say 30 seconds or so from startup?

If it takes a few seconds for the white smoke to appear, it may just be steam due to low ambient temperatures, which is normal. As the engine and exhaust warms up, the steam will start to be less noticeable. I have the 22R which generates lots of steam when it is cold out and the engine is also cold, which is normal.

Does your exhaust smell sweet?

The bluish smoke could be from old valve guide seals leaking a little oil past the valve stems and when you start the engine, the first several combustion cycles burns the oil that has collected since last startup. This is just my best guess.

Engines do run rich when cold, so that could be what you are smelling. How rich does the exhaust smell? Any soot coming from the exhaust?

Does the oil look normal and at the proper level?

It would be easiest to see the exhaust in person.


Last edited by old87yota; 01-15-2019 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:34 AM
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Oil smoke on startup usually indicates leaking valve guide seals. 5 minutes seems a bit long though. Usually you'll only see it for the first few seconds.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by old87yota View Post


When you say the engine emits smoke on startup, do you mean immediately after the engine starts or within say 30 seconds or so from startup?

If it takes a few seconds for the white smoke to appear, it may just be steam due to low ambient temperatures, which is normal. As the engine and exhaust warms up, the steam will start to be less noticeable. I have the 22R which generates lots of steam when it is cold out and the engine is also cold, which is normal.

Does your exhaust smell sweet?

The bluish smoke could be from old valve guide seals leaking a little oil past the valve stems and when you start the engine, the first several combustion cycles burns the oil that has collected since last startup. This is just my best guess.

Engines do run rich when cold, so that could be what you are smelling. How rich does the exhaust smell? Any soot coming from the exhaust?

Does the oil look normal and at the proper level?

It would be easiest to see the exhaust in person.

I'll have to go back and look to see how soon it starts coming out. IIRC, it does take a few seconds before it starts puffing.
I wouldn't say the exhaust smells sweet. If anything it smells more like gas. No soot that I can see coming from exhaust. It smells pretty rich upon startup, and maybe gets a little better as I drive it.

Oil looks good to me. I took a pic this morning after firing it up...

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