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Help! Smoking tail pipe cold start

  #1  
Old 04-14-2013, 01:45 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3
Default Help! Smoking tail pipe cold start

Hello from Seattle,
So I bought this 1991 accord ex back in October for $1500 from this guy who claimed to be a mechanic. He said that he changed the timing belt and water pump and a few other things but his accent was very strong and I couldn't understand him very well. I took it for a test drive and it seemed fine so I bought it. Took it home and everything seemed Ok. I woke up the next morning to drive to work and when I started the engine a HUGE cloud of white/blueish smoke came out so I was a tad concerned. After it warmed up however It was gone and ran fine. I was told that It was probably just condensation but it smelled like exhaust. So since then I've replaced the following:

First the spark plugs, fuel filter, pcv valve, air filter, battery, radiator cap and Did fuel injector cleaning.

It seemed to be running better but still was smoking on cold starts. A mechanic down the street from my house is saying that I need to replace the head gasket which I hear is expensive and not worth it for an old car like mine. Another person who I trust but is long distance from me, gave me an over the phone tip and said that it's likely there's oil keleaking into engine overnight and getting burned on start causing smoke and recommended a compression test.so I did a compression test, got 140-150 on all 4. So My Long distance person said it can't be the head gasket and that I should replace the valve seals. yesterday I had the valve seals and cover gasket done and this morning there was still a huge cloud of smoke when I started the car. The mechanic recommended a "Valve Job" in the next few months but I don't know what that is and my long distancer Said if the valve seals didn't work then piston rings might be the culprit but that I should just sell the car if that's the case because it's expensive.

So my questions:
That a good compression test reading?
What could be causing this smoke? Cheapest fix?
How much is a piston ring replacement?
What's a "Valve job"? Mechanic quoted me at $700-$800

Any help is appreciated, thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 04-14-2013, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by HigherThanMars View Post
Hello from Seattle,
So I bought this 1991 accord ex back in October for $1500 from this guy who claimed to be a mechanic. He said that he changed the timing belt and water pump and a few other things but his accent was very strong and I couldn't understand him very well. I took it for a test drive and it seemed fine so I bought it. Took it home and everything seemed Ok. I woke up the next morning to drive to work and when I started the engine a HUGE cloud of white/blueish smoke came out so I was a tad concerned. After it warmed up however It was gone and ran fine. I was told that It was probably just condensation but it smelled like exhaust. So since then I've replaced the following:

First the spark plugs, fuel filter, pcv valve, air filter, battery, radiator cap and Did fuel injector cleaning.

It seemed to be running better but still was smoking on cold starts. A mechanic down the street from my house is saying that I need to replace the head gasket which I hear is expensive and not worth it for an old car like mine. Another person who I trust but is long distance from me, gave me an over the phone tip and said that it's likely there's oil keleaking into engine overnight and getting burned on start causing smoke and recommended a compression test.so I did a compression test, got 140-150 on all 4. So My Long distance person said it can't be the head gasket and that I should replace the valve seals. yesterday I had the valve seals and cover gasket done and this morning there was still a huge cloud of smoke when I started the car. The mechanic recommended a "Valve Job" in the next few months but I don't know what that is and my long distancer Said if the valve seals didn't work then piston rings might be the culprit but that I should just sell the car if that's the case because it's expensive.

So my questions:
That a good compression test reading?
What could be causing this smoke? Cheapest fix?
How much is a piston ring replacement?
What's a "Valve job"? Mechanic quoted me at $700-$800

Any help is appreciated, thanks!
Several comments:
  • At this point I wouldn't bother doing anything else until you have more data.
  • The first (and most important) data point is, how much oil is the engine consuming; fill the engine until the oil level is at the "Max" hash mark on the dip stick and check it frequently until the oil is down to the "Min" hash mark. If you were able to drive more than 500 miles then don't do anything, just feed it whatever oil is on sale; you can drive tens of thousands of miles that way before the cost of that oil equals the cost of the repairs to control oil consumption.
  • The second data point I'd be interested in hearing about is where do you see the most "smoke" after the engine is hot (if any); while climbing a long hill in a lower gear at a high throttle setting, or while descending a long grade and downshifting to control the car's speed.
  • If you see smoke while climbing, then it is rings.
  • If you see smoke while descending, then it is valve guides.
Keep us posted.
 
  #3  
Old 04-14-2013, 06:06 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
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Thanks for the response.

Right now I'm getting about 250miles on a tank of gas (no idea why the mpg is so bad) and I refill every 1.5-2 weeks and put oil in every 2 gas fill ups. So about 500 miles.

The smoke is very heavy on start then I let the car warm up and when I drive away there's a small amount for a block or two. I do notice some when I'm going up hill in lower gear. So this means piston rings? How much does it cost to replace those? Is it worth it or should I sell the car?
 
  #4  
Old 04-15-2013, 02:05 AM
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Hmmm, starting to sound like rings.

Were I in your shoes at this point I might start shopping around for a good condition used motor in good condition. The good news here is that as long as you keep feeding your motor oil it should last you quite a while, thus giving you the time to be picky about what you buy.

Prices for used motors vary by mileage and the region you live in, but I've heard tell of complete motors in good shape without too many miles on them going for under $500 (occasionally well under). Once found and purchased, your next task is to get it installed; you can probably do it yourself in a weekend if you're handy with a wrench, otherwise you're going to have to find a shop to do it for you.
 
  #5  
Old 04-16-2013, 07:48 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3
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I found a motor for $450 that has just over 100k on it. That a good deal? I really thought that the valve seals would have fixed the smoking in the morning. It's really annoying and kind of embarrassing. How much do you think it is to install new motor?
 
  #6  
Old 04-16-2013, 09:23 PM
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Location: Southern New Hampshire
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Originally Posted by HigherThanMars View Post
I found a motor for $450 that has just over 100k on it. That a good deal? I really thought that the valve seals would have fixed the smoking in the morning. It's really annoying and kind of embarrassing. How much do you think it is to install new motor?
Sounds like a pretty fair deal. Too much lower and I'd be asking myself what's wrong with the motor, too much higher and I'd keep looking. As for the cost of installation; I cannot speculate, call three or four shops and get quotes.

Keep us posted on your progress.
 
  #7  
Old 08-15-2013, 12:56 AM
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I bought a 1984 Honda Accord for about that same amount years ago. It too smoked on cold start up, large white-ish cloud especially on colder mornings.. I first thought of blown head gasket and antifreeze getting into combustion chamber. That proved false,then I settled of oil leaking into combustion chamber over night ,possibly through valve seals, or sleeves. I didn't have the money for any big motor work, and it ran fine after start up. One friend of mine recommended repeated oil changes to rid the engine of Crud either in the oil or circulating in the block, he mentioned contaminated oil will act that way. He also recommended driving it on a trip of several hours to raise engine temps and clear out the contaminents in the engine. so I just changed the oil regularly,and drove it daily, I had about a 1 hour commute to and from work, and it decreased immensely. Looking back I may have put in heavier wt oil in it, but mostly I remember just repeated the oil changes. It ran great, and smoked a lot less.I kept it several years and sold it for about what I payed for it. It too never got great MPG, but it never failed me. I think the accord is heavier than other cars, and will not reach higher mpg's regardless. Maybe the vtec engine has solved some of those issues, I have a 1998 now, its still thirstier than our mazda or escort. Just my 2 cents worth
 
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