1996 1FZ-FE with 200k started billowing thick white smoke when accelerating from stoplight

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Jan 3, 2018
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So, a couple days ago I cleaned my TB and intake with TB cleaner and Seafoam. Everything has been fine but today, after driving all day without issue, I accelerated from a stoplight and white smoke began billowing out of my exhaust for a good 50yds. It was thick white smoke and it hung around for a while as the breeze carried it down the street behind me. I have witnessed this issue happen when accelerating from a stop only after driving many miles on the highway (like after stopping at a rest stop) and smoke would billow for awhile and then stop. Regular in town driving never gave me this issue until now.

Did I ruin something when I cleaned my TB? Did a valve seal just happen to decide to go out on me?

Thoughts?
 

inkpot

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Does the rig still run good? White/light blue smoke is generally oi, or transmission fluid, but black smoke is usually fuel. Is your oil pan over full with oil?
 
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Did you smell maple syrup at the same time?
No, no sweet smell like coolant. And I don’t have any milky oil.

Does the rig still run good? White/light blue smoke is generally oi, or transmission fluid, but black smoke is usually fuel. Is your oil pan over full with oil?
Not black, looks white/grey. My valve seals most likely have been going for the last 10k or so, but I haven’t had this happen this often unless on the interstate for a while.

My oil pressure gauge seems to be dipping lower than I remember, but it goes up to the second highest line while accelerating.
 
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Good... So my next question would be... What do your spark plugs look like? And if you have a endoscope/borscope it would be handy to take a look at the pistons for each (if you have the mirror attachment look at the valves too).

not disagreeing it could be valve seals, just nicer to look before you leap in case you can save money/time.
 
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Good... So my next question would be... What do your spark plugs look like? And if you have a endoscope/borscope it would be handy to take a look at the pistons for each (if you have the mirror attachment look at the valves too).

not disagreeing it could be valve seals, just nicer to look before you leap in case you can save money/time.
I replaced my spark plugs last September with Bosche Fine Wire Iridium's and NGK wires, and have since put on 6k miles. But I haven't inspected them since then. I'm going to do a full off-engine TB cleaning at this time as well.

A friend of mine is loaning me his leakdown tester and I'm going to check out my cyl's. I do not own an endoscope but I could most likely find one to borrow.
 
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Has your PCV valve been changed? Is it the factory unit?

Do you have an oil catch can inline with the PCV Valve?

White smoke is typically coolant. Blue / Light blue / gray smoke is typically oil. What is your throttle position and sequence just before you see the smoke?
Rolling down the interstate, back off the throttle and see the smoke?
Accelerating hard from a stop and see the smoke?
Shut down for 30 minutes and smoke hard upon start-up?

Black smoke on acceleration is fuel
Blue smoke on acceleration is rings
Blue smoke on deceleration is valve seals/guides
White smoke on Start-up could be condensation in exhaust
White smoke on hard acceleration is head gasket (Will go away after a few seconds)
white smoke on deceleration is head gasket (gets worse the longer you coast in decel mode)

Why did you clean your TB? Did you remove it to do that? Did you get all your hoses hooked back up properly?
Did you crack any vacuum lines during the process of cleaning the TB?

An example of head gasket/head crack failure:
I had a 1960 Chevy engine crack a head BAD between #3 and 4. I pulled into a gas station after a 200 mile drive and as I pulled in, I had two police officers pull in behind me because they thought the place was on fire there was THAT much smoke. Visibility was about 20 feet.
 
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Has your PCV valve been changed? Is it the factory unit?

Do you have an oil catch can inline with the PCV Valve?
1) No, I have not changed my PCV valve.
2) Yes, I believe it's the factory PCV Valve.
3) Yes, I have installed an oil catch can between the PCV and the TB (I use this exact filter https://imgs.inkfrog.com/pix/idrack/oilfilter.jpg)

White smoke is typically coolant. Blue / Light blue / gray smoke is typically oil.
What is your throttle position and sequence just before you see the smoke?
Rolling down the interstate, back off the throttle and see the smoke?
Accelerating hard from a stop and see the smoke?
Shut down for 30 minutes and smoke hard upon start-up?
1) Was mostly white and grey, I haven't noticed any blue hues but I also haven't been anywhere but in the drivers seat when it has blown smoke (almost identical to what it looks like when my engine is burning off seafoam from cleaning vacuum lines)

2) Throttle position and sequence? -- I'm not sure I understand this question fully, but I'm accelerating from a stoplight at a normal pace, not gunning it and not babying it.

3) Letting off the throttle on interstate -- When I back off the throttle, I don't see any smoke at all. If there is smoke coming out, it's not enough for me to see it from looking over my shoulder while on the interstate.

4) Accelerating from a stop -- Yes, this is the only time I've seen this happen. Prior to yesterday, the only time I ever saw smoke billow out like this was after driving on the interstate for many miles and stopping for gas. When start up my car after filling, no smoke, but as soon as I press on the gas pedal to leave the gas station or parking lot, that's when the smoke billows for a good 3-5 seconds. Thick white/grey smoke that doesn't dissipate immediately.

5) My car never smokes upon startup of the car. Even after the two instances yesterday at 3 stoplights in a row over 2 miles. I turned off my engine at the 4th stoplight and restarted my car and had no smoke. Then I floored my car for a good 3/4 of a mile and then parked it for 20 min while in the grocery store. When I came out, no smoke upon startup and i haven't had any smoke since.

Why did you clean your TB? Did you remove it to do that? Did you get all your hoses hooked back up properly?
Did you crack any vacuum lines during the process of cleaning the TB?
I was getting an intermittent EGR "A" Insufficient Flow CEL error and removed the EGR valve to clean it. While I was doing that, I cleaned the TB via various intake ports on the TB.

I did not remove my TB while cleaning it. I removed the air intake hose, PCV inlet hose, brake booster intake hose, removed the EGR valve and EGR temp sensor and put a long spray nozzle into both of those holes as far as I could and sprayed seafoam and TB cleaner and then let it sit for 8-days while I was on vacation (in addition to submerging my EGR valve and other diaphragm in seafoam for 8-days).
When I returned from vacation, I reassembled the EGR system and did further seafoam and TB cleaning by spraying it into the TB with the engine on until it cut out. After it cut, I continued cleaning everything and tried starting the engine, it took a lonnggggg time to start and was making a nasty grinding noise for much of the start-attempts while cranking. I then used an air hose to shoot compressed air into the ports I sprayed the TB cleaner and seafoam into thinking that I flooded the engine with cleaner and needed to air it out. I blew air into it via the different intake ports for 15m and then let the vehicle sit with the air cleaner hose disconnected for 2hrs. After two hours of sitting, I tried starting again and got the same grinding noise when trying to start (which later I realized was probably due to nearly vapor-locking my engine). After a good 6-7 min of on/off trying to turn over the engine, I finally got it started and smoke billowed out of the exhaust for a while and then it returned to a smooth idle per usual. That was last Sunday the 30th and there hadn't been any smoke coming from my exhaust at all since except for at those three stoplights last night.

Since then, I've been paying more attention to my oil pressure meter on my dash and it seems to hover lower than I remember it being before.


The photo below was immediately after starting my engine following it sitting in 100 degree weather for 1hr - No smoke upon startup
IMG_6676.JPG




This was while accelerating out of my neighborhood: 1400rpm no smoke
IMG_6677.JPG






Still accelerating: 2400rpm no smoke
IMG_6679.JPG




Cruising at 40mph downhill: No smoke
IMG_6681.JPG




Stopped and idling at stoplight 10sec after the photo above: No smoke while decelerating or after accelerating from the stoplight.
IMG_6682.JPG
 
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After all the washing/ rinsing with Seafoam I would recommend you change the oil. You may have diluted your oil, hence the low oil pressure.

I have read on here from a couple others that experienced smoke like you describe and they later determined it was the catch can they installed that caused it. When removed, the problem went away.
 
Joined
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Lincoln, NE
After all the washing/ rinsing with Seafoam I would recommend you change the oil. You may have diluted your oil, hence the low oil pressure.

I have read on here from a couple others that experienced smoke like you describe and they later determined it was the catch can they installed that caused it. When removed, the problem went away.
I hadn’t thought of that yet but that’s a good point. I did spray Seafoam into my PCV so it’s possible that the filter let it through and caused the smoke.

But yeah, I need to do an oil change again.

Have you been keeping an eye on your coolant level?
Coolant level hasn’t changed in 15k miles at least
 
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So, I went for a drive on country highway last night and it happened again. I drove for a while with the cruise on and then stopped at a 4-way stop. Upon accelerating from the stop, my vehicle seemed to stutter slightly and I felt a loss of power and then thick white/grey/blue smoke came billowing out for a good 30ft and then my power came back and I was able to accelerate quickly without smoke. As I drove away I noticed the smoke did have that blue hue to it. I was hundreds of yards away from the stop where the smoke began billowing and could still see the thick smoke floating across the top of a corn field. The smoke is so thick that if there were a car behind me when the smoke billowed, they would have had absolutely zero visibility through the smoke until it cleared.

The odd thing is, I could reproduce it a couple times after that by driving with the cruise set at 50-60mph for 5-10miles, coming to a stop, and then accelerating from the stop. But, if I drive those same conditions but NOT come to a stop and then hammer on my gas-pedal to accelerate from 50mph to 75mph, I get NO smoke at all.

It's almost as if there's a hole/cavity or "bowl" somewhere in my cylinder or intake where oil is pooling while I'm cruising and come to a stop, and then when I accelerate from the stop the bowl/hole/cavity dumps oil into my intake or one of my cylinders and that's when the smoke happens.

Also, I checked my oil-catch can and there's actually no oil or fluid inside it at all (which makes me wonder if my PCV isn't working at all).
 
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your oil pressures with the gauge look fine, keep in mind that its not the most accurate. its there to give you an idea of the pressure not so much an accurate reading.
 
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your oil pressures with the gauge look fine, keep in mind that its not the most accurate. its there to give you an idea of the pressure not so much an accurate reading.
That's good to know. I figured as much, but still wanted to call out that it does seem to be averaging lower than I remember it being before.

I am starting to think that there's oil dumping into somewhere while I'm decelerating. Then, when I accelerate from a stop after decelerating from driving on the highway or a long stint of driving, that's when it all burns off. But there's no smoke while I'm decelerating. It's ONLY while accelerating and intermittent.
 
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I am starting to think that there's oil dumping into somewhere while I'm decelerating.
then your looking at valve stem seals, pcv system or if they are extremely worn valve guides.

start with the easy stuff first, get rid of the catch can and filter, install a new pcv valve, grommet and hose, then go from there. is it possible that theres still crud in the intake from seafoaming everything?
 
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then your looking at valve stem seals, pcv system or if they are extremely worn valve guides.

start with the easy stuff first, get rid of the catch can and filter, install a new pcv valve, grommet and hose, then go from there. is it possible that theres still crud in the intake from seafoaming everything?
I was having the smoking issue after long drives well before I did the TB cleaning, but it wasn't as prominent or frequent as it is now. I'd have to drive for a longgggg time (30-40miles minimum) before the smoking would happen after stopping. Driving 5-10miles and having this much smoke hasn't ever happened.

I could probably look for a thread for PCV replacement, but is the PCV and grommet replaceable without removing the valve cover?
 
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I was having the smoking issue after long drives well before I did the TB cleaning, but it wasn't as prominent or frequent as it is now. I'd have to drive for a longgggg time (30-40miles minimum) before the smoking would happen after stopping. Driving 5-10miles and having this much smoke hasn't ever happened.

I could probably look for a thread for PCV replacement, but is the PCV and grommet replaceable without removing the valve cover?

Yes, both are replaceable without removing the VC. HOWEVER, the grommet is generally hard as a brick and will break up when trying to remove. Remove the PCV valve, then heat the grommet with a torch to soften, then pull with pliers and a vacuum to suck up the chunks.

The factory PCV is made of metal and very robust. You may have to use pliers to get hold of it to yank it out. Even if the grommet falls inside the engine, there is a "windage tray" inside he VC that will contain it and not let it get into critical engine parts.
 
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Yes, both are replaceable without removing the VC. HOWEVER, the grommet is generally hard as a brick and will break up when trying to remove. Remove the PCV valve, then heat the grommet with a torch to soften, then pull with pliers and a vacuum to suck up the chunks.

The factory PCV is made of metal and very robust. You may have to use pliers to get hold of it to yank it out. Even if the grommet falls inside the engine, there is a "windage tray" inside he VC that will contain it and not let it get into critical engine parts.
Thanks everyone. I checked my oil catch and I believe that it's actually restricting functionality of the PCV because there's not a drip of oil in the PCV catch.

What I can't seem to figure out is what the heck the other ventilation hose coming from the crankcase to the intake is. And nowhere else on the forum can I find an answer either. I think what's happening is that the PCV line to the TB is blocked so the engine is having to find other means of letting off pressure and it's forcing that pressure out of the other ventilation port on the valve cover, through the hose and into the intake. What the heck is that hose for?


In the photo below, the yellow circle is the PCV and the green circle is the other ventilation port that no one knows what it is. I can't even find explanatory parts on the exploded parts-views for the 1FZ-FE online. All that the I can see online linking to the area is "Ventilation hose".

Image from iOS.jpg
 
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You will notice the difference of where the OTHER end of each of those hoses attach.

The pcv attaches AFTER the butterfly in the throttle body.

The ventilation hose it BEFORE the butterfly on the TB.

The pcv system will see much higher vacuum at idle than the vent side.

Based on what I'm thinking about in relation to your problem, it is definitely your improperly set up pcv system tight niw. I'll type more next week when at a keyboard.

Get rid of the catch can and install a new OEM pcv valve and hose. And ventilation hose of needed.
 
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You will notice the difference of where the OTHER end of each of those hoses attach.

The pcv attaches AFTER the butterfly in the throttle body.

The ventilation hose it BEFORE the butterfly on the TB.

The pcv system will see much higher vacuum at idle than the vent side.

Based on what I'm thinking about in relation to your problem, it is definitely your improperly set up pcv system tight niw. I'll type more next week when at a keyboard.

Get rid of the catch can and install a new OEM pcv valve and hose. And ventilation hose of needed.
I picked up an OEM PCV valve and grommet and replaced them, removed the catch can from my line and installed a straight hose (OEM Setup) and am going to go for a long drive to see if this resolves my issue fully or partially.

I need to do a leakdown test now that I have the tester, but unfortunately my 80 takes literally 12 hours to cool down far enough for me to work on it without getting my hands and arms burnt to hell.
 
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