Intermittent oil smoke
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This is a discussion on Intermittent oil smoke within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; My 03 stock and well maintained wrx is occasionally smoking, oil smoke from the smell of it. I have been ...

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    Registered User 5gear's Avatar
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    Intermittent oil smoke

    My 03 stock and well maintained wrx is occasionally smoking, oil smoke from the smell of it. I have been around lots and lots of engines and done lots of mechanical work, I feel confident this is oil smoke and not coolant. My question is this, I only notice it occasionally and only at idle. I just changed my PCV valve and the old one was VERY clean. The intercooler has no oil in it, although I have not checked for shaft play on the turbo yet. I have only owned this car for about a month, but the records that came with it along with the overall condition of the car suggests little to no abuse and or modding. Thanks for any input

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    Registered User 5gear's Avatar
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    No ideas? I know I am new here, but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Common leak sources are the oil drain plug washer if reused and over-torqued, the oil seals on the front of the motor, the valve cover gaskets, and the oil line to the turbo. The latter in particular will generate smoke that's difficult to localize since it tends to not leave as much residue as other leak sources -- it'll burn up the leaked oil. Let everything cool down and have a closer look at the motor.
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    Registered User 5gear's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks for the ideas. I guess I forgot to mention that the smoke is coming directly and only from the tail pipe.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5gear View Post
    Cool, thanks for the ideas. I guess I forgot to mention that the smoke is coming directly and only from the tail pipe.
    Oops, OK that changes things. I'm surprised your PCV system looked clean. If it's oil from the tail then it could be valve seals, rings, or turbo seal IMO.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Registered User 5gear's Avatar
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    Yeah, it is very frustrating considering how clean and well maintained the whole car is. I have given thoughts to the turbo seals, but it is so strange that it only does this sometimes. It never yet has done it on a cold start, so that tends to make me think it isn't the valve seals or rings. But it has done it mid warm up, and it has done it after two hours worth of driving, always at an idle. If it was just the smell of oil it wouldn't be as bad, but I am talking about a haze that drifts around the car Kind of embarrassing, lol.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Could it be related to boost or heat?
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Registered User 5gear's Avatar
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    Well I was wondering that as well, but I can't seem to directly link it to either one. Seems so erratic, that was why I was really hoping the PCV valve would fix it.

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    OK, new issue. To add insult to injury so to speak, there is now oil smoke coming from under the heat shield on the turbo, never had that before. A new surprise every day

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5gear View Post
    OK, new issue. To add insult to injury so to speak, there is now oil smoke coming from under the heat shield on the turbo, never had that before. A new surprise every day

    Or maybe it is relatively good news that it is just your turbo seals causing all the trouble and not your motor.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    Or maybe it is relatively good news that it is just your turbo seals causing all the trouble and not your motor.
    Good point. Good reason to upgrade to a better snail!

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5gear View Post
    Good point. Good reason to upgrade to a better snail!
    I'd take off the intercooler and see if there is oil in there now. Otherwise I wonder what else might be going on.

    A used stock TD04 is cheap ($100?) and should be easy to replace. Or you can rebuild it. A ported TD04 will be nicer with basic exhaust and a tune. Beyond that you will need a better TMIC, fuel pump, injectors and incidentals.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    I had the intercooler off to replace the PCV valve hoping that was the cause of the smoke, saw very minimal evidence of oil but there was a light residue in it. Don't know if a tiny amount is acceptable or not. We have multiple diesel trucks and oil in the intercoolers is just normal, but we are talking about much higher compression and higher boost levels as well.

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5gear View Post
    I had the intercooler off to replace the PCV valve hoping that was the cause of the smoke, saw very minimal evidence of oil but there was a light residue in it. Don't know if a tiny amount is acceptable or not. We have multiple diesel trucks and oil in the intercoolers is just normal, but we are talking about much higher compression and higher boost levels as well.
    A small amount is normal usually, but I guess if it is intermittent that might be the case too.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    Registered User 5gear's Avatar
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    BTW, I keep forgetting to ask. This is my first turbo charged boxer, I have had and do have other Subarus, but this is the first turbo charged one. I have had many other turbo charged cars and trucks, 4cyl, 6cyl, v8, etc... This is the first one to have a "flutter" sound to the turbo whistle. I assume this is related to the un-equal length exhaust, unless of course this is an abnormal sound.....

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