Smoke, Cause Unknown
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This is a discussion on Smoke, Cause Unknown within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; This has happened once before but went away after a short drive. I recently noticed smoke coming from under the ...

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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    Smoke, Cause Unknown

    This has happened once before but went away after a short drive. I recently noticed smoke coming from under the heat shield between my turbo and my downpipe. White smoke. Not heavy but it's enough to notice it coming out of the hood scoop from a stop. Does anybody have any idea what this could be or how to fix it? Thanks
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Remove the heatsheild and look.............
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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    Ok I guess I could try an remove the shield. I have never had to do it before; is it a simple process?
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    ClubWRX.net Vendor adam@kronosperformance's Avatar
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    Probably leaking from the oil return. Get it fixed asap.
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    KHP
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    Registered User KHP's Avatar
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    If you're leaking oil close to your turbo/exhaust. There's a high probability of the leaking oil catching fire. Like Kronos said don't put it of and try to get it fixed as soon as possible.
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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    I'm making a B line for my mechanic after work. Hopefully get it diagnosed today at least.
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    After researching this issue more people believe the problem to be the gaskets and seals near the turbo. I'm having those replaced. Any other ideas? I mean someone else even said it may be the oil return line with a crack in it spaying stuff on the downpipe / turbo area.
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    Update: I just paid a pretty penny to have to have all my gaskets and seals redone. However, the smoke is still there; seems to be protruding from the portion of the power steering fluid line where the metal sheath covers the rubber portion. This is coincidentally near the downpipe / turbo area still.
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    Supporting Member mjboudreaux77's Avatar
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    So what is the fluid that is leaking? Since you said white smoke, I don't think it is oil.

    By the way, if you just had all the gaskets re-done, there is a possibility the mechanic spilled (or there was risidual fluid) while fixing it - which means it should go away after you run the engine for a bit to cook it off.
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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    I'm not sure exactly. Other people have said the same thing about the residual fluid. Thing that keeps bugging me is that it comes and goes. I want to believe it's residual but at the same time I don't want to ignore it if it is to really be a problem. I guess I can just keep an eye on it and then get back you guys if something else happens. I appreciate all the help so far guys, thanks. I'll keep updating. Until then I welcome all advice.
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    Update: Had a pressure check on the coolant system today; passed with flying colors: held 25psi for 30 min. I also discovered that the previous owner has cut down the turbo heatshield; where the smoke is coming from. I guess the heatshield normally has seven bolts holding it in place whereas mine only seems to have two holding it on. The back half that goes down over the downpipe seems to be missing. Could this have anything to do with the smoke? I'm looking at it as an excuse to get a nice SPT shield or something.
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    Supporting Member mjboudreaux77's Avatar
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    This is normally (almost always) a sign that the previous owner had changed the exhaust and gone at least stage 2. The stock heat shield doesn't fit on an aftermarket downpipe, so many people cut it to fit.

    How long have you had the car?

    Pressure checks are misleading. They generally will not show a leak if you have a small head gasket crack. You really need to wait for the smoke to come back and find where it is coming from. White means water or coolant. I believe you can put a die in the coolant that lights up under a black light - many mechanics do this. If you do that, you might be able to see where the leak is.

    Again - how long have you had the car before this came about?
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    Registered User WRidesX's Avatar
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    I have owned the car for about a year and a half. This happened once last summer then went away until just last week and it's been doing it every day for the past week.

    The downpipe is stock, I can tell you that much. The previous owner had installed a Perrin catless uppipe, whcih i would have done anyway and they also had an axle back exhaust; which I had redone into a cat back exhaust due to the piping around the muffler rotting out.

    After getting to work yesterday i popped the hood again due to the smoke. It's coming right from under the manifold where the turbo is and makes it's way up to the open air through the heat shield.
    '02 WRX Bugeye; Midnight Blue / Black Pearl

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    Supporting Member mjboudreaux77's Avatar
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    This really sounds like a coolant overflow - you are holding pressure while the car is not on, and the smoke is white.

    I can't remember for your engine- where is your coolant reserve tank? Is the overflow hose for that in a place that could blow out under the turbo? I believe you have also have a small coolant resivoir (with a radiator-like cap) right in front of your turbo. If your thermostat is stuck, you would pass cooling-system pressure checks - but you would be blowing coolant out the reserve tanks (or weak connections) whenever it got too hot.

    Your turbo has an inlet and outlet for coolant - they are the metal hoses that are clamped (poorly) to rubber ones on the side of the turbo closest to the passenger wheel. Do they look white and powdery?
    If I don't die by Thursday, I'll be roarin Friday night - Jimmy Buffett

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