burning oil fast, cant figure it out
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This is a discussion on burning oil fast, cant figure it out within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; First off, yes ive searched this a ton, and none are exactly similar to my issue, and ive tried most ...

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    burning oil fast, cant figure it out

    First off, yes ive searched this a ton, and none are exactly similar to my issue, and ive tried most the the common fixes.

    Vehicle: 2002 wrx, with the ej205, td04, with a full turbo back and uppipe. 111xxx miles, with all maintenance up to date, and oil changed every 3000 miles with full synthetic 5w30.

    Problem: Im getting large amounts of white/blue smoke out of my exhaust. This only happens when the engine is hot--it has never happened when cold. It is coming out in a puffing manner, and the amount of smoke is directly proportional to the amount of gas i am giving it. So if i am at an idle, its lightly puffing. when i gas it, it billows and smokes alot, and then when i let the gas off it goes down to relatively light puffing, with small random heavier puffs. This has been happening for about the last 6 months, and i finally just started to try to solve it, instead of just regularly checking my oil level. I had a AP at stage 2 around the time i started noticing it, but went back to stage 1 a few weeks later.

    The first thing i did was take it into a local shop and have them take a look. the mechanic there almost instantly said it was the turbo, and he recommended that i swap it for a rebuilt one from online. so i went with that, and my old turbo did have some oil in it and there was some shaft play. immediately the next day it was smoking again. so that did not work.

    the Second fix was the PCV valve. When i got to it, the hose was actually disconnected from it, and everything around it was very oily and grimy, and the valve itself was stuck and full of carbon and junk. this lifted my spirits, and i figured that was the problem. so i replaced it, and put the hose back on. i instantly noticed a very low and rough idle, like the car was struggling to stay alive. after a few hours, the idle went back to normal--as did the smoking. no change.

    Today i went in and did a compression check, and came up with 147, 151, 151, and 153. so my compression is pretty good.

    Ive read that changing your oil to something heavier like 10 40 can stop the burning oil, but that doesnt solve my initial problem.

    What else can i check, replace, or do to firgure out and solve my problem? and my other question is, depending on what the potential problem is, what might be the long term effects of said problem if left unfixed? (other than the obvious problem of running it dry and melting it.)

    Any help or advice or opinions or 2 cents is appreciated. Im trying my best to avoid dropping it off at a shop and saying "fix it, i dont care how much it costs". Thanks!

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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Did they do a leak down test?

    You probably have some valve problems going on. Left unchecked/unfixed, you'll eventually lose the motor completely.
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    no leak down test has been done yet. I called a local shop and they estimated about 5 hours of work just to do it on a wrx. so at a rate of 70-100$ an hour for diagnosis, i opted to continue in my own efforts until all other options were exhausted. what would be the reason be for complete engine failure if I had valve problems? i can see it being an issue if the timing were off and the valves got bent or something, but if i just had a leaky or sticky valve how would that kill the engine? thanks for the response by the way.

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    Good news, everyone! xxxxxxxAnub1s's Avatar
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    Let me clarify, the valve problem you would likely be having (if it is one) is related to the guides, if there is heavy oil consumption, and it's determined that the engine internals are okay. Mind you, a compression test doesn't tell you everything.

    The reason I say it could lead to complete failure, is because of the consumption. It's easy to let it go a little too long, even to the point of starving the engine. Even cornering hard when the oil is low can lead to oil starvation. If you let this go for longer, REALLY keep an eye on your oil level and make sure that the consumption rate isn't getting worse.
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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    The change from cold to hot activating this problem is interesting. I guess the oil should act like 30 weight at operating temperature- does this mean that the higher viscosity is somehow activating the problem?

    Also, the thermostat opens up when the temperature rises (and the water pump is coupled to the crankshaft, so that may explain the smoking following the throttle position), but that shouldn't affect the oil burning problem, right?

    ... one more thing.. I've heard that under normal operation a bit of oil can somehow make it into the Y-pipe and intercooler and through the intake- thus in an older car it may create a noticeable amount of oil being sucked in and burned.
    Last edited by Obeisance; 03-22-2013 at 05:43 AM.
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    If it's not your cylinders, it's likely the turbo seals. In this case, I'd have a leakdown test done not for the valves (you'd KNOW if a valve was kaput) but because the compression test is a static test and the cylinder rings can be sealed by the pressure of the compressed cylinder. The leakdown test employs rocking the piston in the cylinder which can expose more piston failures.

    Also, you should NOT be going to "Stage 1" with a TBE! That's an incorrect map for your mods!
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    Just change the oil to something thicker. I like Rotella T6. When oil gets hot its viscosity goes down so that would explain why you never see the puffs when the engine is cold. I would also seafoam the intake manifold. Then check the plugs and diagnose how you car is running.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zax View Post
    If it's not your cylinders, it's likely the turbo seals. In this case, I'd have a leakdown test done not for the valves (you'd KNOW if a valve was kaput) but because the compression test is a static test and the cylinder rings can be sealed by the pressure of the compressed cylinder. The leakdown test employs rocking the piston in the cylinder which can expose more piston failures.

    Also, you should NOT be going to "Stage 1" with a TBE! That's an incorrect map for your mods!
    how would i KNOW if a valve was kaput?

    I just swapped the turbo, so i have a hard time believing the seals are bad..its only got 500 miles on it.

    Ive read multiple places that on 02/03 wrx's, stage 1 is ok with a TBE--one of them being this excerpt i pulled from unabombers manifesto on nasioc-- "Do I need engine management with a downpipe? For 02/03 WRX and 04-06 STI users, no. For 04+ WRX and 07+ STI users, it's pretty much a requirement as the open loop/closed loop fueling issue mandated by the EPA causes long term reliability problems with using a downpipe and no tuning."

    with that being said, I know getting a tune would definitely be good regardless.
    Last edited by dillonhiemer; 03-22-2013 at 02:53 PM.

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    Stage 2 consists of a turbo back exhaust and an appropriate tune for that TBE...so why wouldn't you not want that? Stage 1 is pointless if you have a TBE. While it may be "ok" on a Bugeye to run without a tune, you don't get anything out of having the TBE and you are leaving a lot of performance on the table.

    Obviously though, that's not your problem here. You're consuming and burning oil somewhere, so it's gotta be out of one of a few places: turbo, block, or heads. Where did you get the replacement turbo?
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    Yes, i completely agree! It is just expensive. And my wife is not quite as into my car as i am..haha.

    The local tuning shop purchased it for me....which maybe was a bad idea? Im not sure what the site was. It was supposedly rebuilt, and from wherever they purchase parts i guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dillonhiemer View Post
    how would i KNOW if a valve was kaput?
    Significant loss of driveability. Though a leakdown test will determine if your valves sustained minor damage from high EGTs or particulate.

    Quote Originally Posted by dillonhiemer View Post
    Ive read multiple places that on 02/03 wrx's, stage 1 is ok with a TBE--one of them being this excerpt i pulled from unabombers manifesto on nasioc-- "Do I need engine management with a downpipe? For 02/03 WRX and 04-06 STI users, no. For 04+ WRX and 07+ STI users, it's pretty much a requirement as the open loop/closed loop fueling issue mandated by the EPA causes long term reliability problems with using a downpipe and no tuning.
    Yes, I'm fully aware of this. Stage 1 and Stock maps are NOT the same. What you have quoted is using a stock map with the 3" DP.
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    Well i havnt noticed any loss of drivability. If I wasn't smoking, I would think the car was as healthy as ever.

    Right, I apologize for the confusion--I am running the stock map, not stage 1.

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oguitar View Post
    Just change the oil to something thicker. I like Rotella T6. When oil gets hot its viscosity goes down so that would explain why you never see the puffs when the engine is cold.
    It's viscosity goes up as it warms up. Thats the point of a multi viscosity oil. It's a 5 weight cold and a 40 weight at operating temp.
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    Ron's right and it's very counterintuitive. Standard single weight oil thins as the temp increases, but multi weight oil uses polymer chains that change the dynamics of the fluid as the temperature changes. A 5w-30 oil is a 5w when cold and a 30w at operating temp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
    It's viscosity goes up as it warms up. Thats the point of a multi viscosity oil. It's a 5 weight cold and a 40 weight at operating temp.
    Yes. You are correct. I misspoke.
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