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 Post subject: Puff of smoke at startup
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:13 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:07 pm
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Location: San Diego
I had this for about a couple of years now. I was thinking about getting around to fixing it at some point. I understand it's a common problem in these engines (mine is a 2000 Metro). Does anyone have the procedure for the fix - I believe I need to replace the valve stem seals.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:23 am 
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You are correct, its a common thing on that generation of g13 engine. 2 options, pull the head and get a shop to freshen it/check it and install new seals, or pull the cam out and valve springs to replace the seals in the car. Its tedious, but not a bad job. I dont have a specific instruction list, try a service manual to get the procedure and torques specs etc.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:38 am 
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Location: San Diego
I do have the FSM but that part of the procedure is not explained clearly although I have an idea on what to do. Just wondered if anyone here had any specific suggestions. While on this topic I recently was trying to troubleshoot and fix a pull issue and as part of that went in to a shop to get an alignment reading. As is typical of many shops they informed me about various issues that needed fixing. I inspected what they were claiming and discounted all of them (at least for now). One of the things they pointed out was what looked like oil around the head area and claimed I needed a new head gasket.

Well I looked at it later it does look like some oil. But I'm not sure what to make of it. I was assuming the startup smoking has nothing to do with this. Does this look like a head gasket issue to anyone.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:40 am 
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blue_can wrote:
One of the things they pointed out was what looked like oil around the head area and claimed I needed a new head gasket.

Well I looked at it later it does look like some oil. But I'm not sure what to make of it. I was assuming the startup smoking has nothing to do with this. Does this look like a head gasket issue to anyone.


The oil is probably from one or more of the following: valve cover gasket, cam and/or main seals and distributor. It would unlikely be coming from your head gasket.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:53 am 
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Location: San Diego
top down@-40 wrote:
blue_can wrote:
One of the things they pointed out was what looked like oil around the head area and claimed I needed a new head gasket.

Well I looked at it later it does look like some oil. But I'm not sure what to make of it. I was assuming the startup smoking has nothing to do with this. Does this look like a head gasket issue to anyone.


The oil is probably from one or more of the following: valve cover gasket, cam and/or main seals and distributor. It would unlikely be coming from your head gasket.


No distributor in this engine. Now I recall I did have a leak a while back from the camshaft position sensor housing and replaced the seal. That fixed the issue and this could be the oil that leaked out and ran around the engine at the time. I must admit I have not looked at this closely. I need to take a good look one of these days.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:15 am 
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blue_can wrote:

No distributor in this engine. Now I recall I did have a leak a while back from the camshaft position sensor housing and replaced the seal. That fixed the issue and this could be the oil that leaked out and ran around the engine at the time. I must admit I have not looked at this closely. I need to take a good look one of these days.


Sorry I didn't read the line stating the year. You should spray down the engine with cleaner and watch for leaks.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:43 am 
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Since you are going to replace the valve stem seals anyway just pull the head and replace all the seals/gaskets in the top end. And your timing belt while your there. I just did mine on a 96 1.3 and it only took the afternoon. Its a lot easier to remove the springs and keepers with the head off. Especially if you have any build up on the top of the valve stems (that will destroy the new seals on install. Just make sure when you put them on you make sure they are seated square before you fully seat them. If you bend one you have to toss it and get a new one


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:18 am 
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mikemetro wrote:
Since you are going to replace the valve stem seals anyway just pull the head and replace all the seals/gaskets in the top end. And your timing belt while your there. I just did mine on a 96 1.3 and it only took the afternoon. Its a lot easier to remove the springs and keepers with the head off. Especially if you have any build up on the top of the valve stems (that will destroy the new seals on install. Just make sure when you put them on you make sure they are seated square before you fully seat them. If you bend one you have to toss it and get a new one


Good tip thanks. I guess that makes more sense. That's the way it is described in the FSM but I've heard of people doing this while using compressed air to hold up the valves. I can imagine it would be a problem if something failed and the valve dropped during this procedure.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:38 am 
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blue_can wrote:
mikemetro wrote:
Since you are going to replace the valve stem seals anyway just pull the head and replace all the seals/gaskets in the top end. And your timing belt while your there. I just did mine on a 96 1.3 and it only took the afternoon. Its a lot easier to remove the springs and keepers with the head off. Especially if you have any build up on the top of the valve stems (that will destroy the new seals on install. Just make sure when you put them on you make sure they are seated square before you fully seat them. If you bend one you have to toss it and get a new one


Good tip thanks. I guess that makes more sense. That's the way it is described in the FSM but I've heard of people doing this while using compressed air to hold up the valves. I can imagine it would be a problem if something failed and the valve dropped during this procedure.


the valves dont drop because each time you replace the seals over the cylinder you rotate the engine to make that piston rise to the top. then they dont drop inside. btw, the haynes manual for our cars has a great section on replacing the stem seals with the head on.

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Silver 2000 Firefly 4DR; 16V SOHC, 3 to 5 speed swap, install PS and AC, remote and auto start, PL, PW, kill and start switch, Valentine 1, behind-bumper CAI, 55MM TB with coolant-bypass, polyurethane-fill engine/shifter mounts, modified to short shifter, upgraded electrical system, CS130 alternator, 90/160W headlights + relay mod, ceramic H4 plug/harness
To do: finish stereo, 4000K H4 HIDs, short block replacement
'sponsored' by Captain Crunch, Lordco, Felpro, Permatex, Royal Purple


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:51 am 
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Location: San Diego
TheSilverBullet wrote:
blue_can wrote:
mikemetro wrote:
Since you are going to replace the valve stem seals anyway just pull the head and replace all the seals/gaskets in the top end. And your timing belt while your there. I just did mine on a 96 1.3 and it only took the afternoon. Its a lot easier to remove the springs and keepers with the head off. Especially if you have any build up on the top of the valve stems (that will destroy the new seals on install. Just make sure when you put them on you make sure they are seated square before you fully seat them. If you bend one you have to toss it and get a new one


Good tip thanks. I guess that makes more sense. That's the way it is described in the FSM but I've heard of people doing this while using compressed air to hold up the valves. I can imagine it would be a problem if something failed and the valve dropped during this procedure.


the valves dont drop because each time you replace the seals over the cylinder you rotate the engine to make that piston rise to the top. then they dont drop inside. btw, the haynes manual for our cars has a great section on replacing the stem seals with the head on.


Okay thanks for that info also. I have the FSM and the Chiltons but not the Haynes. The Chiltons compared to the FSM has very little useful info IMO specially with regard to the electronics. I guess I can invest in the Haynes also but as per Mike's post I'm thinking pulling the head maybe with a good idea.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:29 pm 
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Another option for the valves to hold them up, take out the spark plug, put the piston down, drop ~1ft of rope down into the cylinder(keep an end of the rope hanging out) and raise the piston till it stops, the rope is now holding the valves against the seats :D when you're done, lower the piston and pull the rope out.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:39 pm 
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Mcmancuso wrote:
Another option for the valves to hold them up, take out the spark plug, put the piston down, drop ~1ft of rope down into the cylinder(keep an end of the rope hanging out) and raise the piston till it stops, the rope is now holding the valves against the seats :D when you're done, lower the piston and pull the rope out.


this is the best method.

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Silver 2000 Firefly 4DR; 16V SOHC, 3 to 5 speed swap, install PS and AC, remote and auto start, PL, PW, kill and start switch, Valentine 1, behind-bumper CAI, 55MM TB with coolant-bypass, polyurethane-fill engine/shifter mounts, modified to short shifter, upgraded electrical system, CS130 alternator, 90/160W headlights + relay mod, ceramic H4 plug/harness
To do: finish stereo, 4000K H4 HIDs, short block replacement
'sponsored' by Captain Crunch, Lordco, Felpro, Permatex, Royal Purple


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:38 pm 
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Location: San Diego
Okay thanks - all good ideas!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, WA
Mine puffs smoke on startup and also has a slight leak under the cam sensor housing and it is in fact coming from the head gasket.

98 16v with about 180k. I'm not bothering to fix it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:42 pm 
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VR4 wrote:
Mine puffs smoke on startup and also has a slight leak under the cam sensor housing and it is in fact coming from the head gasket.

98 16v with about 180k. I'm not bothering to fix it.


My cam sensor leak was fixed with a used seal and cam shaft end cap for a suzuki esteem from the wreckers .

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Silver 2000 Firefly 4DR; 16V SOHC, 3 to 5 speed swap, install PS and AC, remote and auto start, PL, PW, kill and start switch, Valentine 1, behind-bumper CAI, 55MM TB with coolant-bypass, polyurethane-fill engine/shifter mounts, modified to short shifter, upgraded electrical system, CS130 alternator, 90/160W headlights + relay mod, ceramic H4 plug/harness
To do: finish stereo, 4000K H4 HIDs, short block replacement
'sponsored' by Captain Crunch, Lordco, Felpro, Permatex, Royal Purple


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:51 pm 
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TheSilverBullet wrote:
VR4 wrote:
Mine puffs smoke on startup and also has a slight leak under the cam sensor housing and it is in fact coming from the head gasket.

98 16v with about 180k. I'm not bothering to fix it.


My cam sensor leak was fixed with a used seal and cam shaft end cap for a suzuki esteem from the wreckers .


I repaired that leak long ago. This engine doesn't leak a drop from anywhere but the head gasket

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97 3000gt vr4 e85, high comp, bolt ons
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:38 pm 
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Location: San Diego
That's disappointing since I have a 2000 Metro with 126K miles - it seems like some people have had this happen much later. As far as the cam housing leak - in my case I accidentally hit it with a wrench or rachet while working on something else and that started the leak.

I should probably wash down the engine and then monitor for any new evidence of new oil that may point to a head gasket.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:45 pm 
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Location: Palmyra,VA
My 98 started this around 125k its normal. I would highly suggest putting piston rings in if you end up pulling the head. Very easy to do on this engine in the car. Oil rings stick all the time on these engines. I haven't done my beater yet but it has 190k and uses about 1 quart every other tank of gas since 130k with low compression on cyl 1 155psi and cyl 2 170psi since about the same time. Ive been pumping tons of nitrious in this engine since 150k and it won't dye. Runs 9.95 in 1/8 mile spraying with auto trans, all original.


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