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Thread: Blue Smoke at Start up/Stinks

  1. #1
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    Default Blue Smoke at Start up/Stinks

    Hey guys...

    I own a 1993 Chevy Astro Van with the 4.3L engine.
    IT runs very well and has a lot of power, but when I start it up it pushes out A LOT of blue smoke, but after it runs for a couple seconds it goes away. It sometimes has trouble starting, you gotta give it some gas or it keeps on trying to start. Any ideas?
    Fuel Injectors? Valve cover gasket?
    Problem #2
    Also, when I am going at higher speeds (110-130km/h) or just going up some steep inclines (when I go fishing)...there is a really awful smell from the exhaust when I get out....its not eggs, but similar to eggs I guess, its really weird smell, almost like unburnt fuel and eggs....im thinking im either running rich or somethings up with the cataylic converter...any suggestions?

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    Head gasket could be leaking slightly...

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    no, not the head gasget i dont think. This is a valve seal problem. Its pretty minor. For the cost of a head tear down you might as well just drive the van till it dies (IMO).

    What happens with the valve seals is that they get old and cracked and allow small amounts of oil from the valve train in the head to leak into the combustion chamber. After a while, the oil builds up to a level where you can see it when it burns. It still leaks very small amounts of oil when the car is running, but its not noticable. Its when it sits and a bunch of oil gets in that you notice it. thats why it only smokes when it starts up.

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    There's a few commercial 'valve treatment's out there.

    They're good at cleaning the carbon/gunk off the valves without opening it up.

    Or you could be cheap and try the diesel down the throat trick (if you screw it up though, you could hydrolock you engine though).


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    My buddy had blue smoke coming out his tail pipe on his 1993 Ford Bronco XLT, and it turned out he had bad piston rings. So you may try getting those replaced if the valve cleaing doesnt work. Latez
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    shouldnt there be some oil on the plugs if its a valve seal problem?

    there is none..

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    Sounds like valve seals to me. Compression check the engine, see how close to factory the compression is. If compression is fine, chances are its valve seals. They are a common wear item on those engines. Not hard to do however, and theyre cheap.


    Good luck

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    Yeah, problem 1 sounds like valve seals. Try a little "Restore" engine treatment, see if that works.

    Problem 2 could be the cat conv. They tend to get clogged, and if it hasn't been changed since the van was new, there's a good chance it's going bad. Do you lose power going up hills? If you do, that's a pretty good indicator. When the engine pulls higher revs, the cat can't let out the flow of exhaust fast enough, and you get major back-pressure and a loss of power.

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    Rotten eggs smell comes from 2 things. Either a catalytic converter going bad, or some seriously bad gas. The second one is not very common. It's almost definately the catalytic converter.

    The blue smoke at startup is definately valve seals. They are a pretty minor thing to replace, cost wise, however, just try to get the heads off that engine while it's in the van. And if you're going to try pulling the engine, you might as well sell the van. The Safari's/Astro's are a bear to work on with the 4.3L.

    Honestly, don't worry about the blue smoke on startup, as long as you're not leaving HUGE clouds of it, let it go. You can try switching to a heavier oil, depending on the mileage, it may be a good idea anyways. We have a 93 Safari with the HO 4.3L at work, running it on 15W40 right now, because it burned waaaaay too much oil with 5W30 or 10W30 in it. Then again, it's got 311,000km's on it.
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    Id say the volume of one of these clouds of smoke is about 3m cubed

    thats pretty big

    also very embarassing

    anyway, valve seals eh, gotta tear the head down...yeap, we'll drive it till its dead...or sell it...

    its pretty nice looking tho...
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    You could always throw in a 350 to solve your problem. I had a customer the other day that showed me his astro with one. I didn't believe him at first, until he showed me. Apparently it has some good power and gets really good gas mileage from it. I didn't ask him how much the swap was, but he said it bolted right in.
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    bah

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    Originally posted by Zero102
    Rotten eggs smell comes from 2 things. Either a catalytic converter going bad, or some seriously bad gas. The second one is not very common. It's almost definately the catalytic converter.

    The blue smoke at startup is definately valve seals. They are a pretty minor thing to replace, cost wise, however, just try to get the heads off that engine while it's in the van. And if you're going to try pulling the engine, you might as well sell the van. The Safari's/Astro's are a bear to work on with the 4.3L.

    Honestly, don't worry about the blue smoke on startup, as long as you're not leaving HUGE clouds of it, let it go. You can try switching to a heavier oil, depending on the mileage, it may be a good idea anyways. We have a 93 Safari with the HO 4.3L at work, running it on 15W40 right now, because it burned waaaaay too much oil with 5W30 or 10W30 in it. Then again, it's got 311,000km's on it.

    Thats your answer, change the Cat and get back to us.

    Could need a good tune-up and a top engine clean.

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    Went to a mechanic and he said we had a leak somewhere in our fuel system, which is causing flooding, and then causing the fuel to burn blue...

    is he bullshitting?

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    Originally posted by Jeevin
    Went to a mechanic and he said we had a leak somewhere in our fuel system, which is causing flooding, and then causing the fuel to burn blue...

    is he bullshitting?

    I always thought oil burned blue, maybe gas is mixing with oil.

    Is he your usual mechanic?

    Blue=Oil
    White=Coolant
    Black=Gas

    Might be some exceptions though.

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    Hmm... I have never seen gas burn blue. Seen it with diesel once or twice.

    If it's running extremely rich, the gas will actually wash the oil from the cylinder walls. This is a serious issue. Also, you will see gas mixing with the oil if this happens. Now, in an extreme case, enough gas could mix with the oil to cause it to thin enough and seep by the rings, however, this would all have to happen before the oil really warms up, or else the gas would just boil off. This doesn't sound too likely.

    Given the symptoms, you can be about 95% sure it's the valve seals.
    Seems to be a common problem. Our Safari has leaky valve seals as well.
    It's not worth trying to pull the heads with the 4.3L, it's a bitch to do.
    Try switching to a thicker oil to minimize the smoking. Especially if the mileage is getting pretty high.
    3 m^3 sounds pretty big. Ours doesn't smoke that much, maybe 1 m^3 on a warm start-up.

    Hehe, you wanna talk about embarassing? Embarassing is having to boost your van with a spare battery at every customer's house!
    New battery time I guess =)
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    Originally posted by Jeevin
    Id say the volume of one of these clouds of smoke is about 3m cubed

    thats pretty big

    also very embarassing

    anyway, valve seals eh, gotta tear the head down...yeap, we'll drive it till its dead...or sell it...

    its pretty nice looking tho...
    COME ON DUDE, ENGINE REBUILDS ARE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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