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White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

 
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:31 PM
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White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

Alright guys i am new to these forums and i have tons of questions about my prelude that i finally paid off and am looking to invest some money into these very enjoyable cars. Ill get to it.....my car burns oil pretty bad and it shows through the white smoke that comes from my tailpipe. It happens mostly after i have been idling for a while like maybe at a stoplight or parking and leaving the engine running. When i take off its quite embarassing to see all the smoke coming out the back. Is this my valve seals? Piston rings? How much am i looking at spending to get this fixed? A mechanic at the Honda dealership (buddy i know) told me that if i plan on fixing this problem i might as well rebuild the engine (little far fetched if you ask me). Any suggestions and can someone educate me in the process. Thanks for all your help...surely hope to enjoy the prelude forum experience and learn as much as possible!
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:42 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

well to me it sounds like valve stem seals, and your buddy at honda should have told you that you deffinatley do not have to rebuild the motor to change out those, rings are a different story but im guessing that you have a 5th gen and almost all H22s burn oil while in VTec, how many miles do you have on your motor?
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:04 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

i do have a 5th generation. 1999 SH. The motor has 115000 miles on it but i actually had a throttle problem about 2 years ago. When i would start my car and pretty much everytime it was running the engine would idle terribly. As in modulate from about 2000rpm all the way up to 5000 and back down again. Nonstop..........and like an idiot i continued driving with it like that (holding my gas pedal slightly down to maintain consistent idle. At that time i let a lead footed buddy of mine drive it for a week back and forth to NADC in nashville tn (about 45 miles) to do some body work for cheap. I am sure he drove it pretty hard in that week with the idling problem so this might have attributed to the problem i have today. Needless to say 115000 is not that bad for the H22A4 as far as i have learned. The engine has just been run pretty hard. ( i got it with 52000 miles on it but it didn't smoke then). As for the idling problem it was a simple fix to the throttle body and honestly can't quite remember the problem but another friend of mine at the honda dealership (more knowledgible) opened the throttle and screwed something down that had come loose and he told me it was common on a lot of accords. So if it is the valve stems what am i looking at paying to get it fixed. I understand mechanic labor prices may vary.....
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:48 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

All 5ths burn oil... But white smoke is an indicator of head gasket. Water/coolant comes out white sometimes blueish purple. Oil ushually burns black when doing it in excess. Smell the smoke coming out the tail... If it smells like oil its oil if it smells sweet like coolant... thats yer culprit. Erratic idle in combination with the smoke leads me to the gasket...
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Old 08-22-2009, 04:57 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

Like Ludeact stated, all these engines burn a bit of oil, so it's nothing unusual.

I thought white smoke was coolant burning...not oil...
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:06 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

I never considered it to be coolant but i do appreciate the additional probabilities, although, i'm leaning torward oil burn and here is why. Prior to the smoke billowing from the tailpipe i would definitely burn oil, but really only when i ran it past 5200 rpm (vtec give or take 100rpm). Also, during this time (pre-smoke) i only had to add a quart of oil once a month maybe a quart and a half depending on how many times i hit vtech that month, which was not a whole lot. Now since it starting smoking profusely i am having to add anywhere from 2 to 3 quarts a month without hitting vtech at all. I also can smell burning oil in the engine from time to time..and it is distinctly different from burning coolant. Also.......correct me if i am wrong...but i thought that burning black was an indicator of excess fuel? I will end with one final point...my car no longer idles erradically...it was fixed about a year and a half ago. Thanks for the input guys...good stuff!
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:29 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

I must post something else i just read.....i have searched through the web and have come across many different explanations for white smoke. Also my girlfriend told me it looks whitish/blueish/purple..ha! Some web entries have said the black smoke is excess fuel mixture..some have said its from oil. Some have said that oil can burn white and some have said coolant burns white/blueish which means blown head gasket (oh no!). My only certain point is that i have not smelled burning coolant and i know what burning coolant smells like in comparison to burning oil. It most definitely smells like oil. But i don't rule out it being a combination of the two....i hope its not my head gasket. What am i looking at paying to have my head gasket replaced? Where could i find a good reputable mechanic in the Clarksville/Nashville, TN area...or where would i go to find out about a good honda mechanic? Thanks again!
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:31 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

^^^ you are correct, black smoke most of the time indicates that a car is running on the rich side while the bluish white smoke indicates oil burning but a lot of the time while in vtec the smoke is a dark color almost black but if you smell it you can tell that there is some oil burning in there with it, so i guess that is where people are getting the idea that black smoke is oil burning

the white smoke as people call it is a compleatly different story, for one it isn't smoke at all it is steam, it's from water that evaporating through the exhaust from water leaking into the cylinders

unless somebody has blown a head gasket and seen it then they probally wouldn't realize it but the easiest way to differ the 2 is to watch it after it comes out of the tail pipe.. oil smoke is heavy and a thick blueish white and after it comes out of the tailpipe you can watch the wind carry it away down the street, across the yard or whatever,,, water and coolent steam will normally rise up quickly and after 5-10 feet or so you won't even see it any more because it dissaptes into the air considering that you are in warm weather conditions...
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:33 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

the erratic idle is probally the IACV in need of a good cleaning
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Old 08-22-2009, 05:34 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

Oh I thought it was still idling erradicly I guess I misunderstood...Do a compression test. That will tell you if it is cylinder related. Also do a coolant system pressure test. That will tell you if its a gasket. And yes you are right..black smoke does occur with a rich a/f mixture. Keep in mind though there is a lot of gases and other bi-products of combustion that exit the tailpipe. So there is going to be a multitude of things that can mean other things are happening when it comes to diagnosing a problem.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:07 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

Thanks for the info i will run those tests to help diagnose. And the smoke does get blown across parking lots...yards...wherever....so maybe another indication that it may well be oil burning.
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:35 AM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

Just get an overhaul to lose the prob and feel better bout it..

Last edited by benrada; 08-23-2009 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:58 AM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

Also true. If its white gray smoke its def not oil. It would most likely be a head gasket issue. Usually the issue is the head lifts under boost and still smoking the only really thing thing i could see causing that would be the head gasket.

Last edited by devilmaycry; 10-08-2010 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 10-08-2010, 10:49 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

replaced it? i guess you just need some replacements.. and maybe you should learn how to replace a tail pipie.. ;)

Last edited by devilmaycry; 10-11-2010 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:09 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

I have a 1992 Honda Prelude with a F22b (94-97 Honda accord)motor thats been blowing white smoke out of the tail pipe. A friend of mine is a mechanic and said there could be crack in the head or valve stem seals so to be sure we took the head to the machine shop. They did a valve job because there were no cracks and said that they were in really bad shape so the problem should be fixed. We put the head back on and the car is still blowing white smoke......This is the second motor that has been in the car....always problems with the engine....I really need some help and advice.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:28 AM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

so has the problem been fixed?
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:26 PM
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Re: White smoke through tailpipe (burning oil)! Need explanation!

I got a similar issue except I have the h23a1. I noticed after letting it idle for a bit, I went to accelerate away and blueish smoke came out of the tail pipe. When I puller over to investigate, no smoke was anywhere to be found. possibly Valve leak?
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