RetroJohnny

Smoke coming from engine bay on start-up

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Hello everyone. Ever since my last oil change about 1,500 miles ago, I have noticed when starting the Reatta I can see white/grey smoke coming from engine bay licking out from the passenger side of the hood. I have since opened the hood and watched and inspected the smoke. For about five minutes after start-up smoke comes from down in the engine bay behind the enigne on the passenger side only. My first thought was that maybe there is a small oil leak since I had switched to synthetic and it has eroded bad seals and leaking oil onto the exhaust manifold. But I am at a loss, The oil level is right on point and no noticeable oil leaks. I do know for a fact I have a bad bottom-end transmission pan gasket. I see occasional drips right below the transmission. I would dread to do that job and most tranny. shops around here refuse to do it in fear that a new gasket/filter + new fluid would lock the transmission up... So my main concern right now is that smoke, I would love to find the root cause but I can't. It is in such a broad area. Some details on the smoke itself, whiteish to greyish. chemical/tar smelling. stops smoking soon after startup. Temp guage reads a constant 188-201 F so I don't think it could be a head gasket issue (I sure hope not😅) . And for exhaust smoke.. Everything seems fine, on a cold start the usual emissions come out for a couple of minutes then the engine warms up and it dissipates. So I am very curious/worried on what this could be. Any thoughts? Thanks..

  -John B.

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Or a very slight anti freeze leak. You might want to try the AC Delco disks that you add to the radiator. You get 5-6 disks in a pack. Crush one or two and add to your radiator. I take the radiator cap off, disconnect the over flow tube to the radiator and siphon off a little antifreeze. I then start and run the car till I see the thermostat open and then just pour it in.

 I then put the cap on and reconnect the overflow hose. 

 I have done this in the past with great results. My thoughts are if G M uses it in their cars prior to sale, it will work for me.

 On the Black I also had a slight leak in the rack and pinion. I added just half a bottle of Lucas Power Steering resorer and it works great. No more drips or adding Power Steering Fluid.

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6 hours ago, RetroJohnny said:

For about five minutes after start-up smoke comes from down in the engine bay behind the enigne on the passenger side only.

 

The exhaust pipe is the only thing that is hot enough to cause fluids to smoke after just five minutes of running. Inspecting the exhaust pipe for fluids on it before starting the car will tell you what is dripping on the exhaust pipe causing the smoke. 

 

BTW, if changing the trans fluid is going to lock the transmission you have some transmission problems coming down the road anyway.  I don't know why they think that would happen. Changing the transmission filter and gasket isn't a hard job. Just messy. 

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Just as a side note, synthetic oils do not erode seals. Synthetic oil molecules are smaller than conventional oil molecules and will therefore find their way into openings through which conventional oil molecules won't fit. Switching back to conventional oil will probably reduce or stop the leak if it wasn't there before the switch to synthetic. This is why synthetic oil works better as a lubricant but this can be a side-effect on older cars with tired gaskets.

 

The synthetic oil is not hurting your seals and gaskets. A common myth, but a myth nonetheless.

 

PS: A transmission shop telling you that changing the fluid will destroy your transmission is probably trying to tell you they don't want to do the job. That is also 100% BS. If old fluid isn't damaging the transmission, new fluid won't, either. What, like the old fluid is so thick and solid that it's the only thing holding it all together? Bah.

 

Hope this helps.

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This business  of changing tranny fluid and filter being a bad idea, is an old wives tail.

It was 'explained' to me that fresh fluid would wash off gunk clinging to internal parts and plug up the tranny. Really?

Edited by harry yarnell (see edit history)
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Thanks everyone for the thoughts. I'm going to watch this more closely and see if there is something burining off a part of the hot engine.. And yes for real, two transmission shop gave me the insane explanation that the "refuse to do transmission filter changes on cars with over 150,000 miles in fear they would lock the transmission up with new fluid. Because the old fluid adds to lubrication" So what, just let it leak forever? Haha.. I think I may do that job myself now, thanks for the reassurance that it'll all be okay if it gets changed.

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The only thing that you really need to check when doing the trans change is when you remove the pan, check to see if there are a bunch of filings or debris.  A little is not a problem, but a bunch could be. 

 

Also there should be a magnet in the pan.  Inspect to see how much metal filings might be on it.  Again, a little is normal.  A lot could be an indicator of more problems.  

 

When you are changing the fluid in the transmission by removing the pan and filter you are probably only changing maybe 1/2 of the total fluid in the trans. There is still a lot of fluid that is still in the torque converter.   

 

When  I do the trans service, I put the new Dexron 6 transmission fluid.  It is the newest formulation of trans fluid by GM and is compatible with all previous versions.  Good stuff.

 

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=D4hfXJ_qGKG4jwSImrqgAQ&q=dexron+6+transmission+fluid&oq=dex6+tra&gs_l=psy-ab.1.1.0i13j0i13i10j0i13j0i22i30j0i8i13i10i30j0i8i13i30l4.537.2768..8371...0.0..0.160.733.8j1......0....1..gws-wiz.....0..0j0i131j0i10j0i10i30j0i30j0i22i10i30.Jqp15STc-Qc

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