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Old 06-23-2009, 10:40 AM   #1
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Default Stem Seals or turbo seals?

I had an interesting experience at the dyno a few weeks back where my car basically fell apart. Two things I had to fix on my list were my turbo that had large amounts of shaft play and dumped smoked on the dyno, and my rear diff which had a leaky seal and I ran it dry and killed the bearings.

So I replaced the bearings on my turbo and swapped in a torsen and it's back up to snuff. But ever since that day, I've been battling some oil burning issues. I had resently cleaned/decompressed my lifters, which had made then run so perfectly quite it was amazing. Now I get bad lifter tick, which I've never had in the first place. But the worst part is, I seem to be burning oil and I can't figure if it's the turbo or steam seals.

Basically I can boost 14-15psi all over town and not notice any smoke from my tailpipe. But if I boost to redline in first from a dig I almost always get a good white/blue puff of smoke as I shift into second. If I keep on it, I'll never notice any more smoke through the gears. If I drop back into 2nd and boost hard, nothing. But If I ever come back to a stop and boost in 1st again I'll get some smoke. I thought it might have been residual oil that was trapped in my IC, but I've cleaned it out.

People who have followed me in the last week say that they don't notice anything, but if they can tell I was cruising and then lifted to coast, a little blue puff will come out the pipe. I've noitced this as well, if I engine brake in 3rd down a long hill I travel every day, when I give it gas again, I can see a little puff.

This makes me lean towards steam seals, but I wasn't sure what the exact symptom is. If it were easy I'd just run without a turbo for a while and see. I also notice, if I pull my oil filler cap when the motor is warm, a lot of smoke/vapor escapes, not sure if that's normal or not.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:44 AM   #2
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Only puffs blue in vacuum leads me to concur with stem seals.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:59 AM   #3
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come swap them out with me on Friday!
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:11 AM   #4
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I'm in NYC working on Fridizzle. Making that money!
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:33 AM   #5
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Hey dipshit... it's stem...unless you're sealing in some pressureized water vapor somewhere in your engine.

I think we just added another part to the list of WTF.... muffler bearings, kneuter valve, cams for a 13B, radiator for a 1967 VW Beetle, Z-Max, the Tornado...and now...steam seals.

BTW.. i'd be willing to bet it's the valve seals. You could always pull the charge pipe off the turbo and see if there is much oil in there to determine if the turbo seal is starting to take a Hyper-sized ****.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:38 AM   #6
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Hey dipshit....they are called valve STEM SEALS..

HELLO, wake the **** up!
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
BTW.. i'd be willing to bet it's the valve seals. You could always pull the charge pipe off the turbo and see if there is much oil in there to determine if the turbo seal is starting to take a Hyper-sized ****.

I have the normal very minimal amount of oil that accumulates before the compressor, but nothing major. My hotside pipes were clean when I pulled the IC on saturday, it was the coldside after the IC that had oil in them.

I have a catch can on my pcv line, and while i has trapped some oil, it hasn't even reached the view tube yet. I could move it over to the breather side, but I'm certain I don't have blow-by or issues with the turbo compressor seal.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #8
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Hey dipshit....they are called valve STEM SEALS..

HELLO, wake the **** up!

steam seals, for my steam engine....duh!
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:46 AM   #9
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maybe he's talking about his locomotive.

anyway, if it's smoking only at light load or lift, I always vote turbo seals because they're easy to R&R compared to valve stem seals.

PS thanks for the new sig.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:53 AM   #10
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anyway, if it's smoking only at light load or lift, I always vote turbo seals because they're easy to R&R compared to valve stem seals.

turbo has a new compressor seal, CHRA & bearings, and turbine seal.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:39 PM   #11
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I have the normal very minimal amount of oil that accumulates before the compressor, but nothing major. My hotside pipes were clean when I pulled the IC on saturday, it was the coldside after the IC that had oil in them.

I have a catch can on my pcv line, and while i has trapped some oil, it hasn't even reached the view tube yet. I could move it over to the breather side, but I'm certain I don't have blow-by or issues with the turbo compressor seal.
What about the breather? Do you have it on a vacuum source or just slapped a filter on the nipple? I'd have the breather (as well as the pcv) on a catch can and to the proper vacuum source. How new is the pcv?

If you want to check for any blowby, pull the dipstick while the engine is running and see if there is significant vapor coming out....or pull the breather line and look for the same thing. Bewteen the pcv and a properly hooked up breather, there should be no vapor coming out of the dipstick at idle. You can also try pulling your plugs and looking to see if any of them have abnormal soot on them. I know Bryan (wildfire0310 on here) was having a problem on his 1.6 with bad valve seals and we diagnosed it by pulling the pulgs. He also ran MaxLife for a few oil changes and noticed the smoke was signicantly less (his were smoking BAD).

If you suspect the valve seals, try some valvoline maxlife oil... it actually works for leaky valve seals..i know first hand.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:47 PM   #12
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my breather is plumbed into my intake, no catch can on that side, never needed it over there. I could move it over there to see, but I don't think I'm getting oil from the crankcase. I've zipped a white towel to the end of the breather line and ran around for a few days, so little evidence of blow-by through it.

I replaced my plugs this weekend actually, as i had a misfire, seems my valve cover gasket was leaking oil onto the plugs. The electrodes looked okay as far as I could tell. I'll snap some shots when I get back from lunch.

I was thinking about an oil change this weekend before I autox and maybe trying rotella T.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:17 PM   #13
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If you're going to use dino-oil...use the MaxLife...it works! But it will take 2-3 oil changes to really notice the difference. Since you seemed to have eliminated excessive blow-by, i'd say no question it's the valve seals...unless whoever put the new center goodies in the turbo funked it up.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:30 PM   #14
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ha, of course we can't rule that one out.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:51 PM   #15
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here's my plugs. look a bit fouled and have some deposits on the two...no i didnt make sure to know which each came from:



my catch can:

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Old 06-23-2009, 02:00 PM   #16
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Mine also looks to be pulling oil under vacuum. #1 cylinder spark plug electrode is pretty oiled up. Don't want to pull the head so I bought the one man valve spring compressor off ebay to replace my valve seals. Wish I'd thought of trying Max-life or some other treatment first.

I had a bunch of oil on top of my #1 plug also. Wasn't the valve cover gasket. It's my lousy ability to pour oil without slopping it all over the place. I slop a little over the top and of course the spark plug hole for cylinder #1 is right there to catch it! Unwillingness to use a funnel FTL!
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:02 PM   #17
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I've taken apart the head before, it's not a big deal, it'll be easy enough to do it, but i just don't wanna spend all day bent over my motor doing it for no reason :P

sounds like it's worth a shot, maybe I'll try the Valvoline anywayz. unless it's not as cheap as the Rotella T 5w-40 :P
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:01 PM   #18
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Remember the dyno video where my car smoked all over the place? It does the same thing as yours...it doesn't smoke, but when I come to a stop and then pull in 1st, I see smoke. I did a "homemade leakdown test" and air blew through my exhaust and my throttle body. This means my valves leak, and not my rings. I also have a rebuolt CHRA on my car. The leakdown test wasn't even a pain to do. I took a spark plug, drilled out the ceramic, and welded a pipe nipple onto it, then coupled an air compressor fitting onto it. I'll make you one if ya want, I owe you a favor anyway.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:52 AM   #19
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A non sealing valve will not cause you to burn oil. So regardless of your leakdown test, that is not your cause of oil burnoff.
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Old 06-24-2009, 02:18 AM   #20
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minor thread jack. My car smokes lots when cold start up and whenever i reburn the ECU. Also i found some residual oil in front of the compressor wheel. The turbo has no "in and out* play. but has very slight axial play *up and down* My turbo builds boost fine though... are my seals bad?
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