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Got any "magic" tricks to stop an engine from smoking?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by UnsettledParadox, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. UnsettledParadox
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,107


    i tried putting nicorette patches on the valve covers and it just didnt work!!

    heres the deal. my dads got this '56 pontiac. the car runs great with the original motor but it sat for a while before he got it. since hes had it the car smokes like a forest fire while driving and blows smoke out of the bypass off the intake when you idle at a stop. rebuild kits for poncho 287-316-370? are ~$1800 and we just dont have it right now but want to keep the car going.

    so we tried some of that stop smoke junk in the oil, nothing. put synthetic oil in it, nothing. tried running the oil high, tried running oil low. nothing is stopping it. so im wondering if anyone has any "magic" snake oil kinda tricks that may help. at this point it really cant hurt. we know the motors tired we are just trying to buy some time


  2. JohnEvans
    Joined: Apr 13, 2008
    Posts: 4,883

    from Phoenix AZ

    Don't use the synthetic stuff . Put some straight 30 or 20-50 in it with a quart of Marvel Mystery oil in it do not over fill. Drive it at least 100 miles . If this don't help repeat ,still no go ya probably ain't fixin it out of a can. One other thing make sure the oil drain holes in the heads are open. These plugged up holding oil upstairs will cause smoke from oil down the guides.
  3. The modern high mileage oils burn off at a higher temp... If it still smokes after that, you're going to have to spend money on repairs.
  4. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 11,601


    If you've run it on the road "quite a bit" and it has not gotten better, it likely won't. Most barn find cars will clear up after 100 miles or so if it's just gummed rings.

    No idea what's in that "kit", but that's too much IMO.

    No money but willing to get dirty? Do rings and rod may find NORS parts someplace that are dirt cheap.

    Or do the armchair expert solution and spend 5-7K by sending it out :)
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  5. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 4,761

    from Hawaii

    Excellent point! Have you pulled the valve covers off yet? Many moons ago a buddy bought a '54 Ford Country Squire with the same issue. We tried alot of the above solutions to no avail. My neighbor at the time, who was born and raised on a farm and a seasoned "old school" mechanic, suggested checking the drain back holes. Lo and behold, they were gummed up. We cleaned them out and it did the trick. The car ran for years after that without smoking, never went into the motor. He also ran a quart of Rislone in every oil change, and I'm sure that helped.

    By the way, the Nicorette patches only work on sbc's, and I'm not sure why. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  6. mt shasta steve
    Joined: Mar 26, 2010
    Posts: 269

    mt shasta steve

    Here is a real "OLD TIMERS" fix. Bon Ami cleanser. Feed about a table spoon down eack spark plug hole and crank it up. The cleanser is slightly abrasive, and will reseat your rings. This is really an old school, shade tree type fix, but it may work. You will end up tearing it down for a rebuild, but this may buy you some time.
  7. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 21,345


    It sounds like this one may be beyond those "old school" fixes. I would try John Even's suggestion of straight weight oil and Marvel Mystery oil in it and run it along with pulling the valve covers as OhauEli suggested and cleaning any sludge that might be in there to let the oil drain back.

    The Bon Ami thing sometimes worked/works on new rings that won't seat but I wouldn't even think about doing that in this case.

    It may also have a few broken rings if it had been setting for a period of time (years) and someone hit the starter without squirting some Marvel oil or other acceptable fluid in the cylinders to free up the rings from the cylinder walls first.

    He might think about just doing a ring and bearing job along with touching up the valves if the car runs pretty good but just smokes now. That shouldn't cost all that much and he should be able to drive the car for a few years before it needs serious attention. I checked O'Reilly's and it should be under 400 for rings, rod bearings and a full gasket set (damn those are expensive) But that would make a driver out of it without being part of mosquito control.
  8. bobj49f2
    Joined: Jun 1, 2008
    Posts: 1,738


    An old engine guy told me to use non-detergent oil in an old engine to stop smoking, for a while at least. The non-detergent oil will let deposits clog up the small gaps. It's a cheap, temporary fix. Once you use the non detergent oil and you get things gummed up you shouldn't switch back to detergent oil because it'll knock of the crap loose and start eating away a engine parts. Just my 2¢.
  9. UnsettledParadox
    Joined: Apr 25, 2007
    Posts: 1,107


    thanks guys. the reason we went with synthetic is we were told it wont smoke as bad when it burns off. what a crock lol. im gonna probably pull the valve covers and give a look see since i have gaskets in the garage for them. might swap out the oil for some straight weight with the marvels mystery oil trick
  10. CraigKrage
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 421

    from central IL

    Handfull of sawdust. LoL
    Magic aint real it's just an illusion.
    Cant add stuff from a bottle or can to fix broken stuff.
    Good Luck. I dig your rig.
  11. Beano
    Joined: Jan 2, 2009
    Posts: 181

    from Pa.

    Did you try a can of "Restore" ? I have heard good things from guys in the same boat as you .
  12. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,763

    Member Emeritus

    Marvel Mystery oil and Rislone are 2 additives that have worked for me in the past on engines that have sat around for years. It can take several long drives to loosen the rings and let them start to seal again. It's not instantaneous. It takes time and a few heat cycles for the deposits to loosen up and free up the rings. I thought my latest Studebaker engine was a gonner. The more I drove it the better it got. It smoked pretty bad but it slowly came around. It shows no signs of smoke now that it get regular exercise.

    You could have a broken ring or it's just flat wore out but give it a good honest try before you throw in the towel. We stored a 65 Pontiac for a while and it would hardly run when we tried to get it running again. We knew it was running well when parked. We put in some Rislone and took it for a long drive around the beltway. It took several exits before the lifters started to pump up again and run smooth. It had only sat for about a year.

    I don't believe in a "mechanic in a can" either unless the car has been sitting for a long period of time. In that case it is worth a try. It worked for me.



    After with no smoke.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  13. miller
    Joined: Aug 5, 2006
    Posts: 401

    from New Jersey

    I had a 55 Pontiac years ago it smoked ,..but the smoke was almost white,.. make along story short on the trans there is a modulator and it is connected to a vacume line ....when these go bad ,trans oil is sucked up into the motor and burned causing a white smoke, what color is the smoke you have?....Miller
  14. roddinron
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,677


    You might also check the "draft tube" or breather tube to be sure it's not clogged. could even have a mouse nest in it. Did you do a compression test? That's the first thing I'd do.
  15. chevyshack
    Joined: Dec 28, 2008
    Posts: 950


    Maybe you could just replace the valve guide seals. Thay are cheap and could be your whole or atleast half the problem.
  16. Just drive it and hope the rings "remember" their duty. Seriously. I had a Maverick that sat for a few months only and burned a quart a week. After 2 weeks of driving, nothing.
  17. White or black smoke? Thought about doing a compression test too? I like the rislone idea, can't hurt right. That detergent idea sounds skeery.
  18. brad chevy
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627

    brad chevy

    I would shop around for the rebuild kit,$1800 is awful high.unless you are replacing cam,lifters,crank and pistons.
  19. chevyshack
    Joined: Dec 28, 2008
    Posts: 950


    I agree. $1800 bucks should pay for everything including machine work. Well maybe not head work.
  20. OahuEli
    Joined: Dec 27, 2008
    Posts: 4,761

    from Hawaii

    I forgot all about that, good point.
  21. 296 V8
    Joined: Sep 17, 2003
    Posts: 4,676

    296 V8
    from Nor~Cal

    Go out and find some non detergent 70 weight (commonly used in top fuel cars) it will drastically cut your oil consumption……….iv done it.
  22. Cymro
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 648


    Another possible shade tree fix is to pour / squirt a tablespoon full or so of "Redex" (a brand of upper cylinder lubricant / petrol additive) down each of the spark plug holes, leave for a couple of days turn the engine over periodically by hand to assist the process, it has worked for me in the past on engines that have stood for some time. Sorry but I have no idea if "Redex" is available in the USA but I assume that similar products are available.
  23. Cymro
    Joined: Jul 1, 2008
    Posts: 648


    Good point, if you have servo brakes the same applies, brake fluid being sucked into the engine will show white smoke, as will a blown head gasket.
  24. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 3,707

    64 DODGE 440
    from so cal

    X2 on the oil drain back holes in the head. had a similar problem on an old International V8 that was caused by the valve covers filling up and the oil getting sucked through the valve guides.
  25. plym_46
    Joined: Sep 8, 2005
    Posts: 3,414

    from central NY

    Why not do a compression test and attach a vacuum gauge and do a bit of investigation as to what the source of the smoke is. Compression test will indicate the condition of the rings, and the vacuum gauge can point you towards valve seals and or worn guides.

    Usually heavy vapor out of the crank case indicated blowby, or compression leaking past rings pressurizing the crank. the opposite of that will allow oil on the cylinder walls to be pushed past the rings into the combustion chamber worn guids and valve seals will suck oil out of the top of the heads under high vaccum idle conditions then spew it out under acceleration. A look at the condition of the plugs will show you if your are burning oil vapor or raw oil.

    Also what is your actual oil consumption??? A little oil or transfluid as mentioned above will give you quite a bit of smoke. And a small head gasket leak which sucks coolant into a cylinder or two will give you lots of white smoke.
  26. In my opinion, all these rebuilds in a can are snake oil.

    They might give somebody enough of a short-term fix to screw a rube buyer, though.
  27. AlbuqF-1
    Joined: Mar 2, 2006
    Posts: 910

    from NM

    SeaFoam is probably similar and is sold here. It will usually free up stuck rings if cylinders are soaked overnight.

    The risk with anything that breaks up old gunk is that it will plug the screen and you'll have no oil at all. Pull off the valve covers and oil pan, check the easy stuff.
  28. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,868


    When I was 16, back in the late 60's, guys would run 50 weight non detergent oil with a couple of cans of STP. It actually worked pretty good.
  29. mexgrhd68
    Joined: Oct 18, 2009
    Posts: 13

    from cen cal

    try running tranny fluid in it for 30 minutes then drain, bro did this to his 55 chevy over 20 years ago.....engine is still running and no smoke!!!!!
  30. TurboShadow
    Joined: Feb 1, 2009
    Posts: 187

    from Prosser wa

    If you haven't tried the "Restore" stuff, TRY IT! I have a bad habit of driving worn out cars as DD's and Ive used it with good results in everything I have tried it on. I had a 86 Dodge langer with a 175k on it that smoked like crazy, and a 95 neon with 150k on it that smoked a little. Both where fixed with engine restore. Now, it still is "snake oil" but they advertise that it has graphite in it that fills in the low spots in the piston bores and bearings.

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