Smoke on startup is normal??? - Subaru WRX Forum
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#1 Old 07-01-2009, 08:58 AM
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Exclamation Smoke on startup is normal???

I have an 07 wrx wagon all stock no mods, and after letting it sit overnight i get a nice greyish/white cloud of smoke out of the exhaust when i pull out of my parking spot. After that nothing happens i do not have smoke coming from the exhaust while driving. I have taken the vehicle to my local subaru dealership and at first they couldnt duplicate it. I took it back again and Subaru gave me a loaner car for 3 days so they could have more time with it.. so this time they were able to duplicate the problem. They told me its because i was using Mobil1 synthetic oil and that i needed to switch to the non synthetic factory oil... so i did that and it seemed to be ok for 2-3 days. Then it happens again, i back up out of the parking spot and take off, i look in the mirror and i see the cloud of smoke behind me.
So i call Subaru back they tell me they want me to come in for an oil consumption test every thousand miles.. so i do that and in 3000 miles it went through about a quart of oil.. they tell me the oil consumption is normal and the smoke on startup is normal...
I need help here, a cloud of smoke on a car that just last week cleared 30,000 miles should NOT be normal. I am fed up with the dealership and the factory rep telling me smoke on startup is normal. I need help with this and dont know what to do. I feel like the dealer and factory is avoiding the issue and not willing to do anything to repair the problem. Im turning to the general public for help... what should i do???
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#2 Old 07-01-2009, 10:36 AM
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A "cloud" is not normal.... You may have a ton of carbon buildup in your DP and exhaust. My car never smoked unless I cleaned the cylinders w/SeaFoam every 5K or so.

On the other hand.... As long as each visit is documented, you should be ok. A quart is not unheard of every 3k .....

Are you mechanically inclined to chk for blow-by ?

Try a different synthetic that will minimize the loss.

I tried 6 different oils till I found the right one for my car.

Paul
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2007 WRX Sold
2007 STi totaled
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#3 Old 07-01-2009, 11:10 AM
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Yes each visit was documented and on the third and final visit the service manager told me the oil consumption is normal and smoke on startup is normal.... then he went on to tell me I dont know what to do... he said call subaru of america and i will call my field rep... Keep in mind the field rep was there when they duplicated the smoke on startup condition and the field rep is the one that put the blame on mobil 1. I ran this car with Mobil1 since the first oil change and i find it funny for a normal condition to show itself after the car has 26,000 miles on it.

I turned wrenches at a dealer for about 5 years and did everything you could to a car, this is the first car i have ever purchased new and refuse to try and diagnose the problem myself. I have a feeling it is bad valve seals due to the problem only occuring on initial startup after having sat overnight.

I understand different manufacturers of synthetic oils use different treatments and conditioners in there oil but in the end the viscosity of the oil comes out the same.. I am sure alot of wrx owners use Mobil1 synthetic and will agree that the problem is not the oil, which i have confirmed by switching to the oil that subaru says it should use.

Basicly i am looking for help on how to get an actual repair done to the vehicle, i have fought with the service department, i have called subaru of america. When you call Subaru of America they basicly tell you the same thing the service department tells you because they call the service manager there and he tells them what they found and they relay that same message to you... I strongly disagree when i am being told smoke on startup is normal, the dealer refuses to let me walk the lot and startup all the wrx's there to verify that a wrx is supposed to smoke on startup... I have been waiting for 2 weeks now for the regional rep to call me and have yet to recieve a phone call.. I bought this car because 1 - I love the looks and performance and 2 - because of Subarus reputation for being a high mileage drive train. After this experience i am very dissapointed in the customer service i have recieved as well as the reliability of the drivetrain..

Should i talk to a lawyer?
Does anyone know a point of contact within subaru that i can speak with about this?
Does everyone elses WRX smoke on startup?

Any help is appreciated..
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#4 Old 07-01-2009, 01:06 PM
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Ive heard from a few guys at a local tuner around me (IPS motorsports) that mobil1 has changed somthing in their oil recently and many of their subie customers were complaining of this. they switched to using amsoil full synthetic and never had any problems. i use the same stuff and love it. never had any smoke.
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#5 Old 07-01-2009, 07:32 PM
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I use Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage (I've got 145k miles). The only time I get smoke is when I hit WOT and full boost, I get a puff of black smoke. I'm running a bit rich... Aside from that, I don't get any smoke.

I'd suggest switching oils. Mobil 1 did change their formula, it's no longer classified as a full synthetic.

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#6 Old 07-01-2009, 09:18 PM
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I've got an 03 wrx wagon with a full TBE and I've had the same problem since i switched to Royal Purple. A buddy of mine is also having the same problem with his 07 2.5i wagon since switching to RP, his is much worse though. I'll be switching this oil change to amsoil. I'll let you know if it helps.
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#7 Old 07-01-2009, 09:59 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention... My stock turbo was swapped out at 108k miles and had ZERO shaft play and the seals were in excellent shape. VF34 has been holding up to the abuse it's seen very well at 20psi.

Anyway, RP engine oil is complete crap. Mobile 1 is getting close to the same. I recommend Amsoil or Valvoline.

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#8 Old 07-02-2009, 05:30 AM
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Try Rotella T (Shell) if you decide to switch it.

Paul
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2007 WRX Sold
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#9 Old 07-04-2009, 07:44 PM
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Rotella? I wouldn't even put that in my lawn mower.

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#10 Old 07-08-2009, 11:05 AM
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Ok i will try switching to Amsoil, i finally got a response from the dealer after i called in again.. they want me to come in for my 30k service so they can pull the exhaust off the turbo and check for oil leaking out of the turbo... i think its nice they are willing to inspect this but find it funny they want me to do it when i get my service done... so tired of the run around and headaches over this..
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#11 Old 07-08-2009, 09:15 PM
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Why not do it yourself? It's pretty easy if you can get the car up on jackstands.

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#12 Old 07-09-2009, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03 CrazyTaxi View Post
................Anyway, RP engine oil is complete crap.............
What is your basis behind this?

rollin on 17's now and they're dirty
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#13 Old 07-09-2009, 09:58 AM
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^ Yep, I'm also curious about that. I haven't had any ill effects using it in my car for the past 15,000 miles, changing it every 3,000.

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#14 Old 07-09-2009, 04:48 PM
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I've seen this a few times with my car and I asked my mechanic about it.

He explained it like this...

The Subaru's run with positive crankcase pressure. This creates kind of an oil steam in the engine that is run back into the intake system. Like all hot liquids, they will condense when they hit something cool. Since your top mount intercooler is cool, it will gather there. That's why when you pop off the intercooler there is a little bit of oil in the coupling. On start up, this will come out your exhaust b/c your catalytic converter isn't warm yet. Once the cat is warmed up, it will burn off this oil so you don't see it out the tailpipe.

That's how it was explained to me, and it seems to make sense. After about 3k miles I'm about 1/4 quart low on oil. I try to check it every 1000 miles now.

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#15 Old 07-09-2009, 11:13 PM
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Wow, very interesting.

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