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Old 03-30-2008, 12:17 AM   #1
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Exhaust Smoke on Starting

I am certain that this has been covered many times but all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

On the initial (morning) start up my 2004 Boxster emits LOTS of smoke. Can this be prevented?

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Old 03-30-2008, 03:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richv
I am certain that this has been covered many times but all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

On the initial (morning) start up my 2004 Boxster emits LOTS of smoke. Can this be prevented?
Ok what kind of smoke? Is is white, blue, does it linger in the air or disapate quickly? I;m sure this crowd has already seen this just need some more info before passing judgement.

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Old 03-30-2008, 04:47 AM   #3
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Does this happen after you have not driven the car for several day?

Here is what the PCA.org tech section Q&A says about this:

I would not worry about smoke on startup unless you are killing mosquitoes. All of Porsches flat 6 motors have a tendency to smoke occasionally on startup. I would not be concerned about this.

There are several sources of it. One is that moisture condenses in the exhaust system after you park the car for the evening. If it is humid and warm, and then cool overnight, it happens even more. Next morning it will burn off. You will see water droplets coming out of the tailpipe as well. Water is actually one of the combustion byproducts, as it turns out when hydrocarbons are combusted, some of the hydrogen molecules mix with some of the oxygen molecules 2:1 and you get H2o. Most of that will turn to steam since the exhaust system gets hot quickly.

It is also normal for a little bit of oil to be burned off from a cold engine. The pistons are sealed by rings, and the rings are lubricated by oil. But as the piston moves, it does not spray any cleaner to clean off the oil on the part of the cylinder wall it just left. That oil film becomes part of the combustion environment and is partially burned. The next stroke down, the rings bring fresh oil and all is well, except for a bit of smoke.

Now add to this the fact that the engine is horizontally opposed. That means that oil inside the cylinders will slowly collect at the bottom (side) of each cylinder overnight. In turn, some of that can slowly ooze past the rings. Not much, and not fast, but some can. That will burn off at startup.

Lastly, there is the head gasket. It is not feasible to have a 100% perfect head gasket, and still be able to disassemble and reassemble an engine. For example on some of the legendary race cars, Porsche did away with the head gasket and used electron-beam welding to weld the heads to the cylinders. This is frighteningly expensive. Therefore a normal head gasket is used in our Boxsters and 996s. A normal head gasket must seal best at operating temperature. If it leaks a little before warming up, you will see a bit of smoke. As long as the coolant level is correct, and stays that way, or if you can maintain it that way, then there is no problem.
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick V
Ok what kind of smoke? Is is white, blue, does it linger in the air or disapate quickly? I;m sure this crowd has already seen this just need some more info before passing judgement.

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It appears to be white. Lingers in the garage for a while before dissapating. Usually see when starting the car for the first time of the day but not every time.
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000SoCalBoxsterS
Does this happen after you have not driven the car for several day?

Here is what the PCA.org tech section Q&A says about this:

I would not worry about smoke on startup unless you are killing mosquitoes. All of Porsches flat 6 motors have a tendency to smoke occasionally on startup. I would not be concerned about this.

There are several sources of it. One is that moisture condenses in the exhaust system after you park the car for the evening. If it is humid and warm, and then cool overnight, it happens even more. Next morning it will burn off. You will see water droplets coming out of the tailpipe as well. Water is actually one of the combustion byproducts, as it turns out when hydrocarbons are combusted, some of the hydrogen molecules mix with some of the oxygen molecules 2:1 and you get H2o. Most of that will turn to steam since the exhaust system gets hot quickly.

It is also normal for a little bit of oil to be burned off from a cold engine. The pistons are sealed by rings, and the rings are lubricated by oil. But as the piston moves, it does not spray any cleaner to clean off the oil on the part of the cylinder wall it just left. That oil film becomes part of the combustion environment and is partially burned. The next stroke down, the rings bring fresh oil and all is well, except for a bit of smoke.

Now add to this the fact that the engine is horizontally opposed. That means that oil inside the cylinders will slowly collect at the bottom (side) of each cylinder overnight. In turn, some of that can slowly ooze past the rings. Not much, and not fast, but some can. That will burn off at startup.

Lastly, there is the head gasket. It is not feasible to have a 100% perfect head gasket, and still be able to disassemble and reassemble an engine. For example on some of the legendary race cars, Porsche did away with the head gasket and used electron-beam welding to weld the heads to the cylinders. This is frighteningly expensive. Therefore a normal head gasket is used in our Boxsters and 996s. A normal head gasket must seal best at operating temperature. If it leaks a little before warming up, you will see a bit of smoke. As long as the coolant level is correct, and stays that way, or if you can maintain it that way, then there is no problem.
Thanks for the info. This happens fairly regularly (practically daily) when starting the vehicle in the morning after it has been garaged at night.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:18 AM   #6
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Take note of the odour. It is sweet like coolant or oil smelling? For the couple puffs at start up, you really shouldn't notice any smell or atleast not enough to say "boy, that smells like oil" that type of thing.
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Old 03-30-2008, 11:40 AM   #7
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sputter
Take note of the odour. It is sweet like coolant or oil smelling? For the couple puffs at start up, you really shouldn't notice any smell or atleast not enough to say "boy, that smells like oil" that type of thing.
Oil smelling. I've noticed something about how I start the car. I had developed a habit of stepping on the accelerator while starting the ignition. For the last two days I have not stepped on the accelerator while turning the ignition. Ive noticed that there hasn't been any smoke whenever I've done this. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:25 AM   #9
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This condition for me was only due to my car not being a daily driver and it goes weeks without being driven and in the winter it goes months without being run. But it must be very very slight because I can go between oil changes without having to add oil.
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:23 PM   #10
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This has happened to me on every cold start since I bought the car new. 37,000 miles later and still running strong without having to add oil in between changes.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:36 AM   #11
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I get this too on my 03 S w/ 58k miles.. I've also wondered if Subaru owners have the same symptoms of smoke upon startup - anyone?
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:26 PM   #12
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seems totally random on mine

I've only had my 2003 S (with about 21,000 miles) for a little over a month, but I've had this occur a few times so far. (My heart skipped a few beats the first time, then I recalled seeing something about this on this forum, and I partially recovered). The odd part - it seems very random, not linked to how long I've been parked, whether it is hot or cold, etc.. My thought is it must be related to where the pistons happen to stop, and whether that has let the oil get in to a cylinder or not?
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Old 04-04-2008, 08:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jboyle
I get this too on my 03 S w/ 58k miles.. I've also wondered if Subaru owners have the same symptoms of smoke upon startup - anyone?
Just an update. I still have not experienced this since I stopped stepping on the accelerator while starting the car. I now think that my problem was due to this.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:26 AM   #14
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hi, just wanted to say i get same on my 54,000km's 03 boxster.I drove it some threw winter months and didnt really notice it much.It happen 2-3 times in the winter.Now i insurnced it this spring and seems to do it 2-3 times a week in morning start up.Puff of white smoke that lingers around the garage for about 30secends with no smell.Its kind a imbareancing cause u see this clean nice new looking porsche and then smoke comes out like it was a 1980's vechicle.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:11 AM   #15
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Hi, I had a similiar problem. It started only when the car sat for a week and got progressively more aggressive. I had the AOS changed and have not had a bit of smoke since. I am not saying that is your problem, but tyr taking the top hose off of the AOS and look for more than a light coating.

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