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Old 06-04-2002   #1
87gta350
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: PA, USA
Posts: 70


Unhappy smoke when I start my engine...some play in my drive shaft...intake questions

I drive a 1987 Pontiac GTA with a 350 TPI engine and its been puffing alittle white smoke when i start my engine...its not all of the time, but most of the time, sometimes it doesn't do it at all, and other times it can be a good bit. But it never lasts more than 5 or 10 seconds. Is there anything to worry about with this? and if so, what could be causing it? Also, there is alittle bit of play in my drive shaft, I had the rear up on blocks this afternoon and turned one wheel while holding the other in place, hoping it was the U-joints, but they're tight..the whole driveshaft is moving...its not much movement, but I don't know if I need to be checking up on something more, or not.

Now, getting away from the problems...I'm curious if anyone has ever attempted converting the air vents on the front of the hood into intake, I have the feeling that it wouldn't work, but I'd be interested to hear what others have to say...I'd also be interested in other intake set-ups I could use to open up the flow alittle.

Any and all replys are welcome, I'm completely open to your thought or ideas and I appreciate you taking the time to try and help me out
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1st car...now someone else's 1st car...1987 Pontiac Trans Am GTA 5.7L
2nd...and current...1996 GMC Sierra K1500 5 spd
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Old 06-04-2002   #2
Fred91GTA
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Brooklyn, NYC
Posts: 1,656


The puff of white smoke on startup is not uncommon in these cars. The problem is in leaky valve seals. Doesn't really do anything to the car. Just causes the white puff of smoke on startup... Besides, water vapor also accumulates in a car's exhaust system while its cooling down so most of the white smoke may be coming from that too. I don't mind the white smoke... most of the local wannabe racers here laugh when i start up, but they ain't laughing no more when they get embarrassed with their little huge exhaust imports.

As for intake setups, i wouldn't try cutting holes where the hood inlets are. What I have is an SLP Cold Air box that I got for a steal at a local junkyard. You could just do a cheapie version and stick 3' dryer hose on your stock airbox, run it down the passenger side fender, and fashion a homemade scoop attached under the front clip of the car... I was going to do this when I realized that you can get really screwed if you run over a big puddle and water gets into the scoop and up the air intake. Another option is to just get rid of your airbox and stick a big conical air filter at the end of the air intake tube. Exposes more of the area to air. Hope this helps. Good luck.
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Old 06-04-2002   #3
silverado92
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 27


Usually the white smoke at startup is either condensation in the exhaust or it could be more serious like antifreeze leaking into the cylinders. Usually blue or black smoke is oil or a rich condition. White is water related. Pull your oil dipstick and see if the oil has a white appearance or the dipstick has a MODERATE amount of rust on it or if the antifreeze has oil floating in it. That indicates water leaking into areas in the motor that it shouldn't. Usually you will see white smoke nearly all the time if that is the case. I cut out the areas under those two air vents at the front of the hood to allow more cool air into the engine compartment when driving. It really helped. I did remove my airfilter box and the 45 degree plastic piece between the airfilter box and the MAF. I also took out the screens on the inlet and outlet sides of the MAF. I then stuck on a conical filter right onto the end of the MAF. It works great. You can also bypass the heater hose lines that are running to your throttle body to lower the temp of the incoming air. Your MAF and a sensor inside your intake monitor air temp. The cooler the better. Good luck.
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Old 06-05-2002   #4
Brent87LT1
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Near Tulsa, OK
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Agree with Silverado. When the valve seals leak (normal) blue smoke comes out at start up. I also cut the back side of the vents to allow cooler air across the intake. Be careful using dryer hose. It can suck completely shut at WOT.

Fred, please do not take this as disagreeing with your post. I've just had different experiences.
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Old 06-05-2002   #5
Fred91GTA
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Brooklyn, NYC
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Not a problem Brent. It's always good to see different viewpoints and experiences. I think my problem with the smoke is still in the valve seals. I tried what silverado suggested and no oil floating around in my coolant or rust on the dipstick.

87gta350, I wouldn't try bypassing the coolant lines to the throttle body if you live in a northern climate and drive your car around in cold weather. If you're in a warm climate year round or you drive your car in warm weather only, it's fine. The reason is that when it's cold out and you go WOT, and your TB coolant lines are bypassed, ice can build up in the throttle body which can't be good.

silverado Brent, i've been trying to look for ways to get my engine bay cooler. if you cut the hood vents at the front of the car, how did you set it up so that when it rains, water won't come in? That's been my main concern with going through with it.

I have a ram air hood that's going on the car in a few weeks, and I fabricated a motorized shutter door connected to a switch inside on my console for the front scoops so that when it rains I can rig it shut, and the engine can breathe through the SLP airbox assembly. If it works, (I hope) post up pics and procedures for how to make one.
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Old 06-05-2002   #6
Brent87LT1
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I just cut a 2" x 6" hole behind each vent where the inner structure angles up. I left about 1/4" curved up so the water doesn't run directly in. The vents really are above the radiator so rain doesn't go directly on the engine anyway. Water will drip on to the radiator support when stock anyway, so you really haven't changed that.

Also, with the cutouts behind the vents, you can't see them when the hood is up.
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Old 06-19-2002   #7
Trish C
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: California
Posts: 7


Talking

A little smoke from the valve seals won't hurt, but it can be embarrassing! A little trick is to park nose down in your driveway ( if your driveway is on a slant), and it doesn't smoke.
87 GTA 305 TPI
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