'02 Subaru WRX has white smoke coming from something on the right side under the hood. This only happens when running the car for the first time of the day and only happens when the car is idling (like at a red light). The smoking stops when the engine is shut off and left to sit for a bit and then does not reoccur. I've checked the coolant levels and they're fine and the temp gauge is in the normal range as well.
You could have a blown turbo, that has been known to release white smoke from the turbo dump valve. You could also have a very small leak dripping on to the exhaust or down pipe and when it starts after sitting it burns off what ever dripped.
January, 11, 2011 AT 9:07 PM
Thanks, danglant! Now that you've said that, the dripping theory makes good sense! I don't think it's the turbo or I'd be able to see the smoking from there with the hood up. What I do see is that the smoke seems to be coming from something around the area under the air filter but not exactly where. That would support the idea of a leaking hose or something and would explain why it stops after I turn off the car and restart. I'm guessing that once things get hot and expand the dripping stops? Thanks again. Now to take it in and find out WHAT is dripping!
January, 12, 2011 AT 3:47 PM
No problem, Glad I could help. Is there any smell associated with the smoke that you noticed?
January, 12, 2011 AT 10:19 PM
I wish I could answer that but I've completely lost my sense of smell!
January, 14, 2011 AT 1:53 PM
Sorry to hear that. I hope everything works out good with your subie.
February, 22, 2011 AT 7:33 PM
I'd like to update you all in case anyone else had a similar question. Turns out it was the engine seals that were the problem. I had them replaced and everything's good, no more smoking. It actually was because of the engine heating and expanding that it only happened before the engine was fully heated up and only when it was idling. My car has 135k miles on it and those were the original seals, so I really can't complain about putting $600 into it for that! If anyone out there is considering buying a Subaru, I think you're making a really terrific choice!