1987 Pontiac Firebird smoke when cold

Tiny
RACCA116
  • MEMBER
  • 1987 PONTIAC FIREBIRD
  • V8
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 130,000 MILES
Im looking to buy this car and its not the stock engine. Its a 383 with sleeved cylinders, forged pistons and crank with aluminum heads and comp cams with 1.65 roller rockers and headers. The car smokes when its cold and it conserns me a little bit, im a mechanic but im only just out of school and looking for a proffessional opinion. I know reasons why cars would smoke but I dont know if it may be because the engine is new. It only had about 13 hours on it. I have little experience with performance engines. Is the smoking a big issue or is it just because the engine isnt broken in yet
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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 AT 10:44 PM

13 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Is the smoke blue from oil burning?
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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 AT 10:48 PM
Tiny
RACCA116
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Its not really. Its more grey than blue. But I didnt really look that closely. I know what smoke looks like from a car burning oil and it could go either way. Ill look more closely tommorow when I see it again but if it is burning oil could that be because its not totaly broken in yet?
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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 AT 10:56 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Oil burning really doesn't happen because it's new. It can be caused by many things. If you only see it when you start the car for a few seconds, usually it is related to valve seals or worn valve guides that allow small amounts of oil to make their way to the top of the valve then get pulled into the combustion chamber. Once that is burned, it usually stops.

If the smoke is more white, then I would be concerned of coolant getting burned due to a bad head gasket, warped head.

Now, if it is black smoke, then the engine is running too rich.

In general, the concept of it not being broken in yet shouldn't cause this. Think about it, have you ever seen a new car burn oil when first started?

Let me know what you find.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 6:41 AM
Tiny
RACCA116
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Well I was thinking valve seals or its running rich. But it smokes for a few minutes, which makes me think maybe piston rings. But also its tuned port injection and its running 38 lb injectors vs. The 28lb on the stock motor. It also has high flow cats. Idk if any of this makes a difference.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 12:03 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
If it was the rings, I would think it would always do it. Do they have it regulated at 38psi, or is that what the pump is producing? Also, make sure it isn't using coolant. Gray smoke is close to white. Oil or too much fuel would be much darker (blue = oil / black = rich air fuel mixture).
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 12:58 PM
Tiny
RACCA116
  • MEMBER
Its darker smoke. But it only does it till the engine is hot then it doesnt at all. I know the engine is gunna need to be tuned cause I dont think the guy ever did it. I have no idea what th pump is producing but the injectors themselves are rated at 38 pounds. I would imagine the comuter regulates the actual amount of fuel going thru them tho correct? And I saw the valve covers off last night and it deffinatly looks like its brand new under there, do you think the valve seals could still be bad?
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 1:08 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
If they replaced them, I would say no, but that doesn't mean the valve guides are within spec.

Listen, (and this is only my opinion), if it burns oil till it gets hot, you may be correct with the rings because metal expands when it gets hot. You may want to get a compression test when it's cold keeping in mind it may or may not help because it may only be the oil rings that are bad. However, at least you would know how thing are there.

If they are asking a lot for this, you may want to look for another (my opinion only). Or, build one yourself. That would not only be fun, but a great learning experience.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 1:49 PM
Tiny
RACCA116
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Well he is asking for 4 grand, and its got forged cranks, connecting rods and keith jackson forged pistons, comp cams, roller rockers, sameise intake runners, 38 lb injectors edlebrock headers with 3 inch pipes thru high flow cats to edlebrock mufflers with an h pipe, hes got some poly suspention and a strut mount crossmember. Hes also giving me a set of rear rims with brand new drag slicks and another 3.27 stock rear end, 2 extra sets of t tops ans a 300 watt 2 channel kicker amp with the car. Its got some minor body things but nothing important. The chassis has about 135k on it and the engine has 13 hours on it but theres no rust or bondo on it anywhere cause I looked closely for that. I would love to build my own motor but I dont have the money or time for that right now. It seems like a good deal even if I need to work on the valvetrain, but im just worryed about if ill have the time. The only thing is that im getting a little skeptical of it cause he said its an 87 that came with a 350 but I ran the vin and it came up as a 86 with a 305. So I dont know if hes really sure about what he has. What is your opinion?
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 2:20 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Honestly, if he doesn't know what year it is, my gut feeling would be to stay away from it. That doesn't sound right. Do you know him? Ask him to see the title so you can verify the year. That way you can see if he has a title, and if it is the right one for the vehicle. If you don't know him, for all you know, the car could be stolen. I can't remember if they even put the 350 in them. If I remember correctly, the trans am may have had it, but not the regular Firebird. I wish I was there to help you better. I don't want to see you get stung on this deal. Especially if he doesn't even know the model year. That bothers me. Maybe this will help. My father always told me that when one deal didn't work out, a better one was waiting. And you know, he was always right.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 9:36 PM
Tiny
RACCA116
  • MEMBER
Well I do know him, I work with him, I know hes a good guy, im just not sure if he knows what hes got. It is a trans am, and im not sure if the 350 came in them but I know they did on the 87 and up GTA's at least. But it isnt a GTA cause they didnt come out with that option till 87. I will ask for the title, and im having a buddy of mine at a dealershp run a Carfax on it for me.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 9:52 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
That sounds like a plan. I don't like seeing good people getting taken. Also, I'm glad to hear you know him and work with him. That is reassuring too. You may want to make him a lower offer since there is a potential problem. It isn't easy to make 4K. Let me know what you decide and if you have other questions. Good luck, and if you get it and figure out the reason for the smoke, let me know.

Also, and I don't mean to sound like a father, from what I can tell you are a young man, and this car sounds like it will go like hell. Don't be stupid and get yourself killed driving fast. I had a 68 Dodge Super Bee when I was in college. Many nights I had the speedo pegged at 150. Looking back, I can't believe I'm still alive. With age comes wisdom, and now I realize how crazy I was. ( But no one ever beat me!) LOL

Take care,
Joe
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 10:11 PM
Tiny
RACCA116
  • MEMBER
Thanks alot. Yeah, im 20. I been driving around in beater cars my whole life that fall apart and some that struggle to make highways speeds haha, so as a muscle car guy im excited about it, but im just cautious about getting a car thats gunna be a money pit or needs more time than I have to give at this point. But if I have any more questions ill just post them here, thanks again
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 10:42 PM
Tiny
JSWAIN
  • MEMBER
This is none of my business, mind you, but I'm 35 and don't make the same decisions as I did when I was 20. If I did, my wife would probably leave me, but I digress. As I said, none of my business, but if you're a mechanic, and this guy works with you, then I'm guessing he's a mechanic too. And he wants to sell you a car that smokes. I'd run like hell from that deal. Even if he isn't a mechanic (I'm not either, I've just gotten fairly experienced at working on cars by driving mostly crap over the last 19 years), I'd hate to buy something that I knew I was going to have to work on but was unsure how long it would take or how much it would cost. At any rate, I hope it turns out well for you.
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Thursday, September 10th, 2009 AT 11:10 PM

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