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Exhaust Smoke In Portland, Or = Rebuild?


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Let me preface this by saying while I like fixing things I don't know a lot about cars or what car words mean, especially in terms of car engine words.


My 2002 daily driver smokes (out the exhaust) a lot. It smokes on deceleration, especially going down a hill.


It smokes a bit on acceleration too.


Exhaust and gas fumes have started to bother me a lot, plus I live in a city so I'm always feeling bad smoking on people driving behind me.


I have to put in a quart of oil about every 1.5 months.


When I bought it a few years ago it had bad "compression numbers". I put that in quotes because I'm not exactly sure what that means.


My very good, honest, reputable mechanic recommended a full engine rebuild, which will start at about $6000. (I'd rather not mention their name here.)


I don't have a second car or a garage to do the work myself.


The car has a little rust and overall runs well and has been well maintained. 4 speed but I don't do a lot of highway driving.


Any advice? It kind of feels like a full rebuild is too nice for this car and how I use it but maybe it has to be done. Who in Portland should I talk to for second opinions?

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If you are smoking on acceleration and deceleration then it's time to rebuild the motor. You don't have to do a ton of upgrades or anything fancy, but if you do nothing, the problem will only get worse and you'll be left stranded eventually.

I forget the name of his shop, but try to find Mike O'Hara. He knows quite a bit about our cars.

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Smoke on decelleration means worn valve guides.  If it's just that, maybe only a top end job would be necessary, which is probably less than 6K on the M10 motor (?).


On the other hand, it sounds like the motor is overall tired, hence the advice to get a complete rebuild. 


best of luck!

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six grand could easily be more than the car is worth, even with the rebuilt motor.  Suggest you look for another motor.  Have been down this route before.... about ten years ago got a factory long block for my tii for 2500.  Sure they are more now, but should not be near 6k.  Bill Holmes of Bavarian Rennsport (still in business?) had a competitive price but the dealer and I are in Honolulu while he is 3000 miles away.


A tired motor will not strand you in and of itself, it just won't run as strongly as it would if newer.  My '73 3.0CS smokes a bit and will not strand me for it.  Only a part or system failure will strand you, and those occur as a function of age and maintenance.  Take good care of what you got, and it is unlikely to leave you (aside from age-related issues).  If you're worried, carry a cell phone (who doesn't?) and your right hand to hitchhike home.  Have a friend with a truck who will, being a good bud, tow you home if/when you ever need it.


OTOH, this advice is from one who has always done his own work and lives on an island 20 miles by 30.

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  • 1 month later...

6k should have you seein bricks at Indy, my motor cost 250 bones and that included tranny, radiator, bumper, 2 sets of wheels, the Momos are to die for and misc other goodies, found on

Craigslist and did the work myself but 6k is Kormann numbers (google it)

Do some research and pull your head on your own, a good weekend workout and you will really get to know your car. Its simple basic stuff that will save 6 tons of money, or cut a check and bear it

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