Brand: Chevy Suburban emits smoke on startup

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: May 16, 2013 - 11:18 AM

Q: I just had a new engine put into my 2005 Chevy Suburban. When I start my truck after it sits for a few days, I get blue exhaust smoke out of my tailpipe. I’ve been monitoring my oil and the level has been going down. It was down 1 ½ quarts when I brought it in for an oil change. There is no leaking. A mechanic friend said it is either my valves or valve seals. The mechanic at the dealer who did the work said I need to give it 10,000 miles and he said it should seal itself. Does that sound correct? My buddy the ex-mechanic does not buy it. I spent a lot of money to get this fixed and have a three-year warranty with the new engine. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.

A: Based on consuming 1.5 quarts in 3,000-plus miles, the engine’s oil consumption falls into acceptable limits of 1 quart per 2,000 miles. Normal oil consumption occurs when a very small percentage of the oil film left on cylinder walls as the piston is driven downward on the combustion stroke is burned. More important, this level of oil use would not generate significant smoke on start-up. To put this tiny amount of oil consumption in perspective, if an engine burned one drop of oil in each cylinder each combustion stroke it would consume a quart of oil in less than 5 miles!

It is far more common for that puff of blue oil smoke on start-up to be caused by oil that has collected on the valve stems after the engine is shut off. If there is a problem with the oil seals or valves/guides, this oil can drain past the oil seal and down the valve guide where it collects on top of the valve head. Then, when the engine is first started, this oil is drawn into the combustion chambers and burned, creating blue smoke from the tailpipe. Were the cylinder heads on the replacement engine new? Or were the heads from your original engine reused? If so, this could be the source of oil smoke.

I would not expect oil smoke from valve guides or seals to “seal itself” in 10,000 miles. Since the oil smoke isn’t harmful to the engine and you have a three-year warranty, I would suggest documenting the oil smoke and consumption at this time and mileage, monitoring the oil consumption carefully over the next two oil changes, and if the blue smoke and oil consumption continue, I’d press the dealer for help.

Q: I have a 2000 Chrysler minivan with 65,000 miles. The last time I filled my gas tank the dash gauge went to “Full” and will not move, after being driven 200 to 300 miles. What is wrong? A fuse maybe? Would you suggest using the trip odometer?

A: Does the needle on the fuel gauge move when the ignition is first switched to “on”? If not, the problem could be in the instrument cluster. According to my ALLDATA automotive database, Chrysler built in a simple self-test for the instrument cluster. With the ignition in the “off” position, press and hold the “Trip” and “Reset” buttons simultaneously. Turn the ignition switch to the “on” position and continue to hold the “Trip” and “Reset” buttons until the word “Code” appears in the odometer window. If there’s a problem with the cluster, a three-digit DTC fault code will show. If there are no problems with the cluster, “Code 999” will momentarily appear.

Next, have a scan tool check for any BCM (body control module) fault codes. Also, the function and calibration of both the fuel gauge and sending unit can be checked for accuracy. If a problem is found with the gauge or cluster or sending unit, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the cost of repair on your 13-year-old vehicle. Like you said, the trip odometer is a good backup plan.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 41 2nd Qtr 2:35
Boston 59
Philadelphia 30 2nd Qtr 8:09
Indiana 38
Portland 44 2nd Qtr 5:07
Sacramento 41
Charlotte 35 2nd Qtr 3:44
Orlando 33
Oklahoma City 18 1st Qtr 5:30
LA Lakers 10
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 1 3rd Prd
Florida 3
Columbus 1 3rd Prd
Pittsburgh 4
Toronto 6:00 PM
Anaheim 7:00 PM
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 15 1st Half 8:36
Wake Forest 21
Oregon 6:00 PM
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Washington St 8:30 PM
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 48 2nd Half 0:29
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 42 2nd Half 7:15
(13) Kentucky 53
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters