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  1. #1
    ccw1982's Avatar
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    Excessive white smoke on startup

    I have what appears to be a somewhat common problem with caymans smoking upon startup. For starters I've read countless topics on this issue and intend to setup an appointment with the dealer to have it looked at, but was curious if i should be all to concerned or if I'm simply being over paranoid (as i don't believe a smoking engine should ever be considered normal).

    My particular problem is that upon cold startup after the car has sat for more than 24 hours is spews out a white cloud of smoke until the engine is fully warm (it's an extremely noticeable cloud). This happens EVERY TIME upon startup weather I'm driving it daily or i let the car sit for a week and it's irrelevant what time of day it is. On the plus side it only occurs on the first startup (the rest of the day no smoke),. What concerns me is that when i bought the car it never smoked, then after a few months it turned into an occasional poof on startup (maybe every 10 or 15 cold startups), then turned into a solid cloud of white smoke while idling at startup, to now a solid cloud of White smoke until the engine is warm (idle or driving).

    Initially i read that a little smoke was considered normal for this engine and didn't become to worried with the amount of smoke considering the cold weather...but today was one of the nicer days in a while here in Dallas and the issue has clearly gotten worse. Has anyone had success resolving this issue? I'll be sure to post what the dealer suggests and if it resolves the issue


    edit: spoke with the dealer and their over the phone diagnosis is that it might be an oil/water separator issue? planning to drop it off on thursday so if anyones interested i will post the results after a weekend of driving
    Last edited by ccw1982; 01-18-2011 at 05:25 PM. Reason: update

  2. #2
    Plainsman's Avatar
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    head gasket ?

  3. #3
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    I've got a similar issue and I have been dealing with my local Porsche dealer on several occasions.

    1. Porsche acknowledged that white smoke is not normal despite what is commonly said, the service manager definitely informed me that they would need to check it out.

    2. Took it in and updated software which apparently alters start up and shut down engine procedures (within the DME)

    3. The car was still smoking everynow and then on startup which is a large white, oily cloud of smoke - not good enough for a 140k car here in Oz.

    4. Went to another dealer to get a new steering wheel fitted and the service advisor moved the car and informed me that he noticed smoke which is not normal, then booked me in for next monday for new oil/air separator.

    I don't actually think the oil/air separator will fix it but I am hoping it would. Some engines with this problem have had internal work done to them as there are tolerance issues ( on a very small number of engines ) which were made known to me by one of the dealers.

    I sort of gave up as I travel a lot for work and could not be bothered taking it in and out of the dealer, OTOH I should actually get it all sorted because the dealer is clearly admitting that there is an issue and proactively booked it in for me...
    2009 MY2010 Cayman - Basalt Black, Cayman S 18's, PDK, MFSW, Rear Wiper. Australian spec with PCM 3.0 and sound package plus. Evom Intake, Venture shield clear bra.

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    CaymanPower is offline Banned
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by Cayman_09 View Post
    I've got a similar issue and I have been dealing with my local Porsche dealer on several occasions.
    Can you please tell us what exactly are your Cayman's symptoms?

    The reason I ask is because ccw1982's Cayman had somewhat different symptoms which evolved:


    1.«when i bought the car it never smoked»

    2.«then after a few months it turned into an occasional poof on startup (maybe every 10 or 15 cold startups)»

    3.«then turned into a solid cloud of white smoke while idling at startup»

    4. «now a solid cloud of White smoke until the engine is warm (idle or driving):

    «upon cold startup after the car has sat for more than 24 hours is spews out a white cloud of smoke until the engine is fully warm (it's an extremely noticeable cloud) (...) This happens EVERY TIME upon startup weather I'm driving it daily or i let the car sit for a week (...) it only occurs on the first startup»


    In what above stage is your Cayman, Cayman_09? 1,2,3 or 4?


    Quote Originally Posted by Cayman_09 View Post
    I don't actually think the oil/air separator will fix it but I am hoping it would. Some engines with this problem have had internal work done to them as there are tolerance issues ( on a very small number of engines ) which were made known to me by one of the dealers.
    Can you please tell us (or ask the dealer and then tell us) what tolerance issues are those?

    I'm sorry for so many questions but it seems to me this is the best way you can help others. Thank you for sharing.
    Last edited by CaymanPower; 01-19-2011 at 01:22 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Basically the car now emits a large white cloud of smoke on a cold start generally after 24hrs. I usually drive the twice a week and I would say every 8-10th start (not always) it will blow out smoke for approx 10 seconds which smells of oil.

    When I bought the car new it smoked on a few warm starts, I went out to lunch a few times and got back in the car for it to smoke out half of the car park.. Now it seems to smoke mainly on a cold start.

    I did not give out too much info regarding tolerances due to people jumping to conclusions and making innacurate assumptions with their own engines. Porsche clearly informed me that some of the internals in 09 (gen2) models have had some tolerance issues with regards to piston rings/cylinders. They did not let on too much but mentioned it was rare however still a possibility, they also mentioned an air/oil separator usually did the trick to fix the smoking.
    2009 MY2010 Cayman - Basalt Black, Cayman S 18's, PDK, MFSW, Rear Wiper. Australian spec with PCM 3.0 and sound package plus. Evom Intake, Venture shield clear bra.

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  6. #6
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    I have a 2007 2.7 (gen1) which has had intermittent white smoke on initial startup since I brought it home. It never consumes any oil, and runs like a top. No engine problems (knock on wood) so far......but then, I only have 44,300 miles on it!
    Hugh


    2007 Cayman 2.7, Guards Red
    Life is a Cabernet!

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    CaymanPower is offline Banned
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by Cayman_09 View Post
    I did not give out too much info regarding tolerances due to people jumping to conclusions and making innacurate assumptions with their own engines. Porsche clearly informed me that some of the internals in 09 (gen2) models have had some tolerance issues with regards to piston rings/cylinders. They did not let on too much but mentioned it was rare however still a possibility, they also mentioned an air/oil separator usually did the trick to fix the smoking.

    If that the case i can assume that your Cayman also has an abnormal high oil consumption... does it?

    Another question, do you have ever notice a ticking noise from your engine (mainly coming from one of the rear wheel wells area)?


    It's precisely to avoid people jumping to conclusions and making innacurate assumptions with their own engines that we should give as much info as we can. Thank you for helping in that.

  8. #8
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Easiest and luckiest fix is the air/oil separator.

    Unfortuately a scored cylinder can be the reason as Caman_9 reports with his dealers delicate explanation about tolerances.

    Here's some reading for y'all, but you need to have some sort of adult beverage before reading.

    http://www.hartech.org/docs/buyers%2...20part%205.pdf

    BD

  9. #9
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    I know this may be a stupid question... Is the cloud actual smoke or steam???

    PT

  10. #10
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by BostonDuce View Post
    Easiest and luckiest fix is the air/oil separator.

    Unfortuately a scored cylinder can be the reason as Caman_9 reports with his dealers delicate explanation about tolerances.

    Here's some reading for y'all, but you need to have some sort of adult beverage before reading.

    http://www.hartech.org/docs/buyers%2...20part%205.pdf

    BD
    My 05 Boxster S spewed volumes of white smoke @45 K miles. The tech diagnosed a VOS without even looking at the car, he explained a failure of VOS would create partial vacuum in the crankcase, making the oil filler cap very hard to remove. Sure enough, I could not unscrew the cap, and the VOS was replaced. $75 parts, 3 hours labour.

  11. #11
    ccw1982's Avatar
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by PushingTin View Post
    I know this may be a stupid question... Is the cloud actual smoke or steam???

    PT

    it's smoke....it creates a very thick cloudy haze that floats through the air filling up my garage with a white cloud as it slowly dissipates. It's also irrelevant to weather conditions as I've tried it on hot days, cold days, dry days, ect. these past few months with no difference. This is the first opportunity I've had to get it to the dealer so hopefully it can be a fairly easy fix so i can get back to enjoying my cayman on a regular basis with spring time around the corner

  12. #12
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by CaymanPower View Post
    If that the case i can assume that your Cayman also has an abnormal high oil consumption... does it?

    Another question, do you have ever notice a ticking noise from your engine (mainly coming from one of the rear wheel wells area)?


    It's precisely to avoid people jumping to conclusions and making innacurate assumptions with their own engines that we should give as much info as we can. Thank you for helping in that.
    No my car has full oil level, again I believe creating threads in the forums with messages regarding dud engines creates more uncertainty than anything else, everyone then goes on to self diagnose their issues and create unnecessary worry. Sometimes my engine ticks and sometimes it doesn't, I don't take notice TBH. I will answer PMs and provide input where I can but until the problem is actually identified and resolved I won't put anything up as concrete fact - just causes people to go into a panic.
    2009 MY2010 Cayman - Basalt Black, Cayman S 18's, PDK, MFSW, Rear Wiper. Australian spec with PCM 3.0 and sound package plus. Evom Intake, Venture shield clear bra.

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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by Cayman_09 View Post
    No my car has full oil level, again I believe creating threads in the forums with messages regarding dud engines creates more uncertainty than anything else, everyone then goes on to self diagnose their issues and create unnecessary worry. Sometimes my engine ticks and sometimes it doesn't, I don't take notice TBH. I will answer PMs and provide input where I can but until the problem is actually identified and resolved I won't put anything up as concrete fact - just causes people to go into a panic.
    By providing a complete information it's possible to conclude that your 09 (gen2) doesn't suffer from tolerance issues with regards to piston rings/cylinders. So, contrary to what you say the information you have provided should tell you not to be unnecessarily worried with that. Why?

    Because if you follow the link given in BostonDuce's post (thank you very much BD!) you can read:

    «As a result the most recent and most common problem afflicts the pistons and corresponding cylinder scoring. Common signs are increased smoking and oil consumption, sometimes – reduced performance (although not always) and a ticking noise resulting from the piston tilting and the top tapping against the cylinder head as it passes over top dead centre. »


    «Consequently the driver rarely even feels the experience – just notices later - increased oil consumption, perhaps a tapping noise and reduced performance. The piston damage increases the clearance between that piston and the bore – so it rarely repeats the problem and anyway will be achieving lower compression and therefore never creating as much heat or power so never running as hot again. It may indeed therefore be the case that when we find all three cylinders with scored bores (and damaged pistons) that the problems each occurred on different occasions.»


    You see... excessive clearance (due to tolerance issues) between piston/rings and the bore is also the end result of piston damage and scored bores, both of which would inevitably lead to increased oil consumption (the main common symptom). If you don't have excessive oil consumption you can rest assured that your engine doesn't suffer from piston/bore clearance issues. Which then lead us to the question:


    ccw1982, do you have excessive oil consumption?


    What I believe is really bad is people creating threads in the forums with messages regarding problems they have with their engines and then not giving any feedback about what they did or what was done by the dealers and what was the final outcome. That for sure creates more uncertainty than anything else, everyone then goes on to self diagnose their issues and create unnecessary worry. Please, think about that.

    As for me, I can tell you that I had my engine head removed (bank 1) and that the car still is at the dealer undergoing some more tests - they say . When I have a final answer from Porsche I will tell you the whole story with engine pictures and vid. Not privately of course!
    Last edited by CaymanPower; 01-20-2011 at 01:35 AM.

  14. #14
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    CaymanPower, you do not need to bold and then increase font size for me to comprehend what your stating. I am fully capable of understand your points, however I chose not too eloborate on an issue when I do not have 100% fact, this causes people to panic and misdiagnose what could be something as simple as an excess amount of oil in the engine.

    My Car has driven 3000 Km's with no excessive consumption, by the way no one here yet has defined what excessive consumption is...

    What I am sure of is that Porsche Australia has replaced an engine for a customer with similar symptoms, they also informed me of their procedure in rectifying the issue.

    1. Check for over filled oil
    2. complete several cold and hot starts over a 48hr period
    3. Reflash software.
    4. If problem is still there then change Oil/air separator.
    5. If problem is still there they need to go internal.

    Again If I have factual information and results from my dealer I will be the first to post but until then I will wait for the outcome. BTW all the flat sixes sound a bit rough I've heard the 911 engines new at the dealers and even they tick along everynow and then, putting a stethoscope on the motor would be a better way to determine where the noise is coming from.
    2009 MY2010 Cayman - Basalt Black, Cayman S 18's, PDK, MFSW, Rear Wiper. Australian spec with PCM 3.0 and sound package plus. Evom Intake, Venture shield clear bra.

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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Cayman_09,

    Don't take me wrong, i just bold and increase font size to make it clearer for everyone. I chose too eloborate on an issue only when the only answer i get from dealers is 'that's normal', without any factual information and results about something common sense clearly says it can't be!

    I've been through all that:

    1. Check for over filled oil
    2. complete several cold and hot starts over a 48hr period
    3. Reflash software.
    4. If problem is still there then change Oil/air separator.
    5. If problem is still there they need to go internal.


    and, unfortunately, i don't know about a single person with a gen2 Cayman for whom step 3 and 4 had solved the problem.

    Flat sixes sounding a bit rough is one thing, ONLY one of the heads having a clear ticking noise is a totally different thing.

    I real hope you can sort it out your problem. I'll be waiting to hear from you.

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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by CaymanPower View Post

    ccw1982, do you have excessive oil consumption?

    from what i can tell the car isn't burning oil....obviously i'm just judging that based off of the dash oil gauge, but i have not seen a drop in oil level. The car was dropped off this morning so hopefully i should have an answer from the dealer by the end of the day and (if the weather clears up) i'll put the cayman through it's paces through the weekend to see if the issue was resolved.

  17. #17
    jellingw2722 is offline Porsche Person
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by CaymanPower View Post
    Cayman_09,

    Don't take me wrong, i just bold and increase font size to make it clearer for everyone. I chose too eloborate on an issue only when the only answer i get from dealers is 'that's normal', without any factual information and results about something common sense clearly says it can't be!

    I've been through all that:
    1. Check for over filled oil
    2. complete several cold and hot starts over a 48hr period
    3. Reflash software.
    4. If problem is still there then change Oil/air separator.
    5. If problem is still there they need to go internal.
    and, unfortunately, i don't know about a single person with a gen2 Cayman for whom step 3 and 4 had solved the problem.

    Flat sixes sounding a bit rough is one thing, ONLY one of the heads having a clear ticking noise is a totally different thing.

    I real hope you can sort it out your problem. I'll be waiting to hear from you.
    That's a good list. I had the same problem with my 2009 Boxster, and it looks like *knock on wood* it was simply over filled oil. It was significantly over filled (about 25-30%) and apparently the oil filter wasn't properly sized either (!), but essentially, it appears that #1 was the issue. I agree to look at that first.

    I went to Callas Rennsport (hi guys!) and they obviously know their stuff. They also have much more accurate equipment for measuring the % over fill. So if you can't get a good read on the oil fill, and it's still smoking, take it to Tony and he'll straighten it out.

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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by CaymanPower View Post
    Cayman_09,

    and, unfortunately, i don't know about a single person with a gen2 Cayman for whom step 3 and 4 had solved the problem.

    Flat sixes sounding a bit rough is one thing, ONLY one of the heads having a clear ticking noise is a totally different thing.

    I real hope you can sort it out your problem. I'll be waiting to hear from you.
    I do agree with the above points, I would rather it be a simple fix but I won't know until after they fit the oil/air separator part on Tuesday. If it smokes after that then it looks like a more serious issue. Will let you know the outcomes as I find out..
    2009 MY2010 Cayman - Basalt Black, Cayman S 18's, PDK, MFSW, Rear Wiper. Australian spec with PCM 3.0 and sound package plus. Evom Intake, Venture shield clear bra.

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    CaymanPower is offline Banned
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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by jellingw2722 View Post
    That's a good list. I had the same problem with my 2009 Boxster, and it looks like *knock on wood* it was simply over filled oil. It was significantly over filled (about 25-30%) and apparently the oil filter wasn't properly sized either (!), but essentially, it appears that #1 was the issue. I agree to look at that first.

    I went to Callas Rennsport (hi guys!) and they obviously know their stuff. They also have much more accurate equipment for measuring the % over fill. So if you can't get a good read on the oil fill, and it's still smoking, take it to Tony and he'll straighten it out.
    I'm glad that it was your case because in most of the cases the problem starts to manifest so early that if the oil was over filled it would had to come overfilled from the factory... not likely!

    Did you change your oil before you start to see smoke out of your tailpipe? If yes, at what mileage did you change it?

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    Re: Excessive white smoke on startup

    Bought it used w/10k miles. No records, so I took it in for inspection.

    With the issues it had, I tend to think the prior owner took it to Jiffy Lube or something.

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