97 Camry Blue Smoke on Start-up

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Feb 3, 2006
My girlfriend has bought a 97 Toyota Camry a year ago with 120,000 miles on it and I noticed it blows blue smoke upon cold start-up.

It does not burn oil; almost 3,600 on the oil and it is at the full mark.

She usually has wal-mart change the oil at ~3,000 mile intervals with SuperTech & a orange can Fram.
No more though!

Not necessarily related of course, but I put a can of Seafoam in a full tank yesterday, will this coming weekend I will put in Valvoline & a Wix filter, change the OLD PCV & maybe the plugs.

Any ideas on the blue smoke on cold start-up?

Anything else I should keep an eye on?

Originally Posted By: bdcardinal
usually blue smoke on startup is valve stem seals.


I would try AutoRx to see if you can revitalize the seals, and if not then switch to Valvoline Maxlife.
If its the 2.2L 5S-FE engine, I've read about a few sludge issues. But it seems to be limited to North America. At this end, not even the "infamous" 1MZ-FE has sludge issues.

I would start off by doing 2 Auto-Rx treatments, and see if it makes a difference. If the problem persists, it requires a mechanical solution.

Replacing just the valve seals is simply a band aid fix. The cause of the problem is usually the valve guides. If you plan on fixing the problem, replace the guides and the seals.
Put a pint of MMO in the crankcase for 100 miles then do several Italian tune ups. Really let it breathe. Then flush it with a can of gunk according to the directions on the bottle. Refill with any (Maxlife) HM 10W-30. Would cost alot less. You'd get results much sooner. If it doesn't work, you can try the high-dollar stuff. If you use a conventional HM after the flush, then that could serve double-duty as a host oil for ARX clean phase if the problem continues. :) Gotta love efficiency.

Total cost = $7 + gas + oil change. You won't regret it.

Good call on the PCV change. Plugs never hurt either.
I don't agree that replacing valve seals is a band aid fix.
It could very well be the main problem.
They get worn and/or hard and don't seal.
Originally Posted By: mechtech2
I don't agree that replacing valve seals is a band aid fix.
It could very well be the main problem.
They get worn and/or hard and don't seal.

Bearing in mind the vehicle's mileage, the guides could very well be worn. If there's a large clearance between the stems and the guides, oil will be sucked down the guides straight into the cylinder to be burned. Replacing only the stem seals in this case is a band aid fix, as it will not do anything for the large clearances.

I've personally had bad experiences replacing just the stem seals on various vehicles - the problem went away for 5 to 6 months at most, only to return because the guides were shot. Why take the chance, when you can eliminate both problems in the one go, saving both time and money?
What if nothing was done? This woundn't have an adverse effect on the engine, would it?
I'd pull the valve cover if it's a 2.2L 5S-FE. Should be really easy to do, and will confirm or deny whether sludge is the culprit, as this engine is one of Toyota's worse sludgers. Blue smoke can be an indication of sludge.

If there's no sludge, I'd run Maxlife 5w-30 and call it a day.

If you do pull the cover, make sure and use RTV silicone at the appropriate spots per a repair manual. Again, can be done in 10 minutes!
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