switch to synthetic causing my smoke?

Not open for further replies.
Feb 15, 2004
akron, oh
I few months back I purchased a 1998 Toyota Camry from a Toyota dealer with 38K on the odometer. I could not get any service records on the car. Believe me I tried. The car was purchased locally but from another dealer. Because of privacy laws I couldn't even find out what dealer sold the car. One of the first things I did was switch the car over to Redline oil for both the engine and tranny. A few weeks ago I noticed that the car has a gray smoke coming out of the tail pipe for about 5 seconds after startup. Once the car is warm I don't get the smoke on startup. When I noticed the smoke I did a little Googling and suspected the valve guide seals. I also feared that the car may have the dreaded "sludge" problem known to effect some Toyotas. I took the car to my local garage. They are honest and are gear heads. They took off the valve cover and did not find any sludge. They did notice that there was oil in the PCV valve so they replaced that. They didn't see anything else to alarm them. This did not fix the problem. I can't say if I saw the smoke or not before the switch to synthetic. I'd like to get some opinions on my situation: -- What do think think my problem could be? -- Any chance the switch to synthetic loosened up some gunk in the engine causing the smoke? -- Should I just ignore this and keep driving it if I can't get the Toyota dealer to fix it under warranty? Thanks!
It sounds like the valve seals to me. I would first switch back to dino as it is suppose to be better in cars with seal problems. If the smoke presist I would do a auto-rx treatment. Go to www.auto-rx.com. This sounds like a minor problem so I would also quit worring about it for a few thousand miles anyway. You have low milage for a 98 so it may have just set too long and now just needs to be driven.
You could just go to a heavier weight synthetic as well. I had a similar situation with an old ford running 10w30 M1, I tried the castrol syntec 5W-50 and the start up smoke stopped. DEWFPO
I had researched AutoRX a few months ago so thanks for the reminder of this product. I called and talked to Frank Miller on the phone about my car and decided to give it a try. Nothing to lose. He's a very interesting and knowledgeable gentleman.
Not open for further replies.