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Old 06-03-2008, 08:07 AM   #1
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Default How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad??

Hey everyone well my question is this how can you tell if your car has bad piston rings or if the valve seals are bad??

-My car drives normal and fine but when I push the car passing 6 RPM's it smokes a lot (white smoke) and and when I stop pushing the car it still smoked for like 30 seconds but then stops smoking. Once again it only smokes when I start push the car at high RPM's, IDK if its the valve seals or piston rings. Please let me know what you think or what the difference would be on how to tell which one is bad thanks.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (jc2801)

Do a compression test, if a cylinder has significantly lower psi reading than the rest poor a teaspoon of oil down the cylinder and retest, if the psi reading jumps up then you know the rings are bad. Or you can do a leak down test.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (jc2801)

do a compression test to check the rings...next step would be a leakdown test to pinpoint any problems

edit: i think me and all-mtr-teg posted like literally seconds apart lol
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (boots)

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Originally Posted by boots
do a compression test to check the rings...next step would be a leakdown test to pinpoint any problems

edit: i think me and all-mtr-teg posted like literally seconds apart lol
Good info nonetheless Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:26 PM   #5
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (all-mtr-teg)

i dont think a compression test will tell you the condition of your oil control rings.

If you burn oil at idle then its most likely valve seals. if you burn it when you get on it then decelerate then its most likely your rings due to high vacuum.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:47 PM   #6
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (dthug)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dthug
i dont think a compression test will tell you the condition of your oil control rings.

If you burn oil at idle then its most likely valve seals. if you burn it when you get on it then decelerate then its most likely your rings due to high vacuum.
Not exactly. Oil stem seals are also capable of only leaking under high manifold vac as well. Now, with the throttle wide open and the pistons sucking in mass amounts of air, this CAN cause additional leakage to the point that one might not notice it under light throttle but would under WOT conditions.

It seems a lot of people just read the topic and overlooked the details here. He said his problem is WHITE SMOKE. Oil will burn blue, collant will burn white. This guy needs to use a block tester more then he needs to focus on leakdown and compression. It sounds to me like his problem is in the headgasket.
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (Hybrid96EK)

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Originally Posted by Hybrid96EK

Not exactly. Oil stem seals are also capable of only leaking under high manifold vac as well. Now, with the throttle wide open and the pistons sucking in mass amounts of air, this CAN cause additional leakage to the point that one might not notice it under light throttle but would under WOT conditions.

It seems a lot of people just read the topic and overlooked the details here. He said his problem is WHITE SMOKE. Oil will burn blue, collant will burn white. This guy needs to use a block tester more then he needs to focus on leakdown and compression. It sounds to me like his problem is in the headgasket.

High five to you for catching that, I completely missed that Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (all-mtr-teg)

Lots of people confuse white smoke and blue smoke. Its usually a very light blue. Compression or leakdown tests are useless with oil ring problems. 99% of the time it is ring issues on these motors.
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Old 06-04-2008, 07:17 AM   #10
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thanks for the info. everyone. Yea I'm doing a compression check either way this weekend and yeah the smoke does look white. BUt if its the head gasket wouldn't that mean the motor would be over heating?? (which it doesn't).
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Old 06-04-2008, 09:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: (jc2801)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc2801
thanks for the info. everyone. Yea I'm doing a compression check either way this weekend and yeah the smoke does look white. BUt if its the head gasket wouldn't that mean the motor would be over heating?? (which it doesn't).
not neccesarily...depends on how bad the leak is
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Old 06-04-2008, 12:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: (boots)

Rings= oil burn all the time. Valve seals= burn after conditions like sitting at a stop light for a while and go, or after off-throttle at high rpm.
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Old 06-04-2008, 06:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (Runnerdown)

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Originally Posted by Runnerdown
Lots of people confuse white smoke and blue smoke. Its usually a very light blue. Compression or leakdown tests are useless with oil ring problems. 99% of the time it is ring issues on these motors.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:18 PM   #14
 
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (jc2801)

I recently purchased a 96 cx hatch with b16 turbo swap. The car starts, but its extremely hard to start and burns perfuse amounts of oil, i didn't know how much the kid boosted until i got bored of looking at the thing so i took it for one quick run and saw that it boosts 15 psi and its running a deathmu for fuel managment, so i figured that the oil rings along witht he comp rings got pretty burnt out seeing that it smoked so horribly bad, so i did a compression test and only got it to 65 psi on all cylinders, so im thinking that the rings are gone in all the cylinders, wondering if i could get some backup upon that diagnosis.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:57 PM   #15
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (97civicdxt)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97civicdxt
I recently purchased a 96 cx hatch with b16 turbo swap. The car starts, but its extremely hard to start and burns perfuse amounts of oil, i didn't know how much the kid boosted until i got bored of looking at the thing so i took it for one quick run and saw that it boosts 15 psi and its running a deathmu for fuel managment, so i figured that the oil rings along witht he comp rings got pretty burnt out seeing that it smoked so horribly bad, so i did a compression test and only got it to 65 psi on all cylinders, so im thinking that the rings are gone in all the cylinders, wondering if i could get some backup upon that diagnosis.
Thread jack...
Being as how this is boost related, you'd have better luck in the FI forums. Only 65 psi on each cylinder is bad. You should look into a whole bottom end overhaul.
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Old 06-16-2008, 03:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (Runnerdown)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Runnerdown
Lots of people confuse white smoke and blue smoke. Its usually a very light blue. Compression or leakdown tests are useless with oil ring problems. 99% of the time it is ring issues on these motors.
I know that for a fact. My car was smoking quite a bit, just started smoking WHITE/GRAy smoke one day. I did a compression test: 225 across the board. Then I did a leak down test: less then 5% across the board.

So i decided to reaplce the easiest thing first, valve seals.

Still smoked after that, did new pistons and rings, no smoke.

My compression test and leakdown test were EXCELLENT. I truly believe that they have no bearing whatsoever on an oil consumption issue.

(Unless, of course, a piston's compresssion and oil control ring took a ****!)
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:11 PM   #17
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (emotionisdead)

Quote:
Originally Posted by emotionisdead

I know that for a fact. My car was smoking quite a bit, just started smoking WHITE/GRAy smoke one day. I did a compression test: 225 across the board. Then I did a leak down test: less then 5% across the board.

So i decided to reaplce the easiest thing first, valve seals.

Still smoked after that, did new pistons and rings, no smoke.

My compression test and leakdown test were EXCELLENT. I truly believe that they have no bearing whatsoever on an oil consumption issue.

(Unless, of course, a piston's compresssion and oil control ring took a ****!)
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Old 08-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #18
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (emotionisdead)

I got a question I just took my D16y8 to go get smogged when he did the 3 grand rpm test my car smoked out the shop BAD, I was embarrassed, he couldn't tell me what was wrong, I figured its my rings but other people are saying it could be my valve guide seals, I already have the head off and forgot to do the compression test. Can someone help me out and give me some info thnx guys
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad?? (all-mtr-teg)

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Originally Posted by dthug View Post
i dont think a compression test will tell you the condition of your oil control rings.

If you burn oil at idle then its most likely valve seals. if you burn it when you get on it then decelerate then its most likely your rings due to high vacuum.
I agree, I had perfect compression test 215 215 215 215 and smoked like a train in VTEC. I had the head rebuilt, same smoke, had blocked honed and re-ringed, no more smoke.
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Old 08-24-2015, 07:38 PM   #20
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad??

Hi,

Would put my money on the valve seals. Had a identical issue when I had just purchased my EG. Smoking under hard acceleration compression was perfect.

Changed all the valve seals and problem solved

Try changing the seals first and if problem persists then change rings. Anyways you can inspect the rings once the head is out.

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Old 08-25-2015, 06:04 AM   #21
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad??

ive come to find that the oil control or 3rd ring can become gummed up on older or higher mile motors and that will cause smoking.

i can understand how you could confuse the white and blue smoke color, but burning oil has such a distinctive smell.
what do the cylinders look like through the spark plug holes? any oil in there . is the 4th cyl piston cleaner looking than the rest? perhaps the im gasket seal is bad and sucking coolant into that #4 ive seen that before.

does the motor have any sort of crankcase ventilation or just the stock pcv setup? sometimes the motors just need better venting
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Old 08-25-2015, 09:20 AM   #22
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad??

the resurrection....



if the cars oil wasnt changed regularly, the oil rings will take a **** way before the rest of the rings.. the caked on oil between the lands gets the rings stuck, so they dont push against the cylinder wall, hence leaving oil to be burned.

more commonly, over revving and running low oil will ruin the compression rings quicker and leave grooves on the cylinder walls.
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:05 AM   #23
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad??

We see oil control rings stuck all the time at work, problem is longer oil change intervals or just poor maintenance, cheap oil, etc. The oil control rings get plugged up and no longer scrape the cylinders down and the oil gets into the combustion chamber and out the tailpipe. The only true fix is to replace the rings and hone if the cylinder is in good shape, however, we have drastically reduced the oil consumption and oil burning in a lot of cars for customers that didn't want to spent a lot of money on a rebuild. We call it ring-job in a can, we used to use BG products for fuel injection and egr system cleans back in the early 2000s and kept some of the product around for just this occasion.

EGR system cleaning used a product from BG called Induction system cleaner, and it would use a vacuum feed to the EGR port and clean all the carbon out of the ports. The only down side is it is nasty stuff, do not get it on paint or any surface you want a coating to stay on. We would remove spark plugs from the engine, put the pistons down half way and pour some of this in each cylinder, just enough to cover the pistons and let it sit. Every hour or so you would go back and check and see if any had run out, the badder the rings, the easier it would run down to the base. Usually a couple applications to cover the pistons would do the trick. Usually I'd leave a socket on the crank, just to bump it up and down every hour to work the stuff in. After 6-8 hours you should have everything cleaned and freed up. Now, there are some hazards to this, if you still have residual cleaner in the cylinders, use something to suck it out, do not use compressed air to blow it out, it sometimes ignites with air pressure. Also, if you have a steel oil pan, remove it before doing this, even if you leave the oil in it, it will tear all the paint off the inside of the pan and put it into the pickup when you start it. When I would do this, I would clear the cylinders, put the oil pan on and put some fresh oil in it and start it. When you do this it is very hard to start and you have to treat it as if it was flooded. WHen it starts, it will smoke like a bastard till it's cleared the product from the cylinders.

Using this product I have saved a lot of engines, it only costs like 20 bucks and an oil change so it's not expensive. Even when I do ring jobs, cleaning the pistons and ring lands are a pain in the ***, if you sit them in a dish and pour some of the cleaner in it, you can wipe all the carbon off with a rag in minutes, it's crazy stuff, but treat it like nitro methane, it's dangerous and can light off with air pressure or heat.

One of the guys at work had an old Odyssey that had wicked piston slap and burned oil, we did it to his van and it never burned oil again and had no piston slap after. It's crazy what you can do with it. For anyone who wants to try some for cleaning carbon or rings or whatever, you can locate your nearest BG dealer on their website and pick up some products. We buy it by the case but i have bought some from other dealers that have it also and it's like 20 bucks a can.

Here is the website for BG and the product we use, again if you don't want to open the engine to replace stuck rings, this is an easy way out, and it will clean everything in the process. Also works good for diesel intakes that carbon up.

https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/gasol...ystem-cleaner/
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Old 08-25-2015, 10:25 AM   #24
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad??

Yeah that BG stuff is pretty wicked. I've soaked 100k Mike carbon caked pistons overnight in their induction system cleaner and the next day it came off with light scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
Pistons would look brand new.

Good to know about the air pressure setting it off.I did not know this! I've put the plugs back in before and turned over the engine by hand to help pressurize the fluid into the ring lands when they didn't seem to leak fast enough. I was probably a little impatient though(flat rate).
I have a few cans left over as well. May have to go have some fun later....

But yeah, a piston soak can work wonders sometimes.
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Old 08-25-2015, 11:50 AM   #25
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Default Re: How to tell if valve seals or piston rings are bad??

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Yeah that BG stuff is pretty wicked. I've soaked 100k Mike carbon caked pistons overnight in their induction system cleaner and the next day it came off with light scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
Pistons would look brand new.

Good to know about the air pressure setting it off.I did not know this! I've put the plugs back in before and turned over the engine by hand to help pressurize the fluid into the ring lands when they didn't seem to leak fast enough. I was probably a little impatient though(flat rate).
I have a few cans left over as well. May have to go have some fun later....

But yeah, a piston soak can work wonders sometimes.
We found out by accident about the air pressure. One of the guys cranked the engine over without the plugs in it to clear it and got some on the bumper. It immediately took the paint off so we put rags over the cylinders and I put my hands on them to catch the chemicals on as soon as it cranked all the rags and my hands and arms were on fire.....lol. We learned something that day.....haha.
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