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Discussion Starter #1
Just got this 1997 Rav 4 couple months ago,is it normal for them while running to see a lil smoke coming out the muffler even when warm at idle and iff revved at idle.I know my newer cars once warm don,t have any smoke.This Rav only has 165000 kilometers (100000 miles) not bad for almost 20 years old BUT i am nervous that the head gasket could be bad.I pulled the plugs and all looked the same,light brown and dry and coolent does not seem to be dropping in over flow.Can someone confirm that after driving say 1/2 hr that if stopped in idle that u rev the motor smoke will come out the muffler is normal on these old cars.Maybe i have worn rings and its blowbye in the cylinders,don,t know history off auto,except up to approx 110000 k the oil was changed by the first owner every 8000 kilometers after that who knows.
 

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Is it actually white smoke and not condensing water vapor? If it actually is smoke that usually indicates that the engine is burning oil, especially if it continues to appear after the engine has warmed to normal operating temperature. If it is water vapor which is condensing then it either is normal, or if it is persistent then it may be caused by coolant leaking into a cylinder (bad head gasket). Suggest that oil and coolant levels be checked frequently.
 

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Is it actually white smoke and not condensing water vapor? If it actually is smoke that usually indicates that the engine is burning oil, especially if it continues to appear after the engine has warmed to normal operating temperature. If it is water vapor which is condensing then it either is normal, or if it is persistent then it may be caused by coolant leaking into a cylinder (bad head gasket). Suggest that oil and coolant levels be checked frequently.
Burning oil will be a blueish colour, if it's white, and looks like water vapour, it is likely coolant burning, It sounds like a head gasket broheim. You may be lucky in that the gasket portion that is sealing a coolant passage popped, sending coolant into the combustion chamber, usually there is some oil/water mix, but on occasion it's one or the other.
 

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If it's blowing enough coolant to be visible, it ought to smell sweet. Oil would smell like burning oil. Running THAT rich would smell like gasoline and your check engine light would probably be waving "flags-of-all-nations" like a cruise ship. If it doesn't smell, it's probably trapped condensation in the tail pipe and ought to stop after a good drive.
 

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If you don't have any coolant loss or significant oil loss I wouldn't worry about it. Could be just a little oil being pulled by the valve stem seals by idle vacuum. Then it burns off immediately when you rev it.
 

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I agree with Dr. Dyno. If only a small quantity of oil is being burned the smoke will be whitish. Bluer smoke indicates heavier oil consumption, but that does not appear to be the case with this RAV. Simply keep an eye on both coolant and oil levels and if there isn't any notable loss I wouldn't be concerned.
 

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A dry/wet compression test would be a good idea, IMO. Could identify a possible weak cylinder and in any case would be good baseline data if the current symptoms get worse.
 

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A dry/wet compression test would be a good idea, IMO. Could identify a possible weak cylinder and in any case would be good baseline data if the current symptoms get worse.

So you're negating your advice in your post #5? :wink
 

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So you're negating your advice in your post #5? :wink
No, not at all. Since the OP obviously has mechanical ability I'm encouraging an easy baseline test for if/when questions come up later on.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thx all,dealing with a leaking power steering line rite now,not anu easy place to work on.Then
back to other issue.My wife wants to sell it but we just got it,there has been alot off work done to this car and i feel that the next owner would be the one to prosper if i let it go now.All brake lines,master cylinder,ABS module,battery,starter,front and rear brakes are new! The power steering lines unfortunately are not and in bad
shape plus the fuel tank and lines r also bad but not leaking YET! Its all stuff i can do myself but i bought thecar
for $2000 cdn uncertified and have put around $1400 into it to get it certified that includes 2 sets off tires and rims used(one summer 1 winter)The body is in great shape but under neath it another story RUST Bad!It runs great but gutless but i dident buy it for the power just as a safe winter vechicle for my daughter to get to college.
What do u think,Dump it or keep?
 

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To me the shape the body is in INCLUDES underneath. "Bad" may mean surface rust on everything but solid metal still or rusted thru floors and suspension parts. I'd get under it poking with a screwdriver and find out. Then assess the safety of driving it.
 
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