Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey there! I am a huge fan of the forum, and definitely a long time lurker. However, the time has come to ask upon the collective expertise of the forum members.

I have searched for quite some time now regarding this issue and I am really at a loss for an answer. My 2005 EX will spit out a rather large cloud of blue smoke (burnt oil) from the exhaust ONLY after idling for 10+ minutes at operating temperature. This is a real burden in heavy stop-and-go rush hour traffic. I have no CEL and haven't had one in many years, I've checked history codes, and I have not a single one stored.

The Element does use a little oil, but not enough to justify concern, and furthermore; I have no loss of power.

Thank you in advance for all the help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Have you done a compression or leak down test?

Any codes popped?

Blue smoke is oil, burnt oil. How many miles?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I will be running a compression and leak down test this weekend. I suspect I have decent compression in all cylinders because there is no loss of power of a rapid crank (as there would be with low compression). I will post the results of both tests here.

I have no codes, and haven't had a single trouble code in well over 2 years.

As for mileage, it's pretty high, ~287,000 mi. (So I know I'm due for these kind of issues)
 

·
Registered
2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
Joined
·
934 Posts
Just how much oil is it using?

Oil consumption is kind of relative. If you had an old small block Chevy, and it used (Only!) a quart of oil every 1000 miles, you would be jumping for joy at how little it used! Most SBC's were more like a quart every 500 miles! (I never have understood American hot-rodders love affair with small block Chevys. In my experience, they're cheaply built, poorly machined, inexpensive motors that Always burn oil!)

But a Honda 2.4 is another story. For example, using one quart every 1000 miles would be a whole lot! My '03 EX with 121K miles uses basically none between oil changes at ~ 4000 miles.

Also, just check out your spark plugs. Excessive oil consumption should show some signs on one or more of your plugs.

At 287K miles, maybe you should just leave well enough alone!

Let us know!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm experiencing about a half quart of oil consumed every 3,000 miles. The spark plugs don't show signs of oil fouling, that was a big point of interest for me.

Furthermore, you're likely right. Good enough may just have to be 'good enough'. I just hate to pump all this smoke out during stop-and-go traffic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
515 Posts
If you mean after an extended idle at normal operating temperature you get a cloud of blue smoke from the exhaust on take-off from a stop, that is typically a symptom of failed valve stem seals. In some cases there will be smoke at idle after a long idle time as well. This assumes there is no smoke visible while driving down the road.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
If you mean after an extended idle at normal operating temperature you get a cloud of blue smoke from the exhaust on take-off from a stop, that is typically a symptom of failed valve stem seals. In some cases there will be smoke at idle after a long idle time as well. This assumes there is no smoke visible while driving down the road.
This is exactly what I mean. I should be able to test valve stem seals with a leak down test correct?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Okay, I ran a compression test and leak down test today. There are no cylinders leaking more than 15% so I'm not worried there. As for the compression test, my results are as follows:

Cylinder 1: 160 psi
Cylinder 2: 147 psi
Cylinder 3: 151 psi
Cylinder 4: 169 psi

I spoke with several local mechanics in the last two days who also seem to believe the issue is failing/failed valve stem seals. They mentioned that a leak down test would not pinpoint valve stem seals if the valves seated nicely. I don't think the compression test results are much to be too concerned about, but please let me know what y'all think.
 

·
Registered
2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
Joined
·
934 Posts
Okay, I ran a compression test and leak down test today. There are no cylinders leaking more than 15% so I'm not worried there. As for the compression test, my results are as follows:

Cylinder 1: 160 psi
Cylinder 2: 147 psi
Cylinder 3: 151 psi
Cylinder 4: 169 psi

I spoke with several local mechanics in the last two days who also seem to believe the issue is failing/failed valve stem seals. They mentioned that a leak down test would not pinpoint valve stem seals if the valves seated nicely. I don't think the compression test results are much to be too concerned about, but please let me know what y'all think.
Those are pretty good compression numbers for an engine with 287K miles!

Maybe just a rebuild of your cylinder head is in order.

I may be seriously showing my age by saying this, but here goes:

Back in the stone age, like on an old V-8 engine, it was possible to replace just the valve seals with the cylinder head still installed. Using compressed air through the spark plug hole, to hold up the valves, you could use a pry bay type device to compress the valve spring and remove the retainers, keepers, and ultimately the valve seals.

But, even that was a maybe 50/50 gamble. If the valve stems and valve guides were also worn, the new valve seals didn't last too long. : - (

So, having never even once worked on the inside of a Honda engine, I don't know if that is even a possibility in this case! But, I thought I would at least mention it! Maybe it could save you some work and money!

Perhaps someone with a lot of experience working on a Honda 2.4 cylinder head could chime in here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I have worked on plenty of those older 454's and 327's, and I love the compressed air trick, however I think with the mileage, I am more comfortable just having the head rebuilt or buy a rebuilt head. I just want to be as confident as possible in the diagnosis before dumping that money into it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Don't know of a quick way to diagnose valve stem seals. Back in the day, we'd just pop off the intake manifold and look at the intake valve stems through the intake port - if the seals are leaking, the stems and the back of the intake valves will show it. Yes, if there's play in the valve guides, the new seals will start to leak quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Update: I want to preface this post by saying I removed and cleaned all of the components in the PCV system and cleaned the intake manifold and injectors after completing the compression and leak down tests.

With that being said, I am somewhat happy to report that I have not noticed anymore of these puffs/clouds of blue smoke after extended idle. I say 'somewhat happy' because I just completed a full oil change cycle (approx. 3,200 miles since the tests) and I am still losing oil somewhere. The engine bay is spotless top to bottom, thus eliminating a leak; and there is no oil in the coolant either. So, I think I will still invest in the head rebuild and make sure all of those valve stem seals and valve seats get replaced/refreshed.
 

·
Registered
2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
Joined
·
934 Posts
Update: I want to preface this post by saying I removed and cleaned all of the components in the PCV system and cleaned the intake manifold and injectors after completing the compression and leak down tests.

With that being said, I am somewhat happy to report that I have not noticed anymore of these puffs/clouds of blue smoke after extended idle. I say 'somewhat happy' because I just completed a full oil change cycle (approx. 3,200 miles since the tests) and I am still losing oil somewhere. The engine bay is spotless top to bottom, thus eliminating a leak; and there is no oil in the coolant either. So, I think I will still invest in the head rebuild and make sure all of those valve stem seals and valve seats get replaced/refreshed.
Sounds good Aruth. You have pretty well eliminated all the other possibilities.

At least that embarrassing cloud of smoke is gone! Glad to hear it was as simple as cleaning the PCV system.

Now you can take your time shopping around for a good deal on a rebuilt head. Or get all the ducks in a row to fix up your existing head so everything goes smoothly when you are ready. : - )
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top