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Old 05-07-2005, 06:26 PM   #1
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Question burning oil - literally, smoke from the dipstick?

I changed the oil in my wife's '03 SVT (bought used in Nov '04, this is the first oil change since we purchased it). I put in 5w-30 Mobil 1 because it's got about 12,000 miles and the manual says synth is fine after 4k-6k. I drove around a bit and noticed a strong oil burning smell. I couldn't see any leaks from the engine and not a drop on the pavement. I know I spilled a little oil on the exhaust when changing the filter. I pull the dipstick to check the oil level and smoke comes out!

I know I put in slightly more oil than came out- put in 4.5 quarts and only 4 drained. Which would make it barely overfilled with the filter change. I couldn't get a reading on the dipstick since the oil's clean and pretty thin. I'll check tomorrow when it's cooled off.

Oil temp and pressure gauges are reading the same as before the change. No smoke from the fill on the valve cover.

Is this normal? If not, any ideas why it's burning?


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Old 05-07-2005, 07:16 PM   #2
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it's pretty normal. our oil runs a bit hotter than other cars due to the oil squirters that spray oil on the bottom of the pistons for cooling. it's nothing to worry about. oil generates a lot of smoke, but you hardly burn anything off at all.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:28 PM   #3
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Seriously? The only other time I've ever seen smoke come out of an oil dipstick or the valve cover filler is on an old Jeep- right before the engine siezed because it lost oil pressure!
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Old 05-07-2005, 10:21 PM   #4
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Check the hose that comes off of the head top drivers side towards the back somtimes they can come loose from whare they attach at the air filter box. Also somtimes when the smal foam filter in the bottom of the air filter box gets clogged it makes it more likely. It's one of those little things that is good to check when changing oil , but easy to look over.
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Old 05-08-2005, 08:05 AM   #5
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Thanks. I know the vent hose is connected, but I'll check the foam to make sure it's not clogged. Obviously, the disconnected hose would cause an oil smell. But would clogged foam cause the smoke from the dipstick tube?

The first problem we had with the car was because the previous owner had installed an aftermarket intake and did a sloppy job of swapping back in the OEM airbox. That vent hose kept coming off because the guy had used the wrong fitting. We finally took it to the Ford dealer a couple months ago and had them return it to stock. Hasn't been a problem since.

My wife now says that she thinks the oil smell has been happening for at least a couple weeks. Maybe she's only noticing because of the warmer weather. I can deal with the oil smell, just didn't like the smoke. I guess I'll keep looking...
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Old 05-08-2005, 09:54 AM   #6
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well to tell you, the smoke coming outta the dip stick hole is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about, if you've run your car for 10+ mins and check the dip stick hole, there will be definitly smoke coming out, it'll continue happening even if you decide to change to syntheic oils cause it happens to me still.
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Old 05-08-2005, 11:21 AM   #7
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I have a feeling its probably because of how close the dipstick is to the header. I've had other cars with headers but the dipstick had a little more breathing room in those cars.
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Old 05-08-2005, 11:31 AM   #8
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smoke comes out of my distick, too....everytime I check my oil. No biggie.
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Old 05-08-2005, 12:09 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies! I guess this is normal for the SVT Focus. I don't think I've ever checked the oil immediately after it's been run so it's probably been happening all along.

I checked the oil level this morning and it's barely above the full notch, so it should be fine. My wife drove around town a bit today and still seeing some smoke from the tube- maybe about half as much as yesterday. Also didn't notice a really strong oil smell. Then again, my wife drives more conservatively (at least when I'm in the car!) so that probably has something to do with it.
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Old 05-09-2005, 06:46 AM   #10
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yep.... you broke it...
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