steam coming out of where you pour oil - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old Dec 13th, 05, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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steam coming out of where you pour oil

quick question. if your car smells like burning oil and you open up the oil cap and its steam coming out, does that mean you have a problem??

would one of those additives fix it or no?

I also notice that theres a metal/sliver hose that looks like it has an oil leak because its in the middle of it. the bottom and top of it is shiny silver
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old Dec 13th, 05, 05:31 AM
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Re: steam coming out of where you pour oil

The steam coming out could be internal crankcase condensation burning off, providing you don't have to fill the cooling system or coolant reservior with coolant all the time.

If you have to continually fill the cooling system, then you might have a cooling system leak such as a head gasket leaking, an intake manifold gasket leaking, or a cracked head.

Also, I would check the PCV system, in fact, you may be describing one hose of it, to see if it is working. The crankcase ventilation system comprises ofan inlet hose, from filtered air, air cleaner, to the engine. The outlet hose will be from another place on the engine to a valve, PCV Valve, to the intake manifold. If you disconnect the outlet hose at the engine and plug it with your thumb, you should feel suction on your thumb. If not, either the hose is plugged with sludge, hose has a hole in it, or the valve is plugged, in which case all items would need to be changed.

If you remove the oil fill cap and inspect the engine side, does the bottom of the cap look white? If it is, then moisture is present, either by leaking coolant, normal internal condensation, not enough 'breathing' by the crankcase ventilation system, or, the engine is not getting hot enough to 'burn off' the condensation.

If visual inspection shows oil collecting in the intake system, then this may be showing signs of excessive blow-by from the piston rings. Perform yourself or have a shop perform a cylinder leakage test to indicate how 'sealed' the combustion chamber is. If leakage rate, expressed as percentage is high, rule of thumb is 15% leakage, then an overhaul is in the near future.

If you remove the oil fill cap and you look inside the engine, is it sludgy? If it is, I'd probably change oil and filter more often and leave it alone. If it is relatively clean, I'd add a can of GM EOS (Engine Oil Supplement) and see what happens. I would not add a flush because this would loosen the sludge and could play havoc with the lube system and damage the engine.

Maybe others here will give their professional opinions.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old Dec 13th, 05, 08:26 PM
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Re: steam coming out of where you pour oil

It's normal to see a little whisp of steam or oil vapors coming from the dipstick tube or filler when the engine is hot. Some of it is condensation as Everett mentioned. But even on my 2002 Z with 20,000 miles on it, after the engine is hot you can still see the vapors (engine off of course). I would only be conserned if it is blowing out of there while the engine is running, which would indicate a PCV problem or excessive blow by.

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