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New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
#770386 January 29th 2021 10:17 pm
Joined: Jan 2021
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Howdy y'all,

New to the chevy van world. i just bought a 1995 g20 conversion. good condition! super excited about it... but when i start it the exhaust has some heavy white smoke coming out. now, I'm not loosing any coolant or oil.. so maybe the valve cover gaskets? As soon as i start driving it goes away and doesn't come back. but if i turn the car off and back on, it starts all over again...

Pretty sure its not condensation cuz its thick and quite smelly, like a boat...

also, steering... are these vans pretty loose on the steering front? like kinda floating down the highway also, like a boat?

if i HAVE to do the valve cover gaskets in order to save my engine from future problems i will, but I'm intimidated and i haven't found a good youtube video explaining how.. any suggestions on that?

and WHAT A BUMMER the front seats didn't come stock swivel! having a hard time finding a swivel attachment that matches my 11x14 stock base

Thanks!

Re: New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
Brother_kitten #770397 January 30th 2021 12:42 am
Joined: Jan 2014
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Likes: 22
veteran
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Smoke:
- white is usually coolant, has a sweet smell.
- blue-ish is usually oil, smells distinctly like burning oil. If you don't know that smell, pour a dab on the engine when it's hot and you'll learn it quickly, lol.
- black/grey is usually fuel, has a pungent gassy smell, also tends to make your eyes water.

Steering:
- Shouldn't be loose or spongey. Suspension can tend to "float" and make it feel like a boat, but if your steering is doing that, check and replace the worn parts thoroughly.

Valve cover gaskets:
- Shouldn't be too difficult, just time consuming and messy. Best way to learn is by doing it yourself. Videos can help, so can a repair manual, but hands on will teach you more than anything else. If you don't feel comfortable or have little mechanical skills though you may want to take it to a shop.

Swivel bases:
- Just keep checking the junkyards and FB marketplace / Craigslist. Keep in mind if you have the mechanical skills, you can make seats out of most anything work. Don't forget to check the RVs in the scrapyard while you're there.


[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

Re: New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
Brother_kitten #770420 January 30th 2021 1:52 pm
Joined: Sep 2005
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carpal tunnel
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A valve cover leak won't come out the exhaust.
It doesn't take a lot of oil or coolant to smoke on start up but, if it's not condensate and it's smelly like you say, it's gotta be one or the other.
A radiator shop or repair shop can pressurize the cooling system to check for any leaks.
Also check your EGR valve operation and the PCV valve. A bad (or uncontrolled) EGR can cause incomplete combustion during cold start (fuel smoke) and a crapped PCV can suck oil into the intake (oil smoke). Both of these items will usually cause a choppy idle during warm up.
BTW you didn't say which engine you have but if it's the 4.3 V6, it's coolant..... frown

Last edited by CatFish; January 30th 2021 1:57 pm.

To all the people who text "u" instead of "you". What do you do with all that time you saved?
Re: New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
CatFish #770431 January 30th 2021 2:55 pm
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its the 5.0 305. at least my radiator has a sticker that says 5.7l so.... i will have the coolant system pressurized, i dont think its the EGR valve because it idles just fine... I suspect it most be coolant based off the smell, it smells almost good. nostalgia ya know...

Last edited by Brother_kitten; February 16th 2021 6:01 pm.
Re: New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
Brother_kitten #770441 January 30th 2021 5:16 pm
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Heater core drippin ?

as far as steering all Chevys float ... to help with that I installed dual steering stabilizer's ... and a sway bar

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


SUNSHINE VANS-VAN DIEGO
ADRENALIN BY THE GALLON & CHASIN RACIN
ONE FOR THE DIRT & ONE FOR THE STREETS
'93 CHEVY G30 454 4X4 SPORTVAN EXT 146" WB
'92 CHEVY G30 454 BEAUVILLE EXT 146" WB
Re: New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
Brother_kitten #770448 January 30th 2021 6:43 pm
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the odd part of it all is that the smoke stops once i start driving... my understanding is that if it were a head gasket it would smoke all the time... Ill check the heater core.

How was that installing the dual steering stabilizers? cost and time?

Re: New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
Brother_kitten #770456 January 30th 2021 7:04 pm
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Rust N Dents
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It's possible that the head gasket is leaking in such a way that coolant only gets into the cylinder in large enough amounts to produce visible smoke when it's not running (and coolant is dripping/seeping in over time).
You start it, and the coolant that leaked in there burns off and smokes...
Then, while it's running, it's just getting a drop or so at a time, and not getting enough coolant into the combustion chamber to blow a bunch of smoke all at once.
That could also be why you're not noticing a loss of coolant, because it's disappearing drop by drop rather than ounce by ounce.

Just an idea.


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Re: New to the forum; smoke at start, swivels, and steering
Brother_kitten #770483 January 30th 2021 8:30 pm
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I'm starting to think that perhaps, just maybe, I'm paranoid cuz its a new car and it was condensation the whole time, but it runs rich so as to give the appearance of having a strong smell. cuz it definitely runs rich... after the smoke is long gone the smell remains quite strongly


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