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Leaking valve stem seals

  #1  
Old 07-06-2009, 08:08 PM
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Default Leaking valve stem seals

Hi,

I own an '02 Camry LE, with 85K miles. For the last few months I've been having some white smoke form the exhaust on cold startups, going away after a few seconds. My Toyota dealer says it's the valve stem seals, which was kind of what I expected after doing some online research.. However they want 1100$ for the parts+labor, which is a lot.

My first concern is, can I live with that issue for a long time? What are the possible ramifications, assuming I top off the oil regularly? I should mention the oil level hardly drops with time.

My other issue, what is a reasonable price for this job? 1100$ sounds like a lot..

Lastly, I understood that the seals are actually meant to leak some oil for lubrication, is that correct?

Thanks a lot!
 
  #2  
Old 07-07-2009, 06:09 AM
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I'm going to question the dealer's diagnosis, if not their honesty. Was this a mechanic or a "service advisor" who told you this? Usually white smoke on start-up is just water vapor. Blue smoke on start-up after sitting some time can be valve seals. I highly doubt an 02 with just 85k has worn valve seals, unless this is a known defect for that year. Yes, if this is valve seals there is no reason to repair it right away. I would wait until there is a lot of blue smoke (also to confirm diagnosis) until you decide whether to fix or not. If the seals are designed to leak a little you should still not get blue smoke on start-up. My Camry still does not have noticable leaking valve seals.
 
  #3  
Old 07-07-2009, 11:20 PM
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Thanks Pedro.

It was a service advisor who gave the prognosis. The smoke is not blue whatsoever, and does not have any distinctive smell as far as I could tell. However it is rather dry outside, so I find it odd that such an amount of water vapor will accumulate..
 
  #4  
Old 07-08-2009, 05:56 AM
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If the smoke is very thick and does not dissipate quickly then it could be engine coolant. If coolant then it would also smell sweet like anti-freeze. Your head gasket would have to have a leak for it to be anti-freeze but you would also have other symptoms. Other reason could be little water in the gas. Maybe change gas stations and see if that helps. But so far I don't see any reason for concern.
 
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