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92 Toyota Pickup failed CA “visual smoke test”

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Jun 2, 2018, 12:37 PM

Post #1 of 2 (1597 views)
92 Toyota Pickup failed CA “visual smoke test” Sign In

1992 Toyota Pickup 2x4
2.4L 22R-E
175,000ish miles
5-speed manual

1992 Toyota Standard Pickup passed emissions portion of CA smog check with flying colors, numbers were dramatically below average in all areas. (CAT is only 2 years old) but it failed the visual smoke inspection due to smoke coming from tail pipe. Tech said she tried hitting the throttle three times and saw smoke each time. I bought the truck about 10 years ago and it has had a very slow oil leak the entire time I’ve had it, which I was told was coming from the valve cover gasket. It has never failed a smog test due to visual smoke before. My dad has owned it for the last four years and only drove it to the store and back a couple times a week at most. It has been started once or twice a week but not driven for the last month or two until I drove it for about 30 minutes on the freeway right before the smog test. I was thrilled that he was going to give it back to me but we haven’t done the transfer yet as it is currently registered non-op due to needing to pass smog for registration. Non-op registered vehicles here are allowed a maximum of 3 temporary, 1-day-moving-permits and we used 1 of them to get the smog check done (at a test only place, which was required) and it failed. I didn’t get the oil changed first and it has been a long while since the last oil change, though because of the leak the oil is slowly replaced with new oil when needs it. I am hoping to fix the visual smoke issue myself and get it smogged all in one day due to my budget and to being limited to 2 more single day permits unless it passes smog. I have heard that using a higher weight oil than usual may help prevent oil leaking into the engine so I am wondering if doing an oil change using higher weight oil might be enough to solve the smoke issue. I read that a leaking valve cover gasket can allow oil to get into manifold which can cause smoke from the tail pipe. But I also read that a leaking valve cover gasket couldn’t cause smoke from tailpipe.

I know both the oil change and valve cover gasket replacement should be done in general but, specifically in regards to correcting the visual smoke issue to pass smog test;
Is it possible an oil and filter change will help? Should I use a heavier weight oil and if so, which? 80w? Non synthetic? And if I do, should I switch back to 10w40 immediately after or just at my next oil change? Is it possible/likely that replacing the valve cover gasket will help? Are there other things that might cause visual smoke while emission levels all remain low? Is there anything else cheap and easy enough to replace that I should do it before the retest just in case it could help? Does the fact that the truck has been non-op for a couple months possibily have any bearing on whether it might smoke even after the 30 minutes of driving prior to the test? (It was turned off for at least 20 minutes between when I arrived at the test place and when the test began but the tech said she let it run long enough before the last attempted smoke test) Should I drive it for several hours before the test since it’s essentially sat still for a couple months?

If it’s a cracked block or blown head gasket, I’ll have to give up. There’s nothing about the dented mismatched body worth saving if the runs- forever-and-never-gives-me-problems engine has to be replaced. But I really would be surprised if anything that severe was wrong. It runs just as well as it always has for me, lots more pep than my sisters 93 Toyota pickup ever had. The one issue it has had for at least 5 years is that it makes a high pitched squealing at high rpms such as when getting up to freeway speed. The noise
stops as soon as I shift into a higher gear or let up on the accelerator. Though once I get into 5th gear, if I get above 65mph or so the noise is consistent, though much quieter than it is during rapid acceleration. A very knowledgeable mechanic friend told me back when it started that it was the “something I don’t recall” bearings that wouldn’t get worse or cause other issues if left unfixed and not the other type of bearing which is a severe issue and needs immediate attention if failing. It passed smog sometime after that noise began but before I gave it to my Dad and then passed again 2 years later in 2016. And I drove it much much harder than he ever would so I imagine if driving with the squealing bearings could break the engine, severely, andbit didn’t happened while I was driving it, the chances of it happening under my dads much more gentle driving seem unlikely. Especially since there are no differences in the way it drives, only in the way it passes/fails the smog check.

Thank you for any advice u may have

Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

Jun 2, 2018, 2:18 PM

Post #2 of 2 (1580 views)
Re: 92 Toyota Pickup failed CA “visual smoke test” Sign In

Putting 80 weight in the engine would be a huge mistake.

Usually when an engine is burning excessive oil it is from either worn valve guides, valve guide seals that had gone hard, excessive blow by, worn piston rings, and/or a PCV system that isn't working properly.

You should have your mechanic check it out.

Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jun 2, 2018, 2:20 PM)

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