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300tdi Smoking


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Recently did an engine rebuild but engine still smoking. Please see links for video footage!

My link

My link

New pistons and new liners used, injectors and pump serviced, turbo hoses replaced, new valve seals, new oil pump, new timing belt and pullies, new main and connecting rod bearings, new water pump, new power steering pump!

Starts in one every time, good performance, no overheating!

PROBLEMS - smoking as seen on the videos and consuming oil!

There is no oil in turbo hoses and no blowby!

After looking at archives, I reckon that the turbo is leaking oil into the exhaust manifold!

Anyone want to second this or tell me how to determine this for sure?

If this is the case, then what do you recommend?

A) Change turbo seals

B) Change turbo cartridge

C) Change complete turbo assembly

Many thanks


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Firstly, the problem may go away as the engine beds in.

I presume the bores were honed?

Did you prime the turbo with oil before the first startup? If not, the bearings can be wrecked before the oil gets there.

You have no more than normal blowby so it doesn't loook like bore problems.

Take the pipe off the turbo and wiggle the shaft. It should move only a tiny bit. If there is a lot of play, fit a new turbo. You MAY be able to get it reconditioned with new seals but I have personally not seen good results doing this. But I am also not in the UK, and you might be able to find a place that does it properly.

Let us know what you find.

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Hi Jim

With respect to the bores, they were machined and new liners pressed in and polished.

Yes, the blowby is normal. It was much more before the rebuild ... enough to blow the oil cover off when loose!

Honestly I don't think the turbo was primed.

I checked the turbo shaft for play and there is just a tiny bit ... seems normal to me!

I remove the top inter cooler hose and there is no oil in the intercooler or inlet manifold.

My guess is the inner seal is leaking so oil is getting into the exhaust and burning.


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Hi Ed,

well, if it is burning oil then suspicion falls on the turbo if the bores are ok. The only other thing it could be is a blown head gasket from one oilway to a cylinder. This used to happen on 200tdis near to no 4 cylinder. But I doubt that that is your problem. Unfortunately there is no way to run the engine without the turbo to see what smoke you get. When the turbo oil seals go you normally get oil in the inlet but you don't have any. So I am at a bit of a loss here.

You could remove the EGR plug and run the engine like that and see if any smoke comes out. This would prove that the oil is, or is not, being burnt in the cylinders rather than downstream of the turbo.

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Maybe at idle unburnt oil is getting into the silencer and is then being burnt when you drive off.

I would try disconnecting the exhaust after the turbo and see if any unburnt oil is coming through. This would confirm your idea about the turbo seal. (But I wish you the best of luck with those three bolts). If you are to change the turbo they will have to be undone somehow.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is an update!

I replaced the turbo however it's still smoking!

Here are some pictures of the ports along the cylinder head.

There appears to be a small amount of oil along the valve stems in ports 2, 3 ,5 and 6.

What do you guys think?










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Well I wish my cylinder head internals looked as good as yours !:rolleyes: you must have an interesting camera!

The ports you nominate as showing oil are the exhaust ports and they look very good, I can only advise changing the valve stem oil seals, if they are the original units they could be leaking it's possible to change them without removing the cylinder head so long as you make sure that the piston in the cylinder you are working on is at TDC, but that said it's safer to remove the head, do the valve job properly and check that the guides arent worn and that the valves are properly lapped into the seats :( all in all a bummer after all the work you have put in to it.

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