Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
2005 FXT
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We have an '05 FXT with 93,000 miles that we've owned since 13,000 miles (2006). It's been a great car and has needed nothing other than regular maintenance and a gs cap a couple of years ago (cracked).

It's due for a registration and in my neck of the woods that means a SMOG test. The test is a visual inspection, idle and 2500 RPM test. The results are below. It passed the sniffer test just fine but after the 2500 RPM test when the tester walked around the vehicle to pull the sniffer out of the tail pipe he noticed blue smoke, circled fail under "Other Emission Related Components".
Test results:


I've read a lot of the stickies and searched many topics related to the engine and blue smoke but still I have many questions. For reference the vehicle is stock with the exception of a clean K&N filter. I was not at the test, my wife was, so the story is from her. We have never seen or smelled anything unusual from the tail pipe let alone seen smoke. Gas mileage and performance are as they have always been.

Question 1) In regards to the circled fail portion of the test. Other emission related components. In my mind all the emission components on the vehicle are working. Am I wrong in thinking that? It seems like he didn't like the smoke and the fact that it was there meant it wasn't going to pass. Should I press them on this or take it back in for the retest?

Tonight I popped the hood and looked around. Honestly I haven't spent much time under the hood of this vehicle but for the most part know what I'm looking at, know how turbo vehicles work and have enough tools to be dangerous. After seeing, and assuming the SMOG guys would have seen anything obvious, nothing wrong I decided to pull the intercooler. I wanted to see it's in and out ports. They were clean and the connections were tight.

I also checked the PCV. I couldn't release the clamps that hold the plastic "L" elbow nor could I get the valve out of the plastic but I'm thinking it is fine. The car needs to remain driveable and I didn't want to crack the elbow reefing on it. I imagine with the way the vehicle is driven (grocery and kid getter) and the fact the "smoke" is coming from only 2500 RPM it might not be the problem.

Oil level is right in the middle and there are 2,500 miles on a 5w-30 Mobil 1 full synthetic oil change with Subaru filter. Coolant level is full and was replaced less than 6 months ago along with the radiator after it developed a crack.

Question 2) Is there much else i should check? Like I said it's never smoked and I can't get it to smoke so I'm thinking they will pass it on a retest. At the suggestion of a friend I drove it around to get it hot, let it idle for 10 minutes, did a couple of holds at 2500 RPM in the drive way (to simulate a test) all the while looking back and saw nothing. I've had no check engine lights and all sensors are original MY2005.

Question 3, suggested by a friend) Is it possible the issue is a turbo seal leak? The compressor side is clean and oil free. Is it possible to have a leak on JUST the exhaust side? If so is the way to check to pull the turbo?

I know that's a lot of text so here are some pictures.



Minimal oil reside in the bottom of the IC. Nothing drips, light miss that wiped clean.




Intake to the IC from the compressor side. The cell phone flash makes this stick out but it wasn't much and wiped clean.


Minimal oil mist on the inside of the rubber connection to the TB. The TB valve was this clean, no wiping.




Compressor side of the turbo. No wiping necessary. It was this clean.


At idle I pulled the oil cap as I think I read somewhere to do so and check for blue vapor. I pulled it and had none. This is what the back side of the cap looks like.


Thanks in advance.
 

·
Registered
SG9 Forester XT Stick Shift
Joined
·
1,667 Posts
I would give the PCV valve a try first. they do create smoke when blocked.
Order the PCV valve togeter with the plastic housing. Its cheaper and no risk cracking the plastic housing.



Or if you do not want to mess with the clips


 

·
Registered
2012 XT Touring 4EAT
Joined
·
3,752 Posts
First, I think the testing guy is yanking your chain. If you passed the sniffer test, that should be enough. I'm not sure how the testing system works in your state but you might consider an appeal or having a supervisor look at the vehicle, or going to another test station. And/or have a garage look at the vehicle and certify that the emission equipment is all present and working properly. Simply 'not liking the blue smoke' should not be enough to fail you. It is reasonable to assume the test guy is not that familiar with turbo Foresters.

Second, consider adding something like a bottle of Liqui-Moly MoS2 to your oil - drive the vehicle 500 miles or so - it will reduce oil passing the rings, which should reduce the dreaded 'blue smoke'. Whether you continue to use it later is really the subject of another thread.

Another user suggested checking the PCV valve - +1 on that.

Finally, for re-test purposes only, you could consider switching to a heavier oil - 5w-40 or 10w-40. Personally, I think this is a bad idea for your vehicle, but it might get you through inspection.
 

·
Registered
2013 forester auto
Joined
·
40 Posts
I once failed a California smog test twice. First, for a faulty distributor. So I replaced it, but ended up 1 tooth off and set the timing to spec. The "one tooth off", wouldn't allow any further advance of the distributor, but remember, the timing is set to spec. So I mention this to the smog tech and he tells me "well I have to fail you again now that you told me that".

I now keep my mouth shut. Only in California do we have such fair lawmakers.
 

·
Registered
2005 FXT
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. Towards the end of working on it last night it was late and I was tired. I didn't even think of using YouTube to figure out the clamps. The looked like something I could release but needed a special tool to re-attach. I'll replace the PCV and take it in Saturday.

The plan today is to call the place and schedule a retest for Saturday, hopefully after the PCV install. With any luck there will be a different guy there and she'll pass.

In CA there is a process for SMOG and SMOG inspection. If I were to fail again I believe my options are to throw money at the vehicle or go to the referee and explore my options through that process. The car is well maintained and not beat on so I'd like to avoid any band aid fixes or additives just to pass. I'm sure if I don't pass, after jumping through some hoops, I'll still be able to register it and drive.

I tired to simulate at test by letting it warm up then idle for some time before leaving it at 2500 RPM and no blue smoke. With a flashlight I could see the beam of the light through some 'smoke' but it wasn't visible with the eye to the extent it would cause a fail. If all else fails I could take it to one of the one man janky smog stations down the road. If the computer passes it and it 'looks' ok you're good.
 

·
Registered
2005 Forester XT 4eat
Joined
·
4,581 Posts
First, I think the testing guy is yanking your chain. If you passed the sniffer test, that should be enough. I'm not sure how the testing system works in your state but you might consider an appeal or having a supervisor look at the vehicle, or going to another test station. And/or have a garage look at the vehicle and certify that the emission equipment is all present and working properly. Simply 'not liking the blue smoke' should not be enough to fail you. It is reasonable to assume the test guy is not that familiar with turbo Foresters.

Second, consider adding something like a bottle of Liqui-Moly MoS2 to your oil - drive the vehicle 500 miles or so - it will reduce oil passing the rings, which should reduce the dreaded 'blue smoke'. Whether you continue to use it later is really the subject of another thread.

Another user suggested checking the PCV valve - +1 on that.

Finally, for re-test purposes only, you could consider switching to a heavier oil - 5w-40 or 10w-40. Personally, I think this is a bad idea for your vehicle, but it might get you through inspection.
I agree that this is probably a problem with the inspector, and not the vehicle, especially since you've never seen smoke.

I also agree with cleaning or replacing the PCV valve. It is required maintenance that does need to be done periodically. While you have everything apart, it is never a bad idea to clean the intercooler and valve cover breather lines. When you put everything back together, make sure there are absolutely no boost leaks, as a boost leak can make grey / black smoke under boost. When you go to get inspected, get the catalytic converters hot before testing.

As for oil choice, Mobil 1 5w30 is on the absolute thin end of what is good for these motors. There is nothing wrong with using a 5w40 or 10w40 in your climate. 10w40 is among the accepted oil choices in the owner's manual. The mpg difference is nearly undetectable, in my own experience.
 

·
Registered
2005 FXT
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Good to know. It sounds like I might be making an slight change in the oil I buy thanks to reading all the good info here, and your suggestions.

Subaru has my part so I'll be putting that in tonight.
 

·
Registered
2004 FXT 5mt
Joined
·
296 Posts
Unrelated to your issues, but it looks like you're missing the little rubber gasket for your oil filler cap.
Or it is still sitting on top of the filler neck. The one on my WRX did that all the time.

I agree, these motors don't like Mobil1. I've run it in plenty of N/A cars but my WRX really didn't like it at all.
 

·
Registered
2005 Forester XT Auto -> STI
Joined
·
96 Posts
A old trick in the auto world also is only full synthetic as it supposedly wont burn like dino oil and make blue smoke. I myself use lucas oil stabalizer Lucas Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer : Lucas Oil in all my cars. I have always had great results. Also all autoparts stores sell a No Smoke that should help also. These are all temp fixes if you have something wrong but may give you some time.
 

·
Registered
2005 FXT
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Unrelated to your issues, but it looks like you're missing the little rubber gasket for your oil filler cap.

Wow! About a year ago I had the hood open doing whatever and noticed a gasket seal type thing laying near the battery. I looked all around to try to find where it came from but assumed it came in through the hood scoop or something. I never considered the oil cap which I lay on the battery when I change the oil. Mystery solved.

I saved that seal for about a year on my work bench just in case i found where it went. About 3 weeks ago when I was home on medical leave I did a work bench clean out and guess what went in the trash:crazy:

Thanks for noticing, one more item to pick up at the dealer today.
 

·
Registered
08 XT Limited
Joined
·
198 Posts
Your O2, HC and CO numbers are so good that it is indicative that everything "smog equipment" is in proper working condition.

All the other stuff is a visual inspection of smog equipment (certain years also require a functional test of the EVAP system)

The "OTHER" category is for the various systems unique to a particular model, because they can't list every single component of every single model and year vehicle. Your inspector decided to use that column as a "I can be an ******** if I want". That's a subjective opinion as to whether or not that blue smoke was "smog" creating particulates--the ones the test measure were all good.
 

·
Registered
2005 FXT
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I replaced the PCV, cleaned out the TB and idle air control and gave it another once over last night. This morning it passed.

It was all warmed up but at the beginning of the test the tech rev'd it up to about 5k RPM twice real quick and there was some smoke. It could have been because I do have an oil leak at the turbo and it had been idling for about 5 minutes. He didn't seem to care, ran the test, gave it a quick blip at the end and no smoke.

Now that it's passed I think I should look into the turbo seals and see what's going on with that.

Thanks for the help guys.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top