What causes a ' Honda CVCC to be enveloped by...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

What causes a '79 Honda CVCC to be enveloped by blue smoke when it is started? It began smoking at 40,000 miles. Now, at 90,000 miles, it literally DISAPPEARS in a cloud of blue smoke whenever I start it! Yet when warmed up, it can pass the emissions tests.

RAY: I think this is part of an experimental program by Ford Motor Company, Charlie. For years, they've been trying to come up with ways to make Hondas disappear.

TOM: It sounds like your rings are worn out, Charlie. They're allowing oil to sneak up into the combustion chambers, where the oil gets burned along with the gasoline. And the blue smoke you see is that partially combusted oil coming out of the tailpipe.

RAY: When the car warms up and the engine gets hot, the pistons expand. And when they expand, they push the rings out closer to the cylinder walls, which makes a tighter seal. That's why you're able to pass your emissions test when the car is warm. But that won't last.

TOM: You need a good, old fashioned ring job, Charlie. If you like the car, and (by some miracle) it's otherwise solid, then spend the money and get it done.

RAY: It'll cost you about $1,500...or about eight to nine times what the car is worth. But don't worry about spending more than the car is worth. My brother does that everytime he fills up the gas tank in his 1963 Dodge Dart.

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