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Puffing smoke @ idle while in gear, after trip to high elevation

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by Golden Helmet, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    Heya fellas. Just to get this out of the way, it's a '92 7.3L N/A, E4OD, the IP is from R&D, injectors are 7x R&D and 1x NAPA reman, IP and sticks have about 25k miles on them. And as a little more background, my truck rolls black smoke @ sea level and I don't have a pyro. Yes I'm doing it wrong LOL

    So anyways, I've got an interesting one. Last week I took the truck on a road trip to Reno, NV, which is about 4500 feet above sea level. On the way there the altitude peaked at about 7000 feet. My truck did NOT like that elevation one bit, just the tiniest bit of throttle and the skies turned black, but it smokes bad enough at sea level so I kinda expected that. While I was in Reno though, the truck started puffing thin white smoke out the tailpipe, but only while the truck was sitting in gear and not moving. Put it in neutral / park, or give it a bit of throttle, and the white smoke cleared up.

    I chalked that up to the engine not liking the altitude. However, now it's doing that here at sea level, too, so I must've done something to hurt it. It doesn't do it while the engine is cold, only when it's warmed up and sitting in gear. It's not a solid stream of white smoke like an injector that's hanging open, it's just puffing like it's maybe just one cylinder acting up. I don't hear the dreaded exhaust chuff, no new ticks, it doesn't appear to be misfiring, no bubbles in the coolant overflow jug, and the exhaust doesn't smell like coolant or raw diesel.

    Any thoughts on this? I'm sure my EGT's were way too high on the way to Reno, though I didn't smell the oil cooking off the exhaust manifold like I normally do when the EGT's are high. I'm thinking I pissed off an injector somehow, I've got a set of new Stanadyne's sitting on the shelf but I don't want to start swapping parts out before I get some input first.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Thewespaul

    Thewespaul Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

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    Which pump did you get? Pyro ASAP sir. Mixmatched injectors can cause this, I would try cracking an injector at a time while idling and see if you can get the smoke to quit.
     
  3. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    I told Justin when I ordered that the pump was for an NA truck, so he said he was gonna send me a 5013 pump, according to him they were the best N/A pumps in factory form. So it shouldn't be one of the fire-breathing monsters, but it does smoke like a train. And yes, I know I need a pyro, and a trans temp gauge... *hangs head in shame*

    Regarding the mis-matched injectors, I've been running it this way for 4 years now and the problem only began after I took the truck to Reno, that's why I'm wondering if I did something to hurt it. The poor thing got flogged pretty hard on that trip. I'll try cracking the injectors this weekend and see what happens.
     
  4. Thewespaul

    Thewespaul Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

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    I may be wrong but I think a 5013 is a factory turbo calibration for a 94, so that may be why it’s smokey at elevation. What I was getting at with the mixmatched injectors is one may have gotten hotter than the others and melted the pintle, which would give you a miss that you didn’t have before. I would probably start by cracking the Napa injector and pull it if the smoke goes away.
     
  5. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    Got it, that's what I'll do.

    I really gotta get around to turning down that fuel screw. It smokes bad enough here at sea level @ WOT, but up at elevation it was downright embarrassing. Every time I touched the skinny pedal it looked like an Iraqi oil field was burning...
     
  6. SLC97SR5

    SLC97SR5 Full Access Member

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    Clean airfilter?

    Where is the timing?
     
  7. gandalf

    gandalf Senior Member

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    Smoke at altitude is a fact with our trucks. We just have to accept it and live with it.

    My truck also lives at sea level and smokes at altitude. I've taken it to Reno twice, and pulled a trailer back each time. And each time I laid down a smoke screen going over Donner Pass. My daughter took a picture for me.

    Smoke.JPG
     
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  8. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    The timing hasn't been touched since the IP was installed 4 years ago. Calvin told me he set it around 9.5* BTDC.

    The air filter I think has 15k miles on it, but changing it wouldn't hurt. It's just some house brand paper filter, nothing special.
     
  9. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    Alrighty, so cracking the injectors didn't reveal anything. Each one caused the engine RPM to noticeably drop and the smoke thickened up each time, though some injectors did create more smoke than others, none made the puffing smoke go away. I did the test with the truck in drive and the parking brake applied to keep the RPM's low since the smoke clears up in neutral / park.

    Should I just go ahead and pull a few injectors and see if anything looks out of the ordinary?
     
  10. Thewespaul

    Thewespaul Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

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    I would pull the napa injector, but if the steady smoke never changed then its probably not an injector issue, is it burning oil?
     
  11. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    I don't think so, it was only about 1qt low when I checked it before the trip, about 2700 miles on the oil change then. Now it's got 3800 on the oil so it's well overdue for a change. Right now the oil level is sitting just a hair below where it was before I left.
     
  12. chris142

    chris142 Full Access Member

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    15000 miles on the air filter may be too much. Replace it. My wife's Toyota seemed sluggish when I drove it last week. Only had 9k on this one. I put it in 11-18!

    IMG_20190914_163229.jpg
     
  13. Thewespaul

    Thewespaul Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

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    Even if the filter looks fine, you can just pull it off and run it to eliminate that from the equation, it would help you hear any chuffing out the intake as well.
     
  14. Golden Helmet

    Golden Helmet Full Access Member

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    Sorry it took forever to get back to this, been busy and haven't had much time to worry about the truck. Still need to get the oil changed, 900 miles overdue and it's killing me...

    Anyways, I tried pulling the air filter and housing off as per the suggestions. The smoke didn't go away, and the intake sounded fine to me. So I decided to take a quick video, only had 4% battery left so I had to be quick. Got a bit from under the hood with the air filter off, then I tried to show the smoke coming from the tailpipe, then I got a bit of the exhaust so you can guys see if you hear a chuff or not. The smoke is very thin because the truck is in park, not in gear, so the idle RPM is a bit higher; when you put it in D or R and hold the brake, the engine RPM drops and the smoke gets more noticeable.

     
  15. Thewespaul

    Thewespaul Supporting Vendor Supporting Member

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    When you get a chance I would pull the y pipe off and see if it’s oily inside, it’s probably valve guides.
     

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