Ranger 1977, 31k miles, smoked in the mountains

ranger
smoke

#1

My '97 Ranger has 31,000 miles on it. It had 10k on it when I bought it in December 2008. Haven’t had any problems with it. This past Sunday I took a friend to the mountains. One of the roads was a steep slow crawl (maybe 35mph), had the A/C on too. When we got to the parking lot for the trail, I parked, turned it off, and smoke was coming out around the wheel wells. It smelled like engine oil. I opened the hood, but didn’t see anything obvious. Gauges were all normal while driving. After the hike, we drove back without any issues. I drove home about an hour on the interstate today with no problems. No smoke or odor when I got here. All gauges showed normal values.
Should I take my truck in and have it checked? Is there something I can check?

Do you experts recommend anything as far as service for a low-miles older vehicle?

All advice appreciated!


#2

You bought it at 11 years old with only 10,000 miles on it? Legit? And you’ve only put 21,000 miles on it in three years?

Anyway, my guess is that the smoke was oil that had seeped through old gaskets and gotten onto part of the exhaust system where it cooked. The age and mileage suggest a pickup that’s led a life of short drives, and that wears an engine out in far fewer miles than highway mileage. My guess is that the engine is probably tired, perhaps the oil rings are gummed up, the PCV valve may be gummed up, and your travels in the mountains caused sufficient pressure to build in the crankcase to force oil past tired old gaskets. The valvecover gaskets would be the first suspects, since it apparently ran onto the exhaust.

Try changing the PCV valve, looking for evidence of oil seepage, and perhaps even doing a compression check. Post back with the results.


#3

Yes, the mileage is correct. I bought it from my late father-in-law who didn’t like to drive it because the radio didn’t get his favorite station. :slight_smile:

I’ll check the valve cover gaskets and have a look at the PCV valve.
Thanks of the response!


#4

the same mountainbike wrote:
My guess is that the engine is probably tired, perhaps the oil rings are gummed up, the PCV valve may be gummed up, and your travels in the mountains caused sufficient pressure to build in the crankcase to force oil past tired old gaskets.

Also, the angle of the car on the hills could have caused leaking oil to run a different direction. My wife’s previous car had a valve cover gasket leak that hit the exhaust system only on a steep downhill road.


#5

It’s possible with that low mileage previous oil leaks (or spills) deposited on the engine were “burning off” now that you got the truck nice and hot from mt. driving.


#6

I’m thinking so DfromSD. I looked at the engine yesterday when I filled up and it was dry as a bone except for A/C sweat. Oil level was still full too. Since the mountains are the hardest work it’s done (probably in its whole life), it could very well have been burning off old crud.
That’s the theory I’m going with :slight_smile:
Thanks for the help everyone!