Question about 1998 Toyota 4Runner

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1998 4Runner smokes only when oil is low

Symptom: visible blue smoke came out of tail pipe; checked oil level (very low); added oil (added 1 qt 5W-30 along with Motor Honey); and no more smoke (at least for now) 02/28/2009. I changed the PCV valve on 03/01/2009 but it looks like the old one I replaced is still in pretty good shape.

Background: I brought this 1998 4Runner on 02/20/2009. It passed emission without any problem. No leaks on the ground. I changed the engine oil and added gas treatment. 185 miles later, the above symptom occurred. When the oil is at the proper level, no visible smoke comes out of the tailpipe. But when the oil is low, smoke comes out. Any idea what can be wrong? Any help would be highly appreciated.

One more piece of detail to add... I also find oil inside the air filter compartment. Can just a bad PVC valve cause this? Thanks.

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You might need new valve guide seals. only a trained professional show attempt.


hope this helps.
please rate good.

Posted on Mar 02, 2009

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Yes a crappy PVC valve can cause some of your problems but not necessarily all of them, they are cheap, I always replace it to start. The air cleaner housing being full of oil is like how the oil is being consumed. In addition to a PVC valve, there may also be a blow-by hose running into the housing. check to see what other hoses go into the housing & which ones have oil coming from them. I'm not familiar with the "Motor Honey" you mentioned but I rarely add additives to my Engine oil, especially if they are thickeners. The only stuff I recommend is a Quaker state or similar "High Mileage Oil". These semi-synthetic oils have additives to swell old rubber & cork seals in older engines and can help reduce oil consumption & leakage. Again, it may not be a total solution, but it couldn't hurt to drain out all of the existing oil & replace with a high mileage type & also change the filter at the same time. Never mix it with other oils, despite the manufacturer telling you it may be safe to do so.

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