puff of white smoke on inital startup ?

My '91 Audi 200 Turbo usually emits a cloud of white [not blue or black] smoke on initial startup each day. After warmup this doesn't occur at startup. It has about 335,000 miles on it. I'm assuming this probably
has dire consequences if it's cause is not determined and repaired.
From worst to least damaging, what are the possible causes ?
By priority of easiest to do, what should be the testing sequence to determine the cause ?
Any hints on conducting tests would be much appreciated.
Gratefully, Courtney
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Courtney, Sounds like a coolant leak to me. Probably the easier leak fix would be a head gasket replacement (if the leak is there), or a turbo replacement (- if it's used you can probably get a turbo for cheap (www.car-part.com) Engine leak: Try this test: get a fair sized pickle jar - without the pickles in it of course ;-) - and hold the open end towards the tailpipe when it's emmitting the plume. When you get a fair amount of condensation in the jar, put it in the freezer overnight - if the condensate has frozen, it's water. If it is unfrozen, it's coolant. If it's green, you didn't wash the pickle juice out before the test .......You can also try a compression test with the engine hot - large variations even within the allowable pressure range can mean a coolant leak. Then there's the usual checks - oil in the coolant, water in the oil, whitish discoloring of the spark plugs. After the car has run at operating temperature for a while, pull the plugs and hold an inspection mirror over the plug holes - fog is coolant leakage into the cylinder. All in all, it doesn't sound good. Letting an engine coolant leak go will eventually destroy the engine, as the coolant washes the oil off the cylinder walls and enlarges the bore through metal:metal contact. Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ - don't ask me how I know.....(head gasket replaced) 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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Courtney Thomas wrote:

condensation from the exhaust? If you're not losing coolant or oil or getting oil in the coolant/coolant in the oil and the car performs OK I wouldn't worry.
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Probably oil from the turbo bearings burning off directly into the exhaust. Looks just like the white smoke from stunt aircraft! Just wear and tear, could be like that for ages. Worry when it does not stop !!!! Rgds Alec
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On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 14:48:40 -0500, Courtney Thomas

oil leaks past the valve stem inserts onto the valve seat and burns off during the first minutes of engine run. Then engine heat swells the parts and prevents oil from draining past.
You get black smoke after start up but usually reappears each time you accelerate from a stop when your rings are worn out and sometimes continuously during driving when the rings are really worn bad.
Either way all these things are typical of an engine with the number of miles you have on your car and no amount of oil changes will prevent it. Its worn out and you need a top end job at least. Best have the whole engine rebuilt while it down though or junk it and start over.
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Dear Scar,
What do you mean by 'top end' job, and what's the difference between it and a total rebuild ?
Thank you. Courtney
The Scarlet Pimpernel wrote:

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AFAIK Bluish White Smoke = Oil burning (bad rings or pistons or valve guides or too much oil in engine) Black Smoke = Rich mixture (fuel not completely burning up due to many possible factors) White Smoke = Coolant or water burning off (Head Gasket or Cracked cylinder head or block or excessive condensation in engine or exhaust burning off) I wonder if moisture is building up in either the air filter or the exhaust and that is causing your white smoke. If it is coolant the exhaust should have a sweet smell to it. Don't breathe too much of it though! :-)
Does this Audi do a lot of short trips? I have seen a few vehicles with excess water in the oil due to short trips. Sometimes the condensation is sucked/pushed through the PCV system into the intake. I am not sure if it would be in a quantity to cause excessive white smoke though.
Top End Job = Cylinder Head rebuilding only
It is best to have the engine checked at a shop designed to check compression and leakdown at least before you decide to spend too much $$$ on it.
JMHO later, dave
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