Light smoke from the engine bay.

Hi, Just finished a short road trip (450 miles each way) in my 96 E320 (70K miles) and on the return trip at a gas stop and again at home, I noticed a
small bit of smoke (not much, not white, more black or dark grey) coming from the back of the engine near the firewall. There are no lights on, the temp never exceeded 85. It drives fine, there are no noises. Any thoughts? or places I can take a flashlight too or look for , or am I being paranoid since it's the first long highway trip since it's oil change 3200 miles ago. Cheers
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the
thoughts?
ago.
Like you say, it might just be burning off some old sludge. But this can also indicate that you have a bit of motor oil or some other fluid (steering, tranny, etc) leaking from a failing seal onto a hot exhaust pipe. Keep an eye on your fluid levels and see if you're losing any. I would take a flashlight and first look at the valve cover seals, oil pan gasket, and where the engine bolts to the transmission. But keep in mind that the passing draft created as you drive can carry leaks to the exhaust area from parts even farther towards the front of the car, and this can coat a large area of the engine making it difficult to figure out exactly where the leak is originating from. To help you localize the leak, leave some newspaper under the car when you leave it parked overnight and see if it collects any drips. Make note of the exact area underneath the car as well as the color of the fluid if you find any (black/dark brown spots=motor oil, red/reddish brown spots=transmission or power steering fluid). In some cases, you may even have to degrease and wash the engine to pinpoint a leak.
- Logic316
"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur." -- Vice President Al Gore, 9/22/97
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Probobly your main engine seal on your I6(they are bad from the factory) I just had mine replaced at 1200.00 ....
The oil leaks out and hits the exhaust manifold. Mechanic said all of them go bad way before their time!
You should also notice a buring oil smell...
On Mon, 12 Apr 2004 22:38:35 -0400, Shawn wrote:

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This is probably a stupid question, but since $1200 is 10% of what I paid for the car, as long as the leak (if it is that, nothing on the garage floor yet) is very minor, and I keep the synthetic oil level up, am I doing any more harm by not changing it?

a
the
thoughts?
paranoid
ago.
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Do you love your car?
I love my E320
On Tue, 13 Apr 2004 16:25:53 -0400, Shawn wrote:

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my guess is that you are leaking oil/oil vapour from the top end of the motor. as you say, you cannot disover any significant leak from below. check the security/integrity of the breather pipe which originates at the valve cover and terminates at the air cleaner. with engine vibration, and the effects of constant heating up/cooling down, the ends of this pipe willl often split.

the
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