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Massive smoking issue & crappy idle - after major "improvements" 2003 Mazda Protege5

(unamused)

Original problem before any repairs: rough (rolling) idle and getting worse (but no CEL), blue startup smoke, oil consumption, slight pinging under load, way overdue timing belt, curiosity and a misguided sense of adventure.

Read on for the summary... resolving one set of problems leads to worse...

FIRST
3 weeks ago, after many hours of online research and reading (have the Mazda Service information) I tore into my engine to replace the timing belt for the first time (myself and the car). Car has approximately 230,000 km (~142,915 mi) and the belt was original. While in there, I changed my crankshaft (front) oil seal, camshaft seals, valve-stem seals (hoping this would cure blue startup smoke issue, oil consumption), water pump and gasket, thermostat, valve cover grommets/bushings/gasket, timing belt, alternator & power steering belts, oil change (synthetic) with filter, coolant flush/change (pet-friendly coolant), spark plugs. All parts from Mazda except fluids/plugs.

RESULT
After much trial/error and a few new tools, I finally got all the work done and the car back together. No CEL... YAY! and timing felt great - no more marbles. Sadly, startup smoke got WORSE! Still blue - about 15 seconds after start up, fog the block for about 1 minute then gone. Only happened after resting overnight, no smoke in cruise. AND my crankshaft oil seal (which was not previously leaking, and despite careful removal/replacement) started LEAKING! :( :(

THEN
After many more hours of online research and reading the service information, I decided to do the valve stem seal job completely over, with a better (really awesome) spring compressor tool and with a completely NEW set of seals just to be safe. Since I didn't know if I had damaged a seal, or if one was simply installed incorrectly, I didn't want to chance taking the engine apart a third time so I chalked it up to the learning experience and bit the bullet ($160 x 2). I replaced the oil seal even more carefully, this time very lightly coating the outside edge with red high-temp pematex. All valve seals re-replaced (one on #2 cylinder seemed loose - didn't find any obvious damage to any of the seals). The good news is that I'm getting very good at the timing and belt install... :(

AND
While in there, as a second major project decided to completely remove the intake manifold for proper cleaning (throttle body was really dirty), bought new gaskets for both the intake manifold, dynamic chamber, EGR valve upgrade kit (brings EGR into the coolant loop with throttle body) - comes with new hoses, EGR and throttle body gaskets, new intake side o-rings for the fuel injectors (really, the new ones don't seem any better than the old ones!). While I had the intake apart, I discovered my car was a victim of the VICS/VCTS recall problem - my VICS screws were all tight, but two VCTS screws missing and the butterfly valves jammed on #3 /4 cyl. I discovered my car had already been dealt with by Mazda so I'm no longer eligible for any warranty! I wonder if they only checked the VICS. I was lucky to find the two screws with a magnet in the bottom of the dynamic chamber and cleaned/reassembled using blue loctite on the VCTS screws. I didn't touch the VICS screws since they were so tight I feared stripping them on removal. I debated doing the VCTS delete, however I'm still reading up on this and at this point I want my car running normally before I do any other major work to what was a previously very awesome car.

LATEST RESULT
The good news - crankshaft oil seal seems to be tight, timing great (no CEL). Valve stem seals? Who the heck knows with all the other smoke coming out of my rig - all I know is the Toyo tool I used comes with an installer and I don't see how I could have screwed up the install of any seals this time. New problem after the second major repair: Horrible idle - engine shaking/vibrating (puff puff sound) at idle, jerky throttle response on decel, WTF smoke out the whole **** neighborhood on start-up with mostly whiteish (or does it have a bit of blue tint?) smoke and it lasts and lasts and lasts... acceleration on the throttle seems mushy AND I seem to have an intake leak - suspect the intake manifold gasket as at least one culprit - WTF again - it was new, carefully installed, bolts torqued... :( :(

I checked all the vacuum lines were installed, I sprayed intake cleaner around the engine and the RPM definitely increases. How the heck could the intake gasket be leaking??? I pulled the fuel rail to double check the o-rings installed, but that didn't help. And what the heck is causing this horrible smoking??? I have no evidence of any coolant in the oil. Is it possible the updated EGR valve could be leaking coolant? I quadruple checked I hooked up the lines correctly - and I'm debating whether I should reinstall the old one to rule out the smoke. Is it possible for a leaking intake to cause white smoke? I read in the Mazda troubleshooting that this could be the case, but I don't understand how...


Any suggestions before I start removing the intake system again? As well, I was unable to completely remove my dynamic chamber for cleaning due to that annoying line that goes from the bottom of the throttle body area to the exhaust manifold. That nut remains completely seized despite repeated soaking with Liquid Wrench and I don't dare touch the exhaust side of the same line due to rust/corrosion. It would sure make removal/install easier if I was able to remove this fitting. As a final note - 6 months ago I changed 3 of my four engine mounts (Mazda OEM - 2 were broken) and I've been sitting on #1 . It was my intention to tackle this thing during one of these projects, however that in itself is a pain in the butt as I've read, and I'm stuck on the lower nut of the electrical bracket. Any tips/tricks on this project also appreciated.

Thanks to whomever reads this, and I hope you can help with some intel to help me recover my car to a happy state.

















 

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And here's a visual on the smoke I'm producing... http://dai.ly/x337sxa

What you see here fades in and out of intensity for 15-20 minutes before I finally give up waiting and start driving... and the darn smoke kept following me down the highway!!! The problem is definitely growing worse, and acceleration on the throttle is mushy - there's a lag in response, and the engine surges. I almost turned around and went home but after 10 minutes of driving on the highway it kind of subdued itself.
 

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You are pretty good at taking this engine apart and doing the work yourself. I also have a 2003 P5 but only 150,000 k's on it, Purrs like a kitten. The only issues I really had to deal with is those dam wheels bearings replaced twice in two years. (aside from other wear and tear issues) I had a 1996 Ford Escort wagon with a 1.9L in it. 200,000 k's on it, I had blue smoke on start up also, Poor gas mileage and poor acceleration. I was told many times it was the "Head gasket going on it". When I traded it in for my Protege5 the dealer looked at it and told me it was "not" the head gasket but I had a seized valve lifter and was running on 3 cyclinders. I am no pro but did you check your valve lifters to see if they are all working? In your case it might be head gasket. Hope this helps.
 

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Hi there,

Thanks for the response! Actually I abandoned my post here due to lack of attention. My saga and subsequent victory is here: Massive smoking issue & crappy idle - after major "improvement" 2003 Mazda Protege :( I received far more contribution and there is where all my pictures are posted. I ended up doing a quick and dirty ring job using a write up a mazda247 user pointed me to. I had the head cleaned up and did the gasket while I was at it, plus a whack of other parts that were fun to replace - check the above thread... practically a new car! I don't smoke or use a drop of oil any more. Some great pictures - including a dancing banana on page 8... ;)
 
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