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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just changed the oil & filter + did a ATF drain-and-fill on my 2004 Duratec Taurus. The car had just passed its annual inspection and had been operating well before this.

I drove it 60 miles afterward, and the car behaved fine - silky-smooth gear changes and nothing unusual in engine performance. However, by the time i returned home thin, stinky smoke was coming from under the hood. I thought at first it could be some spilled oil or tranny fluid from the change.

I let it sit overnight and checked the oil level. It was down a bit but had been a bit below full when I finished the oil change; it also looked brand-new (not discolored). I saw no fresh oil visible in easy-to-see areas. I put some cardboard under the engine and in a few hours there were several drip marks - one area at the rear of the engine, and a couple others closer to the front.

Then I drove it a few miles and returned home. Once again, the engine ran fine and the transmission shifted well. On parking I saw a larger cloud of stinky gray smoke emerging from the rear of the engine (see attached pic). No smoke coming from tailpipe.

Used a consumer-level OBDII reader and saw no error codes.

Is the smoke - and drips - from one or both valve-cover gaskets? Any other likely candidates?
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2004 Taurus SES Duratec
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First thing after experiencing a problem after doing some work is to suspect the work you did itself not a new area that wasn't a problem before!

You changed the oil filter! Where does the oil from the oil filter go when you remove it? On the exhaust!

What would happen if you didn't put the oil filter in correctly? Eg double gasket or too loose? It would leak. On the exhaust! Causing smoke. It might even drip onto the ground.

What would happen if your new oil filter is poor quality? It might leak. On the exhaust! Causing smoke. It might even drip onto the ground.
 
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On the Duratec, oil will drip onto the exhaust and block when you change the oil & filter. Did you clean all that off after you were done? If you do not find any evidence of oil leaking around the filter or drain plug, then I would suspect the valve cover gaskets. I changed mine out this past summer for the same reason. Could hardly stand driving it with the smell of burning oil and when I parked it smoke would billow from the rear of the engine just as you show in your photo. The gaskets were hard as a rock and had several breaks in them that allowed oil to leak out.
 

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1998 Taurus SE Sedan 3.0L24V AX4N 91Kmi
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I used a Supertech ST-2 filter.
Why? How much money will you save during your ownership of the car buying that filter vs. the FL820S on the next shelf? At my local WM, the FL820S is $3.50; I have NO IDEA what any other filter costs.
 

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Why? How much money will you save during your ownership of the car buying that filter vs. the FL820S on the next shelf? At my local WM, the FL820S is $3.50; I have NO IDEA what any other filter costs.
Pic of MC filter and what was on my last buy used car. After 1K miles I changed the oil and filter. Small on put on by JuffyLube.
MC is cheap and reliable.
-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
On the Duratec, oil will drip onto the exhaust and block when you change the oil & filter....
Thank you very much! I found a lot of old oil on the oil & ATF pans, which had obviously drained down from oil-filter replacement. I cleaned off everything I could, and don't see any fresh oil on the bottoms of those pans right now.

I placed some white paper under the car today, and will check in the morning to see if the leakage is oil or ATF.

I watched several YT videos yesterday that suggest valve-cover gaskets are the culprit, and I've read people's comments saying we should change the Duratec PCV valve every year because it's prone to clogging up and blowing out the valve-cover and/or timing-cover gaskets. I don't know that I've ever had this car's PCV changed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Why? How much money will you save during your ownership of the car buying that filter vs. the FL820S on the next shelf? At my local WM, the FL820S is $3.50; I have NO IDEA what any other filter costs.
I prefer Motorcraft too, but bought the ST-2 because my Walmart's shelf had NO Motorcraft oil filters in stock.
 

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I've read people's comments saying we should change the Duratec PCV valve every year because it's prone to clogging up and blowing out the gaskets.
Well if what "people" say is so reliable did you find any "people" saying that valve cover gaskets would blow out a few miles after an oil change?
 

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Thank you very much! I have some white paper under the car right now, and will check in the morning to see if the leakage is oil or ATF.

I watched several YT videos yesterday that suggest valve cover gaskets are the culprit, and I've read people's comments saying we should change the Duratec PCV valve every year because it's prone to clogging up and blowing out the gaskets. I don't know that I've ever had this car's changed!
Not possible. The crank case has two openings. One to the accordion, and PCV to the intake. Can't imagine plugging both. I have now 3 DOHC now and have had previous and only one issue of sticking PCV. Pic is on '04 with 162K on it. Records show the PCV was changed once. Can't have sludge in engine that looks like this.
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I...bought the ST-2 because my Walmart's shelf had NO Motorcraft oil filters in stock.
That doesn't make sense. If they hadn't had any ST2s, would you have bought a Minwax stain can, stuffed it with rags, & used that???

There's the RIGHT part; and then there's everything else. I'd only buy the right part - PERIOD. If this store doesn't have it, try that store. Or order it online & wait for the RIGHT part. Another week of driving the old oil isn't nearly as bad for the engine as the WRONG filter could be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I took it into the shop. They replaced the intake manifold gasket and rear valve-cover gasket, and I had them replace the PCV valve while they had it all apart. They also cleaned all the dripping oil off the engine and added some fluorescent dye to the oil, so I'll drive it around for a while and see if more leaks appear.

I picked it up this afternoon and while driving home though the acceleration seemed peppier than before. Was it my imagination, or would replacing those gaskets and the old PCV improve engine performance so noticeably?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
On the Duratec, oil will drip onto the exhaust and block when you change the oil & filter. Did you clean all that off after you were done? If you do not find any evidence of oil leaking around the filter or drain plug, then I would suspect the valve cover gaskets. I changed mine out this past summer for the same reason. Could hardly stand driving it with the smell of burning oil and when I parked it smoke would billow from the rear of the engine just as you show in your photo. The gaskets were hard as a rock and had several breaks in them that allowed oil to leak out.
I cleaned off all the dripped oil I could reach, but the smoke continued. As noted in my new reply nearby, I took it in yesterday to my trusted shop, who replaced the intake-manifold & rear valve-cover gaskets; also cleaned the engine to get all the dripped oil. Drove home today with no smoke!
 

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I picked it up this afternoon and while driving home though the acceleration seemed peppier than before. Was it my imagination, or would replacing those gaskets and the old PCV improve engine performance so noticeably?
Maybe. Did they air your tires as well?
 

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Maybe but they only replaced the PCV itself. I'm hoping that if the PCV was clogged this would help reduce pressure on the gaskets.
Well you could ask your mechanic if the old one still rattled.

Your Taurus was looked after by the previous owner. They changed the transmission fluid and filter at 100k. They probably changed the rear spark plugs and pcv valve at that time - I can tell from your picture in this thread that the intake manifold was removed.

So you got quite lucky and inherited a well looked after Taurus. If gaskets need changing now it is simply the passage of time or how you have looked after it since you got it eg you didn't touch the transmission fluid for 90k miles until you got a warning light.
 
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