Need valve stem seals, top cat and smog

:
bay area, CA
:
2002 Protege5
Hey all, I’ve just bought a protege5 for pretty cheap, and I knew it would need new valve stem seals and got a pretty good deal because of this. It blows a big cloud of oil smoke on cold starts. What I didn’t anticipate, however, is that I’d need to replace the top cat in order to pass CA smog and register it. When I took it to get smogged, he said the O2 sensors were fine but the cat was bad. And now the code I’m getting is the p0421 (warmup catalyst efficiency below threshold bank 1).

So obviously I’m going to have to get this for smog. I tried ordering a magnaflow CA top cat from hottexhaust but after I bought it they said the eta was March 7th which is obviously not okay so I’m going to try to refund and search elsewhere. On top of that, when I’ve called mechanics around for a quote on the valve stem seals they’re all saying upwards of $1800, which is more than anticipated from what I saw online. I’ve considered doing it myself for the savings and experience butttt I’ve never done anything involving timing on an engine so I’m pretty wary, and it seems quite time consuming (I’ll be starting community college classes again soon). Feel free to convince me to do this myself.

Let’s say I do get a cat first and it arrives. Should I refrain from installing it until I get the valve stem seals replaced? Could the smoky startup foul a new cat? I’d love to get it smogged and registered in my name asap but obviously don’t want to blow out a new cat.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
It's not your valve stem seals.
It's your piston oil rings.

Thread 'Did I buy the wrong valve stem seals?' Did I buy the wrong valve stem seals?


20210627_185134.jpg
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
There is a few things that people have tried. It's in the links.

Our FS engine has a specific problem with seized oil rings.
I may have the only Protege5 that doesn't burn oil.

There's a test you can do to find out if it's your rings or seals.
It's in the links.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
... And now the code I’m getting is the p0421 (warmup catalyst efficiency below threshold bank 1).

That's your pre-cat. It's cooked.

You can do the non-fouler trick to clear that code.

Everyone with a header does it because headers don't have pre-cats.
 
:
bay area, CA
:
2002 Protege5
That's your pre-cat. It's cooked.

You can do the non-fouler trick to clear that code.

Everyone with a header does it because headers don't have pre-cats.
I’m not so sure that the non-fouler trick would cut it for California smog testing. Not only that I’ve heard they may record your info if you require a carb compliant test on the retest (it was the smog guy that told me to get a new precat). I’m gonna go ahead and purchase a precat. I just don’t want to fry it a second time before while still blowing smoke.
 
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pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
I’m not so sure that the non-fouler trick would cut it for California smog testing. Not only that I’ve heard they may record your info if you require a carb compliant test on the retest (it was the smog guy that told me to get a new precat). I’m gonna go ahead and purchase a precat. I just don’t want to fry it a second time before while still blowing smoke.

Yeah, it is cheating.

Your problem now is to try and stop the smoke.
Usually that means an engine rebuild or replacement, but some guys have had some luck with diesel oil and other treatments.
 
:
2003 protege 5
Some guys in Cali will not pass you with the non fouler. Some do - even though its not right. That being said it does work to rid p0420/p0421 codes. Yes, excessive oil consumption over time will destroy a cat. There is stuff called Cat-a-clean or something like that and Guaranteed to pass. Both are liquid you pour into gas tank. They might help. And combined with 2 tanks of fuel probably only cost you $150. Id give those a shot before $1800. Cali smog tests are RIDICULOUS!
 
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:
02 Protege LX, 03 P5 (x2), 09 Miata, 07 Mazda3, 13 Fit, 09 Ody
Some guys in Cali will not pass you with the non fouler. Some do - even though its not right.

If you pass with it, it is most likely because it wasn't noticed.

I guess you could...
clear codes, put the non fouler in, run until all OBDII checks are complete, remove the non fouler (as close as possible to the inspection station), then get it inspected.
 
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pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
If you pass with it, it is most likely because it wasn't noticed.

I guess you could...
clear codes, put the non fouler in, run until all OBDII checks are complete, remove the non fouler (as close as possible to the inspection station), then get it inspected.

Yeah, that makes sense.

It's an intermittent monitor and it's quite possible to get it to the smog shop before it registers a pending code.

Screenshot_20220120-103028_Acrobat for Samsung.jpg

He could drive it to the smog shop at 15 mph to make sure he doesn't register the code. Lol
 
:
bay area, CA
:
2002 Protege5
So I did the cold engine test to see whether there was oil on top of piston rings and frankly I couldn’t get a great idea because it was pretty dark and carbony down there but I don’t think it seemed wet - maybe a little moist but that made sense to me with the carbon.
So I’m thinking my next step should be trying the liquimoly plus changing the oil to 10w30? The spark plugs looked fouled too, should I wait until after I flush engine and change oil or just change the plugs right away?
Sorry for the nooby questions
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
So I’m thinking my next step should be trying the liquimoly plus changing the oil to 10w30? The spark plugs looked fouled too, should I wait until after I flush engine and change oil or just change the plugs right away?
Sorry for the nooby questions

Yes. 10W30 regular Dino oil is best. It doesn't burn off as fast and it's cheaper.
You're going to be going through oil like crazy so don't waste your money on synthetic.

As long as you're spending less money on oil than fuel, your still doing OK. Lol

The regular copper NGK V-groove spark plugs are the best plugs for our engine and they're dirt cheap.

You might want to buy a dozen of them too. Lol

Keep oil in your car and check your oil level regularly.
Every time you put gas in your car is a good habit.

Some guys burned through a quart of oil every 250 miles.
 
:
02 Protege LX, 03 P5 (x2), 09 Miata, 07 Mazda3, 13 Fit, 09 Ody
FYI - I run 10w40 high mileage in the summer and 5w40 in the winter.
Both of my P5's have about 215k miles. Heavier weight helps a little.

I recently got rid of my sedan and it had 345k hard miles (4 yrs pizza delivery). It started burning a lot of oil around 250k, 3-4qts over a 3500 mile oil change interval. I just kept putting oil in it.
It still ran when I got rid of it. So, you need to figure out if your doing a restoration or if you are keeping it alive. Checking and adding oil at each fill up is viable if you are just keeping it alive.
 
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2003 protege 5
Im with pcb - dont use synthetic on an oil burner. Youre just throwing money away. And if you are fouling plugs stick with the copper ones and dont go iridium. I use 10w30 regular and do changes at 3000. Car seems happy with that and uses minimal oil between changes at 185k." Guarantee to pass" in a bottle works to clean off carbon and "cat a clean" helps clean the cat from deposits. Weather it will help you thru Cali smog - you wont know unless you try. I dont see it making things worse and its a hell of alot cheaper than a replacement cat.
 
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pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
" Guarantee to pass" in a bottle works to clean off carbon and "cat a clean" helps clean the cat from deposits. Weather it will help you thru Cali smog - you wont know unless you try. I dont see it making things worse and its a hell of alot cheaper than a replacement cat.

Your pre-cat is probably wrecked (it vaporizes) from the oil getting on it, but the pre-cat is only useful during the first few minutes after you start the car on a cold day.
The pre-cat is very thin and delicate so it warms up and starts catylyzing quickly, but within 5 minutes or so, the main cat heats up and does all the pollution control.

"Guarantee to pass" won't do anything for your pre-cat, but as mentioned, it can clean your combustion chambers and the main cat.

As long as your car is warm when the smog test is done, then the main cat will do all the pollution control.
 
Our FS engine has a specific problem with seized oil rings.
I may have the only Protege5 that doesn't burn oil.

I am about 3500 miles into mine with full syn and still at the full mark! Had to clean the dipstick with a mild abrasive wheel on the dremel to make sure I wasn't seeing things. at 227k miles so I am feeling lucky!


also, having owned a couple oil burners, I would say check the oil (and other fluids) every day before you even start the car until you have a better idea of how fast it's using it, better safe than going 250-350 miles and ending up with no oil on the stick. Also, My flashbacks wont let me not tell you this, it wont hurt to check for coolant leaks as it warms up, some leaks will only happen at a specific window during the warm up cycle and may help you do something as maintenance rather than a roadside repair 😂
 
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