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Old Enough To Smoke

Q. Hi, I recently acquired a 1956 Ford Fairlane. I am slightly mechanically inclined and I am learning more everyday. My problem is, the engine is constantly smoking whenever the car is in gear. It smokes both through the oil filler tube, and through the blower tube at the bottom of the engine. This tends to be very embarrassing, both at red lights and at shows. The smoking is severely reduced when the car is in park. I thought the car might be running too hot so I changed the thermostat, but that didn't help. What do you think. Any advice would be much appreciated.

P.S. the engine is a 292, with a two-barrel carb, and an oil bath breather.


A. I hate to say this Ian, but anything short of an engine overhaul will not correct this problem. You have what is known as "blow by." What's happening is the combustion gases are blowing by the piston rings into the crank case. Some blow by is normal. The reason it's so noticeable is the 1956 Fords did not have a Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system. The PCV system draws all the combustion gases in the crankcase into the intake where it goes through the engine again and not into the atmosphere as a pollutant.

The rings are the big problem, on the one hand it's sucking in oil and on the other hand it's pushing those combustion gases into the crankcase. Fortunately replacement parts for this engine are readily available. Best thing to do is yank the engine and take it to a machine shop and have it professional rebuilt.

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