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post #1 of 18 Old 08-26-2019, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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JD 430 PCV Smoke

The 430 is starting to puff some white smoke out the breather on top of the valve cover. If I hold my finger over the breather, there is a good bit of pressure coming out. I think it is using more oil than normal (not totally certain of that yet). Engine power is still good and the exhaust is very clear - no white, no gray, no black (except for the little burp when I engage the deck).

The tractor is 4 hours away - I visit once a month on weekends. On my next trip I am planning to take a heat gun with me to see if the exhaust ports are all the same temp. I tend to assume that crankcase pressure indicates blow by on the rings.

Any other possibilities to consider? Things to check?

Edit: The engine was rebuilt ten years ago - less than 500 hours.
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post #2 of 18 Old 08-26-2019, 11:19 AM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

One thing I would check is the oil to see if there is any water/coolant on the dip stick. Also look in the radiator to see if you can tell if any oil is getting in there.
I am wondering if it is smoke or steam coming out?
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-26-2019, 12:47 PM
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Sits for a month between runs may not be good for it. How long does it run when it is being used. It may not be burning off condensation in the crank case and gumming up the internals.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-26-2019, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

Hmmm... I checked the oil right after I shut it down. There were some tiny bubbles on the stick when I first pulled it out. I was thinking air bubbles - maybe not?
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-26-2019, 05:27 PM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

If there is water in the oil it will be grayish and not look like oil at all.
BTW all IC engines have back pressure.
Realize that when the piston is on down stroke it will create pressure within the crankcase.
That is the back pressure. Even your car or truck engine does this.
Hence the PCV system is there to suck that pressure out of the crankcase and burn it along with fuel.
If functioning properly there should not be vapors present out the valve cover.
In a car engine you can remove the PCV valve and clean it with carb cleaner and re install.
They tend to get plugged with those vapors accumulating in the valve.
Dont know on your engine but there has to be some type of PCV system in place.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-26-2019, 06:40 PM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

OK, let me take a stab at this. A 430 is a diesel right? Diesels don't have PCV systems because they don't produce enough vacuum to operate one. They use a closed crankcase ventilation system or CCV. It's just a breather to equal the pressure with the atmosphere. Given the infrequent use your tractor gets the white smoke could just be condensation vaporizing. You didn't mention whether the white smoke goes away after an extended period of running.

But you did say there seems to be some pressure so we may be looking at a loss of compression due to worn rings, piston or valves. Also while it is normal for a diesel to use some oil if in your experience it's using more now than ever before it may be time for a rebuild.

Or as others have said water in the oil may be a cracked head or blown head gasket.

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-27-2019, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

The oil was not white or milky at all - very clear - probably 20 hours since an oil change - still looks fresh. The air bubbles I saw did go away rather quickly and it was immediately after running. I'm guessing that if I waited a few minutes before checking, it would just be clear oil.

I checked the coolant level a few hours after running. There was no signs of oil floating it in either.

To answer the other question - the white smoke does not go away - it's there throughout the 5-6 hours of running.

The next time I'm there, I will check the oil and coolant again to be sure. I also have a thermal probe that I can check the temp of the exhaust. I'll see if one exhaust port is running cooler than the others. I think to check compression I need to pull the injectors - I'm not ready to do that right now on limited time, so that may be a winter project.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-27-2019, 09:18 AM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

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Originally Posted by CantKeepUp View Post
The oil was not white or milky at all - very clear - probably 20 hours since an oil change - still looks fresh. The air bubbles I saw did go away rather quickly and it was immediately after running. I'm guessing that if I waited a few minutes before checking, it would just be clear oil.

I checked the coolant level a few hours after running. There was no signs of oil floating it in either.

To answer the other question - the white smoke does not go away - it's there throughout the 5-6 hours of running.

The next time I'm there, I will check the oil and coolant again to be sure. I also have a thermal probe that I can check the temp of the exhaust. I'll see if one exhaust port is running cooler than the others. I think to check compression I need to pull the injectors - I'm not ready to do that right now on limited time, so that may be a winter project.
I know you said the "white" smoke is present the whole time but how does it behave? As it comes out does it linger in the air and float away like a puff on a cigar or does it dissipate fairly quickly kind of like your car exhaust on a cold morning?
Thing to determine is if it is actually smoke or steam. That might help determine the source.
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-27-2019, 11:24 AM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

Are you gaining oil
Does oil smell of fuel

Might do a BlackStone oil analysis .

Otherwise its excessive blow by past the rings
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-27-2019, 11:47 AM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

I think that it's just classic "blow by" as you originally suspected. The rings aren't sealing for some reason. From your information, it sounds like you use it about 50 hours a year. It doesn't sound like it's much of a problem as long as you still have good power and clear exhaust. If it starts losing power then that may indicate that you need to do something with the rings. Until then, I wouldn't worry about it
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post #11 of 18 Old 08-27-2019, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

The white hangs around, so it should be smoke, not steam. Not gaining oil level or smelling any fuel in it.

So if it's "blow by", I'm just surprised that the exhaust is so clear and the power seems good.
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post #12 of 18 Old 08-28-2019, 12:10 AM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

The "white smoke" is an oil film being carried by the blow by gasses. The gasses leaking past the rings and then pressurizing the crankcase escape from the crankcase up through the valve stem seals. They will carry a film of oil with them and then escape the head of the engine through that breather. Just classic diesel blow by. I have, in past lives, constructed filters to filter that vapor escaping the breather. I've not been very successful in doing that so I either live with it as long as it runs well or fix it when it no longer runs well. Just as a thought, have you checked the compression?? I'll bet it's low.
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-28-2019, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

I haven't checked compression. I don't have a compression gauge for a diesel and I'm thinking I need to remove injectors to hook one up? Other than curiosity, knowing that I have low compression wont do anything for me. I've still got good power, so I won't be doing a rebuild or anything heroic.

So low compression won't give me smoke out the exhaust?
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post #14 of 18 Old 08-28-2019, 01:29 PM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

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Originally Posted by CantKeepUp View Post
I haven't checked compression. I don't have a compression gauge for a diesel and I'm thinking I need to remove injectors to hook one up? Other than curiosity, knowing that I have low compression wont do anything for me. I've still got good power, so I won't be doing a rebuild or anything heroic.

So low compression won't give me smoke out the exhaust?

Nope.
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-28-2019, 02:30 PM
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Re: JD 430 PCV Smoke

Usually a diesel engine will be tough to start,or have one or more cylinders not firing after a cold start,and belch white smoke (unburnt fuel) until it warms up,if the compression is below a certain amount--most have about 400 psi as a minimum..

My diesel pickup started belching white smoke last winter for several minutes after a cold start ,and was being a bear to get started,even with all the glow plugs working and good batteries,and it would skip like it had a dead cylinder or two..after awhile the smoking stopped,it ran more smoothly,and was able to be driven normally,then I noticed on a hard pull or highway on ramp acceleration ,it would starve for fuel and bog down..

I suspected I got a batch of watered down fuel ,but I saw no evidence of water in samples I took--then I thought perhaps I filled up at a place that didn't sell much diesel and may have gotten a load of "summer" diesel fuel last time I filled it in November...

I changed the fuel filter despite it not having more than a few thousand miles,and its a big one that holds about a quart of fuel,that made zero difference..

Then I discovered the electric fuel pump that had been added to the fuel line near the gas tank had failed,the engine still has a mechanical fuel pump but someone added the electric one to make for easier fuel system bleeding,and I did notice it ran better with both pumps working..

I replaced the electric fuel pump ,and it then started much easier,ran smoother,and only puffed white smoke for a minute if that..so I assume the injector pump is getting tired,and the added pressure of the electric fuel pump helps compensate for that.

The engine only has a "CDR valve" to help get excess pressure out of the crankcase and it is clean and functional,and there is hardly any blow by at the oil filler cap opening with it running,so I assume there isn't any bad rings or pistons in it--oil consumption is very low too,only a quart every 1000 miles or so,and most of that is lost from leaks..

I'm not familiar with your diesel but I assume it must have some sort of crankcase ventilation system that may not be functioning right,or perhaps it is being "flooded" with excess fuel from a bad injector or injector pump--usually you'll get a bad knock of an injector sticks open though..


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