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Marty, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mercedes
Satisfied Customers: 54828
Experience:  Bosch Certified Master Technician with over 35 years experience in the automotive industry.
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I have a September 2001 Mercedes SLK 320 with 60,200 miles.

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I have a September 2001 Mercedes SLK 320 with 60,200 miles. I have noticed a puff of oily smelling smoke when starting from cold followed by white steam like vapour for about two minutes until it warms a bit. I haven't noticed this before, but that's not to say it wasn't happening. Should I be worried? Thanks. Rob.
Hi Rob, my name is***** first thing that I would suggest is a check of the engine oil level. If the oil is overfull it can cause this problem. A puff of smoke on start up after the car has been sitting is caused by worn valve stem seals. If the car runs well and does not consume a significant amount of oil between services there is no cause for alarm. The steam like vapor is nothing to worry about. It is not unusual for water vapor to condense in the exhaust system and burn off after initial start up as the motor warms.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Marty. I have now checked the oil. I have been doing around 1000 miles high speed freeway motoring in the last week and the oil is clean and at the correct level. There is no drop in performance. I did have a Ford many years ago with a similar symptom, and I had the valve seals done which cured it. You have just reminded me. I guess it's ok to just wait and see. Is this an expensive hub on the SLK 320?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry I meant to say job not hub
I'd definitely wait and see if it gets worse. A valve seal replacement on this motor is approximately $1750.
Let me know if you need anything else.Please remember to click on a rating for my help today.Marty
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. One final question and that is I presume this problem is not likely to result in sudden catastrophic failure?
That is correct. Valve stem failure is usually a gradual process.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Marty - have a great weekend.
You're quite welcome.
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