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Light smoke out of dipstick hole, paired with burnt smell

I drive my car for more then 20 minutes and cut engine off, I pull the dipstick and light smoke comes out. There is a burnt smell paired with it. Usually it happens after a vigorous traffic light trip, with lots of idling, this intermittent as well, sometimes it's pure, I pull the dipstick and even the oil filler cap and it smell clean and even, then the other day I pulled it and their was smoke, the oil isn't milky, so I dont believe anything's being pulled and mixed. When I first start the car, the exhaust purges darn near perfect, light smoke output, few drops off condensation for a few seconds then just clean and It's got me paranoid cause I'm having either sending unit or cluster issues with my dash as well, so I'm in the complete dark as I'm driving as to how she's feeling temp wise. No signs of over heating besides a hot piston bay and the smoke from the dipstick from time to time. 300+ k, I'm a novice at cars, obviously there's the need for an engine bay cleaning to help clarify any leaks along with a complete regasket and seal. But I'm looking for ways to pin point if it's something major or just to ignore it and write it off as old age and normal blow-by, I pulled the valve looks fine as well. I'm on a poor man's budget. Please help.

Update (02/28/2019)

So I did as instructed, I found that radiator is passing coolant fine. However there is a ravaged bottom hose that's hard in the middle where it looks like the last owner patched its instead of replacing and there's a hole, the sweet burnt yet pissy smell I've been getting a wiff of comes from this area right up against the radiator. The framing under it is gunked to !&&*, so I know it has to be a slow coolant leak that caused the buildup.

This wire housing on the back of radiator fan is cut. I don't see any dangling connections either in it's vicinity. But it does have me paranoid.

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Also their is buildup under the water pump where there is under carriage shielding to protect from road damage, it's been collecting it.

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Bottom hose thats, patched and crappy, most likely part of the issue as well.

Top view of my tuna cans insides, just so whoever wants to help has a more visual reference.

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P.S having trouble locating thermostat to verify it's condition, also any way to test radiator fan without a multimeter and bunch fancy words would be much appreciated.

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Wondering if the engine is getting hot and is not being adequately cooled causing the heat from the engine block to be passed through onto the oil.

Is the radiator fan working?

I am assuming that there is the correct level of coolant in the system - check the level in the overflow reservoir when the engine is cold.

Are the water pump and coolant thermostat working OK?

To check the water pump and the thermostat, with a COLD engine, apply the handbrake (emergency brake) and place the transmission in Neutral (manual trans) or Park( auto)

Next remove the radiator cap and then start the engine.

Observe the coolant in the neck of the radiator.


After a while as the engine warms, at a preset temperature (set by thermostat), the coolant will start to swirl (or flow) in the neck of the radiator.

This indicates that the thermostat has opened and that the coolant pump is working, pumping the coolant through the engine.

Be careful as the coolant will expand as it gets warm and will want to flow out of the neck of the radiator.

Turn off the engine as soon as you detect movement in the coolant and securely replace the radiator cap.

If the coolant doesn’t start to flow, turn off the engine and feel the 2 hoses connected to the radiator. One should be hotter than the other. This indicates that either the thermostat didn’t open or that the pump is faulty.

Try removing the thermostat (see YouTube videos for your model) and check if it is OK.

If it is then the water pump is next on the list :-)

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Has the hose been repaired from the outside or the inside?

If from the inside there are products on the market that will seal a leak from the inside. You pour it into the radiator and it will travel through the system and then seal the hole when it flows out through the hole.

There are some interesting "horror' stories on YouTube regarding the problems that doing this can cause if left unattended for a long while afterwards.

To my view they are an emergency measure only to get you out of trouble and the problem should be fixed as soon as since they can cause more problems in the system.

I suggest that you replace the radiator hose as it may also be partially blocked constricting the flow and also flush out the entire cooling system, radiator included to ensure that there are no further restrictions to the flow.

You can also check this out by looking at the state of the thermostat to see whether it has any gunk attached to it impeding its' operation. (not just indications of coolant)

Here’s a video that shows how to replace the thermostat in a 1999 Honda Civic.

Just verifying that there is no electrical connection to the radiator fan at all?

Sometimes there may be a spare connector nearby which might have been used to connect a fan for the air con if it were to be fitted later - don't really know for your car.

As to testing the fan, unless you can find the correct wiring diagram for the fan connections, showing the wire colours and the connector terminals for your specific model vehicle, you really do need to use a multimeter to safely prove the fan, its'connections and continuity in the control wiring.

To test without it requires supplying the correct voltage and current from a power source directly and correctly to the fan and will only prove that the fan works, not that it will be turned on and off (if it is faulty you could end up damaging the power source).

Also as the fan is controlled by the engine management control module, testing which are the correct wires from it and the fuses (relay?) and where they are connected to on the fan connector also needs a meter. You don't want to damage the module either by connecting it up at the fan end incorrectly.

Meters are cheap enough. Adequate ones are available from larger hardware stores for <$20

Makes you wonder what else is wrong if the fan has been disconnected


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