TorqueJunkie

Roadster: thick white smoke, not coolant

21 posts in this topic

Short story: had thick white smoke, replaced full drivetrain and still have identical white smoke. It's not coolant.

 

Long story:

OK, I have a very weird one on my hands. My piston broke a skirt and I still drove it around like that, then it was rebuilt. The rebuild, due to lack of time, took good couple months, but it started right away. I drove it around for the first day and everything was fine. I come next morning, start it up... And after few seconds thick white smoke started pouring out of exhaust. The smoke does not dissipate like water vapour, ir hangs around until blown away by wind. Smell is not sweet, but strong oil-ish. Not exactly oil, and not exactly petrol. Smoke goes away when engine temperature reached around 40-50C. Pulled the plugs and one is soaking wet, same cylinder, so I guess that broken piston made the cylinder oval... Cylinders were honed and all. Just no idea why it was fine the first day.

I was not going to rebuild it once again due to lack of time, so I decided to swap out entire drivetrain. I got a fine deal on ebay: 50k engine with transmission, all wiring and sensors, turbo and exhaust, drivetrain, springs, shocks, drums, everything, even oil... Seller even provided service history and a recent video of it running from cold start. Quick plug and play job, it seemed.

 

So it arrived and I have quickly swapped everything. The only part I used from my old engine was TIK pipe, as replacement one came without it.

So guess what. I start it up and... 5 seconds later thick cloud of white smoke. It starts, runs and revs fine, but with extra smoke. Pulled the plugs - all nice and dry.

Intake manifold is dry, so it looks like oi is coming either from turbo or EGR... But both of these were replaced with the engine.

Here's a video:

Basically it starts with some residual smoke and exactly 15 seconds after it starts pouring the smoke. Anyone knows what cycles does an engine go through when started? Like pre-cat heater, aux air pump, etc? That's a replacement engine in the video, same deal as original one.

 

I had a theory maybe the ECU failed (it is still same one) and is overfueling it, but I have checked all injectors - working fine. Also checked their timing - around 2.7ms. MAF sensor says 4 kg/h at idle and 20+ when revving lightly. Intake pressure sensor reports around 370hPa at idle and is also changing when revving. Upstream O2 sensor is jumping around 0.15-0.75V and downsream sensor is more or less stable around 0.65V. So all of my sensors seem to be working fine and fuel mixture is good. Only one weird thing though: ECU reports engine load at 28% when idling.

 

Important to note: smoke goes away once engine temperature reaches around 40-50C. Some residual smell is still there, but almost no visible smoke. The new engine is running nicely. I have even probed it with stethoscope and it looks like a young one.

 

So I am lost here. Is it possible to get these symptoms if any of those tiny air lines are mixed up around TIK pipe and turbo? Would I get such huge amount of white smoke if the turbo was shot, and would it disappear once up to temperature?

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This is posted in the wrong section. This is diesel 450's forum. Not petrol versions.You will need to remove and replace this in that forum if you want better help

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1 minute ago, GetSmart said:

This is posted in the wrong section. This is diesel 450's forum. Not petrol versions.You will need to remove and replace this in that forum if you want better help

Oh really. Okay. Please be kind and direct me to roadster/452 forum, if it exists.

452 is basically the same as 450, fyi.

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A roadster/452 forum doesn't exist here nor, does a gas 450 forum as we never had either in Canada...:unsure:

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Possibly something is causing turbo to leak oil into exhaust. Partly blocked oil drain from turbo bearing housing or some issue with engine breather pipes causing high crankcase pressure thereby reducing turbo oil drain. 

 

Suitable UK based forums are:

 

Thesmartclub  http://www.thesmartclub.com/board/

or

Theroadsternet  http://www.theroadster.net/trc/

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Posted (edited) · Report post

oh i didnt even notice it was a gas model.....was wondering why that muffler didnt look right

 

i ran into a weird white smoke problem a long time ago similar to what i see in the video ...i dont remember what kind of car it was but the problem ended up being a leak in the brake booster and the engine was sucking in brake fluid thru the vacuum power assist line straight into the intake,,,,something had gone wrong with the master cylinder and fluid had built up in the booster

 

 

looked like antifreeze smoke and stuck around a long time but didnt have the sweet smell ...took me a long time to find it 

Edited by LooseLugNuts

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Just a piece of info. Turbo has seals called piston seals. Their purpose is to stop exhaust and boost pressure leaking into bearing housing. They are not oil seals. High oil level in turbo bearing housing will leak oil into inlet duct and exhaust. 

 

About exhaust colour:

Blue smoke is excessive oil partly burnt in combustion chamber. 

White smoke is steam from coolant leak. 

White/greyish smoke is oil introduced into exhaust after combustion chamber. 

 

Easy to check if smoke is water. Just hold a steel plate agains exhaust. Steam will condensate on plate whilst oil won’t. Also coolant should have a sugary smell provided there is glycol in it. 

Edited by tolsen

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Thank you guys, you gave me some fresh ideas. I have contacted the seller and he recalled storing the drivetrain tilted to the back for couple days and found a pool of oil under turbo, it leaked through inlet port (TIK pipe was removed). Since it still had exhaust attached, it is likely full of oil now... I will try to burn it off, as there is probably no other way to get rid of it. I'm bit afraid this will damage the CAT.

I have checked brake fluid reservoir and it is full, also intake manifold is dry-ish, so probably not the cause. But very nice to learn about this possibility as well.

 

My previous engine had a very interesting fail. It ran fine after rebuild, but was same amount of oilish smoke the second day and I found a pool of oil-ish liquid in one cylinder. I suspec maybe the head cracked, even though it was pressure-checked and faced before. I have removed it and got checked again, and it is fine. However they only check coolant lines, but not oil. I saw there is a method with red dye, maybe that will clear up things.

Edited by TorqueJunkie
mistypes

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You said you swapped another engine and the same problem occured . You said it was NOT coolant. Typical white smoke is coolant into the engine either from head gasket or other failed entry point.

You have a gas model not a Diesel so why have you posted it here? 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It's not coolant.

 

Drove it around for 50 miles or so and no more smoke, so it was oil in exhaust due to wrong orientation during storage... However thermostat is stuck open... I wonder why are these things so fragile, I already went through three of them. Incorrect coolant?

ABS sensors are not yet connected and it is limiting RPM to around 2700. ECU has an error "rough road detected" :) Hopefully that will go away when ABS is sorted out.

Gear position and clutch learning was a hassle... Somehow it did not want to perform half of adjustments, but after many restarts it finally went through. Of course you have to select model 450, as these Chinese Delphi boxes don't support adjustments on 452.

Thanks again.

 

 

Edited by TorqueJunkie

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Sounds like you have made progress.

As for thermostat, only fit original Smart (or Wahler if you can find one).  Costs is about £30 if your dealer offer you a discount.   The market is flooded with poorly made Chinese copy thermostats.  The main problem with them is the internal check valve is fitted wrong way making bleeding nearly impossible and thermostat will constantly leak coolant to radiator.

http://www.thesmartclub.com/board/showthread.php?27925-Petrol-Smart-450-amp-Roadster-Bad-Thermostat-Warning

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Thanks tolsen, will take a look.

 

After some reading I see that my RPM limit at around 2.7-3.0k may also be due to EGR solenoid. Would I get a code in this case? I only have "rough road detected".

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On ‎11‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 8:46 AM, GRP151 said:

You said you swapped another engine and the same problem occured . You said it was NOT coolant. Typical white smoke is coolant into the engine either from head gasket or other failed entry point.

You have a gas model not a Diesel so why have you posted it here? 

 

What model of Smart do you have? What year?

1998–2007 (MkI)
2007–2014 (MkII)

452?  

450.png

450-1.png

4500.png

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yeah...just because we only have diesel 450 here in Canada (i think)...doesnt mean we aren't going to try and help a fellow smart owner from the UK who happens to have a gas model

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i'd agree if you said some

 

i don't agree with none

 

is this a Canadian only forum?

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It is very strange to me how people spend 10 minutes with an answer, but don't spend 5 seconds reading the question first. GetSmart, your question has been answered at least twice.

 

Diesel or not, 450 engine is very similar for both petrol and diesel, and also 452 roadster.

 

Short update: all issues have been resolved now. The RPM limit of around 2700-3000 was quite interesting. Turns out, the engine will limit the RPM if two of ABS sensors (rear in my case) are not connected. You can switch through gears manually and go up to 100km/h in 6th gear just fine, if shifted before rev limit. Very weird, as I was expecting limit on speed, and not rpm.

I hope it will be useful to someone reading this in future.

 

One more weird issue I had: on an old engine I had a stuck thermostat and engine was overheating. With this new engine, the thermostat appeared to be stuck open, so it took forever to heat up. So I took an old thermostat (stuck closed) from my previous engine and tested it with boiling water. It works. That's strange. I have swapped the thermostats yesterday and now the car heats up and controls the temperature nicely. So that's a win. But what's even stranger, is that this "stuck open" thermostat also appears to be working just fine during boiling water test. What the hell? I do the test by simply pouring boiling water in to the housing of thermostat and observing it slowly open up one of ports. As soon as I pour in some of bit colder water, it closes.

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i havent tested a smart one so im not sure if you can even get in there enough to do this but my way of testing most normal thermostats is to manually open them a bit and pinch a wire in there...then hang it by the wire off the edge of a pot...and clip a thermometer to the side of the pot ...when it reaches the temp rating the thermostat should release its grip on the wire and fall in the pot

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I simply hold it over sink and pour some boiling water in from a kettle. I don't really care how accurate it is, what matters is if it opens and then closes (right after boiling, temperature is maybe around 90-95C)...

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22 hours ago, LooseLugNuts said:

yeah...just because we only have diesel 450 here in Canada (i think)...doesnt mean we aren't going to try and help a fellow smart owner from the UK who happens to have a gas model

 

Now that is what I would expect from all of our members here.  Those that aren’t interested in helping should be quiet.

 

Nigel

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Posted (edited) · Report post

On 11/12/2017 at 4:39 AM, TorqueJunkie said:

It is very strange to me how people spend 10 minutes with an answer, but don't spend 5 seconds reading the question first. GetSmart, your question has been answered at least twice.

 

Diesel or not, 450 engine is very similar for both petrol and diesel, and also 452 roadster.

 

Short update: all issues have been resolved now. The RPM limit of around 2700-3000 was quite interesting. Turns out, the engine will limit the RPM if two of ABS sensors (rear in my case) are not connected. You can switch through gears manually and go up to 100km/h in 6th gear just fine, if shifted before rev limit. Very weird, as I was expecting limit on speed, and not rpm.

I hope it will be useful to someone reading this in future.

 

One more weird issue I had: on an old engine I had a stuck thermostat and engine was overheating. With this new engine, the thermostat appeared to be stuck open, so it took forever to heat up. So I took an old thermostat (stuck closed) from my previous engine and tested it with boiling water. It works. That's strange. I have swapped the thermostats yesterday and now the car heats up and controls the temperature nicely. So that's a win. But what's even stranger, is that this "stuck open" thermostat also appears to be working just fine during boiling water test. What the hell? I do the test by simply pouring boiling water in to the housing of thermostat and observing it slowly open up one of ports. As soon as I pour in some of bit colder water, it closes.

 

First of all diesel are nothing like a petrol motor except for the fact they have 'similar' mechanical parts. Note the word 'similar'. Lower compression, different fuel delivery, no O2 sensors, completely different emission system and exhaust ,  No electrical ignition, wires plugs and other anomalies that distinguish the difference.

 

That said, there's nothing weird about your heating issue. The main oversight is that air is trapped in the line. I have redone so many vehicles where thermostats have been replaced and still inadequate heat persists. You got the air out and that's why it has improved. Case closed!

Edited by GetSmart

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