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White Exhaust Smoke

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New User

Aug 5, 2011, 9:57 AM

Post #1 of 6 (1990 views)
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I recently bought a 97 Toyota Camry, w/ 168,000 miles. Most everything is fine with it. Two days ago after driving for a few minutes I accelerated from a stop and a lot of white smoke came out of the exhaust. It lasted for about 15 seconds. The same thing happened last night while driving on the highway. I forgot to mention the first time it happened shortly thereafter the check engine light came on and has remained on. I have been reading white smoke may be related to anti-freeze and it may be important to know before both these incidents I topped off the coolant reservoir tank above the full line. I assume anything above goes out an excess tube. I checked the radiator and it is full and the reservoir tank is at the full line. Your expertise is greatly appreciated, thank you.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Aug 5, 2011, 10:08 AM

Post #2 of 6 (1985 views)
Re: White Exhaust Smoke [In reply to] Sign In

If you needed coolant and see white smoke that strongly suggests a head gasket but must be slow right now to "burn" coolant which doesn't burn so comes out tailpipe as steamy white. Blue is oil, black is unburned fuel in age old and exactly why for any still needs some diagnosis but if clearly white that disappears as steam would that's coolant. Expect to need the head gasket job and check head at a machine shop that it's not the cause with a flaw/crack. Gasket when there may show the flaw.

It doesn't seem fast right now so may not help but just looking at spark plugs can be telling too. Should all be the same. Coolant burning will clean one off usually more than the others,

Long retired now

New User

Aug 5, 2011, 10:12 AM

Post #3 of 6 (1981 views)
Re: White Exhaust Smoke [In reply to] Sign In

Thanks for the speedy response Tom. Metrowest, Boston? BPD or UPS?

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Aug 5, 2011, 11:21 AM

Post #4 of 6 (1977 views)
Re: White Exhaust Smoke [In reply to] Sign In

MetroWest is a bunch of towns not a clear jurisdiction that's not Boston but just West of Boston. State is screwy and always was. Have a "Southie", "Eastie", N. Shore, S.Shore - smile,

Long retired now

(This post was edited by Tom Greenleaf on Aug 5, 2011, 11:25 AM)

New User

Aug 16, 2011, 3:56 PM

Post #5 of 6 (1914 views)
Re: White Exhaust Smoke [In reply to] Sign In

Tom, let me pick your brain for one more minute. It has been over two weeks and I drive the car daily and the white smoke has not happened again but there is a constant smell of anti freeze inside the care and under the hood but the radiator and reserve tanks and both full. Any ideas?

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator

Aug 16, 2011, 5:47 PM

Post #6 of 6 (1908 views)
Re: White Exhaust Smoke [In reply to] Sign In

It could be the smallest flaw right now and just caught some debris and stopped for now. Some flaws like that you don't see well at all or could be a crack in metal not just gasket which is why if you do one DO send it out to machine shop for fix or at least verify it's ready to do.

Don't fall for magic in a can crap either as it both rarely works for long if at all and not a real fix that can easily cause other problems. Laugh - whole isles of the large chain parts outlets have tons of that bull. Heck, if that always worked for whatevers who needs real repair?

If not consuming coolant and no white smoke now I say you can wait a bit but keep a sharp eye on coolant level and recurrence and PLEASE DON'T LET IT OVERHEAT OVER THIS!

Anything funky with oil take care of this yesterday!

Just pay attention and expect to do the job or have it done,

Long retired now

White Exhaust Smoke

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