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Thread: 12 MS3 Spy Hunter-like White Smoke Screen

  1. #1
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    12 MS3 Spy Hunter-like White Smoke Screen

    Once my speed hits operating temp, idling or coming off acceleration, stunningly large clouds of white smoke billow from my exhaust. I have no noticeable power loss. I don't SEE any lost fluids. White indicates water/antifreeze and a little can produce a lot of smoke

    Symptoms:
    P0140 CEL (makes a lot of sense if there's a ton of unburned crap getting to the O2/Cat)
    Misfires a little on letting off the throttle after hard accel
    White smoke. Lots of white smoke. Car is NOT on fire.


    I've done the following:
    Compression test left to right dry/wet: 185/205 180/205 170/200 180/205
    As part of normal maint, I just turned over the oil, still running Rotella T6, popped in new plugs, nothing looked wacky just the normal carbon and halo on the old ones. Symptoms were apparent before and after.
    The condition of my air filter was awful, as if a bird (at least one blasted into chunks and feathers) had actually been sucked into it, so it was potentially getting rich combustion from depressed air volume, but that's all cleared and nothing out the pipe has changed.

    It's a stock MS3 with 64k on the odo. I'm looking at the shop manual, and I have never pulled the head off a OHC car - I've done it on a couple Ford 351W back in the day...but this is a little intimidating. The compression test seems to indicate that there's not a noticeable compression problem - even the 170 dry is in spec. Would it make sense to put everything back on and get a block test kit and see if there's combustion gasses getting to the cooling side? Is doing that simply wasting time and money because at this point somewhere coolant is getting into the system and pulling the head off is the path to discovery? Sanity check please.
    Last edited by ir1337; 03-19-2017 at 03:56 PM.

  2. #2
    I break stuff. Preferio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ir1337 View Post
    Once my speed hits operating temp, idling or coming off acceleration, stunningly large clouds of white smoke billow from my exhaust. I have no noticeable power loss. I don't SEE any lost fluids. White indicates water/antifreeze and a little can produce a lot of smoke

    Symptoms:
    P0140 CEL (makes a lot of sense if there's a ton of unburned crap getting to the O2/Cat)
    Misfires a little on letting off the throttle after hard accel
    White smoke. Lots of white smoke. Car is NOT on fire.


    I've done the following:
    Compression test left to right dry/wet: 185/205 180/205 170/200 180/205
    As part of normal maint, I just turned over the oil, still running Rotella T6, popped in new plugs, nothing looked wacky just the normal carbon and halo on the old ones. Symptoms were apparent before and after.
    The condition of my air filter was awful, as if a bird (at least one blasted into chunks and feathers) had actually been sucked into it, so it was potentially getting rich combustion from depressed air volume, but that's all cleared and nothing out the pipe has changed.

    It's a stock MS3 with 64k on the odo. I'm looking at the shop manual, and I have never pulled the head off a OHC car - I've done it on a couple Ford 351W back in the day...but this is a little intimidating. The compression test seems to indicate that there's not a noticeable compression problem - even the 170 dry is in spec. Would it make sense to put everything back on and get a block test kit and see if there's combustion gasses getting to the cooling side? Is doing that simply wasting time and money because at this point somewhere coolant is getting into the system and pulling the head off is the path to discovery? Sanity check please.
    Maybe I missed it, but are you experiencing coolant loss? You've already diagnosed it as coolant loss, apparently, but make no mention of anything specifically- was a cooling system pressure test performed? Both cold and hot? I personally feel like you're going down the wrong rabbit hole, here, but that's just me. Nothing tells me that there is coolant entering the combustion chamber from the information you've provided- no coolant loss, no evidence of polyethylene glycol burn-off on the plugs, no overheating. Just 'white' smoke.

    I'd suggest not removing the head for exploration unless you have more evidence to back your theory. Especially if the last cylinder head you removed was from a Ford small block.

    How is the oil consumption? Have you removed the TMIC for inspection of the charge tubes for oil?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preferio View Post
    Maybe I missed it, but are you experiencing coolant loss? You've already diagnosed it as coolant loss, apparently, but make no mention of anything specifically- was a cooling system pressure test performed? Both cold and hot? I personally feel like you're going down the wrong rabbit hole, here, but that's just me. Nothing tells me that there is coolant entering the combustion chamber from the information you've provided- no coolant loss, no evidence of polyethylene glycol burn-off on the plugs, no overheating. Just 'white' smoke.

    I'd suggest not removing the head for exploration unless you have more evidence to back your theory. Especially if the last cylinder head you removed was from a Ford small block.

    How is the oil consumption? Have you removed the TMIC for inspection of the charge tubes for oil?
    Thanks for the reply Preferio, here's more info:

    I do not see coolant loss, but it was such a small time frame between first notice of the events and parking it, I am not sure whatever was lost would be a noticeable amount. No overheating, gauge is pretty much locked in to normal operating marks. No pressure testing performed on the cooling system.

    I have the TMIC pulled off and there is no oil pooling or basically any oil residue whatsoever. I don't think I am consuming oil at all, but then the time frame of operation during this problem is very short, I noticed it, the exhaust got very smoky pretty fast, I parked it. Actually then I replaced air filter, plugs and did an oil change, and drove it to see whether it was starving for air, and the smoking returned, so I parked it and starting wincing.

    AFA the 351 Windsor, yeah Ford Econoline van innnnnnnn the late 80s.

    Really appreciate the input...I'm fortunate to be able to work from home three days a week, so I only need to use our family ride twice a week - not a major impact, but as summer gets close, this gets more urgent.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ir1337 View Post
    Thanks for the reply Preferio, here's more info:

    I do not see coolant loss, but it was such a small time frame between first notice of the events and parking it, I am not sure whatever was lost would be a noticeable amount. No overheating, gauge is pretty much locked in to normal operating marks. No pressure testing performed on the cooling system.

    I have the TMIC pulled off and there is no oil pooling or basically any oil residue whatsoever. I don't think I am consuming oil at all, but then the time frame of operation during this problem is very short, I noticed it, the exhaust got very smoky pretty fast, I parked it. Actually then I replaced air filter, plugs and did an oil change, and drove it to see whether it was starving for air, and the smoking returned, so I parked it and starting wincing.

    AFA the 351 Windsor, yeah Ford Econoline van innnnnnnn the late 80s.

    Really appreciate the input...I'm fortunate to be able to work from home three days a week, so I only need to use our family ride twice a week - not a major impact, but as summer gets close, this gets more urgent.
    Update, I've got a local guy who is going to take care of her; upon further review, I have coolant loss. He's going to check the cooling system first and look for other sources before digging in to the head. Thanks again for the input; the mechanic asked the right questions when I reached out to him, and suggested if we end up with head work, I might as well replace timing chain and tensioner, and water pump since it adds a little time once it is all off anyway. I'll be buying the parts myself, so no upcharge on them, and a very reasonable deal overall. Thoughts about the additional replacements?

  5. #5
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    Absolutely replace the timing components if you end up in there! As common as timing chain issues are, address them while you're there. I'd suggest OEM if possible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preferio View Post
    Absolutely replace the timing components if you end up in there! As common as timing chain issues are, address them while you're there. I'd suggest OEM if possible.
    So, as it turned out, the turbo shit the bed, and we're not even going under the heads. New turbo, pcv, o2, af mix sensor, and the consumables being bought and shipped. Question - does anyone know a part number or description for the four washer seals on the turbo oil inlet pipe (two at each end)? I can't find it anywhere yet.

    Also the Oxygen sensor and the Air Fuel Mixture sensor ... are those two exactly the same part? I am seeing O2 Bank 1 Sensor 1 showing NGK 24393 and ditto the pre-cat A/F Sensor...my head is telling me that makes sense...since really an air fuel mixture sensor IS just an oxygen sensor.

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    Don't get another stock K04 turbo. It'll just blow the seals again. Get a BNR stage 1 bolt on replacement. It uses the K04 externals but is modified to use Garrett internals that will not smoke. Same flow characteristics on both compressor and turbine wheels, so it is stock ECU and Hypertech compatible. It will not smoke. Another K04 will. Been there, done that.

    $900 shipped. Money well spent.

    The oil to turbo inlet gaskets are copper and reusable.
    Last edited by MSMS3; 03-30-2017 at 11:45 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preferio View Post
    How is the oil consumption? Have you removed the TMIC for inspection of the charge tubes for oil?
    Quote Originally Posted by IR1337 View Post
    So, as it turned out, the turbo shit the bed
    Yep.
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