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Old 11-10-2008, 01:31 AM   #1
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Help, I think I inherited a problem

Hello, I am new to this place, this is my first post and I could really use some help.

I have recently bought(one week ago) a 2001 focus se with 174xxx miles on it, it seemed to run fine, just some rough idling when the heat or air was on. I looked on this site and saw it might be related to a leaking pvc hose and sure enough i just found the leak and used some gorilla tape. Since it was leaking right at the pvc valve i just taped the whole thing. Car doesn't idle rough at all anymore, how ever it is now smoking from the tail pipe like crazy. It is a white smoke that gets my hands wet and becomes much worse when in gear and accelerating (this is an auto). Does anyone have an idea what this could be?

Oh yeah and one more thing: So far this has only happened to me twice but when I go to crank the car it doesn't want to start, just the lights come on, all of them including interior and exterior. Although not even a clicking sound comes from the starter, there is absolutely no noise.

Can anyone please please please help me with these problems? I would be so greatfull, thank you


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Old 11-10-2008, 03:48 AM   #2
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white smoke can either be a head gasket issue or possibly burning oil
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Old 11-10-2008, 05:04 AM   #3
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Wait a while on the smoke. It could be that incomplete combustion caused carbon buildup in the combustion chambers that is now burning off. Carbonization has a certain stink to it when it burns off, and is a stark white smoke. Oil smoke is generally called grey or blue, and has a different stink to it.

However, you did say that it gets your hands wet, are you sure this is smoke, not steam? If it is steam, then that would indicate a head gasket or intake manifold gasket. Check your coolant to see if you're losing any, and keep an eye on it so you can tell if it's getting worse. You might also want to check the oil for signs of coolant getting in the oil which would show up as a peanut butter looking substance on the bottom of the dipstick.

This is the wrong forum anyway, you should've posted this in Technical chat, but no need to go there and post now, a moderator for this forum will move it
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Old 11-10-2008, 06:48 AM   #4
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it could be the head gasket, when the engine reaches operating tempature and if it is still smoking, a thicker white smoke thats coolant reaching the combustion chamber and then continuing threw to the CAT where it gets "burned" really boiled into steam.

Oil, will give you a Blue tinged cloud on hard acceleration, and if its really thick smoke and you think theres oil, pull the spark plugs... if they have an oily film on them not just dry carbon that could be your problem.

if you pull the spark plugs, and the tips are not oily but wet, it could be dumping to much fuel into the cylinder(s) and not being able to burn it and pasing it threw the cat and creating smoke because of eccess fuel and possibly water (condinsation) in the fuel.

check the oil for coolant, you can smell coolant in the oil. Litterly sniff the dipstick. i do it all the time to determin if theres Gas, diesel, coolant in the oil. if there is... change the oil and filter let the oil and filter off for a few hours to "dry" out some moisture that dosnt belong.

if all of thouse are clear... well then.. ill ponder some more possibilitys :)
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:27 AM   #5
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Every time i hear about white smoke in large quantities coming from an exhaust pipe when its not cold out and/or the engine is already up to running temp....its for sure coolant, but you need to tell us if this is just when your starting it up for the first time in the morning and leaving your driveway or it happens all the time no matter what.

- Happens all the time = head gasket and check your oil for coolant or coolant for oil
- Happens only in the morning or when the cars cold = your fine all cars do it
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Old 11-10-2008, 07:56 PM   #6
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Its not necessarily a head gasket. Actually I've never seen one go bad on a Focus. Doesn't mean it won't. One peculiar smoking tail pipe I had at the shop once was a massive master cylinder leak. It filled the brake booster with brake fluid and the vacuum line sent it into the intake manifold. Huge clouds of white smoke. Now this was definately a freak and your brake warning indicator would be coming on, but it just goes to show you that things might not be what they seem. I would lean more toward a bunch of engine oil in the intake since your pcv wasn't working very well for a long time due to the vacuum leak. I would also recommend you replace your pcv tube rather than taping it. Wouldn't hurt to replace the valve either. Check engine light on I presume?
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