Engine won't warm up, lots of white smoke, need some help....
4BTSwaps.com is the premier All All Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 104

Thread: Engine won't warm up, lots of white smoke, need some help....

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default Engine won't warm up, lots of white smoke, need some help....

    The reason I write that I could use some HELP is that I am on a road-trip in the 4BT Scout. Not only do I need to actually get home, but dumping out clouds of white smoke everywhere I go in Reno is a real drag....

    The title of the thread pretty much explains the problem. The 4BT is putting out a whole lot of white smoke... especially on revving the engine, but all the time really. Also, the coolant temperature gauge shows that the coolant temperature is not getting very warm, compared to "normal". (This is the stock gauge from the Scout, so no actual temp numbers on the gauge face)

    Here are a few other details...
    A few days ago on the way through Arizona I plowed into a pretty big snow bank, and the wire to the electric fan got ripped. As far as I know, that fan has never turned on, so I didn't fix the wire at that point. Then, later in the day, I was waiting in a really long, slow line to get into the Grand Canyon and the coolant temp gauge showed higher than ever before, but still only about half-way up the gauge. When the gauge reached that point it stabilized, even though I was still in line for another 10 or 15 minutes.

    Today I put a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator, completely covering it. This helped the temps get up a little higher, but they are still considerably below normal. This might have helped the smoke a little, but not that much. I also changed the fuel filter (even though my fuel pressure gauge said I didn't need to) and this helped a little, but not much. Still lots of smoke.

    I checked the oil, and I see no evidence of coolant at all. It's also not low. Also, I smelled the smoky exhaust, and it didn't smell like oil, and it didn't really smell like diesel either. It had a smell, I am just not sure what it is.
    Engine power is normal, EGTs are normal, boost is normal.

    Could the thermostat be stuck open??

    I need the truck to get around, and to get home. Any help would be appreciated.

    Christian

  2. Remove Advertisements
    4BTSwaps.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    HellDesk Survivor Machman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,434
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 55 Times in 35 Posts

    Default

    Thermostat stuck open would be my first thought, too, as long as it's not changed behavior in any other way (suddenly down on power, much harder to start, etc.)

    I'm assuming you're not loosing coolant, right?
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
    Specialization is for insects.
    - Lazarus Long, as written by Robert A. Heinlein.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobS View Post
    You need to first confirm the problem BEFORE you start buying and replacing parts.

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Machman View Post
    I'm assuming you're not loosing coolant, right?
    The coolant level IS IN FACT a bit lower than it was recently. (but it's also true that I have a little coolant leak somewhere in the radiator...)

    What could that mean?

    And a separate question.... is the thermostat getting stuck open a common problem?

    (And no, it really hasn't changed behavior in any other appreciable way....)
    Christian
    Last edited by robox; 12-29-2009 at 08:32 PM.

  5. Remove Advertisements
    4BTSwaps.com
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Is the thermostat and thermostat housing seal going to be the same part numbers as on a '89-'93 Dodge Cummins?

    I guess I am looking at the possibility of having to change this out while I am on the road, here in Reno.

    Anyone else have any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Christian

  7. #5
    HellDesk Survivor Machman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,434
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 55 Times in 35 Posts

    Default

    Thermostats getting stuck are as frequent (or infrequent, depending on your outlook on life) with the 4BT as they are with any other engine.

    Anymore, I don't install one unless I check it beforehand. I've encountered too many brand new thermostats that weren't quite all they should have been in the last few years.

    Another possibility for white smoke is coolant.. Does the smoke smell "sweet"? If so, then you've likely got a blown head gasket or cracked head. And if you run these things with a low coolant level, you can crack the head in short order.. (Most likely between the injector bore and the valves.) These folks that run them for more than about 30 seconds without coolant on some of the YouTube videos are really running a risk of a cracked head, even though the block doesn't get warm to the touch.

    IIRC, the thermostat for the 4BT is the same as for the 6BT of similar years if you're hitting an automotive parts house.
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
    Specialization is for insects.
    - Lazarus Long, as written by Robert A. Heinlein.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobS View Post
    You need to first confirm the problem BEFORE you start buying and replacing parts.

  8. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Well I went down and checked the coolant. It is low, but not super-low... about 3 inches down from the filler neck.

    However the coolant looks pretty awful. It's sort of brown and grimy. BUT, I did add some Bar's Leaks a few days ago, and the coolant looks more like Bar's Leaks than oil. It also does not really smell like oil. Also, there is NO sign of coolant at all on the oil dipstick.

    What other test can I do to check for a blown head gasket?

    Christian

  9. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Also, wouldn't a blown head gasket cause really high temps, not really low temps? Like I said earlier, EGTs are pretty normal.

    Christian

  10. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Palmyra, Nebraska
    Posts
    365
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 8 Times in 7 Posts

    Default

    Where did you fuel at last?
    What fuel went in?

    I've had bad Biodiesel a time or 2 that makes the engine smoke like crazy.
    I avoid the stuff like the plague.

    Mark.

  11. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    In fact I do have some bio in there right now.

    But I don't think that's the problem, because the day before this happened, I had something like 10% bio in there, with no smoke.

    Then I refueled with something like 5% bio (same bio) and the smoking started sometime after that.

    I also have a sort of "missing" sound going on, which I understand could be a drippy injector. But that still does not explain the engine's failure to warm up to normal operating temps.

    Christian

  12. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    510
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Thermostats are easy and pretty cheap, I'd do that first and see what happens. I also suggest getting the right one if you can, not the cheaply made, stamped metal ones you get at the parts houses. Of course, a properly functioning one is really all that matters at the moment!
    '86 M1008 (6BT, NV4500, NP205)
    D60 w/ LockRight & 14-Bolt w/ Detroit (4.56s)
    5/3 inch lift, crossover steering, hydro assist
    11.00R16 XLs on Weld Outbacks

  13. #11
    Super Moderator / Administrator BobS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Paisley, Pa USA
    Posts
    4,043
    Thanks
    12
    Thanked 199 Times in 125 Posts

    Default

    Again, does the exhaust haze from about three feet from the pipe have a sweet smell? You already indicated that the coolant level is going down and an audible engine miss. These are the usual signs of a head gasket failure.
    BobS

    NRA Life-Patron Member www.nra.org
    Armed people are called citizens. Unarmed people are called subjects.

    90 Dodge W250 6BT Cummins 5 speed Getrag
    91 Dodge W250 6BTA Cummins NV-4500 conversion

  14. #12
    Vendor CrewCab59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Knoxville,TN
    Posts
    4,087
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 10 Times in 6 Posts

    Default

    Here are a few things to check.

    1. Top off the coolant ,start up the engine and check to see if you have air bubbles ,if so your head gasket is bad.
    2. Any time you add stop leak to a radiator you have a chance for stat to stay open.
    3. Do you have heater ,cool to warm ?
    4. As noted the cheap o stat that you buy @ the auto parts stores are cheap for a reason.Some are better than some but are way different than what Cummins uses.


    With running the engine under temp ? which you didn't list ,it could do a lot of DAMAGE .You need to fine out what going on before you keep running the engine.

    Scott
    Last edited by CrewCab59; 12-30-2009 at 05:05 PM.

  15. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Bay Area, CA.
    Posts
    559
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts

    Default

    White smoke can also an indication of retarded timing. Cold weather and elevation will exacerbate the white smoke symptoms.

  16. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    1,107
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 25 Times in 21 Posts

    Default

    if you have bio in it, and a thermostat not letting it warm up it'll smoke alot. start with the thermostat they're cheap and easy to replace. it can also gum up injectors and make it miss too.
    88 Chevy Airforce crewcab. 6bt NV4500 valair clutch, modified 4k GSK
    http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=522535
    72 Scout d60/14blt, 4bta
    http://www.4btswaps.com/forum/showth...72-Scout-Build

  17. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Got a thermostat today at the Cummins place here in Reno. Gonna try to change it out tomorrow, even though I really don't have a place to work, and don't really know anyone here... and it's cold out!

    I think that the exhaust smells like oil more than anything else. That could be a head gasket too, right?

    Christian

  18. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Octamog View Post
    White smoke can also an indication of retarded timing. Cold weather and elevation will exacerbate the white smoke symptoms.
    The thing about that theory is that it is SIGNIFICANTLY colder and higher (25-30 degrees colder, 3000 feet higher) where I live than it is here in Reno, and I did not have these problems there.

    And I can't see how the timing could get retarded all on its own....

  19. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    To be honest, this is turning into a very hard trip with the Scout. It is having an infrequent problem with no boost/high EGT's which seems to be related to which gear I am in (I know that sounds crazy, but the problem will go away if I change gears or go into neutral for a while). I haven't even gotten into discussing that problem because it feels less pressing right now.

    And just tonight, the fuel shutoff solenoid totally stopped working. Turned the key to off.... engine still ran. Pulled the wire from the solenoid.... engine still ran. Guess I'll be popping the hood and reaching for the lever until I get home and can hook up a cable.

    Stressful. Just wanted a vacation.
    Last edited by robox; 12-31-2009 at 01:59 AM.

  20. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    The plains of Texas
    Posts
    15
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    I am going to suggest checking something totally different. You said you ran into a snow bank. Check your fuel lines. Into lift pump and filter housing. I had a very similar situation on a 6bt about 2 years ago. Make sure you check inlet fittings, Mine would do it when it was warmer out, but it wouldn't quit if it was colder.

  21. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chardon,Oh(cleveland)
    Posts
    961
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    your ip may be dying internally sending metal in to the shutoff
    4bta 85 dodge prospector shortbread
    TDC 75 HP sticks,hy35,big ass intercooler,6bt intake box w/ k&n,4" straight w/flow-through magnaflow.Oil filter relocation upgrade (ford 7.3d filter)HUGE!

  22. #20
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default A hard trip back

    OK, so the newly installed OEM Cummins thermostat didn't change a thing.

    I have just driven 1200 miles back from Reno. I was able to keep the engine temps in the normal range by covering approximately 95% of the radiator with cardboard.

    The amount of smoke gradually increased over the last few days, and it is absolutely burning oil. It smells strongly of oil and I had to add about a quart of oil every 300 miles or so to keep the level good.

    THIS INDICATES A FAILED HEAD GASKET, RIGHT ??

    I need to know what this is before I tear into it.

    (I don't think its the lift pump or lines because they are new, burly, and untouched by the snow bank. I don't think it's the IP because the truck basically ran very strong, despite temperature instability and smoke.)

    Christian
    Last edited by robox; 01-02-2010 at 10:45 PM.

  23. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Front Range Colorado
    Posts
    618
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Well, unfortunately, oil consumption could be any number of things besides a head gasket, and in truth, that would be pretty far down on my list of suspicions.

    Bottom line, you need to run a leak down or a compression test on it and see if you can figure anything out there. You need to either plan on tearing things down till you find the problem, or run some diagnostics first to give you some direction.

    From your description of the details, it could be headgasket related, but if you overheated it without knowing it, then it could be the head, possibly a burnt piston, or any number of other things. Just how sure are you that the temp guage reads correctly. that little duration ov elevated temps, might have been higher than you realized, and unfortunately, you may have done some real damage.

  24. #22
    Supporting Member khaoskustoms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Stony Plain Alberta
    Posts
    2,947
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 94 Times in 79 Posts

    Default

    My vote is for a cooked turbo. Baked the seals out of it and now it's burning oil from it. Could also have damabed the bearings. Causing lack of power from low boost, also give you high egt's cause of it. I agree with dahoyle, prob not head gasket, I'd be lookin at the turbo first, then do leak down and compression test.
    1994 Dodge Dakota Ext Cab 4x4. 4BTA 553 and 796ft/lbs torque, 11.83 at 113mph 1/4.
    There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots

  25. #23
    Super Moderator / Administrator BobS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Paisley, Pa USA
    Posts
    4,043
    Thanks
    12
    Thanked 199 Times in 125 Posts

    Default

    My thoughts/theory now points toward a possible plugged piston oiler nozzle which caused the piston to expand in the cylinder which could have caused the engine to initially overheat. Then after everything cooled back down the cylinder slightly/partially misfires due to compression loss from either a cracked piston or a gouged cylinder wall. This in turn causes less overall heat to be generated by the remaining three cylinders and now permits oil to pass in the cylinder into the exhaust where it is burned by the other three cylinders exhaust causing blueish/white smoke.
    BobS

    NRA Life-Patron Member www.nra.org
    Armed people are called citizens. Unarmed people are called subjects.

    90 Dodge W250 6BT Cummins 5 speed Getrag
    91 Dodge W250 6BTA Cummins NV-4500 conversion

  26. #24
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    OK, thank you for these good theories.

    The turbo was acting strangely during the entire trip. While it is tempting to think that all the problems might be caused by a funky turbo, the fact is that the turbo started acting strangely BEFORE the other symptoms appeared. This suggests that it may not be the sole cause.

    Here is what the turbo was doing: Sometimes when slowing down, there would be a short noise which sounded like a shaft sloppily spinning in a bearing (if you have ever put a die-grinding burr bit in a hole that was slightly too small, and had the high-speed bit "spin" uncontollably around the hole, it sounded sort of like that). Typically, after hearing that noise, the next time I stepped on the gas there would be A) no boost, B) rapidly rising EGTs, and C) a sound like a turbine winding up, which was proportional in pitch to the engine RPMs. Interestingly, this "turbine-winding-up" sound would occur only when the turbo was apparently not working. Sometimes if I switched gears, bringing down the RPMs, or more reliably if I just went into neutral and let the RPMs come down to idle for a few seconds, the problem would go away, i.e. the turbo would start working again.

    I do not really understand the mechanism that might be causing this particular problem, at least in part because I have never taken apart a turbo. But my best guess (some of your guesses will invariably be better) is that the bearings went bad or they were not getting oiled or something like that, and the turbo was somehow "sticking" intermittently.

    It did occur to me on the trip that the problems might have been caused by whatever was going on with the turbo, BUT.... I cannot see how the turbo could explain the other main symptoms.

    These symptoms are:
    1) A clear "missing" sound from the engine
    2) Engine's inability to maintain heat
    3) Oil-smoke also coming from the crankcase breather, from oil dipstick tube, and oil-fill cap (all pointing to oil-smoke in crankcase)

    These point towards SOMETHING else. BobS's theory sounds good to me. I will have to get into it.

    Any other ideas based on this new information?

    Thanks,
    Christian
    Last edited by robox; 01-03-2010 at 10:58 AM.

  27. #25
    Supporting Member khaoskustoms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Stony Plain Alberta
    Posts
    2,947
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 94 Times in 79 Posts

    Default

    I"m going to say you got more then one problem. The noise you heard from the turbo was probably the compressor wheel grinding against the compressor housing. In which case that turbo is finished. Either find a new one, rebuild that one, or get a good used one. Mabye one of the fins broke off the compressor and went through the engine?? It could cause some damage, scored a cylinder or something. I'd be lookin at that turbo first since it's the easiest to diagnose and then change.
    1994 Dodge Dakota Ext Cab 4x4. 4BTA 553 and 796ft/lbs torque, 11.83 at 113mph 1/4.
    There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots

  28. #26
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    So-central Kommifornia
    Posts
    3,391
    Thanks
    156
    Thanked 160 Times in 121 Posts

    Default

    Reading through the posts from a distance here it makes sense to me that the major problem is the turbo.

    It was already mechanically acting up, possibly already causing probelms too. The impeller is held to shaft with a nut, and of course it's very tight tolerances. If somehow the nut loosened then the impeller can drag on housing. This can also allow the shaft to walk in the bearings or wipe whatever thrust washers are used.

    Possibly hitting the snow bank in some way impacted the turbo by shock, increasing problems? May even have knocked boost lines loose, or jammed the exducer from exhaust slamming into snow. Snow is soft, yeah, but it only compresses so much.

    Running on the trip accelerated turbo wear & damage, so the oil bypassing bearings starts to show up, plus engine isn't getting enough air mixed with the injector output, causing white smoke & high EGT's & low power.

    I think your cylinder tempreature would be lower if there's not enough oxidant in charge to fully ignite mixture. Seems that might contribute to lower operating temperature. I suspect that's a result of something different though.

    Just may be there's no major damage, only one seriously fried turbo?

  29. #27
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    OK, as usual, thanks very much for chiming in.

    It's obvious that I need to pull that turbo and inspect it. By checking inside the exhaust manifold, I suppose I could see whether the oil is originating from one of the cylinders rather than from the turbo.

    The "missing" sound and the oil-smoke in the crankcase still suggests a problem with a cylinder to me.

    A leak-down test also seems to be in order. I just educated myself about how to build a tester and perform a test. Guess I'll be doing that soon.

    Christian

  30. #28
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    The more I think about this, the more I can't help but think that the significant amount of blow-by gases in the crankcase, and less conclusively the "missing" sound, indicate that there is a problem inside one of the cylinders.

    Does this seem like sound reasoning?

    I will dive into this problem with wrenches on Wednesday.

    Christian

  31. #29
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Taos, NM
    Posts
    182
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Default

    Finally got into it today.

    Turbo is toast. Tons of side-to-side play, evidence of vanes contacting the housing. There was also oil in the crossover tube.

    I hoped that would be it. Went ahead and pulled injectors and did a leakdown test, and the results were not good.

    5 out of the eight valves are incredibly leaky, losing air at something like 15 psi per second. 2 more are a little less bad, and only one seems to hold air.

    I tried to decide whether to pull the head with the engine still installed, or yank the whole drivetrain... Decided to yank the whole drivetrain. It'll be a lot easier to work on, I can do the leaky rear main seal, sort out the fuel shutoff solenoid, probably do the KDP, etc.

    At least I know how to take the damn thing out!

    Sometime this weekend, I should have the engine out and the head off, and then I will see whether the block needs to be bored. At that point I will start asking questions about how far down into the crankcase / rotating assembly I really need to go.

    Christian

  32. #30
    Supporting Member khaoskustoms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Stony Plain Alberta
    Posts
    2,947
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 94 Times in 79 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robox View Post

    I hoped that would be it. Went ahead and pulled injectors and did a leakdown test, and the results were not good.

    5 out of the eight valves are incredibly leaky, losing air at something like 15 psi per second. 2 more are a little less bad, and only one seems to hold air.
    Did you make sure that the valves were completely closed?? if the valve's closed, try tapping on the tip of the valve when you have airpressure in the cylinder, see if that helps slow the leak. (it will help seat the valve 100% against the head.)
    1994 Dodge Dakota Ext Cab 4x4. 4BTA 553 and 796ft/lbs torque, 11.83 at 113mph 1/4.
    There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots

+ Reply to Thread

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Register Now

Please enter the name by which you would like to log-in and be known on this site.

Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Where you live:

Please enter your real name for our records:

Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Posting Permissions

  • You may post new threads
  • You may post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts