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Old 10-31-2014, 05:59 PM   #1
durwood7987
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Default White smoke coming from tailpipe. Need diagnostic help.

Hello everyone. I am new to the forums so I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section.

Either way, my car is a 96' Saturn SL1, 1.9 liter, with 114k miles.

A few days ago, both my service engine and low coolant lights came on. I thought nothing of it except that I needed to top off the coolant. So I went and bought coolant and poured it in. The next morning the coolant tank was completely empty. I figured there is a leak and decided to pour more coolant in for the time being. Later that day, I started the car to drive it a few miles and noticed the service engine light was still on but not the low coolant light. I opened the coolant tank to have a look, and found "sludge", essentially a very wet mud consistency. I have since learned of the bad idea that mixing orange and green coolant is. So, I went to drive it to a local mechanic's shop and now there is a lot of white smoke pouring out of the tail pipe, both on start up and when accelerating. After reading many threads on this site, I decided to check the spark plugs (which are only 2 months old) for oil and found some on the far right one when looking directly at the engine. I believe this is plug #4. It's closest to the driver side. I also recently had to have my valve gasket cover changed, and have driven from Michigan to South Carolina and back since.

I am trying to sell this as I have purchased a new AWD vehicle to handle the Hoth-like winters of Michigan, and therefore am not looking to put a bunch of money into it (I put a grand worth of work into it over the summer). Given all of this, can anyone suggest where to go from here? Thanks for any help/advice you can offer.

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Old 10-31-2014, 06:34 PM   #2
carfreak09
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Default Re: White smoke coming from tailpipe. Need diagnostic help.

Sounds like a classic head gasket failure. The 95-98 SOHC were particularly known for this problem. Water mixes with the oil, producing a sludge that can be seen in the reservoir and white smoke out the tailpipe. Fixing this isn't cheap so you might want to sell cheap as is.

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Old 10-31-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: White smoke coming from tailpipe. Need diagnostic help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreak09 View Post
Sounds like a classic head gasket failure. The 95-98 SOHC were particularly known for this problem. Water mixes with the oil, producing a sludge that can be seen in the reservoir and white smoke out the tailpipe. Fixing this isn't cheap so you might want to sell cheap as is.


Thank you for your response. I am going to see if anyone else chimes in on this too. I'm hoping that this isn't a case of a head gasket, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't expecting it to be something serious. Again, thank you.

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Old 11-01-2014, 01:12 PM   #4
Steve44
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Default Re: White smoke coming from tailpipe. Need diagnostic help.

Oh, It's your head gasket alright. You can do a couple of different things.

Sell it for next to nothing. You lose money.

Properly fix the Head gasket. You'll spend a lot of money.

Try a sealer like this: http://www.amazon.com/BlueDevil-Pour.../dp/B004500M8G

If you decide on the third choice, and still want to sell the car, please be honest with prospective buyers about the temporary fix.

Good Luck.

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Old 11-01-2014, 01:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: White smoke coming from tailpipe. Need diagnostic help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by durwood7987 View Post
. I'm hoping that this isn't a case of a head gasket,.
HOw else would water make it out your tailpipe

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