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Old 01-06-2017, 01:04 PM   #1
clockwork247
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Default White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

I have a Vue 06 V6 redline.

My car I just got has a lot of white smoke coming out of the exhaust when I'm at a stop light. This go on for about 15-20 min if the car is cold and I'm driving at low speed. If I hop out on the high way for a few min, then it go away very fast. but if I park the car for 8-10 hours and it's cold, then it'll do it again.

I do smell faint gasoline smell off the pipe, I do not smell coolant.

Oil is still at a good level, coolant is at a good level.

What's wrong with the car? I don't notice any performance issue.

The thermometer doesn't say there's an over heating issue (it's right where it suppose to be).

I'm now scare that I might have bought a lemon with engine issue. I will go check with a local shop, head gasket leak or radiator leak or some sort of leak?

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Old 01-06-2017, 01:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

You've noted that you reside in a very cold region. It would be helpful if you'd add that location into your profile.

1) Are you sure that what you're seeing come out of the tail pipe is smoke and not steam?
2) What are the typical daytime and overnight temps where you're located?
3) What pipe is this smell of gasoline coming from?


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Old 01-06-2017, 02:32 PM   #3
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
You've noted that you reside in a very cold region. It would be helpful if you'd add that location into your profile.

1) Are you sure that what you're seeing come out of the tail pipe is smoke and not steam?
2) What are the typical daytime and overnight temps where you're located?
3) What pipe is this smell of gasoline coming from?

I'm in San Diego, it's not super cold, maybe in the low 50F at night/early morning. Our humidity is high though, in the 60-80%.

Would they tell me what's wrong if I take the car to get smog?

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Old 01-06-2017, 07:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwork247 View Post
I'm in San Diego, it's not super cold, maybe in the low 50F at night/early morning. Our humidity is high though, in the 60-80%.
Was I ever wrong about where you reside! You're about 120+ miles away from me. Your weather is cooler overall since you're nearer to the coast, but generally CA is a reasonably warm place even in Winter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwork247 View Post
Would they tell me what's wrong if I take the car to get smog?
So you would definitely be seeing smoke and not steam given the length of time you've noted its presence and that it eventually seems to disappear. It's likely that you're therefore burning oil which is generating the smoke at the tail pipe. Oil is therefore entering the combustion chamber. The question is where the oil is entering from? My hunch would be that it's leaking past a valve seal (from above), but it's only a hunch.

Would a smog test reveal what's wrong? I would think that it could confirm what other gaseous element is present within the exhaust and whether or not it is related to engine oil. However, that's all it can do. More diagnosis would be required. If my idea is correct about oil being burned then the first thing to be checked would be the spark plugs. They'd be pulled and examined to determine if any of them are being fouled by oil.


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Old 01-06-2017, 07:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

If you take the car to get smogged, chances are if it's burning coolant you will fail the test.

Does the smoke/ steam stop once the engine comes up to temperature at idle? For example, you're stopped at an off ramp after a freeway run.

Does the smoke/ steam linger like a thick fog or does it dissipate quickly?

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Old 01-06-2017, 08:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Badmotorfinger View Post
If you take the car to get smogged, chances are if it's burning coolant you will fail the test.
^Good point. If you're due for a smog test do not have it tested in this condition. Verify what the problem is that's causing the excessive white tail pipe emission to be seen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Badmotorfinger View Post
Does the smoke/ steam stop once the engine comes up to temperature at idle? For example, you're stopped at an off ramp after a freeway run.

Does the smoke/ steam linger like a thick fog or does it dissipate quickly?
These questions should be answered.


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Old 01-07-2017, 12:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
^Good point. If you're due for a smog test do not have it tested in this condition. Verify what the problem is that's causing the excessive white tail pipe emission to be seen.

These questions should be answered.

If I ran on the freeway. There will be no more smoke.

The smoke go away pretty quickly. Some of it is steam. I can tell by the smell. Some has gasoline smell. I checked the oil level. And it seems within the normal range.

I'm taking it to a mechanic tomorrow morning.

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Old 01-07-2017, 09:59 AM   #8
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

I think you're just seeing the steam from your catalytic converter getting ready to "light off" IOW when you start the car there is lots of moisture in the combustion chambers, the exhaust system and even the cat. In the weather conditions you're describing (50's, high humidity) it's completely normal for you to see (what you're calling smoke) and smell a faint gasoline smell. You're running rich because it's a cold start and you have not gone into closed loop (where the computer actually watches O2 sensors and other inputs). The engine is running on a pre-programmed cycle, the moisture is burning off internally and in the exhaust system. Once the engine reaches a programmed temperature point the ECM begins looking at the sensor inputs and adjusting accordingly. The steam begins to go away.
I see this happen even here in the summer when we have a "cool" AM of say in the low 60's and high dew points and humidity. It's perfectly normal.
Bottom line stop sniffing exhaust (people will think you're weird) and don't worry about the steam if it goes away. If it was a head gasket issue believe me you would KNOW it. The smell is sickening sweet or if it was oil you'd know it because it would be like driving an old outboard motor everywhere. Plus it would never go away.
I'm sure your engine is just fine.

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Old 01-07-2017, 10:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
I think you're just seeing the steam from your catalytic converter getting ready to "light off" IOW when you start the car there is lots of moisture in the combustion chambers, the exhaust system and even the cat. In the weather conditions you're describing (50's, high humidity) it's completely normal for you to see (what you're calling smoke) and smell a faint gasoline smell.
I'm sure your engine is just fine.
Based on the info provided, I agree. Steam, not smoke, and totally normal.

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Old 01-07-2017, 06:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Came back from the mechanic, he confirmed that it isn't the issue with the white steam/smoke. He said if there was any issue it would stay and not gone away. We did find the rear shock was leaking. So we will replace that, along with the front rotor and brakes. Will also do an oil and tranny oil change.

Thanks guys for all the help. You guys are awesome.

I also smog the car. It passed without any issues.

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Old 01-07-2017, 06:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Clockwork,
Make sure you do a drain and fill, NOT machine pumped, trans fluid drain. And use DW1 fluid. On the brakes, go with Max brakes drilled and slotted rotors and ceramic pads. I paid $60.00 and a couple for them and love them.

John

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Old 01-07-2017, 09:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
I think you're just seeing the steam from your catalytic converter getting ready to "light off" IOW when you start the car there is lots of moisture in the combustion chambers, the exhaust system and even the cat. ....
NOt to mention that water is a product of combustion. THere will always be H2O in exhaust..Warmup time can take a bit until the "steam of combustion" fully vaporizes.

WHether that's is the reason for the steam, or if it's from another source- maybe a pressure test/UV dye check on the cooling system...- the cause is up for grabs.

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Old 01-07-2017, 09:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwork247 View Post
I'm in San Diego, it's not super cold, maybe in the low 50F at night/early morning. Our humidity is high though, in the 60-80%.

Would they tell me what's wrong if I take the car to get smog?
Keep it away from the smog shop unless you have to smog it, please.
I know a couple good shops in Escondido, can't rec'd a SAn Diego shop.
Who's your mechanic?

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Old 01-09-2017, 04:28 PM   #14
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

went to the mechanics, everything checked out ok, need to replace brakes/rotor (front), rear shocks, axel seal, and oil change and tranny oil change... not sure how much it's gonna cost, but hopefully under 500.

it also pass smog, so it's ready to be register under me . Decent car, but boy Saturn went cheap on the interior.

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Old 01-09-2017, 04:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: White smoke coming out of exhaust when at a stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clockwork247 View Post
Came back from the mechanic, he confirmed that it isn't the issue with the white steam/smoke. He said if there was any issue it would stay and not gone away.......

I also smog the car. It passed without any issues.
I'm happy that my idea was wrong! There are plenty of other expenses our vehicles with bring to us as it is.

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