Question about 1996 Saturn SC

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CAR OVER HEATING , COOLANT EXPELLING ALL OVER DUE TO OVERHEATING , WHITE SMOKE OUT OF THE TAIL PIPE AND OIL ON THE SPARK PLUGS PLEASE HELP LIKE THE CAR AND DO NOT WANT TO GET RID OF IT.

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There are several possible explanations for these problems. The white smoke being expelled from the exhaust is most likely caused by coolant entering the combustion chamber and being burnt up. Along with the overheating you may also find a milky white substance on the oil dip stick, loss of power, a sweet smell to the white smoke and possible water and/or oil being expelled from one or more spark plug hole when the car is turned over.

The cause for this can all be traced back to a problem involving the head gasket and/or the head.
The head gasket seals the head to the engine block allowing coolant and oil move between these two parts. When the head gasket blows out or the head warps or cracks it allows the one or both of these fluids to enter the combustion chamber. It can also allow the two to mix together. That is the cause of the milky colored oil.

There are several reasons this could have happened. The most common is that when the car overheated the first time the temperature was high enough to warp the cylinder head and blow out the head gasket. It could also be just worn out.

The easiest way to confirm that this is the problem is a cylinder compression test. You can buy a compression tester at Sears and auto parts retailers like Auto zone for around $30.00.
The test is pretty straight forward.

  • Remove all the spark plugs
  • Remove the fuel injector relay/fuse
  • Either make sure that the plug wires are out of the way or unplug the coil wire to prevent a shock.
  • Screw in the compression tester
  • Withe the throttle pedal depressed turn the engine over for approximately 8 to 10 seconds. Now record the PSI indicated on the gauge.
  • Repeat this for every cylinder and compare the readings.
The results should be with 3 to 6 PSI of one another.
If the problem is the result of a head or head gasket one or more cylinders will show a dramatic difference form the others.

Although I would not recommended replacing the head gasket to someone who is not comfortable with wrenching on there car, it is something you can do in your garage with the right tools.
Before any work is done I would try something like "Bars Leak Head Gasket Repair" first . If the breach is small this type of product can work.
Although I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear I hope that it helps.
Let me know if you need any other info or even if you just need clarification on anything here.















( that you already have ), a milky white substance on the dip stick

Posted on Oct 05, 2009

Testimonial: "more than helpful I have not seeing the white substance but everything else is there , I will try the leak gasket repair before I start to expend mon"

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White smoke from the tailpipe tells it all. You have a bad head gasket & or possibly a cracked / warped head etc. at a minimum which could be either the cause or a result of the overheating.
Weigh your options carefully, especially if it has been badly overheated. The car is after all close 14 years old .

Posted on Oct 05, 2009

Testimonial: "you are right on the money I had heard this from other people but I was in denial , thnx "

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You probably have a burst hose somewhere. You need to pressurize the system somehow and find where the coolant is coming out. If you do not have a pressurizing tool, you can fill the radiator with water and start the engine to find the leak. Replace the hose as necessary. Hopefully, your head gasket was not damaged when the car overheated.

Posted on Oct 05, 2009

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Sounds like head gasket-motor will have to come apart to check out

Posted on Oct 05, 2009

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or only stopped.?
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Overheating still has coolant, white part blew out of the tailpipe, made a banging noise then starting smoking. Overheating with all fluid high. Told there was a front seal oil leak but not bad. Lost 2...


  • White smoke out out the tail pipe means you might have just blown your head gasket. White smoke is water (antifreeze) burning with the oil.



  • If you have any comments please feel free to leave them here.
  • Hope this helps and thank you for using FixYa.


Regards, Tony

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