Question about 1999 Chevrolet Suburban

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If my car has some white smoke coming out the tail pipe and smell of anti freeze, but no milky in the oil. does that mean head gasket. it is a 1999 chrsler seebring

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If you have steady thick white smoke and it smells like anti freeze it is most likely the head gasket. The head gasket can fail in different areas. If it has white smoke it failed between a coolant passage and the combustion chamber. If the oil is milky it failed between the coolant passage and an oil passage. Just because the oil isn't milky doesn't necessarily mean that the head gasket it's blown.

Posted on Oct 06, 2009

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Yes it can mean you have a bad head gasket.

But it does not rule out other possibilities such as a cracked head, intake manifold or intake gaskets being the culprit.

My theory on your somewhat odd mix of symptoms is a result of having been puzzled myself on several occasions by what I consider the "new kind" of head gasket leaks. They seem to occur more often in cars that have aluminum heads on iron blocks and I have attributed that to the materials expanding, contracting, heating and cooling at different rates. They also seem to occur (in my experience) more often overhead camshaft motors, but I have not reasoned why that would be other than the ohc motors are more likely to also have iron blocks and aluminum heads. My best guess at a problem like you are having is head gasket or a cracked head because that is where all the flius involved are in close proximity to the others and where the conditions exist that could cause a part to fail which could result in cross contamination or leaks. The oddball symptoms are likely due to changing fluid pressures in your cooling system and engine oiling system. Starting cold, your engine coolant is not under pressure, but as soon as running you have oil pressure. If you have a leak or breach in a gasket or crack between pressurized oil passages and coolant passages you can get oil in your coolant. As the engine warms up, pressure greatly increases in the cooling system while it usually decreases slightly in the oiling system. If the pressure in the cooling system becomes greater than your oil pressure and there is a breach that allows the coolant into an oil galley you may end up with water in your oil as well. But it is possible that as the engine heats up, increasing coolant pressure, small leaks or crack close up as the metals and/or gaskets expand due to the heat keeping water from getting into the oil. If you have a crack between an exhaust port and a coolant passage you may get coolant (and a sweet smell) in your exhaust. In a case where you have coolant breaches to both oil and exhaust passages, coolant will take the path of least resistance. exhaust pressure is less than oil pressure so coolant will enter the exhaust first and will continue to enter exhaust passages after the engine is turned off at least until until cooling system pressure drops. The coolant can stay there until next time you start the car, giving you more white smoke at start up.

And that theory is the basis for the following troubleshooting suggestion. With the engine cold, remove the radiator cap. Smell your coolant (if it smells like exhaust, chances are good that you have exhaust getting into your coolant). Start the engine. Note the amount and thickness of the white exhaust for comparison purposes later. Watch for bubbles in your radiator or overflow being very careful as the engine warms up because when the thermostat opens you could have some hot coolant blow out of the radiator. once warmed up to where you would normally have a burst of white smoke on the next start up, you can turn the engine off. let it cool until cool or as long as you normally would when you have the white smoke at start up. Start the engine and compare the exhaust to the when you started it before. If there is no white smoke or less white smoke you probably have a bad head gasket or cracked head. On some cars you could also have a bad intake manifold or gasket, but I have found that to be less likely.

Please note this does not definitively rule out a crack in an engine block, but the leak causing oil to get into coolant is more than likely in close proximity to the one causing water to get into exhaust and that is not something that can be caused by a cracked block.

I know that was a lot, but it is fairly easy and doesn't require any specialty tools, so I hope it helps.

Let me know how it goes.

Posted on Mar 24, 2016

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Very good possibility of head gasket...blown gasket does not have to put water in the oil.....instead you are dummping water into the cylinder,,, which is turned to steam... you should feel alot of moisture at exhaust and wmell anti freeze... very good possibility blown head gasket

Posted on Oct 06, 2009

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White smoke can indicate water getting into the engine through a failing head or manifold gasket

Posted on Oct 06, 2009

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