Question about 1998 Ford Explorer

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There is white smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes. Car will not accelerate normally. Car sounds like it is missing. Need spark plugs and oil change.

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Unfortunately you have a blown head gasket. The white smoke you are seeing is anifreeze burning.
If it was blue smoke it would be burning oil.
Gasket is in the top of the engine and must be replaced or you will ruin the rest of the motor.
Usually it's a $1800 repair with parts & labour.

Posted on Jul 11, 2010

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Try taking your Explorer for a free scan at Autozone or Oreillys. The white smoke is usually a sign of water in the fuel or a leaking head gasket. If the exhaust smells sweet it is a sign of a leaking head gasket. Without the sweet smell it can be water in the fuel.

If the scans do not show a trouble code you should try an additive to remove water in the fuel. Todays fuel is different and if you used 10% alcohol fuel it will attract any moisture already present in the tank causing a big surge until it works its way through the system and is burned.

After using the additive run through the tank until near empty. Then fill with a better grade of fuel. At that point, change the fuel filter.
The oil change is important, but will not change the miss or the white smoke. You can put in new plugs at your convenience and make a note of removed fouled plugs and their cylinder. The miss may be cured if water in the gas was the problem.

If you have a bad head gasket it will quickly foul a new plug. Keeping the old plugs and showing them to a mechanic will help if the old plugs are marked by cylinder. Once you have tried the scans, used additives and changed fuel there must be a physical reason if the engine continues smoking and refouls plugs.

The Electronic scanners can show some bad parts but only some. You have done the most you can without opening the engine. If it is not fixed by using these steps the engine will need to be opened up for repair.

Posted on Jul 11, 2010

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