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Old 03-14-2004, 08:46 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 25
Unhappy could it be Bad Fuel?

I have an '82 300D turbo that has run quite nicely (for the year I've owned it). A bit (or more) of Grayish smoke here and there, but nothing too embarrassing or out of the ordinary.. until yesterday.

Got in the car and went for a 200 mile trip. Right away, and ALL day, the car belched white smoke on starts from a light, turning corners; while accelerating @ low RPM. This is not the kind of smoke that a Diesel owner sees when looking hard in the rear view at night, this is the kind that provokes serious response (like the finger) from other drivers. Damn.

I have read a lot about various kinds of smoke on this board. I've seen mention of: Blow Head Gasket, Glow Plugs, Vacuum diaphragm failure, injection issues..

My question is, could this be bad fuel? I had just (on the previous drive) filled up at a Sunoco and the car and run fine before that, no problems. Also had a tune up and timing adjustment about 3 moths ago...

Last clues: I did run out of fuel about 5 weeks ago and was told to get a new primer pump Havenít done that yet, but the car, had been running fine since then, no issues.

Any thoughts or advice is greatly appreciated.

Joe A
300D Turbo 155K

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Old 03-14-2004, 09:32 AM
Posts: n/a
White smoke would be very worrisome, but I can't imagine it being caused by bad fuel. The result of bad fuel would be plugged filters sometimes even to a point that the engine no longer runs.

It's time to investigate. Start by checking the radiator for traces of oil and the dipstick for traces of coolant. Smell the exhaust to check for an antifreeze smell. Also inspect for leaks. It might be time for a compression check as well.

Hope this helps,
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Old 03-14-2004, 11:29 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440

One thing it isn't is glow plugs. They only aid starting and once the engine is started, the GP are turned off and have no effect on the runing of the engine. It isn't bad fuel either. I you got dirty fuel, the engine would just have reduced power from a plugged filter but wouldn't misfire or smoke grey.

Don't let anyone tell you the GP should be replaced.

Greyish smoke usually means unburned fuel. It seems like something has happened to one or more of your cylinders to cause a compression loss and the cylinders are not firing. Could be a head gasket leaking between 2 cylinders without much leakage into the cooling system.

A compression test would be in order.


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