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Old 07-31-2002, 01:59 AM
Posts: n/a
Exclamation Think You Know it All?

I just bougt a 1987 420SEL. The car has 99,000 miles on it and is in pretty good shape. I drove the car for about a week with no problems untill yesterday. The second day I had the car on the road I added some injector cleaner to a full tank of gas.
A day or two later I drove down to the beach, about an hour and a half away. I came back the same night and the car was great exept the coolant level light came on and off a few times. I checked the levels and everything looked OK.
The next day, after my 1/2 hour commute home I stoppped for some gas. About 2 blocks from the gas station I noticed some white smoke around the car. I got a little nervouse and drained a little coolant and added some fresh antifreez and water. I smoked all the way home.
The next day.......I checked the coolant. With all the levels checking out OK I drove to work. The car wasn't smoking? I got all the way to work with no problems! On the ride home after getting off the highway I stopped in a lot and it was smoking just a bit. Within 10 min after noticing the small amount of smoke it had turned into a huge amount of smoke? ALL the fluid levels are fine, the car has plenty of pickup and the smoke doesn't smell? WHAT IS GOING ON????????!!!!!!!!

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Old 07-31-2002, 02:09 AM
haasman's Avatar
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,096
I think we need more inrormation here ....

Is the all the smoke you are seeing white?

Did you run through any water, rain, car wash etc?

Did you use your heater? Is used to sometimes use my heater driving from from the NJ shore in the summer when it was cool.

My best guess is you are have coolant overflow. Where did you fill the coolant level to?
'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 07-31-2002, 02:11 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: New Bedford, MA USA
Posts: 1,583
If you saw white smoke, I am wondering why you went right for the coolant buff up. Usually smoke associated with coolant leaks has a rather sweet odor (so to speaK)????
Jeff Lawrence
1989 300e
2000 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
No matter what you fix, there will always be something else to fix..
"Warranty" is just another way of postponing the inevitable.
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Old 07-31-2002, 03:15 AM
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 108
If the smoke is billowing white and it's coming out of the tail pipe it has got to be coolant burning. Maybe it doesn't smell sweet cause it's mostly water. After it has smoked for a while pull the plugs. A coolant fouled plug has a particular look, different from the rest. Do you see any water on the dip stick(little dropplets), that may mean water in combusion chamber getting past the rings into the crankcase. All evidence of a leaking head gasket.
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Old 08-01-2002, 04:31 AM
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Thanks for the replys. Here are some answers to your questions..

I havn't used the heater yet and the motor wasn't wet.

There is no water in the oil and the coolant has a nice green color A. I. a good mix.

The white smoke doesn't have a sweet smell, if anything it smells like gas.

The coolant levels are just where they should be and havn't moved in days?

I'm stumped? Thanks for all the help
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Old 08-01-2002, 10:55 AM
steve hutson
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I may be way off-base, and expect to be slaughtered or at least be thrown out if I'm wrong, but in my days of BMW 2002 ownership, I discovered that with a bad master cylinder , engine vaccuum was able to suck brake fluid through a one way air valve through the brake booster and into the intake manifold.
Since the valve was on the side of the brake booster, the brake fluid would slosh over in a hard turn and into the valve it went.
The result was periodic extremely dense, white, odorless smoke.
It does'nt take much fluid to produce lots of smoke and as in your case, all other fluid levels were ok.
A shot in the dark.
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Old 08-01-2002, 11:05 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Kingston NY
Posts: 114
Perhaps you got a bad batch of gas ( water in it ). Have you re-filled your tank since the smoking started?
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Old 08-01-2002, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
I should just paste my most recent answer to this thread. MB v8s don't have any history of internal coolant leaks. White smoke is oil, just about always. And if oil, its always the V/G oil seals. And if on a car after 81 the catalyst is also damaged as it usually clears up the smoke otherwise.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 08-01-2002, 12:01 PM
Lebenz's Avatar
backwoods member
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In the fog
Posts: 2,862
Just to add to the possibilities, perhaps it is your engine upper end cleaner working. I have 2x before used Red Line Complete Fuel System Cleaner ( ) and each time my car has ejected plumes of white smoke. The key difference is that in my cars experience the smoke comes out in a very short time frame and in MASSIVE amounts.

PS: The coolant loss is probably unrelated. Check the heater hoses.... A lot of folks miss this because it's hidden. In age and use, the hoses may be due for a change or just a clamp tightening

'00 ML320 "Casper"
'92 400E "Stella"

Last edited by Lebenz; 08-01-2002 at 12:31 PM.
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