Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Smoking/steam from back of engine.

asked by on

I replaced thr head gasket and water pump and timing chain and tensioners. i was trying to rebuild engine and when i put it all back together it starting smoking out of the back of engine about 2 minutes after i started it. so i thought the gasket dident seal so i bought a felpro head gasket instead of the cheap one and it did the same thing when i started it. i need help figuring out where the smoke is coming from.

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

When you install new parts, there could be some initial smoke or unusual vapors as factory coatings burn off, so the first thing you want to do is make sure that this is not a transient issue or false alarm. For example, if in working on the car, you dropped oil or grease on the manifold, it WILL smoke a lot when you first start it up.

Head gaskets require a really precise protocol and you have to check the head and block for flatness with a machinist’s straight edge before you even consider installing a new gasket. If the surfaces are not flat within .002 inches (typical spec; check your FSM), you are wasting your time installing a new gasket because it will leak. The surfaces also have to be smooth as a mirror, you have to use new head bolts, and the torque value and angle have to be set precisely in the specified sequence. If you did all this, you probably do not have an external oil leak from that segment of the engine.

Check the obvious stuff like leaking valve cover gasket, cam seals, distributor o-ring and so forth. Also, try to see if you can actually see a leak. If the leak has the odor of antifreeze, obviously you will want to check the cooling system for leaks. If you’re unable to pinpoint the issue, have a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic, diagnose the smoke firsthand for an accurate repair. Best of luck.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: How do I fix the issues related to code P0445 (Failed Emissions Test)?

Diagnostic Trouble Code P0455 has causes in addition to a faulty or loose gas cap. In your circumstance, the first thing you should do is reset the Check Engine Light which will erase the existing codes. Then see if the...

Q: I was driving my truck and it made this "poof" sound as if something blew. I lost everything--brakes, power steering, and it stalled

Hi, thanks for writing in. It is possible that the "poof" and exhaust smell (rotten gas smell?) both originated from the catalytic converter, and sulfur deposits in the converter. The engine may have backfired through the exhaust, setting off a...

Q: Steering wheel started to get hard to turn and i have to turn it off and on till it gets back to normal, what can it possibly be? 2006 Pontiac G6

Hi - the "hard steering" problem you are experiencing could be caused by a clogged power steering pump filter, a sticking pressure relief valve, or a damaged steering rack that is sticking in one or more spots. I would recommend...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.