White smoke from exhaust then engine, not overheating v8-...

Q: White smoke from exhaust then engine, not overheating

asked by on September 03, 2017

1997 Lincoln town car. While driving on the interstate I suddenly started smelling smoke, and noticed white smoke in my rear view. The engine was not overheating and once I slowed down to under 60mph, the smoke seemed to stop, though the engine sounded rough. I drove to the next exit and parked and turned it off, smoke immediately started billowing from under the hood, along with a hissing sound. Can you tell me what is going on?

My car has 107000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like you may have a blown cylinder head gasket resulting in coolant being burnt inside the motor creating the white smoke an steam you describe. A blown head gasket may cause a number of different symptoms. Coolant in the engine oil, an engine misfire or oil leaking from the engine could all be symptoms. Each of these symptoms could also have other causes and an actual blown head gasket may show none of the above symptoms. Symptoms will often vary considerably, depending on how the gasket fails. Head gaskets may fail in several different ways. With each failure type different symptoms may result. The symptoms each person sees depend on how and where the head gasket fails. Head gaskets may fail in several different ways. For example, a restricted radiator may cause an engine to overheat, very much the same as a head gasket failure. Often times, intake gaskets will fail causing coolant to leak into the oil.

A warped or cracked cylinder head will also produce the exact symptom of a blown head gasket. An external inspection is the only way to determine if the problem is head gasket related. This may mean a blown gasket, warped or cracked cylinder head or other problems in the area. For instance corrosion on the head gasket surface will cause leakage, though technically not a blown gasket. I would recommend having an expert from YourMechanic come to your location to properly diagnose the symptoms you describe.

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