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Lots of white smoke from a 300Tdi


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A mate's car usually does local journeys around Bristol, but he took it to Plymouth for new year. No issues on the way down (except for the mysterious breakdown that was fixed when he put the wire back onto the stop solenoid rolleyes.gif) but on his way back today he called me to ask about the grey/white smoke - after half an hour at 70mph, it was giving CLOUDS of white smoke as he waited at a motorway junction. Let it idle for a minute or two and it'd clear, with a haze if he revved it. At no point did it sound rough or lose any power, it's running fine.

I went round to see him once he'd got back, and it looked fine after 15 mins switched off outside his house, even when it was revved. He assures me that it was bad - big clouds of white or grey smoke, sufficient that he couldn't see to pull out at junctions if there was a tailwind... hysterical.gif

He's checked:

- power - it'll still do 80mph+ and it sounds fine

- oil & coolant - both fine

- fuel consumption - the gauge isn't racing down (any more than normal!)

- turbo outlet pipe - a little oily but nothing untoward

- air filter - same with it in place or removed.

It's a retrofitted 300Tdi in a 1985 Ninety, the engine's been in for three years or so without fault.

Any thoughts?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to bring this full circle, we lifted the head to look for gasket trouble etc. Gasket looks fine (and quite new actually) and the head looks 'suspiciously' clean underneath, as if it's been skimmed. He's had the engine three years or more though, so probably unrelated.

There was none of the usual cracking around the heater plug holes or on the bridge between the valves. After lots of chin-scratching and solvent, I spotted a crack in the roof of #3 exhaust port.


It makes sense - hopefully this goes back into the coolant and was spitting water into the hot exhaust, particularly on overrun. A new head is on the way, and then we'll put it back together. Interestingly he was sufficiently impressed with the knowledge and support from Turner to extract nearly twice the price of a Paddocks head - good customer service pays back!

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