White smoke, fuel rich exhaust smell. Hydro locked engine. (1 Viewer)

Joined
Dec 17, 2007
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4,417
Location
Sydney, Australia
 
 
Tell me it ain't true!

Tonight, slowing down for a red light, I noticed a bad miss, and a lot of smoke out the exhaust.

Smoke was white.

I drive another 200 yards to get the 80 of the road. Miss and smoke persisted.
I shut it down, and got out of the car. There was a very fuel rich smell about the smoke.

About 15 minutes later, I tried to restart.
1/2 a turn of the engine, and it locked up. Bumped the key again, and same deal.

I've had an intermittent miss at idle for a while now that I haven't figured out.
I was losing coolant for a while through a weepy PHH which was replaced 6 months ago. Coolant has stayed about right since.

A few nights ago, I noticed a lot of smoke out the back for a few seconds when I stepped on the gas to pass some traffic. I put it down to oil, as my old girl is burning a slowly increasing amount of oil.

So I'm pondering what is wrong. Car is in the middle of a business district, and will have to be towed, so I haven't been able to do much digging yet.

Coolant is low in the radiator, exhaust smells of raw fuel.
Oil cap is clean, so is dipstick

I'm hoping I have a bad injector, but low coolant has me worried it's the head gasket.

Plan is to remove plugs and assess, then turn it over by hand, then with the starter. See what comes out of cylinders.
Thinking I'll remove the sump plug, see if there's any coolant in oil.


Any thoughts, or suggestions welcome.

I don't have shop space, time or energy to be pulling the head right now. If it's not something simple I'll be throwing money at a mechanic to fix it.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
9,837
Location
Olathe, KS, USA
 
Tell me it ain't true!

Tonight, slowing down for a red light, I noticed a bad miss, and a lot of smoke out the exhaust.

Smoke was white.

I drive another 200 yards to get the 80 of the road. Miss and smoke persisted.
I shut it down, and got out of the car. There was a very fuel rich smell about the smoke.

About 15 minutes later, I tried to restart.
1/2 a turn of the engine, and it locked up. Bumped the key again, and same deal.

I've had an intermittent miss at idle for a while now that I haven't figured out.
I was losing coolant for a while through a weepy PHH which was replaced 6 months ago. Coolant has stayed about right since.

A few nights ago, I noticed a lot of smoke out the back for a few seconds when I stepped on the gas to pass some traffic. I put it down to oil, as my old girl is burning a slowly increasing amount of oil.

So I'm pondering what is wrong. Car is in the middle of a business district, and will have to be towed, so I haven't been able to do much digging yet.

Coolant is low in the radiator, exhaust smells of raw fuel.
Oil cap is clean, so is dipstick

I'm hoping I have a bad injector, but low coolant has me worried it's the head gasket.

Plan is to remove plugs and assess, then turn it over by hand, then with the starter. See what comes out of cylinders.
Thinking I'll remove the sump plug, see if there's any coolant in oil.


Any thoughts, or suggestions welcome.

I don't have shop space, time or energy to be pulling the head right now. If it's not something simple I'll be throwing money at a mechanic to fix it.
Pull the plugs first and rotate the engine to see what sprays out. It could be fuel or coolant. A stuck open injector will cause lots of white smoke. It can also cause a hydrolock after shutdown although coolant will produce similar results.

Sorry to hear this.

I just hope the hydrolock and the starter didn't do any damage. I had a SBC years ago that trying to start a hydrolocked engine bent a rod. But these aren't SBC's.
 

flintknapper

SILVER Star
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
8,099
Location
Deep East Texas
 
 
 
Pull the plugs first and rotate the engine to see what sprays out. It could be fuel or coolant. A stuck open injector will cause lots of white smoke. It can also cause a hydrolock after shutdown although coolant will produce similar results.

Sorry to hear this.

I just hope the hydrolock and the starter didn't do any damage. I had a SBC years ago that trying to start a hydrolocked engine bent a rod. But these aren't SBC's.

Yep,

An injector stuck open can fill a cylinder in a hurry. Unburned fuel will also create a white smoke out the exhaust and isn't good at all for Catalytic Converters.

I'd be inclined to pull the plugs first thing too, then check dip stick level and drain oil pan....before moving on.
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2004
Messages
1,553
Location
Claremont, CA
 
 
 
I am puzzled by the idea an injector can fill the combustion chamber quickly if stuck open. If stuck open and engine running, raw fuel would exit the exhaust no?

If engine shut off, residual pressure would leak out the stuck injector but since liquid is essentially non-compressible, I don't envision that being all that much volume. The only thing in the system between the pump and injector is a small hose section that could grow under pressure and provide a very small volume.

Not saying it can't happen. Saying I am having a hard time understanding how it could happen as I have never encountered it.

Coolant leak into combustion chamber is another thing...
 
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
7,820
Location
Phoenix
 
 
 
I am puzzled by the idea an injector can fill the combustion chamber quickly if stuck open. If stuck open and engine running, raw fuel would exit the exhaust no?

If engine shut off, residual pressure would leak out the stuck injector but since liquid is essentially non-compressible, I don't envision that being all that much volume. The only thing in the system between the pump and injector is a small hose section that could grow under pressure and provide a very small volume.

Not saying it can't happen. Saying I am having a hard time understanding how it could happen as I have never encountered it.

Coolant leak into combustion chamber is another thing...
The exhaust stroke is only one of four. If the injector is pumping fuel non-stop, the cylinder won't fire and raw fuel will be pumped into the exhaust- so a miss and smoke.

I can only postulate how the cylinder might hydrolock, but here's one scenario- piston is almost to TDC on the compression stroke when it is shut down, and either the fuel has filled the small void in the cylinder by way of the residual pressure you mentioned, or it fills it when the fuel pump comes on before the engine starts to turn over.

Also, keep in mind the cylinder doesn't have to be full of liquid to hydrolock, it just has to have more liquid by volume than the chamber size when the piston is at TDC. That's not much. Hell, it doesn't even have to be more liquid than space available, because while air is compressible, it does have limits, or at least the starter has limits as to how much resistance it can overcome.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
4,417
Location
Sydney, Australia
 
 
Thanks guys, I'm thinking along the same lines.

Going to have to get it towed and start looking.

Best case, its an injector, and hydrolocking has done no damage.
Worst case, head gasket, and bent rod from hydrolocking .

With a diesel, its said a teaspoon of liquid in a chamber is enough to hydrolock an engine. Gas engine may be more tolerant, but I'm guessing not a lot.
It also doesn't take a lot of raw fuel to enrich the air fuel mix to the point you lose combustion.

Fingers crossed hey!
 

baldilocks

Battle Ground, WA
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Jan 29, 2014
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Battle Ground
 
Not long ago my number 6 injector was energized to stay open after I somehow smashed its wires between the valve cover and head. I had all the same symptoms you describe upon start up minus the hydro lock.
 
Joined
May 26, 2005
Messages
7,820
Location
Phoenix
 
 
 
Besides a stuck injector it’s could be a bad wiring harness. Toyota connects ground to pulse the injectors. A short on one of the signal lines would turn the injectors on all the time.
A common place for the harness to be shorted is at the EGR valve. Another common spot is near the ECU on a sharp edge, but I believe that's only an issue on later trucks (OBDII).
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
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Location
Sydney, Australia
 
 
A common place for the harness to be shorted is at the EGR valve. Another common spot is near the ECU on a sharp edge, but I believe that's only an issue on later trucks (OBDII).
Thanks.
No EGR on an Aussie 93, but I'll check the injector wiring.

First thing will be pulling the plugs and seeing if I can turn it over, and see if anything comes outta the plug holes
 

richardlillard1

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Joined
Mar 15, 2014
Messages
1,740
 
We have an 80 in our shop right now which failed on #1, filled the intake and exhaust with coolant and tried to hydrolock. It was pushing a LOT of coolant into various parts of the engine. So much that it left a pool in the intake manifold, visible when the throttle body was held open.

E5BC953D-DA20-45DA-9F45-BC285719CE5B.jpeg


For future reference to anyone who might find this thread, I don’t believe the amount of fuel being sprayed into the cylinder of a stuck injector is sufficient to cause a hydrolock situation with a 1fz. In addition to my own 80, which grounded out #4 & 5 at the glove box end of the wiring harness, neither injector caused that sort of issue. Another 80 which was stuck on for #4 and run for extended durations while diagnosing never showed any signs of slow start or needing to pull plugs to clear the chamber.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
4,417
Location
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How likely is it that I have a cracked head? (On the 1fz-fe wiseguys!)

Made some enquiries with mechanics today. First call, the guy is adamant the head will be cracked.
Initial price to replace the head, $4k, disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer.
A couple of other calls, making similar noises.

So next avenue, looking at compete rebuild. Again $5.5k, with all the same disclaimers.

At this point, I'm gonna have to clear my garage, bite the bullet and pull the head myself, see what I've got.

At those prices, I can afford to take a week of leave and knock it out myself.

Also contemplating retro fitting turbo charged 1hz from my 105 series project cruiser that I'm 99% decided to part out.
(It got wet inside while stored, and is a science experiment / penicillin farm gone wrong inside)
 

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