white smoke, uh oh

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Apr 7, 2003
I was out in the bush today with my fj40 and just as i finished climbing and then descending a big hill my friend looked back and noticed a huge cloud of white smoke coming out of the tailpipe. i shut it off but couldn't identify any problems so i drove home and noticed the smoke was much less as soon as i started back home. does anyone have any ideas what could have caused this? oh yeah just after that the gasket between the exhaust manifold and the first pipe started leaking a little bite. thanks for the help
White smoke = water. Some is normal under some circumstances. How cold was it? Worry about head gasket. Check for oil in your radiator, water in your oil pan.
White smoke usually indicates head gasket problems. Like IDave said, check your radiator for oil and your oil pan for water. Let us know what you find out!
well i checked my oil today and noticed that i had quite a bit too much in there!!! oops. i also took a look under the radiator cap and i didn't notice any oil. is this a thurough enough check? also i ran it and i didn't get any more smoke. if my head gasket was gone wouldn't i get smoke all the time? i really don't feel like doing a lot of unnecessary work but on the other hand i really don't want to deystroy my engine. what do you guys think?
You might want to do a compression test on all your cylinders. At the same time take a look at your plugs, if any of them look unusual, relative to the others, you might have a head gasket leak at the coresponding cylinder.
You mentioned that you had too much oil in the crankcase. What did the oil look like? If it looked a little grayish the high oil level may be due to the ingress of coolant.
My experience with head gasket/cylinder head failures is that it is much easier for coolant to enter the crankcase than it is for oil to enter the cooling system. A good idea would be to open oil pan drain plug, after the vehicle has sat for a while, and see what comes out. Remember that oil and water seperate; there may be fair amount of water hiding under an upper layer of oil.
If there's any water in the pan I wouldn't suggest driving very far. I had a similar "white cloud" experience when I was far from home and had little choice except to keep driving. Luckily, after the engine finally stopped, a substantial towing bill and new head gasket were the only results. As tough as the 2F is, I think was lucky not to bend or break any rods or do any other lower engine damage. I had a good 2+ gallons of coolant in my pan!
A head gasket isn't too bad to replace anyhow, as long as you don't have too much in the way of smog equipment and the lot.
Hope this helps.
Just a thought, but you said you came down a steep hill. IF you were really overfilled with oil, was the hill steep enough that you could have sloshed some oil up by the PCV valve? Combination of overfill, steep decline and braking could have done that.
Easy check would be pull the aircleaner and look for oil residue.
Is it still smoking? &nbsp:Does it smoke more when you back off accelerator? Like when coming to an offramp?
Sure hope it is not your headgasket.
Ed Long :)
well i drained the oil and it was as pure as the day i put it in so i think it must have been something to do with the overfilled oil. the other thing was that i was very very low on gas and the gas might have had condensation in it as it was a few monthes old, so that may have also partially caused the smoke.
That's exactly it... oil. I had to back up a steep hill, and upon reaching the top, the enging lurched, and belched, and chugged out a cloud of white smoke as well.

Watch out if you ever have your oil changed by "pros", they get used to putting 5qts in rig after rig, and you will burn up your engine if you only have 5 in there pulling steep hills.
I keep about 8 qts in mine, but what mine doesn't burn, I lose via blow-by. Just making her last long enough to get all the parts together for my LT1 350.
Actually, 8 quarts will overfill my engine/filter. You don't want to do that unless you expect to lose it rapidly. It holds about 7 1/3 quarts max.

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