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16 valve blown turbo? white smoke


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Hi,

Need a hand diagnosing lose of oil, white smoke from exhaust. 2.2 cosworth head. 

Engine seems to run fine, not misfiring, temp gauge almost always on the cool side even on very hot days sitting in traffic ( I'v always wondered if it was accurate)

14,000K on engine most of the time I baby it but occasionally open it up. Just about to put it away for the winter and noticed the white smoke, low oil. (hard not to notice, lots of smoke)

Did a compression check today , 3 cylinders at about 95 psi except #1 at 90 (is that enough to consider a blown HG??) plugs look good, was going to do a block test but could not get the engine warm enough to open the Tstat without fogging out the neighborhood.

I love this car and hope to have it for summers for a long time.

I have the blue manual but am having a tough time figuring out what engine they are talking about when trying to trouble shoot.

I'm hoping its not the head gasket but if it is do would it be hard to find a new one? same for the turbo could it be the oil seals / rings, rebuilt? new?

Lots of questions, thanks for any direction, hopefully pay it back in the future.

 PESD

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The first thing to do in diagnosing this is to start the engine and walk back to the exhaust smoke. Take a good whiff. Does the smoke smell like antifreeze or oil?

If it smells like antifreeze, it is likely a head gasket. The 5# difference in compression pressure is not significant, in my opinion.

If the exhaust smoke smells like oil, it is the turbocharger that has failed, ir will need to be repaired or replaced. If you suspect the turbocharger, you can run one more simple test.

Disconnect AND PLUG the oil feed line to the turbocharger. Shown in picture. 1262644805_CKs9pwdSQlEsFb32toZ8w_thumb_4429.jpg.77564171ee03eb12af52ec11682dc883.jpg  Then run the engine and the smoke should diminish after a while. It might take some time since the oil that is already in the exhaust system has to be burnt away. This is a picture of an 8 valve engine, but the oil line that runs to the turbo is connected at the same location, right neat to the oil pressure sending unit.

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You already did a compression test, which looks OK to me (consider these engines are really low compression). What did the spark plugs look like?

 

You can pull the intake hose off of the compressor side of the turbo and see if there's any play in the wheel or oil in the intake hose.

 

I highly recommend a leak-down test as that will tell you exactly what you need to know.

 

You can also rent a test kit that tests the coolant for exhaust to determine if the headgasket is blown. Another quick check is, once the engine is up  to operating temp, are there bubbles being blown into the coolant?

 

Last thing...when does the smoke occur?

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5 hours ago, Reaper1 said:

You already did a compression test, which looks OK to me (consider these engines are really low compression). What did the spark plugs look like?

 

You can pull the intake hose off of the compressor side of the turbo and see if there's any play in the wheel or oil in the intake hose.

 

I highly recommend a leak-down test as that will tell you exactly what you need to know.

 

You can also rent a test kit that tests the coolant for exhaust to determine if the headgasket is blown. Another quick check is, once the engine is up  to operating temp, are there bubbles being blown into the coolant?

 

Last thing...when does the smoke occur?

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9 hours ago, Hemi Dude said:

The first thing to do in diagnosing this is to start the engine and walk back to the exhaust smoke. Take a good whiff. Does the smoke smell like antifreeze or oil?

If it smells like antifreeze, it is likely a head gasket. The 5# difference in compression pressure is not significant, in my opinion.

If the exhaust smoke smells like oil, it is the turbocharger that has failed, ir will need to be repaired or replaced. If you suspect the turbocharger, you can run one more simple test.

Disconnect AND PLUG the oil feed line to the turbocharger. Shown in picture. 1262644805_CKs9pwdSQlEsFb32toZ8w_thumb_4429.jpg.77564171ee03eb12af52ec11682dc883.jpg  Then run the engine and the smoke should diminish after a while. It might take some time since the oil that is already in the exhaust system has to be burnt away. This is a picture of an 8 valve engine, but the oil line that runs to the turbo is connected at the same location, right neat to the oil pressure sending unit.

Thanks so much for the replies and advice, I won’t have time till this coming weekend to address your suggestion(s) for diagnosis; I will keep you posted and really appreciate the input.

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9 hours ago, Hemi Dude said:

The first thing to do in diagnosing this is to start the engine and walk back to the exhaust smoke. Take a good whiff. Does the smoke smell like antifreeze or oil?

If it smells like antifreeze, it is likely a head gasket. The 5# difference in compression pressure is not significant, in my opinion.

If the exhaust smoke smells like oil, it is the turbocharger that has failed, ir will need to be repaired or replaced. If you suspect the turbocharger, you can run one more simple test.

Disconnect AND PLUG the oil feed line to the turbocharger. Shown in picture. 1262644805_CKs9pwdSQlEsFb32toZ8w_thumb_4429.jpg.77564171ee03eb12af52ec11682dc883.jpg  Then run the engine and the smoke should diminish after a while. It might take some time since the oil that is already in the exhaust system has to be burnt away. This is a picture of an 8 valve engine, but the oil line that runs to the turbo is connected at the same location, right neat to the oil pressure sending unit.

 

20181007_121842.jpg

20181007_123746.jpg

20181007_124157.jpg

20181007_124753(0).jpg

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9 hours ago, Hemi Dude said:

The first thing to do in diagnosing this is to start the engine and walk back to the exhaust smoke. Take a good whiff. Does the smoke smell like antifreeze or oil?

If it smells like antifreeze, it is likely a head gasket. The 5# difference in compression pressure is not significant, in my opinion.

If the exhaust smoke smells like oil, it is the turbocharger that has failed, ir will need to be repaired or replaced. If you suspect the turbocharger, you can run one more simple test.

Disconnect AND PLUG the oil feed line to the turbocharger. Shown in picture. 1262644805_CKs9pwdSQlEsFb32toZ8w_thumb_4429.jpg.77564171ee03eb12af52ec11682dc883.jpg  Then run the engine and the smoke should diminish after a while. It might take some time since the oil that is already in the exhaust system has to be burnt away. This is a picture of an 8 valve engine, but the oil line that runs to the turbo is connected at the same location, right neat to the oil pressure sending unit.

Thanks so much for the replies and advice, I won’t have time till this coming weekend to address your suggestion(s) for diagnosis; I will keep you posted and really appreciate the input.

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Thanks so much for the replies and advice, I won’t have time till this coming weekend to address your suggestion(s) for diagnosis; I will keep you posted and really appreciate the input.

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10 hours ago, Hemi Dude said:

The first thing to do in diagnosing this is to start the engine and walk back to the exhaust smoke. Take a good whiff. Does the smoke smell like antifreeze or oil?

If it smells like antifreeze, it is likely a head gasket. The 5# difference in compression pressure is not significant, in my opinion.

If the exhaust smoke smells like oil, it is the turbocharger that has failed, ir will need to be repaired or replaced. If you suspect the turbocharger, you can run one more simple test.

Disconnect AND PLUG the oil feed line to the turbocharger. Shown in picture. 1262644805_CKs9pwdSQlEsFb32toZ8w_thumb_4429.jpg.77564171ee03eb12af52ec11682dc883.jpg  Then run the engine and the smoke should diminish after a while. It might take some time since the oil that is already in the exhaust system has to be burnt away. This is a picture of an 8 valve engine, but the oil line that runs to the turbo is connected at the same location, right neat to the oil pressure sending unit.

Thanks so much for the replies and advice, I won’t have time till this coming weekend to address your suggestion(s) for diagnosis; I will keep you posted and really appreciate the input.

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Thanks so much for the replies and advice, I won’t have time till this coming weekend to address your suggestion(s) for diagnosis; I will keep you posted and really appreciate the input.

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3 hours ago, Reaper1 said:

I will hold back on any more guesses until test results are back. Too many possibilities.

We can all wait until he has a chance to check it out further. The SMELL TEST is the simplest, quickest and requires no tools or equipment except a NOSE.

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I'll try to keep it quick, dont want keep you guy's hanging because I know your trying to help, THANK'S!

I was planning on storing the car for the winter no matter what.

 

The smoke is oil

 

Recently my brother just leased an old Chrysler dealer building and is starting a sports car restoration shop.

He is very knowledgeable and has been racing and rebuilding cars for the past twenty years (we both worked on sports cars with my dad since we've been about ten, 40+ years ago)

 

We trailed it over to his shop today (for the winter) but before we put it in a corner of his showroom we put it up on a lift and took a look. 

Lots of oil around the bottom of the engine we assume the frond and rear seals need replacing, no oil any were around the turbo, dipstick is clear oil no milkiness , plugs look clean.

 

He suspects the rings or valve seals are blown and an engine rebuild is most likely needed, If that"s what it is that will be my mission the beginning of next year. Hip replacement in a month.

 

Hemi Dude, thanks, while I had it on the lift today I should have taken your advise and plugged the oil intake to the turbo to see if the smoke would calm, ( though I mention around the turbo is clean of oil on the exterior, could it be internal seals/ rings leaking causing the smoke?). Now that I think of it I will definitely try that before I start thinking about pulling the engine.

Hemi Dude you mentioned the low compression is common or normal for that engine. My brother also pointed out that the 95 psi on the compression test is very low leading him to believe it's rings or seals, he pointed it out to me in the shop manual that the 16 valve should be 128 psi? I did a simple test, plugs in, dry. How do think they measure the 128 psi, wet test plugs out?? I dont know. It's odd there all 95 except #1 at 90 psi,  if it were rings or seals I think the compression test would be all over the place.

 

Above all, I dont question anyone's theories, knowledge or opinion, especially my brother who always go's above and beyond trying to help. Just trying to figure it out.

Shit happens, the car is unique, fun and fast. It will be back on the road next spring, one way or another, only 14K but about thirty years old.

 

Any advise, ideas or support is always appreciated.

THANKS

      PESD 

 

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This engine is ~7.8:1 compression (there's different specs listed in different references). Static compression is going to show low. Especially if the engine is cold and hasn't been run in a while.

 

DO NOT try to spray oil in the cylinders to get better numbers as the dish is so large on the pistons all you're going to do is make a pool of oil in the dish.

 

I highly doubt the entire engine needs rebuilt. I *DO* suggest looking at the rod bearings, but as for the rest of the bottom end...unless it got rusty or trash went through it, it's most likely fine.

 

The heads are known to have a few things go bad. #1 are the exhaust valves and guides. The metallurgy wasn't exactly the best then and these items can both cause burning oil. If you have out of round valves, that can attribute to lower static compression.

 

Since the car can now be put on a rack, I suggest taking the exhaust downpipe off of the turbo and seeing if it's got oil in it as well as checking the play in the turbo compressor shaft.

 

Do a leakdown check before you tear the engine apart.

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Thanks Reaper1,

 I owe you and Hemi Dude for your input and expertise, unfortunately I am cramming all my hours into my real job for the next couple weeks anticipating the time I will miss for my hip surgery I mentioned.

 

Unfortunately I dont think I will be under a car until the beginning of next year (unless I get run over). Until then any thoughts or Ideas are greatly appreciated, send them over, and I will review all the advice and suggestions and be back corresponding with you guys when I start turning wrenches again in January.

THX, 

 PESD

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Hemi,

A while back you suggested blocking off the oil feed line to the turbo to see if the exhaust smoke stops, if it does we know that's the culprit.

I plan on doing that first when I get it on a lift in the next couple weeks.

I plan on doing it for the minimal amount of time BUT could I possibly damage the turbo running it for a short period without oil maybe causing another problem if it is not the culprit (I believe or hope it is).

A turbo swap sounds easier than an engine tear down. 

 

And yes Reaper1 I will do a leak down next if the the turbo looks ok.

 

THANKS 

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'pesd'

I would first run the engine and go back to the exhaust smoke and smell the smoke. You should be able to smell a distinct OIL or ANTIFREEZE odor.

Normal exhaust smells very lightly of burnt fuel due to the catalytic converter. 

If indeed it smells like oil, then you can be fairly sure that it is the turbo. Therefore you cannot do any more harm to it since it will need rebuilding or replacement anyway.

If you smell an antifreeze odor, you likely have a failing head gasket. The engine can still run rather normal in the beginning stages of a failing head gasket.

THAT IS THE TIME TO REPAIR IT before you do any harm to the head.

Edited by Hemi Dude
Spell corrector changed pesd to pest. (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Just last week spent Sunday getting to the turbo, almost have it out for inspection, only had a few hours last week.

On a lift, removed the front right drive assembly ( according to the manual) going back to continue this coming Saturday.

Will keep you posted after I get it out.

My new question? : Oil all over the place mostly towards the passenger side (front of engine), what would be the most probable leaking point I should address while its on a lift? 

I suspect crank or cam seals, how difficult to find and replace.  THANKS as always for any help & direction.

pesd

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Oily residue on the pulley side of the engine could be a number of things. Starting at the top of the engine: valve cover gasket, cam seals, head gasket (not likely), power steering pump, intermediate shaft seal, front crank seal, oil pan gasket.

 

My go-to move is to clean everything as best as I can and make sure it's DRY. After starting/driving the car I inspect from the top down to try and pinpoint where the leak is coming from.

 

When you go to remove the turbo from the manifold, use penetrating oil and heat....LOTS of both! This is also the only turbo-mopar that uses a gasket between the turbo and the manifold.

 

Since you've gotten that far, can you reach in and touch/spin the turbine and/or compressor wheels? If so, do they spin freely? Is there any movement of the wheels besides just spinning? Is there any oil residue in the exhaust or intake?

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Thanks Reaper & Hemi,

  back at it today, thought I would have the turbo out tonight.

How the hell do you get the two lower nuts off connecting the Turbo to the exhaust manifold????

can get an open end on the nut but no room for any leverage to turn, and that looks like the easy one of the two.

got the upper, last two bolts to pull this. Any advise is more than appreciated. 

 

THANKS

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OK, first thing...you are trying to remove the turbo due to suspecting it being bad, right?

 

From this picture I'd venture to say that the turbo isn't the problem. Of course pictures and diagnosing a complex mechanical system usually don't go hand in hand, but, hear me out.

 

I'm specifically looking at the turbine wheel. Number 1, it's dry. It's not caked with carbon or oil and it's not tinted green from coolant. Number 2, it doesn't appear that the turbine wheel has contacted the housing. There's no clear marks and the blade tips look good. Yes, the housing looks like it's slightly damp with oil residue, but that doesn't mean it's the turbo.

 

If you grab the hub of the turbine, does it move in any direction other than simply spinning? If not, I wouldn't pull the turbo as most likely it's not the issue.

 

As for removing those turbo bolts...I've personally never gotten them off without cutting or snapping them. Even on an engine stand this isn't fun.

Edited by Reaper1 (see edit history)
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Thanks Reaper1, sent the question before I saw your reply.

I did wind up taking the exhaust manifold off. got the turbo out, definitely shot, lots of play up and down, ordered a rebuild kit but have not completely dissembled it.

a couple friends think the impeller fins might be bent. I'm hoping they might be ok, nothing to compare to.

options;

$120  Rebuild it using the $120 kit and hope that it runs properly (assuming the shaft and fins arn't that far gone)

$350  send it to Chris in Florida Turbos Unlimited who does rebuilds if possible (assuming the shaft and fins arn't that far gone)

$1000 New turbo I've seen online Rick at RDI performance (lots of TC parts)

maybe an aftermarket option? 

turb3.jpg

turb4.jpg

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Yeah, it looks like the compressor did make some contact with the housing.

 

My personal suggestion is to go through Chris at Turbos Unleashed. Great customer service, vendor that supports our community, great warranty, competitive pricing.

 

As for aftermarket options: none that are direct bolt-on that I'm aware of.

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Thanks,

I have already talked to Chris, he sounds very knowledgeable and professional, I will most likely ship this off to him to see if its rebuild able.

 

thx again,  peter

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  • 3 weeks later...

Pesd,

 

I dont get on here as much as I used to but I did read the entire thread. Did you hear me yelling,  ITS NOT THE RINGS!😁  (about your compression check. Plugs out, throttle wide open, 5 to 6 'hits' that's the compression you hear of the one cylinder you have the tester in, I suspect it will be much higher if you did it this way).

 

On your turbo  rebuild/upgrade, there are lots of compressor wheels(cold side) available. Stock is approximately a '12T' 14T us a great upgrade and in fact, if your housing has damage, it's a good way to fix it by having it made larger for the 14T. 16T is great for a modified 16V motor but I dont reccomend it for a stock motor. Unfortunately the turbine wheel (hot side) is the largest wheel made for the IHI RBH5 family of turbos.

 

One last thought, when your brother said valve seals, he was likely right. Even tho only 14K on the motor they are 30+ years old and as mentioned earlier in the thread, valves themselves and guides were not of very good quality.

 

I'd say just do the turbo rebuild for now (14T😎) uncork the exhaust and crank the boost to 13.5.

 

AJ

 

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On 2/23/2019 at 8:58 PM, pesd said:

Thanks Reaper & Hemi,

  back at it today, thought I would have the turbo out tonight.

How the hell do you get the two lower nuts off connecting the Turbo to the exhaust manifold????

can get an open end on the nut but no room for any leverage to turn, and that looks like the easy one of the two.

got the upper, last two bolts to pull this. Any advise is more than appreciated. 

 

THANKS

Well, my friend, as a mechanic for a long long time, whatever you have to do, such as buying a couple of special wrenches to get to the nuts is the only thing I can think of at the moment. I replaced a turbo on a 16V TC a few years ago and used hand tools right out of my tool box. It may be that the wrenches you have available are just the wrong length or something. It is not an easy job, just look for a way that is feasible. I wish I could give you a more direct and helpful answer. 

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On 3/25/2019 at 2:37 PM, TwinCamFan said:

Thanks very much for trying to help out Reaper, I spoke to Chris today.

I had to pull the trigger on something soon, my car has been tying up my brothers lift/shop for almost a month now.

I today bought a new turbo from Rick Diogo in Florida, both Rick and Chris seem to be true "Stand-up Guys" trying to help with the TC "community"

I should have the turbo by the weekend and will start putting things back together Sunday, new front seals, valve cover gasket, fuel filter and misc..

Hopefully back on the road in a few weeks just in time for warmer weather, no salt roads in New England.

Also thanks to Hemi Dude who and Twin Cam Fan who I owe a reply to.. all you guys are great and I'm just a rookie in the TC world.

But... I'm sure I'm going to be reaching out to all of you as I reassemble this, but I'll try to Keep it to a minimum.

 

THANK AGAIN, 

           Peter (pesd)  

 

 

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On 3/25/2019 at 2:37 PM, TwinCamFan said:

 

 

I would love to recupe some cost but I already told Chris at Turbo's Unleashed he could keep it, I hope I'm not going to regret it and whined up buying it back from him down the road if this one goes belly up.

thanks any how.

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  • 1 month later...

OK, 

Any input is very appreciated.

Thanks again to Chris at Turbo Unleashed, Diogo at RDIperformance, Hemidude, Reaper1 and all that contributed.

Two weeks to getting this 16 valve on the road for summer weather, we know the turbo failed, new one installed, 13,000k on the origional, why would it fail, should I be looking at something else?

 

I dont want to fire this thing up to have another turbo blow after lots of money and hours this past winter,  last I drove it 70 mph on the highway for 10 miles, I noticed first time ever oil pressure was down considerably,

off the next ramp (not far) checked the dipstick, very low! three more blocks to a NAPA, added two quarts and that's when I saw clouds of smoke from the exhaust.    

 

Was it a anomaly with the turbo or possibly an oil pump fail or similar that starved the turbo causing it to fail? 

Something I should check before I turn the key and cross my fingers.

  Thanks,

       Peter D

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