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Old 04-08-2008   #1
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Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

Hi all,

I have one or two new problems for my little Fiat 1.9 TD100SX

While looking for a parking spot at the local shops, I was crawling along in 1st when the engine started to splutter as if it was going to stall. With a bit more revs it would jolt like bunnyhopping, so I stopped the car. It then chucked out a load of white smoke from the back, so I turned it off for a while.

I checked the oil, water, looked for leaks etc (about as much as I know, or could do at Tesco's) and all looked ok - aside from the water level being low. So I took it for a drive home and topped up the water and it seemed ok until I had to use it to get to work.

I've driven it quite a bit more, so should have some useful points for diagnostics now.

It only seems to do it when crawing along, say below 40. When it starts to splutter, if I give it some revs it keeps it going and also, I can stop it doing it if I drive home one gear too low, above 2500rpm.

At all times it feels like the car is fighting against something. Resistance or drag or something. It doesn't really seem down on power much and will hit 60 in roughly the same time (maybe slower, hard to tell).

Also and this might be my imagination or because I was actually listening with the windows down but I can hear a fast clicking sound above 3000rpm.

Once it starts, it will splutter and jolt for however long you let it. I'm unsure if it would eventually stall but I do know that once you give it some revs, it will chuck out one hell of a lot of smoke (pale, not pure white but not black that's for sure).

I do not know if this is related but thought I had better list it anyway:
I thought the car was losing water as well. I topped it up to the max line and drove 18 miles to work. Once there I checked it again and it was a good inch below min.

I left the car for 8+ hours at work and went out to top up the water. Upon loosening the cap it made a hiss/pressure release noise and the water level went back up to max level. Is that normal?? :S


Thanks for any advice you can offer,
Lee

P.S I've checked the oil and it looks ok, not milky or anything.
The temperature remains fine at all times and it doesn't seem to be losing water aisde from that pressure drop problem listed above.
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Last edited by Niven; 04-08-2008 at 18:56.
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Old 04-08-2008   #2
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

Some of the symptoms sound like the stat of head gasket failure. Tho im not sure if there is a difference in the signs between petrol and diesel engines so i could be talking rubbish!!!! White smoke from the exhaust indicates water being combusted with fuel and released with the exhaust gasses. Usually h/g failure is accompanied by 'mayo' under the oil filler cap or scum in the header tank where coolant and oil mix. Overheating is also a danger as this will warp the head itself.
You shouldnt have to top up coolant that often. My old car i was doing it every day to keep it running.
Best advice i can give is to get it to a garage just to be on the safe side. Better to know what the problem is now rather than continue to drive it until the h/g does blow...It could mean the end of your engine!!! It did mine! Hope this helps
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Old 05-08-2008   #3
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph




I would guess that water is getting into a cylinder and making combustion difficult.

I would have it taken to a garage to have a compression test done.
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Old 05-08-2008   #4
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

Quote Originally Posted by Niven View Post
I do not know if this is related but thought I had better list it anyway:
I thought the car was losing water as well. I topped it up to the max line and drove 18 miles to work. Once there I checked it again and it was a good inch below min.

I left the car for 8+ hours at work and went out to top up the water. Upon loosening the cap it made a hiss/pressure release noise and the water level went back up to max level. Is that normal?? :S
it dropped an inch because hot water takes up less volume, that is why you must only top up when cold.
the pressure and water bubbling back up is normal, but in future never open the filler cap when it is hot.

your description of the problem doesnt make anything in particular come to mind. if the fuel injection system fault light illuminated? if it is you could have a diagnostic performed to help determine what the fault is.
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Old 05-08-2008   #5
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

Quote Originally Posted by Niven View Post
I left the car for 8+ hours at work and went out to top up the water. Upon loosening the cap it made a hiss/pressure release noise and the water level went back up to max level.
The engine would have surely been cold after sitting there for 8 hours? or did you mean, fill the coolant when it is hot?

Update: This mornings drive to work was pretty rough and it chugged like heck at traffic lights, smoking while doing so, so I did a little test :S

Once on the country roads it started again, so I parked up to see exactly how long it would go on idling and if it would stall. After a good 5 minutes it seemed pretty clear that it would go on forever and when revved it would happily churn out enough smoke to sneak a small army past some watching guards.

However, if I turn the engine off, then on, it clears and if I accelerate past 30ish it also clears.

Further update: It didn't chug once on the way home (55 minutes plus 10 in traffic jams).

I know this sounds stupid but is it possible that water has gotten into the fuel either from some seal breakage or at the pumps? would that cause these symptoms. I do remember the pump cutting out a lot the last time I filled up.

P.S no injection error lights that stay on after starting the engine :S
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Last edited by Niven; 05-08-2008 at 23:23.
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Old 08-08-2008   #6
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

on the botom of the fuel fitler there is a water bleed screw, and on the top an air bleed screw, loosen them both and then run the engine until both have had a chance to remove any air/water from the fuel system. retighten both with engine still running.
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Old 11-08-2008   #7
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

Quote Originally Posted by jug View Post
on the botom of the fuel fitler there is a water bleed screw, and on the top an air bleed screw, loosen them both and then run the engine until both have had a chance to remove any air/water from the fuel system. retighten both with engine still running.
We managed to get time on saturday to do this but there wasn't anything but a tiny hiss/bubbling for a split second.

Things have gotten a lot worse. I have ditched the car at the top of the works car park because it was smoking so much. It didn't stop once on my 22 mile journey to work. I can feel engine braking even in 4th now and it starts spluttering and smoking after turning it on in the morning (idling) right up until the temp is on half. It just will not stop now, so I will be wearing a brown paper bag on my head or getting a rental.

It is not losing any water or oil but the smoke is bluish in colour.
It will chrun it out until the cows come home.

Some part of the fuel deliverary, perhaps injectors, pump or that solenoid thingy? would that cause smoke?
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Old 11-08-2008   #8
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

Quote Originally Posted by Niven View Post
We managed to get time on saturday to do this but there wasn't anything but a tiny hiss/bubbling for a split second.

Things have gotten a lot worse. I have ditched the car at the top of the works car park because it was smoking so much. It didn't stop once on my 22 mile journey to work. I can feel engine braking even in 4th now and it starts spluttering and smoking after turning it on in the morning (idling) right up until the temp is on half. It just will not stop now, so I will be wearing a brown paper bag on my head or getting a rental.

It is not losing any water or oil but the smoke is bluish in colour.
It will chrun it out until the cows come home.

Some part of the fuel deliverary, perhaps injectors, pump or that solenoid thingy? would that cause smoke?
Blue smoke!!! now that is a different matter.
Blue tinted is oil
black is unburnt diesel
White is water vapour

first I would be checking the intercooler and turbo pipework for signs of excess oil. also the oil return feed from the turbo for signs of blockage.

basically a turbo uses oil to lubricate it's spinning parts. If the seals become worn it will dump oil into the exhaust. another possible cause for this is when the oil feed/return a pipe that feeds the turbo and then drains back into the sump becomes blocked it causes oil to build up in the turbo and puts pressure on the seals and gets past them.

failing that it could be a damaged engine component.
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Old 11-08-2008   #9
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

if we assume for a moment the smoke is actually black, then the rest of the situation does sound a lot like some MAF failures or EGR failures.
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Last edited by jug; 11-08-2008 at 11:58.
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Old 11-08-2008   #10
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Re: Spluttering and smoke under 40mph

i'm getting confused. What colour is the smoke, again.
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