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Mystery smoke! Help please...

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31 Mar 2022 10:32 #242620 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep
Hi all, as title suggests I have some unexplained excess smoke out of the exhaust. 

Off road ready, suzuki jimny 2004, petrol manual, has m16a suzuki liana engine fitted (original jimny exhaust) 

As mentioned, there appears to be excess smoke/steam from the exhaust pipe... 
haven't owned the truck long and had repairs to carry out (rear bearings & brakes) before using it for purpose so if there was any smoking I hadn't really noticed it up to this point and it didn't seem to do it when I initially viewed & test drove the truck. 
only really noticed it because i met up with a friend after an afternoon laning (several wheel top height water crossings included- I have 5" lift and extended diff breathers into cab) and he followed me home and mentioned excess white smoke which has obviously now drawn my attention to it. He said it calmed down after the 15 mile drive back to the nearest village but i nipped out last night and it smoked again so i left it running on the drive for 30 mins to see if it cleared, it didnt, ran again this morning to test on school run and it smoked, again.. half hour running on drive and didnt clear. It does calm down once warm on tickover but with revs it comes straight back. Not plumes and plumes but enough to be quite visible!

Is white smoke on startup, tickover, warm up calms a bit and when I rev the car stationary from outside the truck I can see it sputtering and splattering water out of the exhaust, specially a good rev up to around 4k.

*smoke is definitely white, not blue or black

*not using/losing any water at all from coolant system.

*not using/losing oil 

*smoke smells like engine fumes, no sweet smell, no burn smell, no coolant smell. if anything it's ever so slightly fuely smelling but I can't say I've ever sniffed an exhaust before so don't really know how it should smell.

*no overheating at all (sits at half, a hair line above if it's working hard off road) 

*snorkel is fully sealed in and air box and filter bone dry and in good order.

is it possible that water from the crossings may have gotten into the exhaust itself via bad joint seal etc? 
never got stalled during the crossing so I assume backpressure would be enough to keep it out?

obviously I'm concerned because first thing Google brings up is head gadget, valve seals, piston rings, cracked head/block etc...
also lots of stuff about condensation build up.

car is a weekend play toy so does spend time parked up between days out... might do the odd run to shop in emergency but it's certainly not a daily driver so could it just be condensation and excess water trapping when off roading, playing in big puddles? 

sorry for the long ramble but I wanted to include as much info as possible.

Thanks. 
Tom 

 

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31 Mar 2022 10:52 #242625 by Roger Fairclough
Don't apologise for giving lots of info. It is far better than bugger all.
"Me motors wonky, what's rong with it" doesn't help at all.
OK, lets look at the facts. White smoke is water. Short journeys on cold days is condensation so how many miles have you done since smoking started and are they short, up to 4-5 miles or decent lengths of 12 plus? All the other points you have raised indicate that this is not ingested water and normal water level in rad/overflow tank suggest head gasket ok. How does it drive?

Roger
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31 Mar 2022 11:37 - 31 Mar 2022 12:01 #242627 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep
Hi Roger, thanks for the quick response...  it did a total of 25 miles on sunday (warm day, sun shining etc) part of which was about 8 mile of good 'grunt required' up and down green lane (no water crossings)... 
-no smoke noticed at all and I stopped to take photos of truck several times at viewpoints with engine still running and do not recall seeing any smoke at all. 
Monday it sat but maybe did a mile at best- petrol stop, school run.

Tuesday it did 16 miles to start of 'the green lane in question'- dubbed 'splashy lane' - water crossings etc followed by some heavy leaning both ways down some extreme tracks. I hadn't noticed smoke at this point but at the end of the lane back on tarmac I ran into a friend coincidently passing by who then followed me the 16 miles home and thus witnessed the smoke along the way from his car.
He did say it calmed down a bit by the time we got back close to home.

Started it up that eve for 30 mins tickover for curiosity sake and it smoked again, throughout. 
No overheating present and exhaust wasn't overly hot by end (whether that matters).
sat overnight,
started again in morning (wednesday) to test. More smoke, 30 mins same result as night before..
sat all day/eve- Wed

started this morning for school run as wife had other car and again smoke, 1 mile school run, back on drive.. tickover 30 mins, still smoke. No overheating or obvious symptoms again. Changes in fluid levels etc

truck drives great, (as great as a modified jimny drives) seems to have its full power range, no rough idle, starts like a dream, no overheating, use of fluids etc... just white smoke and water splatter if you give it a heavy footed rev up.

I've had a head gasket going, going, gone many years ago and that was a really thick white cloud (almost like the smog you see off these E cigarette things) 
but this isn't as heavy/dense as that but if I had to put a colour on it I would say white over blue or black for sure! 

To be exact(ish) it started smoking (16 miles home) and has driven approx 3 miles max since other than ticking over on drive trying to get it to clear! 
again, sorry for the ramble.
much appreciated.
Tom 



 
Last edit: 31 Mar 2022 12:01 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep. Reason: Adding info

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31 Mar 2022 11:56 - 31 Mar 2022 12:50 #242628 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep
Worth noting that there has been a dramatic decrease in outside temperature since the first 'no smoke Green lane' and the day the smoke started.
was 18 degrees and sunny start of week. It's been below 5 since including a light snow shower last night here.

just went out and got my ear close to rear back box and gave it a shake.. I can definitely hear an amount of water sloshing about inside it.
Last edit: 31 Mar 2022 12:50 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep. Reason: Adding info

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31 Mar 2022 13:15 #242632 by DrRobin
If you have a reasonable amount of water in the back box, it is going to take a long run to get the exhaust hot enough to burn it all off, especially with the current low temperatures. I would check the exhaust for leaks, with the engine running you should feel the gas if it has a hole in it.

If it doesn't have a leak, then it must be coming from the engine.

Most cars smoke a bit when cold, especially if they are only used for short runs, the engine never gets warm enough to burn off the condensation.

If it is not head gasket (you could check the plugs to see if one is clean) then there are several other things it could be:

- Water in the intake (air box or snorkle)
- Inlet manifold gasket (if the water jacket goes round it)
- Engine breather (I throw this one in if the engine breather goes in to the inlet manifold)
- You mentioned diff breathers, could these be the source of the mositure?
- Moisture in the petrol (but then it probably wouldn't run very well).

Sometimes it can be oil, this is usually blue/white, but can appear as white. Try a piece of kitchen towel over the exhaust to catch some of the fumes and then feel/smell.

Could you ask the previous owner if they ever noticed smoke?

2020 blue SZ5 (one of the last to be registered in the UK)
Ex 2011 Blue Jimny SZ4
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31 Mar 2022 14:50 #242633 by Lambert
It's sounds like you might have water in the back box, exhaust pressure may be enough to keep water out of the engine end of the exhaust to a point but it won't keep all water out of the entire system. On the only occasion I got my last one that deep I had similar which took an age to clear but it did eventually.

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31 Mar 2022 15:32 #242635 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep
Right, I've removed back box itself after some cutting and grinding (rotten flange bolts)...

I can safely say there was a reasonable amount of water in the back box... doesn't really smell of anything to be honest, bit fumey.. Not really dirty, slightly grey but still has clarity to it. 

still steam coming from the rest of the exhaust with engine running and puffs up a bit with a rev. 
But as mentioned if it's been trapping for a while and not getting used enough there could be a fair amount in the system. Had a good quart of a teacup full out the backbox and can still hear a decent amount sloshing round in there but cant get it to come out no matter which way I shake it.

previous owner reported  no smoke issues but also didn't get up to much with the truck either in terms of putting it through it's paces.

Will have a check around for more leaks further up the pipe flanges 

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31 Mar 2022 15:45 #242636 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep
Caught excess liquid coming out of remaining exhaust and it's clear, smells slightly fumey, slightly metally... the same smell you get rinsing dirty metal components in your kitchen sink with warm water while your Mrs shouts at you for making a mess. 

Although without the back box on it sounds like a v8 tractor you can still hear water being bubbled and gargled in the pipe.. could be section behind or in front of transfer box. 
Had a feel around and there is a slight blow from the first flange and downpipe... so could be an entry point when wading.

yes I have extended diff breathers but surely if those pipes were condensing on them it would be my axle oil that would have water in... Not my exhaust pipe?? Or am I missing something daft.

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31 Mar 2022 16:21 #242640 by Lambert
And this is why I avoid water deeper than the bottom of my wheels.

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31 Mar 2022 17:13 #242642 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep
Yes I understand there's always a risk and a safe wading limit!
However my previous jimny also snork'd, lifted and axle breathers used to get dunked up to the bonnet on a regular basis (axle oil dumped and changed regularly) and never had a single issue with exhaust holding water or white smoke.

I didn't buy/build it to avoid water and wet mud... I'd rather enjoy it and maintain it regularly instead.

However, this is a new one to me hence me starting a thread to ask the question

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31 Mar 2022 17:24 #242643 by Lambert
Absolutely it's what they are designed for. I have had other 4x4s with water over the top of the bonnet without a snorkel but in those days cars were recreational as I could walk to work nowadays I rely on my Jimny daily on my farm to keep the operation running so it colours the assessment of risk.

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31 Mar 2022 17:27 #242644 by TheHillsAreAliveWithTheSoundOfSheep
Yes if your lively hood is at stake I more than agree with not risking damaging your jim 
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