Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer? - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

Following my new vortec head/Voodoo cam/Air Gap intake install (chronicled on TC--thanks everyone) I found that my car has white smoke from both exhaust pipes upon start-up. The smoke goes away after 30 seconds or so.

Along with the smoke is a smell of sweet antifreeze. These two symptoms, the fact that I put NO sealer on the head bolts, the fact that the car runs very smooth, and after hours of research on Team Camaro/Chevelle it looks like I have a classic case of....no sealer on the head bolts. Anyone disagree?

Which almost brings me to the questions--I understand that I can remove the head bolts one-by-one, clean them with brake cleaner, apply Indian Head Shellac or Permatex and then re-install/re-torque them. Once this is done, the bolt holes will be sealed and no more antifreeze will find its way into the combustion chambers. It will be completely fixed.
  • Am I missing anything?
  • Do I need to remove ALL the bolts or do only some bolts go into the water jacket?
  • Do I have to remove the bolts on the bottom of the head too?(near the headers)
  • Should I remove the individual bolts in any set sequence?
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 07:12 AM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

The experts will chime in anytime now, but I'm thinking there is a head gasket problem too. Not sure if just using sealant at this point will be enough. Look forward to hearing the suggestions.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 07:15 AM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

I wouldn't go so far as calling this a "for sure" fix, but it is worth a try.

For antifreeze to be coming thru the cumbustion chambers and out the tailpipes, it would have to be getting past the gaskets. (or getting in from somewhere else)

The "normal" "head bolts not sealed" would involve coolant wicking up the bolts into the top of the heads... foamy stuff around the boltheads under the valve covers, small amounts of coolant in the oil, stuff like that. The head gaskets would be expected to keep the coolant out of the cylinders even if coolant is leaking past the bolt threads.

I would check for bubbles in the radiator (motor warm and running, rev it a few times while watching in the open radiator.) Bubbles would indicate bad gaskets.

I would proceed with resealing the bolts. Be sure to drain the coolant, including the block drains. Use a small bore brush and laquer thinner to clean the threads in the deck to be sure of a good seal. It doesn't matter what order you do em.

Good luck!

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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 07:32 AM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

There also seams to be issues with the plastic intake gaskets.So I've heard.

What did you use ?

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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

I used these head gaskets:

Fel-Pro 1003 Performance Head Gaskets
Bore (in): 4.166 in.
Bore (mm): 105.816mm
Gasket Material: Steel core laminate
Compressed Thickness (in): 0.041 in.
Compressed Volume (cc): 9.100cc

Wouldn't my car run rough if my head gasket was leaking?

Last edited by Brentmc; Aug 1st, 07 at 09:14 AM.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 09:02 AM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

[QUOTE=Wouldn't my car run rough if my head gasket was leaking?[/QUOTE]

noo that is not always the case.. what you have is a sloww drip into the cylinders or you would notice much more than jus a little white smoke upon start up..If it is truly a bolt that isnt sealing the fluid would come up the bolt to the top of the head .. the gasket should keep the fluid out of the cylinders .. so you should see some kind of antifreeze or anti-freeze by product under the valve covers. Sorry Jim i think i am just pretty much repeating what you have already said hehe

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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

Thanks all. I will check for bubbling. These head gaskets (FelPro 1003) are supposed to be some of the best so I'm hoping they held.

Last edited by Brentmc; Aug 1st, 07 at 09:20 AM. Reason: The question was already answered...
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 09:17 AM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brentmc View Post
Or does this path only exist if the head gasket fails and allows the wicking coolant to move between the bolt and the combustion chamber?
That one.

And there are other ways of getting coolant into the chambers beside a head gasket.

Unless you've done more tests than you've said, I think you may be jumping to a conclusion. You're making something you know could be a problem fit the symptom.

Do the bubble test first.

Then take the valve covers off and look for anything funny around any of the headbolts. Check along the bottom of the heads, below the headers as well.

Check the oil for any milky appearance.

Pull all the plugs and compare them. Water is a real good cleaner. If water is gewtting int a chamber, it's plug will look much cleaner than the others.

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 09:19 AM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

If you have an H or X pipe in your exhaust, even a problem with only one cylinder would give you coolant out of both pipes.

A problem in all 8 cylinders together would be real weird.

Your statement that you see it when you first fire the engine but then it goes away is weird too.

Have you retorqued the heads since the engine was broken in?

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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

Yes! You are right--I do have an X-pipe--of course the smoke would come out of both sides--I never even thought of that...!

I get white smoke on start-up after it has been sitting for a day or so. The smoke lasts for a bit (30 or 60 seconds?) then goes away. I thought that this was because the leak was so small that it only smokes when it has had time to build up in the cylinder. When I drive it, let it sit for a few hours, and start it again, there is no smoke. I was thinking this was just signs of a very small leak... Wouldn't there be much more leaking though under pressure than when sitting still?

I re-torqued the heads after running the motor for 45 minutes or so but have driven 500 miles since then and have not retorqued...

I'm do a bubble check and re-torque the heads and see what happens...

Last edited by Brentmc; Aug 1st, 07 at 12:46 PM.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 12:36 PM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

Sounds like system pressure forcing out coolant into the pipes or a cavity to come out with exhaust after motor is off then swept up again when motor is cool and once heated up, it quits? If you suspect a cly, you might be able to see runs on a plug?

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

I'll pull the spark plugs too and check them out (and take reference pictures).

I was thinking that the reason it stops steaming/smoking once the engine is warm is either 1) the leak/drip is small and takes awhile (i.e. overnight) to build up enough to produce noticable smoke or 2) once the motor warms up the leak seals itself somehow.

That said, I'll start it tonight and check for bubbles, check each plug for signs of being steam cleaned by coolant, check the heads for coolant residue, and retorque the head bolts to 65 ft lbs. If that doesn't work, I will remove each bolt, clean it, coat with it sealant and retorque it (do I need to remove the lower head bolts near the headers?).

If I find that the head gasket is still allowing coolant into the combustion chamber, I will have that head checked for warping and then reinstall it with a new gasket...

You guys are great.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 01:17 PM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

Brent,
I've seen people confuse condensation with white smoke before. It has been awfully humid lately, are you sure you aren't seeing water vapor vs. white smoke. Water vapor will go away in 30-60 seconds like you have described.
As to the smell...?
Another option could be valve guides leaking some oil after shutdown so that you get a little smoke on startup...I'm stupid when it comes to coloring smoke...white, blue, black...it all pretty much looks like smoke when I've seen it

I'm just don't want you tearing stuff down if not needed...
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 07, 02:27 PM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

After it sits for a couple days, don't start it, pull all the spark plugs out. Crank the engine, any water will get blown out, then you will know what cylinder it is. Maybe have a couple of people watching while you crank.

If no water comes out, put plugs back in and start it. If it still smokes then maybe condensation like mentioned above.

If it is leaking into the cylinder, I don't think it goes away when warm. It's just not enough to see. I would guess a gasket issue, head or intake. A crack would get worse when hot.

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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old Aug 2nd, 07, 05:17 PM
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Re: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?

You can do this too!

Drain her and flush COMPLETELY w/ clean water until completely clear!!

Add a quart of waterglass, (i.e., sodium silicate), and fill back up w/ water and put a big piece of cardboard over the rad. and drive her until she get's hot, but not like old faithful!!

Let her cool over night, start her up and check for any bubbling and if there isn't any, drain and flush until completely clean again and fill her back up w/ coolant mix. and go!!

Oh, and btw, remove the big piece of cardboard too..

Waterglass is a h-d coolant passage way sealer here is all from the old days!!

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