Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer? [Archive] - Team Camaro Tech

: Antifreeze smell from exhaust pipes--time for sealer?


Brentmc
Aug 1st, 07, 08:02 AM
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?

dubs68camaro
Aug 1st, 07, 08:12 AM
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.

JimM
Aug 1st, 07, 08:15 AM
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!

DOUG G
Aug 1st, 07, 08:32 AM
There also seams to be issues with the plastic intake gaskets.So I've heard.

What did you use ?

Brentmc
Aug 1st, 07, 08:53 AM
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?

GreyShadows
Aug 1st, 07, 10:02 AM
[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

Brentmc
Aug 1st, 07, 10:11 AM
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.

JimM
Aug 1st, 07, 10:17 AM
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.

JimM
Aug 1st, 07, 10:19 AM
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?

Brentmc
Aug 1st, 07, 10:30 AM
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...

zdld17
Aug 1st, 07, 01:36 PM
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?

Brentmc
Aug 1st, 07, 01:59 PM
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.

67FamilyFun
Aug 1st, 07, 02:17 PM
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 :D

I'm just don't want you tearing stuff down if not needed...
Scott

Lonnie67
Aug 1st, 07, 03:27 PM
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.

pdq67
Aug 2nd, 07, 06:17 PM
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!!

pdq67

zdld17
Aug 2nd, 07, 07:02 PM
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!!

pdq67

Very old days, didnt think the pharmacy was a place to get this but they had it .

pdq67
Aug 2nd, 07, 09:54 PM
He, He!!

Don,

KMAandCMeBubba!

I had to say that b/c I bought my 1st quart of Waterglass from Rex-Alls Drug Store on the Square in Macon, MO back about '64!!

pdq67

himarketmike
Aug 2nd, 07, 10:21 PM
if you have the tools i would do a leak down test on each cyl. for a crack. and then put a pressure test on the rad. see if you can see or hear a leak. that way you don't tare anything down with out doing some tests first. the leak could becoming from the intake manifold. did you use silicone on you water jackets edges?

dubs68camaro
Aug 3rd, 07, 10:14 PM
He, He!!

Don,

KMAandCMeBubba!

I had to say that b/c I bought my 1st quart of Waterglass from Rex-Alls Drug Store on the Square in Macon, MO back about '64!!

pdq67

It's amazing to here you old farts talk about the "old days"......I was born the same year as the great Camaro!!!!!!

Don't get me wrong. The shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. I love learning from people that have blown-up one or two.

You guys rock!!!!

zdld17
Aug 4th, 07, 04:48 AM
I am a boomer, keep paying your SS & Medicare taxes.

PGQ, you are correct , that was about the time I use this in our family 56 ford. Just think of what this stuff did for radiators and think, what in the world was it used for in humans? Maybe this is what created the "iron stomachs"?

77wolf10.85
Aug 4th, 07, 05:29 AM
...I'm stupid when it comes to coloring smoke...white, blue, black...it all pretty much looks like smoke when I've seen it :D



Scott
that's only cuz you haven't had the luxury of seeing it bellering out of a 12" exhaust pipe. There is no doubt in your mind then.

Smoke test 101... water/antifreeze vapor dissipates into air and tends to rise. Oil smoke stays together and heavy enough goes down. Of course, 40 foot up in the air makes a difference here, but even at ground level you can still discern dissipating smoke that tends to rise from conglomerating smoke that is heavier than air.

Brentmc, I got this far in the thread (Scott's #13 post)and replied, maybe somebody else told you already.... let the thing sit a day and go out there and pull the plugs. Get someone to crank it or use a remote while you watch the holes.

If you got liquid in a hole you'll see vapor spew at cranking.
There will be no doubt which hole/holes.

Taste it for sweet = antifreeze. Taste like dawgchit?, must be dawgchit, jawburrnawk:D. Damgood thing we no step in eh jawburrnawk?:DHhehehe, cheech n chong. I couldn't resist:D

Brentmc
Oct 24th, 07, 07:07 AM
I just got a chance to get back to the white smoke issue on my car.

Here is what I have so far:
- White smoke on start-up; smoke is heavy and smells like sweet antifreeze; smoke goes away in 30-60 seconds
- Milky oil in the valve covers and small beads of antifreeze/oil mix on the heads
- No bubbles in the radiator
- No antifreeze or milky oil on the dipstick
- None of the plugs are white (as they would be if there were coolant in the cylinder). They are actually all brownish-black.

What I am trying now:
-I'm pulling the top head bolts one at a time (working left to right), wire wheeling the threads, coating them with Permatex and torquing them to 65 lbs. I will let it sit for 24 hours and retorq everything before starting it.

-My next step is to remove the plugs and turn over the engine to see if a cylinder is getting coolant.

2 Questions:
-Do I need to remove and seal the small head bolts also?

-Could the coolant be dripping into the exhaust pipes and NOT going into a cylinder?

I think the sealant will fix the milky oil problem, but after reading every related post on TC, don't see how the lack of thread sealant would cause white smoke out of the exhaust on start-up...

Everett#2390
Oct 24th, 07, 07:45 AM
Yes, do the short length bolts, the ones under the headers.
Possible of coolant leaking into exhaust port, but unlikely.
Mikey valve covers would be from condensation and oil mixed, engine covers not hot enough to burn off the vapor.

Smoke from the tailpipe is probably condensation evaporating.

sspecialk
Oct 24th, 07, 03:01 PM
For what it is worth we had a bracket motor years ago that did this exact thing and it wound up being a crakced cylinder wall. The only time it showed any signs of an issue was at initial start up and it too would puff a bit and emit the sweet smell o f antifreeze. The car ran consistent and as good as ever. When we took it out of the car it in fact did have a cracked cylinder wall. New block and we were back in business. Hope it does not come to this but just a piece of history to consider.

Brentmc
Oct 31st, 07, 08:16 PM
Well, an update on my sloooooow progress.

I removed and cleaned each of the head bolts, applied Permatex aviation sealer and re-installed and retorqued them.

In doing so, I found drops of antifreeze laying in the head. It seems that antifreeze was making its way past my head bolts and turning into chocolate milk inside my valve covers. Hopefully that problem will be gone once I get this reassembled.

I next checked each spark plug and found the #5 plug wet and smelling like antifreeze. I fished a piece of paper towel into the plug hole and it came out wet with antifreeze...there is antifreeze in the #5 cylinder! All of the other cylinders are bone dry.

I'm hoping that retorquing the head and the intake will stop this single leak but won't know till I eventually get everything back together.

As I said earlier in this thread, the smoke only lasts for the first minute or so after start-up and then goes away. The car seems to run fine and pulls a steady 17 of vacuum. There were no bubbles in the radiator.

So, if the problem is still there after I put it back together, it would seem that I probably have a bad header or intake gasket...yes?

Brentmc
Nov 3rd, 07, 12:50 PM
Well...the car is back together. It still puts out white smoke.

pdq67
Nov 3rd, 07, 01:31 PM
Time to put a quart of waterglass in her like I said and hope for the best!

I've sealed at least two cracked heads long term using the darn stuff over the years.

It is just sodium silicate and to answer the question, what do us humans use it for beside's this??

I think fresh eggs when dipped in a diluted solution of it will stay fresh longer b/c it seals the shell and make's them more air-tight and I think that is why you can get it at a Drug Store b/c it would be pharmacutical(Sp?) grade which means food grade to me.

But I may be off here..

pdq67

Brentmc
Nov 3rd, 07, 04:29 PM
I did use silicone--I will do a compression test tomorrow

pdq67
Nov 3rd, 07, 07:23 PM
Like I said!!

GOOD OLD Permatex, "Indianhead Shellac Gasket Cement" for my head-bolts!!

Damn stuff's messy, but it works fine by me!!

pdq67

BillK
Nov 3rd, 07, 07:51 PM
Brent,
I can see the head bolts getting coolant in the oil, but not in the exhaust. Either you have a leaking head gasket, or a cracked head. If it is bad enought that you are getting that much coolant in the cylinder, you need to pull the head and find the problem and fix it.

Brentmc
Nov 3rd, 07, 08:43 PM
I used the permatex on the head bolts and it seems to have stopped the coolant wicking up the bolts. There is still coolant in #5 though...I guess I have to remove the head and check things out if this continues at the next start up...