CAR OVERHEATED TO WHERE SMOKE WAS COMING FROM UNDER THE HOOD
1997 Infiniti Q45
January, 18, 2012 AT 6:56 PM
Added coolant. Today runs idle ok. I'm I ok to drive? Heard a clunk and smoke appeared under hood and tail pipe. Immediately pulled over and picked up some 50/50 coolant. Made it home. Next day I still smell radiator but drove around and temp is at mid range. My last oil change guy said my radiator leaks and that I needed new belts. Was the coolant just a quick fix because radiator leaks?
This is one of those hard to diagnose problems because I don't have the car in front of me. F it was just a radiator leaking, and you just ran it too low, adding coolant will presumably fix the problem until it runs low again. I do not like the clunk, but more than that I do not like the smoke from the tailpipe.
It could be that you are in the downward spiral of a blown head gasket. When your head gasket starts to go, it pressurizes the coolant chambers and can make the radiator look like it is leaking (and it can cause a real leak too). You will start to loose coolant out of the tail pipe, and smell it too. If you didn't mention the tail pipe it wouldn't be so bad, but either way overheating regardless of the cause can lead to, if not create the issue, of a blown head gasket.
There is one product that I have seen fix two cars so far, and for $30 is worth trying. It's a Bars Leak head gasket repair in a bottle. Not long ago I would say it's a waste of money, but like I said, twice I have seen it work with my own eyes. One of those times however, the car was driven on too long with the bad head gasket and it did fix the head gasket but rod bearing damage was done to the motor which resulted in low oil pressure. If you get lucky and din't do further damage, this may solve your problem for a while.
Oh, and in the other case that I saw it, it was used to get a car off the highway which had a known head gasket leak (20 psi in the #1 cylinder)and when it came to me all cylinders held 120 psi with my leak down tester. The car is still driving today. Good luck, if you decide to buy it you can get it at autozone, advance and pepboys. Make sure it's the one where you just add it to the coolant without a drain and flush.
January, 18, 2012 AT 8:16 PM
Thanks. I'm gonna try the Bars solution. And try to post back to let you know how it goes.
January, 20, 2012 AT 10:45 PM
Did you get a chance to try the Bars Leak?
January, 20, 2012 AT 11:09 PM
It worked like a charm. Temperature remains right in the middle. So far so good. The car is at 164500k mikes so I probably will start the car search. But this is a great quick fix. If it buys mr time to resell great. Thanks for the tip!
January, 21, 2012 AT 6:28 AM
Awesome, great to hear. Please don't forget to close out this question, it's still showing up as active. Thanks, -Luke
January, 21, 2012 AT 3:17 PM
Hey Luke, just as it seemed ok it overheated on the way home. So there are some bigger issues. This time all the surroundings were white frozen powder look?
January, 22, 2012 AT 2:30 AM
Put a thermostat in it, they're cheap and easy to do, like $10, then fill it with coolant and leave the cap off and run it parked until it gets to operating temp. When it does, the thermostat will open and the coolant will go down. Top it back off and close it. Make sure the resovoir is to the hot fill mark too. Put a few miles on it and let it cool down, then recheck the radiator and resovoir levels. Keep an eye on your heat, you should be able to keep it in check by putting the heat on full blast when it starts to creep up on you. Make sure the cooling fan is coming on when its hot too. Let me know how it works out.