1998 Acura TL Smoke coming from back of car

Tiny
CHANA
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 ACURA TL
Smells problem
1998 Acura TL Front Wheel Drive Automatic 190000 miles

Today I was driving quite fast on the freeway to the airport. When I was almost there the check engine light came on. Then soon after I experienced significant power loss to the engine. It seemed to shift out of gear for a minute and happened more than once in the next couple of minutes. Once I parked, thin smoke was billowing out from under the car. It did smell, though not particularly strong. It seemed to all be coming from somewhere behind the engine area. No smoke came from under the hood, even with it open. I didn't find exactly where the smoke was coming from, but after I let the car cool down a couple of minutes, I was able to drive home (45 minute drive on freeway) without experiencing any other problems. Now I don't know what caused it or when the problem is, but I'd like to fix it before it causes a more serious issue. Please help!

Other recent problems - some concern that there is no pressure release when opening the cap for the radiator. Could this be related?
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Monday, August 16th, 2010 AT 12:06 AM

10 Replies

Tiny
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Hello and thanks for donating

What shade/color was the smoke? Normally it will either be gray/black, blue or white. This will signify what type of fluid was leaking and being burnt.
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Monday, August 16th, 2010 AT 1:09 AM
Tiny
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The smoke was more blue/white. Definitely not gray black. It was pretty thin and seemed to disapate quickly.
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Monday, August 16th, 2010 AT 9:10 AM
Tiny
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Seems as though you may have had a water pump failure or something else connected with the cooling system. Whitish smoke indicates water being burned, usually the coolant leaking from somewhere. Have you checked the coolant level to see if it's lower than it should be? If so there is definitely something leaking.
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Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 AT 4:20 PM
Tiny
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In response to your question, yes, I have checked the coolant levels and they are at max. I haven't filled the coolant in quite a while either, because it never seems to need it. All other fluid levels are filled as well.
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Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 AT 11:02 PM
Tiny
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If there was smoke then there must be fluid loss somewhere. Was the transmission fluid level checked as well? How has the car been driving since this? Is it doing good now, no smoking, no gear slipping etc.?
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Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 AT 11:04 PM
Tiny
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I did check the transmission level as well and it was where it should be. The car has been driving great - like nothing happened - since the incident, but I have been babying it as well, doing nothing to over-work it. I'm afraid there might be something expensive wrong with it and I don't want to hurry the problem along.

I did have to do emmisions and inspection the next day to register the car and it passed. I don't know if this helps or not.
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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 AT 11:00 PM
Tiny
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Okay, honestly I'm not sure what happened here. I'm going to invite some fellow techs with more experience into this post to help you out further than I feel I can.
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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 AT 11:02 PM
Tiny
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I appreciate your help. More heads are better than two, right? Because it has me totally confused as well.
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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 AT 11:08 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
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Hi there,

I am wondering if the transmission over heated at the high speed and load and forced some oil out the filler, you would not need a lot of oil to make a considerable cloud of smoke, I would be checking around the filler for any signs of oil residue, now that you are driving more sedately, you may not get the same temps up in the transmission, remember that unlike engine oil transmission oil will expand considerably when hot, 100Ml or so will smoke like a bush fire if it hits the exhaust and you would hardy notice it gone on the dip stick, also what code was set with the check light?

Mark (mhpautos)
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Thursday, August 19th, 2010 AT 2:29 AM
Tiny
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I will check around the filler for the transmission oil. And to be completely honest, I didn't get the check engine light codes. I should have. Instead I reset the check engine light and it hasn't come back on since. The transmission is having problems shifting in and out of third gear and I just had to have major repairs done on it last year. It lost reverse and other mumbo jumbo. If the issue is what you say, is that something that I should be very concerned about at this point?

I was doing a little googling of this problem and I am wondering what the likelihood is that the catalytic converter is clogged or getting there? I saw some other potentially similar car issues where that was the case but I don't know what the likelihood is of it being the issue with my car.

Thank you very much for your time in helping me with this issue. I really appreciate your efforts.
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Thursday, August 19th, 2010 AT 11:52 PM

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