2001 Pontiac Bonneville Smoking when started

Tiny
CRISPIE94
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 120,000 MILES
My car has been having some issues for awhile now. It started with my coolant disappearing. It doesn't leak in the driveway but it must come out sometime when I'm driving. It was running fine even with this problem, it hasn't been overheating at all. I've been told that this maybe a bad head gasket or water pump. I'm not sure. Twice now, about 2-3 weeks apart my car wouldn't start right away. It took a few times of turning the key to get it to catch and turn all the way over. Both of the times this has happened when the car finally started smoke started coming out from under the hood and into the car through the heat vents as well, it smelled terrible like a belt had burnt up. Both times I immediately shut the car off because honestly there was so much smoke I thought it was on fire. When I open the hood there is no indication of any fire or smoke coming from anything specifically. After I scratch my head trying to figure out what's going on I get back in, it starts right up, no smoke/smell and off I go. What do you think is wrong with my poor car? Thank you so much!
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Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 AT 6:03 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
This is an interesting one. I feel it's tied into the coolant missing. A head gasket could cause you to burn the coolant, but the (white) smoke usually exits through the exhaust. If it was a water pump, there would be evidence of a leak at the pump or around it. Plus, I would think you would see it when you parked. When you opened the hood, was it at all evident where the smoke may have come from? If you check the oil, is there any evidence that coolant may be getting into the oil?

Joe
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Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 AT 10:40 PM
Tiny
CRISPIE94
  • MEMBER
Hi, thank you for responding. When I checked the oil it just looked really dirty to me (it's a bit passed 3,000) but nothing suspicious there that I could see anyways. After I shut the car down and pop the hood I can't tell where the smoke is coming from. To me it seems like something really burned up because the smoke is dark and very stinky. I really don't think it could be any fluids leaking onto anything else because I live in WI and the two times this has happened it's been pretty cold out and the car had been sitting and was very cold (nothing hot to create steam or smoke from burning on another surface.) It seems almost like a short or quick fire must start and extinguish. The other thing it seems like is if a belt is getting ready to break or something. It has that burnt rubber smell but can't find any evidence that it's a belt. Everything works fine in the car. Also when it does this it's a pretty good amount of smoke. Both times the whole interior of my car was filled with smoke and smoke pours out from both sides of the hood. One other thing I've been noticing is that the battery volt gauge has been high lately - not in the middle like normal but not in the red area either about 1/2 way between normal and red. Hope this helps! Thanks!
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Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 AT 11:02 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Hi:
Listen, I need you to have the alternator tested at a parts store. Most will do it for free. If the voltage regulator is not working correctly, it could cause a fire. The smell could be wiring insulation melting.

Let me know what you find.

Joe
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Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 AT 11:21 PM

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