White smoke and hard start

Tiny
AMBER LEIGH SANDERS
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 MERCURY SABLE
  • 3.0L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 155,538 MILES
While sitting at stop light check engine light comes on and starts flashing, white smoke pouring from exhaust. Took it to AutoZone and came back with O2 sensor, spark plug/wire #6 cylinder misfire. I just changed plugs and wires a week ago, and the front bank O2 sensor a month ago. Did hard reset to delete code. No coolant in oil. Then this morning tried to start car and didn't want to start. Did a half revolution and locked up. Kept trying and finally started up but it made a hard knocking sound until it finally started. Engine was misfiring worse and a lot more white smoke. Once on the highway white smoke disappeared and misfiring was not so bad. Once at work the white smoke came back. Shut off car and checked oil and coolant again. Still no mixture. Decided to take #6 plug out and it was soaked with coolant. Guessing a head gasket. Tried to turn car over and starter made a whirring sound. Turned off car and took keys out of ignition and starter was still going. Had to remove battery cable for it to stop. Looked at the starter and noticed the bell housing on transmission is cracked where the starter bolts into. No fluid leaks. Need to know what to do.
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Thursday, March 11th, 2021 AT 6:43 AM

6 Replies

Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
White smoke is coolant in the combustion chamber which is most always a head gasket.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/white-smoke-or-steam-coming-from-the-exhaust-pipe

So with all the other things that happened, I am pretty sure this is the issue but we should confirm this by performing the test in this guide:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/head-gasket-blown-test

Let's run through this test and go from there. Thanks
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Thursday, March 11th, 2021 AT 7:29 AM
Tiny
AMBER LEIGH SANDERS
  • MEMBER
Just did a compression test and it failed. Also I have coolant in the #6 spark plug.
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Thursday, March 11th, 2021 AT 7:50 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Unfortunately then that points pretty much only to a head gasket or warped head. I attached more info for this as well.

This info is for the DOHC motor as that is the more common engine but clearly this is not a fun job to do. Let us know if you need more info. Thanks
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Thursday, March 11th, 2021 AT 8:06 AM
Tiny
AMBER LEIGH SANDERS
  • MEMBER
By any chance do you have any info for the 3.0L O.H.V Vulcan motor?
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Thursday, March 11th, 2021 AT 10:37 AM
Tiny
AMBER LEIGH SANDERS
  • MEMBER
Also what should I do about the starter situation? Does it hurt anything if the transmission bell housing is cracked?
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Thursday, March 11th, 2021 AT 10:39 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
Of course you have the other engine from what I provided. :)

Below is the process for removing the heads.

As for the starter, can you get a picture of the crack? Normally I would not worry about it if you can still tighten the starter bolts. If there is a crack that doesn't affect the bolts, I would just use some JB weld to give it a little structure or support but it should be ok.

The only times a crack has to be repaired by replacing the case is when you can't tighten a bolt or it leaks. Other then that, most cracks will not effect the unit.
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Thursday, March 11th, 2021 AT 6:50 PM

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