My son rolled his 2004 Cavalier at very low speed, so body damage may not cause it to be totaled. My concern is that it now blows white smoke in great quantities out the tailpipe. He turned off the engine about 20 seconds after it rolled, and ran the engine for a total of about 3 minutes between the time of the accident and the time we were able to get the hood open. First thing we checked was the oil level, and it didn't register on the stick. We filled it with 4 quarts and fired it up. No apparent leaks. It started with a bunch of white smoke, then after a minute it went almost to normal. I revved it up to 2,000 rpm and a huge cloud of white smoke returned. Ran it for about 5 minutes at idle, and smoke was still there. Is there a chance this smoke problem will cure itself after running it awhile, or should we let the insurance company total the car? The insurance adjuster is coming on Monday, March 3, and I'd like to be prepared to argue, if it's worth it.
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I can understand flooding with a regular carburated engine, but is this possible with a fuel injected engine too? I ran it again for 15 minutes and got the same results. Initial start-up puff of smoke, then almost normal exhaust for rest of the test. After 15 minutes I revved it up a bit and the huge cloud of white smoke returned. Not onlythat, but it continued to emit dense smoke for another couple minutes afterward at idletill I turned it off. Any other ideas?
Well it is possible for a fuel injection engine, but it should clear after 15 minutes of running, so I'm starting to think thats not the problem now. The only thing I can think of is something cracked or snapped in the roll and is causing oil or transmission fluid to get into the intake causing all of the white smoke. Can you see anything on the outside of the engine?
Usually white smoke comming out of the tail pipe indicates the car is burning coolant. While you have it running, stand by the exhaust, and smell it, and see if it smells like coolant...if it does, then it means you have coolant mixing into the combustion chamber.
Although this is a moot point now, since the salvage company towed away the car, I felt I should close this string. I ran the car for a total of about an hour, and the smoking problem went away, even when I punched the accelerator. The insurance adjuster who looked at it was a retired mechanic and said the smoke was more blue than white, therefore oil based. I may have been influenced by the snow on the ground and looking at the smoke mostly at night. My bad. Anyway he said what a couple of you said -- oil had leaked into the valve covers and cylinders. I thought at the minimum I would have to replace the spark plugs, but he said that they run so hot these days that it would burn off any fouling that might have been there.
We found a replacement 2004 Cavalier, but this one has a 5-speed instead of an automatic tranny. It was an adventure teaching my son to shift without either killing it or squealing the tires. But he surprised me -- after only about 4 hours of practice he had it down well enough to drive it to work without my supervision. He credits his quick study to all the video games he plays and the coordination they require. I hate to say it, but he may be right.