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Discussion Starter #1
I've run into a potentially serious issue with my car, really need some advice from you good folks.

Car: '14 Charger RT (bone stock)
Miles: 89,050
Symptoms: ~3 months ago, began noticing a small puff of white smoke (occasionally) coming out the exhaust upon cold start. ~2 months ago, water pump seized up while we were out running errands. High temp light came on. We pulled over/shut off immediately, had it towed to dealer. Water pump was replaced. Since then, the frequency of the 'white smoke on cold start' has increased a little. Now 2-3 times a week. Tried changing PCV valve but no improvement.

Current status: Brought car to trusted local mechanic. They performed a sniffer test on the exhaust and a "block test" on the coolant. Both returned results that indicated a failing head gasket. (too much fume in the exhaust, block test solution turned a murky green) Shop reports that at least as it sits and runs, no obvious sound/sign of bad block, warped pistons, etc. (meaning: sounds ok to the ears)

Here's my question though: Is there anything else that could be the issue here? We take great care of this car, and have never had an issue before this. Other than the smoke it seems to drive and sound as normal. Any other tests we could try and have them run?

As I said I don't think the shop's trying to hose me. I trust their work. I'm just a bit surprised that the issue could be that serious is all. Any advice?
 

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Not experienced with the shop tests but a little puff at start usually indicates valve seals.
Blown head gaskets commonly introduce themselves with oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil.
If your coolant and oil are not showing discoloration, and exhaust not steamy or sweet smelling drive on.
Keep an eye on the oil level, odd color on the stick and rising level is not good.
Oil will create a bathtub ring in the coolant reservoir.
If you see none of these maybe just valve seals. Are you seeing oil levels dropping?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not experienced with the shop tests but a little puff at start usually indicates valve seals.
Blown head gaskets commonly introduce themselves with oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil.
If your coolant and oil are not showing discoloration, and exhaust not steamy or sweet smelling drive on.
Keep an eye on the oil level, odd color on the stick and rising level is not good.
Oil will create a bathtub ring in the coolant reservoir.
If you see none of these maybe just valve seals. Are you seeing oil levels dropping?
Ah, I see. I will admit, I don't visually check the dipstick as often as I probably should. But I haven't had an oil level lights, nor any drops/leaks under the car.

That said, I am finding some other resources that seem to point to valve seals as a culprit in such scenario where you only see smoke on cold startup. On these 5.7s, is it possible to do valve seals with the head still on? Or does it need to come off anyway? And is there any way to diagnose the valve seals without tearing into stuff?
 

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To do valve seats the heads will need to come off. Which would also mean new head gaskets and bolts.
 

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To do valve seats the heads will need to come off. Which would also mean new head gaskets and bolts.
Tech you can do them with heads on, via pressurizing cylinder with air via an adapter. Seen many a Toyotas done that way at the dealership.



The water test deal works on combustion gasses being present in the cooling system. It is a pretty good test. Only other test that can be done are cylinder leak down tests, coolant pressure hold test to see if either is leaking somewhere.
 

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Tech you can do them with heads on, via pressurizing cylinder with air via an adapter. Seen many a Toyotas done that way at the dealership.



The water test deal works on combustion gasses being present in the cooling system. It is a pretty good test. Only other test that can be done are cylinder leak down tests, coolant pressure hold test to see if either is leaking somewhere.
You can do guide seals with the heads on, but I'd love to see someone do valve SEATS with the heads on. I think more coffee is needed this morning lol
 

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Sorry, double post!

Don
 

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@ Punisher:
Got my coffee this morning lol! Sure, they can change those valve seats with the heads on the same way they change spark plugs on the "imports"........ through the tail pipe!!!! 😂 😂 😂😂

@GMJ:
Valve seals at such a low mileage is unusual unless there is a seal quality issue, or bunch of idle time involved.
The end result is a little more oil consumption, which is not a crisis. Unless it began to drink oil, I would hold off until the heads come off for a lifter/cam or HG issue. Or, as mentioned, the seals can be done with them on.

Don
 
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Heh, I dunno where seats got mentioned, maybe WeasleMopar was typing under the influence of his cam lope.
 

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Heh, I dunno where seats got mentioned, maybe WeasleMopar was typing under the influence of his cam lope.
It was a early morning miss read. Lol but either way a leaking valve seal will puff out blue smoke and will smell like burnt oil. White smoke at start would concern me. But that could also just be condensation burning off at first start.
 

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It was a early morning miss read. Lol but either way a leaking valve seal will puff out blue smoke and will smell like burnt oil. White smoke at start would concern me. But that could also just be condensation burning off at first start.
At least when I see the smoke through the side/rear mirrors, it looks pretty white to me. Def. a kind of burned scent to it. If it was condensation though, where might that be coming from? Condensation in the cat or muffler?
 

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@ Punisher:
Got my coffee this morning lol! Sure, they can change those valve seats with the heads on the same way they change spark plugs on the "imports"........ through the tail pipe!!!! 😂 😂 😂😂

@GMJ:
Valve seals at such a low mileage is unusual unless there is a seal quality issue, or bunch of idle time involved.
The end result is a little more oil consumption, which is not a crisis. Unless it began to drink oil, I would hold off until the heads come off for a lifter/cam or HG issue. Or, as mentioned, the seals can be done with them on.

Don
Thanks, Don!

I wouldn't say my car's endured excessive idle time. Certainly nothing like taxi/cop cars do at least, lol. But I suppose there's a non-zero chance of a valve seal failure in the entire universe of cars. So if the valve seals can be done without removing the head, I presume there's a way to check them for leaks without tearing into stuff?
 

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At least when I see the smoke through the side/rear mirrors, it looks pretty white to me. Def. a kind of burned scent to it. If it was condensation though, where might that be coming from? Condensation in the cat or muffler?
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At least when I see the smoke through the side/rear mirrors, it looks pretty white to me. Def. a kind of burned scent to it. If it was condensation though, where might that be coming from? Condensation in the cat or muffler?
It could be either but this is just a thought. As it is starting to get cooler out you will get more white smoke. You could also rent a bore scope and pull each plug and look down all 8 cylnders and see if they look like they were pressure washed. Just an idea if your worried about a blown head gasket.
 

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You can do guide seals with the heads on, but I'd love to see someone do valve SEATS with the heads on. I think more coffee is needed this morning lol
Looking back I see it said seats now rather than seals. Some how I still read seals.
 

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GMJ:
It's called an oil consumption test. If there aren't any signs of external oil leakage, they do an oil change and then monitor the oil level on a regular basis. In the case of the '99 and '00 Crown Vics we had in the fleet, Ford's spec was using a quart in less than 900 miles. We managed 3 quarts in 2500 miles, so both got new valve seals in the 60K range for the $50 deductible on the ESP warranty we bought with them.

Don
 

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water pump seized up while we were out running errands. High temp light came on. We pulled over/shut off immediately
I’m guessing it would have taken several minutes of driving with no coolant circulation to overheat it, so if you pulled over immediately after the pump seized, it couldn’t have gotten that hot.

However, you do state the dash light illuminated for overheat, so that means it got close to Max for a moment at least.

That’s not necessarily going to blow a head gasket, but if the techs said it failed an exhaust in the coolant test, I’d tend to believe it did get hot enough to cause a failure of the head gasket.

It’s hard to diagnose over the internet with so many questions about what happened, but if it were mine, I’d want to confirm the results of the tests that pointed to exhaust in the cooling system. That can be done at an independent shop or even on your own. Harbor Freight sells an inexpensive kit that can be used to test for exhaust gases in the coolant reservoir, maybe try that?

I’ve used that HF kit BTW, and it’s a solid tool for what it’s meant to do. I thought a cousin’s truck had a blown head gasket, I grabbed the kit and tested it. It showed negative, but I was suspicious of its accuracy. A quick test using the actual exhaust gases on the truck showed it could indeed detect them when present, so I was satisfied the truck’s engine was fine.

A year later, that diagnoses has so far been correct...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I’m guessing it would have taken several minutes of driving with no coolant circulation to overheat it, so if you pulled over immediately after the pump seized, it couldn’t have gotten that hot.

However, you do state the dash light illuminated for overheat, so that means it got close to Max for a moment at least.

That’s not necessarily going to blow a head gasket, but if the techs said it failed an exhaust in the coolant test, I’d tend to believe it did get hot enough to cause a failure of the head gasket.

It’s hard to diagnose over the internet with so many questions about what happened, but if it were mine, I’d want to confirm the results of the tests that pointed to exhaust in the cooling system. That can be done at an independent shop or even on your own. Harbor Freight sells an inexpensive kit that can be used to test for exhaust gases in the coolant reservoir, maybe try that?

I’ve used that HF kit BTW, and it’s a solid tool for what it’s meant to do. I thought a cousin’s truck had a blown head gasket, I grabbed the kit and tested it. It showed negative, but I was suspicious of its accuracy. A quick test using the actual exhaust gases on the truck showed it could indeed detect them when present, so I was satisfied the truck’s engine was fine.

A year later, that diagnoses has so far been correct...
Sorry, I have not checked this thread as often as I intended to, lol. So a bit of an update here, now that you mention these things:

-Local mechanic has car towed to nearby dealer, as we confirmed that my Chrysler CPO powertrain warranty was still active (and head gasket was nominally a covered repair)
-Dealer began looking into it and - Murphy's Law - their tech says the engine passed the block test just fine. The classic 'can't reproduce' canard.
-I relayed this back to the local mechanic, who again, I trust their work. They said they'd get on the horn with the dealer, try to get a come to Jesus meeting. (good thing too, because they can't both be right)

Hopefully we can get this sorted. All I know is, the car DOES smoke when it shouldn't be, and I have at least one reputable test result sheet saying it's failing these tests. Ugh, this is why I hate dealers.
 

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Good luck, thanks for the update, keep it coming.
 
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Sorry, I have not checked this thread as often as I intended to, lol. So a bit of an update here, now that you mention these things:

-Local mechanic has car towed to nearby dealer, as we confirmed that my Chrysler CPO powertrain warranty was still active (and head gasket was nominally a covered repair)
-Dealer began looking into it and - Murphy's Law - their tech says the engine passed the block test just fine. The classic 'can't reproduce' canard.
-I relayed this back to the local mechanic, who again, I trust their work. They said they'd get on the horn with the dealer, try to get a come to Jesus meeting. (good thing too, because they can't both be right)

Hopefully we can get this sorted. All I know is, the car DOES smoke when it shouldn't be, and I have at least one reputable test result sheet saying it's failing these tests. Ugh, this is why I hate dealers.
It is more plausible the test is not done right and a false pass is returned than a false fail. It’s good they are working together to figure it out, keep us updated.

thx
 
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