White Smoke Need Diagnosis

turtle1026

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Location
Florida
TDI
2004 Passat
My car is pushing out a ton of white smoke and loses coolant quickly. I would like to diagnose this so I am asking for help.

The car ran fine on a 60 mile trip my wife took yesterday. She pulled into a parking lot at a supermarket. After coming out of the supermarket she started the car to see a ton of white smoke. She shut it off immediately. She only had 2 more miles to go so she re-started it and drove the car the 2 more miles to a parking garage at her final destination. (Smoke had stopped by now-coolant all gone, I guess) She spent a few hours in the building and then came back out to leave. She started the car and got more white smoke (reservoir coolant now maybe made its way to engine). She sent me a video of the white smoke and I told her to shut the car off. She confirmed to me that the coolant reservoir was empty. I told her to put water in the reservoir and wait for me to show up. I arrived an hour or so later and started the car. I confirmed more white smoke AND water running out of the bottom of the car. I had come from work with no tools or even a flashlight to see where it was coming from. I couldn't even remove the engine cover. I will be going back to the car to diagnose or I will have it towed to my house.

I suspect the white smoke is burning water (steam) caused by an EGR failure. I am guessing it is broken externally and internally. I don't think it is a head gasket because the oil is not contaminated with water and the water is leaking externally.

One more thing: She said when she pulled into the parking lot at the supermarket she hit a pretty severe dip in the road and she is concerned she broke something. I am not sure if this is related or not. I know the EGR is upper passenger side of the engine and she felt like she hit lower driver side.

Of course, I am concerned about overheating from the short drive, but I have to address one problem at a time. She never saw the temp gauge go above the "190" and never got an engine light of any kind.

I can post the video of the smoke, but I am not sure how to do that from the Post screen.

The car just hit 100K miles and has been well maintained. I have not yet done the TB/BS, but that will be soon assuming this issue is not catastrophic.

Are there other possible diagnoses for this? Any help is greatly appreciated.
 

turtle1026

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Location
Florida
TDI
2004 Passat
I had the car towed to my house. I have confirmed that it is the EGR Cooler that has failed. I disconnected the upper pipe that connects the cooler to the intake manifold. I started the car and watch lots of water and steam shoot out of it. While it was running like this, there was no steam coming from the tailpipe. There is no external leak so the one I saw must have been residual from when my wife filled it. By the way, the gurgling many of us hear on occasion became more prominent over the last few weeks. I believe it is a symptom of a leaky cooler. Perhaps this never becomes catastrophic in many. I recommend trying a stethescope on the cooler. You will likely hear "steam-like" sounds as I did on my now broken EGR cooler.

The good news is that I was able to test drive the car without real fear of overheating because there was plenty of coolant in the engine. The car ran fine with no power loss that you might expect from a blown head gasket.

Unfortunately, the EGR cooler is a rare part and none are currently in stock in the US. I will order online, but the price is quite steep. Has anyone successfully deleted the EGR from the BHW engine? I would think it would be easy to make 2 block plates and simply loop the coolant inlet and outlet with a couple of fittings and a small length of hose. The only issue would be the computer expecting EGR gas measurements. I live in Florida so a slower warm-up is tolerable.

Please let me know if anyone has any thoughts on the delete of the EGR cooler. Thanks.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
They are on national backorder, I have had one order for stock here for a month now. Last I checked, there were 4 people waiting for them, and one of my customers that just shipped his car to CA just had his blow, too. :rolleyes:
 

thundershorts

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Location
west chester pa
TDI
2015 passat tdi sel premium 2015 golf s tdi gls tdi b5.5, 2002 eurovan,Peugeot 505 td,Citroen cx25 prestige
I have a spare one...newer type. what is the list price on them?
 

turtle1026

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Location
Florida
TDI
2004 Passat
I decided to do one final check before going through with ordering the cooler from overseas. I disconnected both lines to the cooler and plugged them. I figured if the cooler is the problem then I would not get steam through the exhaust with no coolant lines running to it. The steam remained. I guess the good news is that I don't have to spend a fortune on a new cooler. The bad news is that it must be the head gasket after all. I also diagnosed a bad thermostat. I tested mine in boiling water and it failed. Dead thermostat must have caused blown head gasket. At least a head gasket is only about 50 bucks. It just will take a lot more of my labor to replace, though. It must be blown really bad to actually still get water as opposed to just steam through the EGR.

Any advice on the head gasket replacement? Am I missing something? Are there any other tests I should do?
 

turtle1026

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Location
Florida
TDI
2004 Passat
Wow, that's a good little fact to know. I think I will loop the EGR coolant lines and attempt to run the engine for longer to see if the steam clears up. I will have to disconnect the EGR pipe so I don't get exhaust gasses at full temp into the intake while I run it. If the coolant level continues to go down and the steam continues then I guesss it's the head gasket.:confused:

One last shot tonight when I get home, and I will have the final diagnosis.

Work really gets in the way of fixing cars.
 

vwztips

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Location
Greenville, SC
TDI
2005 Passat GLS Wagon TDI 5 spd manual w/BSM delete 2012 Tiguan TDI/DSG 2005 Audi A4 6MQ 2011 BMW X5 35d
It takes a while to get all the coolant out of the suitcase muffler.

If you neighbors can stand the noise you can disconnect the exhaust at the coupling before the suitcase and see if you are still losing water.
 

turtle1026

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Location
Florida
TDI
2004 Passat
My neighbors are already used to hearing my big block chevy, so this will be no problem. It's just usually not at night!:D

I'll just disconnect the valve then. I was a little paranoid about the exhaust heat at the manifold with the coolant lines disconnected.

Thundershorts - to answer your question - the cooler is $471 and $483 at 2 of the popular online dealers. However, they are out of stock. That is for part #038131513S. There is also a Valeo part #817754 that one could search for. I don't know the actual VW list price.
 

vwztips

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Location
Greenville, SC
TDI
2005 Passat GLS Wagon TDI 5 spd manual w/BSM delete 2012 Tiguan TDI/DSG 2005 Audi A4 6MQ 2011 BMW X5 35d
Ouch, I think I will keep my spare one
 

turtle1026

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Location
Florida
TDI
2004 Passat
So no one has any thoughts on the delete of the EGR system? I know it is done pretty commonly on other vehicles. I am curious to know what the experts think.
 

thundershorts

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Location
west chester pa
TDI
2015 passat tdi sel premium 2015 golf s tdi gls tdi b5.5, 2002 eurovan,Peugeot 505 td,Citroen cx25 prestige
i drilled an 1/8 hole in both muffler and resonators lowest spot and about a gallon of water came out as my car had been submerged. the rear exhaust sections don't get hot enough to boil any water/coolant out quickly and it might have taken a month otherwise.






if anyone is in desperate need of an egr cooler, they can have mine for a couple hundred.
 

turtle1026

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Location
Florida
TDI
2004 Passat
I rocked the car back and forth a little last night and heard sloshing. It was not the fuel tank. I ran the car with the lines plugged for about 20 mintues. I didn't lose any coolant, so that was great (means it's the cooler not the head gasket). I felt a warm upper radiator pipe so I know my thermostat is working also. The steam kept coming, though. Quite a cloudy night in the driveway. I even touched the bottom of the muffler and it was just warm not hot. Must be plenty of water still in there.

One observation was that it really took a while to get up to temperature. I expected a delay due to no EGR, but it was a major difference. That's probably not good for fuel economy, and is likely the reason many don't delete it. No engine light came on as a result of disconnecting the EGR. I thought one would.

I have a long thin tube that I attach to my shop vac that I used to use to get water out of tight spaces. I think I am going to try to send it into the tailpipe to get the water. If that doesn't work, I will drill a hole.
 

thundershorts

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Location
west chester pa
TDI
2015 passat tdi sel premium 2015 golf s tdi gls tdi b5.5, 2002 eurovan,Peugeot 505 td,Citroen cx25 prestige
you won't get past the baffles. drill an 1/8 inch hole and if you want, optional, put in a stainless pop rivet. the hole wil keep plugging with crud, so keep it open
 
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