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      01-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #1
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Condensation or white smoke coming from exhaust?

So I noticed the other day out of the blue that after the car was really warm and some spirited interstate driving that when I came to a stop on the off ramp faily hard because I was trying to beat a light but didnt, that there was ALOT of white smoke/condensation coming out from my exhaust. Car had behaved normally, no loss in power, no white smoke/condensation at hard accelleration and the car drove normal. It is totally repeatable when the car is warmed to a good degree. I get the car up to 40 or so and come to a good quick stop and then as soon as I give it a little gas, this stuff comes out of the exhaust. My exhaust got covered in the black soot quite a bit more then normal too, as I usually have VERY clean tail pipes (I like to keep them clean). No smoke/condensation under accel, just after a very fast stop and barely giving it gas. Could not tell if it has a blueish tint to it or not. Temps were in the ~50 range when I first noticed it. Appt is scheduled next week. Anything else I should keep an eye or suggestion as to what it is?

When it first did it after the interstate the car was 3k or above the whole time on the tach for about 8-10minutes (car was fully warmed by this time as well) and it had ALOT of this the first time. The next couple times when I repeated it there was quite a bit but nothing like the first time and nothing like the speeds I was hitting then. Thanks in advance for the insight.
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      01-13-2012, 02:23 PM   #2
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BUMP --- I had my roomate stand next to the car as I came to a stop after pulling the car fairly hard and coming to a pretty quick stop. The smoke he said had an odor to it but it wasnt necissarily oil but he wasnt sure he either, he said it was an odor though so I am thinking it wasnt condensation. It does burn off fairly quickly and never does it under accel, only after coming to a complete stop. Engine has to be warmer for it to do it, it does not do it when colder.
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      01-13-2012, 02:46 PM   #3
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Well its a normal for a car to smell funny after you beat on it because everything is hot like the brakes and exhausts.

If its a funky smell and smells like rotten eggs then maybe your catalytic converters are going bad.

Eitherway cars smell because you a burning fuel, they arent going to smell like fresh daisies especially after driving it hard.

White condensation is normal especially in colder climates.

Does it look something like this?



Cause that is normal
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      01-14-2012, 03:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff@topgearsolutions View Post
Well its a normal for a car to smell funny after you beat on it because everything is hot like the brakes and exhausts.

If its a funky smell and smells like rotten eggs then maybe your catalytic converters are going bad.

Eitherway cars smell because you a burning fuel, they arent going to smell like fresh daisies especially after driving it hard.

White condensation is normal especially in colder climates.

Does it look something like this?



Cause that is normal


Its kind of like that but thicker. The smell isnt rotten eggy cat smell, that I know. Only does it when the engine/exhaust is above ~210ish, and I dont even have to really beat on the car, just get the rpms over about 4k and come to a stop fairly quickly. Its very odd, as it was nearly 50 today when it did it again, which makes me think its not condensation, at least, its not from out of the exhaust, but maybe from something IN the exhaust. Its just odd.
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      02-01-2012, 02:17 PM   #5
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Here is a vid. It was 50 degrees out and humidity was under 20%.



Any ideas? Antifreeze leak? Dealer says its normal condensation but I dont think it can be with temps being 50, car was warmed to around 230 oil temp, and its done it when it was 60 degrees out. The other night after a 45 minute highway drive it was REALLY bad when I came to a stop, but it was 30 degrees out when that happened, but it still shouldnt do it when the car is that warm.

This is only recent too. I had it to the dealer and they said they could not find any leaks, and I did replicate the issue for the head tech at the shop. I also notice that I have been getting ALOT of black soot and some carbon deposits/soot on my rear bumper lately too after this has happened. I know because the buildup is much greater then before in the tail pipes (this from someones pipes who are normally chrome, never black from soot) and I have never had the soot deposits on the bumper.

This is BMW PE on the car and nothing is different in the car in the last few months, the exhaust has over 10k miles on it and 1.5 years old.
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      02-01-2012, 02:51 PM   #6
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That's not normal white smoke for sure.
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      02-01-2012, 06:21 PM   #7
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White is usually coolant... Headgasket or the waterjacket on the turbos?
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      02-01-2012, 07:10 PM   #8
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I took the car on a nice drive up into the foothills today. Things I did.

-Took the car up a very steep and long incline, under boost almost the whole way up the hill in some form, a few miles, but never over around 4krpm tops. When on the side, no smoke. Oil temps were up to 255 up the hil.

-Sat the car on a STEEP incline in a parking area for ~8-10 minutes and let the car idle, had the most MINOR of pooling of water in left tail pipe.

-Came back down said hill, and let the car run at solid rpm's 3.5-4k the whole way down (2nd and 3rd gear). Car didnt smoke much when came to stop after this, however, after going into some decent boost in 2nd gear a couple of times, I was getting more of it, then after down the bottom and trying some pulls, I was not able to get much of it.

-Drove normally back across town to my house, and tried to simulate what I did yesterday in the same spot in the video, had MUCH less then the video, almost didnt see any out of the mirrors

Im stumped. Coolant level when cold is at MIN so I may stop in the dealer and have them top that off some, so that way I can monitor if its leaking or lowering a bit. I guess the only good thing is that I took the car in for this issue under warranty so I am hoping if it is something more serious that arises that BMW will give me a good will fix. Still though, any other suggestions? Could a cat be putting out TOO much water or something? Car runs fine, sounds fine, no codes for now.

I really hope its nothing but what the dealer thinks, condensation, it just however, makes no sense that I can get it on a 50 degree day when the car is up to FULL operating temps.

Skydive, wouldnt coolant cause ALOT more and thicker smoke though? I thought I had read that antifreeze would be a much thicker and longer cloud???
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      02-01-2012, 07:30 PM   #9
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How long had the car been running when you took that vid. Under 20% humidity is dry, you will see any delta in humidity pretty plainly. Seems in that vid it gets absorbed in the air pretty quickly, like it's water/condensation. Call me crazy. Now if it was >=35% humidity and the same amount I might think differently.
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      02-01-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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Well part of it looks normal. But if its white and out the exhaust its either condensation OR you have water getting into your engine like skydive said. Blown headgaskets are most common but with this car coolant does go through the turbo's so there are many things to look into.

Without anyone tearing down the car or seeing it in person I dont think we can offer you much help.

So monitor coolant levels. Be aware that if your engine ingest to much water you can hydrolock and boom.

If the exhaust smells sweet (not rotten eggs) it's coolant.
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      02-01-2012, 08:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottp999 View Post
How long had the car been running when you took that vid. Under 20% humidity is dry, you will see any delta in humidity pretty plainly. Seems in that vid it gets absorbed in the air pretty quickly, like it's water/condensation. Call me crazy. Now if it was >=35% humidity and the same amount I might think differently.
Car had been running for ~15 minutes or so, temps were 235ish??

Right now its 30% out and 48, and I let the car idle for ~10-12 minutes while scanning with BT tool and checking things out (NO CODES PRESENT) noticed that the exhaust tips were dark, it was condensation. I gave it some gas and revved it and had some puddles then, also noticed two other spots where I had leaks, (yes, leaks). The BMW PE is clamped together in the middle of the mufflers, I had a dark spot under that clamp and the LEFT exhaust pipe BEHIND the clamp (towards the engine not muffler) was black/dark and had a small drop of dark spot there on that part of the concrete too. So MAYBE, just MAYBE do the clamps need to be tightened up and that is allowing JUST enough air to get into the system then to cause this?

And does letting the car idle help EXPEL water from the exhaust system or does it CAUSE more water to form which is why I had just been able to get the puddles?

But LEFT SIDE pipe only on the clamp near the axel was dark, the right side was not at all, but I do have puddles behind BOTH sides exhaust.

Its interesting for sure. Im just glad I can pass along as much info as possible.
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      02-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackz View Post
Car had been running for ~15 minutes or so, temps were 235ish??

Right now its 30% out and 48, and I let the car idle for ~10-12 minutes while scanning with BT tool and checking things out (NO CODES PRESENT) noticed that the exhaust tips were dark, it was condensation. I gave it some gas and revved it and had some puddles then, also noticed two other spots where I had leaks, (yes, leaks). The BMW PE is clamped together in the middle of the mufflers, I had a dark spot under that clamp and the LEFT exhaust pipe BEHIND the clamp (towards the engine not muffler) was black/dark and had a small drop of dark spot there on that part of the concrete too. So MAYBE, just MAYBE do the clamps need to be tightened up and that is allowing JUST enough air to get into the system then to cause this?

And does letting the car idle help EXPEL water from the exhaust system or does it CAUSE more water to form which is why I had just been able to get the puddles?

But LEFT SIDE pipe only on the clamp near the axel was dark, the right side was not at all, but I do have puddles behind BOTH sides exhaust.

Its interesting for sure. Im just glad I can pass along as much info as possible.
You have an exhaust leak. I would tighten it.

I think you are looking to much into nothing, right now.

The car runs good? No codes?

If you start a car cold and let it idle water and puddles will form because when hot air meets cold air it makes condensation. Perfectly Normal.


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      02-01-2012, 08:06 PM   #13
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Are you having to add coolant constantly?
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      02-01-2012, 08:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff@topgearsolutions View Post
Well part of it looks normal. But if its white and out the exhaust its either condensation OR you have water getting into your engine like skydive said. Blown headgaskets are most common but with this car coolant does go through the turbo's so there are many things to look into.

Without anyone tearing down the car or seeing it in person I dont think we can offer you much help.

So monitor coolant levels. Be aware that if your engine ingest to much water you can hydrolock and boom.

If the exhaust smells sweet (not rotten eggs) it's coolant.
No rotten eggs or sweet smell, just normal exhaust smell. Im stock. I think what would be best is to get some coolant added so I have something to go by on that end of it. Cold it was at the absolute min level. I then checked it after 2 minutes of driving very slowly and letting sit for a minute. It had moved a little but not much, but had moved up.

I even had a performance shop nearby look at it, he was as baffeled as the rest of us, but had the same conclusions. I really hope whatever it is is not causing engine damage.
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      02-01-2012, 08:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff@topgearsolutions View Post
You have an exhaust leak. I would tighten it.

I think you are looking to much into nothing, right now.

The car runs good? No codes?

If you start a car cold and let it idle water and puddles will form because when hot air meets cold air it makes condensation. Perfectly Normal.
I will have that done. The puddling is occuring on a totally warm car though, oil temp was 245 this whole time as I had just gotten back from that drive.

But yes, no codes and car runs fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Velocity26 View Post
Are you having to add coolant constantly?
I personally have never added coolant, and am not sure when the dealer did last, but I will definely have them top it off so I can monitor it.
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      02-01-2012, 08:15 PM   #16
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Are you having to add Oil?
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      02-01-2012, 08:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Are you having to add Oil?
No, oil level has not dropped since oil was done, I cant recall when last but ~3-4k ago without checking the files.
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      02-01-2012, 11:10 PM   #18
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i have the same problem, but i am completely catless though. People have been saying it could be a turbo on its way out. But have you tried to get the PCV system checked?
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      02-01-2012, 11:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skydive View Post
White is usually coolant... Headgasket or the waterjacket on the turbos?
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      02-02-2012, 02:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by az335idesi View Post
i have the same problem, but i am completely catless though. People have been saying it could be a turbo on its way out. But have you tried to get the PCV system checked?
PCV system was a thought but since there is no blue tint to it then that can basically rule out oil. Im going to start with the tightening of the clamps and getting the coolant topped off a bit and keep an eye on those.

As for headgasket or waterjacket, where are these parts located on the turbo? Head gasket is IN the engine right?

AZ335, on deceleration as a whole or only when basically at a stop? Mine is only when at a stop, as you can see, which is partially why its so odd.

I think Jeff is most likely right that it is nothing, and hopefully just the leak. In fact I had started to notice it alot more right after we got a pretty hefty snow storm now that I think about it and maybe some of the melting snow was enough to loosen up the clamps? By hefty I mean it was 1/3 way up the doors in the drifts, so it was collected to some degree under the car.
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      02-02-2012, 12:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackz View Post
PCV system was a thought but since there is no blue tint to it then that can basically rule out oil. Im going to start with the tightening of the clamps and getting the coolant topped off a bit and keep an eye on those.

As for headgasket or waterjacket, where are these parts located on the turbo? Head gasket is IN the engine right?

AZ335, on deceleration as a whole or only when basically at a stop? Mine is only when at a stop, as you can see, which is partially why its so odd.

I think Jeff is most likely right that it is nothing, and hopefully just the leak. In fact I had started to notice it alot more right after we got a pretty hefty snow storm now that I think about it and maybe some of the melting snow was enough to loosen up the clamps? By hefty I mean it was 1/3 way up the doors in the drifts, so it was collected to some degree under the car.

yes while coming to a stop, and a few puffs while stopped. I think burning off the "blow by" would have a white tint to it, since it is gunk mixed with oil.
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      02-02-2012, 02:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
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yes while coming to a stop, and a few puffs while stopped. I think burning off the "blow by" would have a white tint to it, since it is gunk mixed with oil.
Could be, but the shop thought that if it was that it would linger a little longer in the air. Are you under warranty? If so, take it in and see if you get a different result then I do? I wont be able to test mine for a few days, a foot or so of snow expected and I have no where to go and plenty of supplies so Im homebound till Monday after later today. Im really interested if letting it idle will cook some of it out.
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