Heavy White Smoke and Then a Mystery | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Heavy White Smoke and Then a Mystery


New Member
March 21, 2007
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Mountaineer
2003 Mercury Mountaineer, 4.0L, 93K, well-maintained. Had oil change last month, coolant flush last year. Tuesday, a high of 100 degrees in Washington, DC metro. Drove vehicle about 30 miles on highway. Then stopped about a mile from house @ a store. When leaving store, white smoke was coming out heavily from tail pipe, engine ran fine and all gauges checked out okay. Arriving home, checked all fluids, no milkshake, and all fluids seemed fine. Let sit for a few hours, then started up again. Heavy white smoke that saturated the air with an oil smell on start up, but within a few minutes was no longer coming from exhaust. Then when tapping the accelerator would reappear and was heavy. Had vehicle towed to shop the next day. Same issue was noted by mechanic, let run for 15 minutes and smoke issue went away. He drove it (about six miles) and no issues, started up the next day and drove another six miles and nothing. He did note that oil and coolant were down about ½ quart, but nothing else. Stated it was not a head gasket leak. Should note that a cold front came through in the meantime, so the ambient temperature is down considerably. Was this just an aberration or something to be concerned about? I was thinking of dropping some ginseng tablets that I use for my Cadillac 4.9 in the Merc’s radiator just to be safe. This is my wife’s SUV and I don’t want to have to worry about her, so any suggestions, greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Just for kicks, pull the vacuum hose off of the power brake booster and look to see if there is any brake fluid there. I had one once that the master cylinder was bad and brake fluid was getting into the power booster. The engine was sucking in the brake fluid that had built up in the booster and burning it. It was intermittant like what you are describing and it looked just like it was burning antifreeze.Just a thought, good luck with finding your problem.

overfilled oil?