White smoke and missing at idle - what do look for? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:25 AM
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White smoke and missing at idle - what do look for?

I'm a first diesel user and recently purchased a fleet 2001 F-250 7.3L PS with 200K miles. Vehicle starts without any problems, however, at idle it is a bit jaggedy - feels like its missing. White/bluish smoke is also visible from the exhaust at idle. Smoke smells like unburned diesel fuel. When driving, I don't seem to notice the white smoke, nor do I detect any power loss; acceleration is great and trucks drives strong. Of course, I have nothing to compare it to.

I have attempted to do a lot of reading, and came down to a conclusion that I may have one of two (or possible both) problems.
  1. Glow plug on one of the cylinders
  2. Injector
  3. Cam sensor (?)

If glow plug is in fact bad, I would imagine engine would be missing across the entire RPM range and performance would suffer even under load. Perhaps the same would be true for the cam sensor. I'm leaning toward an injector, and with that said, what is the best method of checking an injector for functionality?

Any help on this will be greatly appreciated. In the mean time, I'll keep on reading and start doing regular "inexpensive" maintenance such as fuel filter replacement, air filter check, and so on.

Best Regards, Alex.

Last edited by asammons; 02-14-2008 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:17 AM
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have someone with a OBDll scanner/reader run the codes and diognostics for you That will eliminate most guesswork and most likely tell you exactly what is wrong with her
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:22 AM
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Can it be any off-the-shelf OBDII scanner/reader? I was thinking about picking one up locally. There are currently no check engine lights, which may or may not mean much. If I scan codes myself, is there a table of codes which I can use to "decypher" them?
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:44 PM
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well any time there is white smoke there is a possibility of a head gasket leak or you have a stuck injector dumping loads of diesel in to one of your cylinders either way its serious take care of it quick.
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:53 PM
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I have taken the car to the dealer and diagnostics showed "misfire cylinder #4". I was planning on checking the resistance of the glow plug tomorrow. Will post all results.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:01 PM
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the glow plugs will have no effect on the engine after warmup. If I were you I would check all of the connections outside and inside the valvecover the connectors have a bad habit of coming loose..
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:10 AM
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Today I decided to buy an OBDII Scanner - Innova 3100 from WalMart for $95. Incidently I was unable to reproduce the same "misfire on cylinder #4" that diesel mechanic at Ford dealership told me. At the same time, my OBDII scanner is capable of reading manufacturer specific trouble codes - and I was expecting to see at the very least the P0304 but no luck. Is it possible that these codes have to be retrieved by a specialized OBDII reader/scanner, or do I need to drive around a little bit to retrieve these codes?

It is also worth mentining that the "Check Engine Light" was never present.

Any ideas, guys?
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Old 02-18-2008, 02:07 PM
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My 97 trouble shooting section says white smoke caused by Blocked fuel return line,air leak in suction lines, blocked fuel line or filter,defective injection pump,incorrect oil grade, loose timing chain, retarded timing, inoperative glow plugs. Don`t know much about it personally though.
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:01 PM
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most but not all standard code scanners will not read the codes on a PSD, I spent a little extra and bought the PC based auto enginuity with the domestic bundle it will scann any obdII domestic vehicle


Quote:
Originally Posted by asammons View Post
Today I decided to buy an OBDII Scanner - Innova 3100 from WalMart for $95. Incidently I was unable to reproduce the same "misfire on cylinder #4" that diesel mechanic at Ford dealership told me. At the same time, my OBDII scanner is capable of reading manufacturer specific trouble codes - and I was expecting to see at the very least the P0304 but no luck. Is it possible that these codes have to be retrieved by a specialized OBDII reader/scanner, or do I need to drive around a little bit to retrieve these codes?

It is also worth mentining that the "Check Engine Light" was never present.

Any ideas, guys?
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:19 PM
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Ok I'm going to take this one head on for you since I've worked my way through at least 100 pages and responses and threads about a very similar issue.

We'll need some more information as to what is going on.

Firstly - where do you live?

The SES light will only be set when a hard code is found.

It's very unlikely it's the harness b/c if it is, it will throw a code and you will have an immediate reduction in power that is certainly noticeable.

You need to get a cylinder contribution test and a buzz test done.

Does your truck smoke white/blue while it's idling after a short drive? How about while at stop lights for extended periods?

I don't want you to feel like you're "chasing your tail" like I was in my previous thread.

I found my problem - I'll help you find yours.

Last edited by Marty; 02-18-2008 at 04:26 PM.
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