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Thread: '98 Wrangler Sahara, white smoke from exhaust, check engine light, overheating

  1. #1

    '98 Wrangler Sahara, white smoke from exhaust, check engine light, overheating

    Hello folks, I'm seeking a little assistance here with my '98 Wrangler, which has been off the road for some time now and I am looking to get it back out for the summer. Full disclosure on my mechanical capabilities and understandings for those that happen to take the time to reply, I'm no 'car person' per se, but I have done my share of work on my vehicles and feel as if I can get around for the most part and take full advantage of the interwebs.

    So, as the title states, after I start up the engine and it has been running for roughly 3-5 minutes, the exhaust will start pumping out white smoke. Here are some videos of the smoke from the view underneath my Jeep:

    http://youtu.be/gDFOuO3cRjo
    http://youtu.be/nmEgWCgQ7pY
    http://youtu.be/cepiW4dzHRI

    After smoking continuously while she idles, the engine will eventually overheat:

    http://youtu.be/Dua-7y6EXtw

    I had taken a few other videos as well, just for some additional documentation, of starting the jeep and a view of some clear liquid (assuming water) on the ground below my tailpipe.

    http://youtu.be/XYBklzRkl40
    http://youtu.be/9FlwhXqdNzs

    From what I have found is that my solution may be to replace the head gasket. I have done this a long time ago with my first Wrangler ('97 SE), but I was mostly playing assistant at the time. I was wanting to ask you folks if you have any other suggestions for possible fixes / root causes, or in the event you agree with the solution, do you have any good online resources for replacing the head gasket for my Jeep?... you know, things like diagrams, step-by-step guides... or any of the like

    While I am digging into the engine, if there are any suggestions for things to clean or any maintenance tasks I can perform, that would be very much welcome as well!

    Thanks,
    -Phillip

  2. #2

    x-post to jeepforum

    Here is where I have posted this message to JeepForum.com as well to spread out my search for advice, so in case anyone happens to experience the same symptoms as my Jeep, they have additional resources as well.

    http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/98...ating-2340113/

    UPDATE: I have since taken a few extra videos of the engine oil dipstick (1), a view of the inside of the engine oil cap (2), view of the radiator with the cap off while starting her up (3), and finally one with white smoke (4), this time though coming from the engine, opposite side the battery. These are all posted to JeepForum.com as well.

    (1) http://youtu.be/Es580oVSltQ
    (2) http://youtu.be/1HudAPYkB4s
    (3) http://youtu.be/JVNnW5zBf4s
    (4) http://youtu.be/-uODyiA-KZ4
    Last edited by rholandubs; 04-19-2014 at 08:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Board of Directors jagular7's Avatar
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    You are so f'd.

    If you can't determine through the normal way of looking for a cracked head, cracked block, and/or bad head gasket, pull the plugs, pressurize the cooling system and see if you can smell coolant in any of the cylinders. Or put paper towels into the cylinder and see if they get wet.
    Don't forget to inspect each plug when you pull it.

    Or take the engine apart, inspect the pieces and fix.

    Or find another engine just to toss in there and be done with the issue in less time (ie 2 days). Do pay attention to the year engine you get for replacement. Do a compression check on it as well before committing to its purchase.

    Or take the Jeep to a mechanic you trust and have them do their diligence to figure out the issue. MTL, you'll pay for them to tell you to replace it.
    Mike
    Jagular7

    Lnxa, KS

  4. #4
    Hi Mike, thanks for the reality check mate although I hope I am not entirely f'd, here. I had just sent in the last payment for this girl when the recent break occurred, so I am pretty adamant with getting it back on the road with the smallest hit to my bank roll as possible, otherwise I am not entire sure how to cash in on her with the current condition.

    Do you mind being more descriptive about the processes for performing the various checks you mentioned after your truth statement above? I am still a bit of a novice with mechanic workings, but I have no problem doing my homework. I am currently crawling the threads here and at JeepForum, so if you could point me to any relevant posts I would very appreciative.

    My current plan is to take the engine apart to replace the head gasket myself and am hoping to get a much better understanding of the inner workings of the engine in the process.

    The Jeep was at a shop though. Last fall I had been driving and all of a sudden the temp spiked and I wasn't getting anything from the gas pedal, so I pulled over. Eventually had to get a tow truck and discovered the water pump had to be replaced along with the radiator. I had a big travel schedule coming up at the time so I had them replace it all, which is where we then find ourselves now. They had estimated the repairs to be around $2k which is not something I can drop at the moment.
    Last edited by rholandubs; 04-19-2014 at 10:03 PM.

  5. #5
    Board of Directors jagular7's Avatar
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    Its a lot easier to explain the engine operation concepts by mouth than to type it down. Have you watched PowerNation off SpikeTV? They have an engine type of show to help explain the benefits of mods and simple changes done to an engine for longevity, power, etc.
    Youtube probably has a lot of visual vids that could help you understand the operation of an engine.

    Easiest thing for you to do without taking it all apart is to pressurize the cooling system and see if the coolant is getting into the combustion chamber. Thus pull the plugs, they will show the coolant as well, put in paper towel into cylinder, and pressurize the coolant.

    Your vid of the radiator cap off should have included a look into the actual radiator. Bubbles would indicate crack in the combustion chamber.

    If all that looks great, I'd bet the TJ has been sitting too long and the gas is not in good condition.
    Mike
    Jagular7

    Lnxa, KS

  6. #6
    Yeah, I have been tracking down as many vids and how-to's as I can. I am really interested to check out the show PowerNation you mentioned, sounds just like the kind of information I am looking for to help me maintain my wrangler.

    Thanks for the follow-up Mike.

  7. #7
    Club Member spunebil's Avatar
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    head gasket is first idea, but it could be worse ! ..... but white STEAM is what you are seeing, not Smoke !
    I may be Rad and I may be Bad but I am never SAD !
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