[Biturbos4] White smoke

Greg Amy grega at pobox.com
Mon Jan 26 12:40:21 PST 2009

Advanced apology for the mucked-up headers, I'm on digest.

Dude, I'm gonna make your day: it's probably not the turbo(s).

I'm guessing you live in a very cold climate? Someplace where it's below freezing right now? If you are, then rest easy: your PCV system is probably frozen.

Same thing happened to me last winter, freaked me out. I thought for sure I was about to spend $10k plus with APR (in for a penny...) Did some research - can't recall where I found this - and the symptoms matched.

That's the good news. The "other" good news is that it's a relatively cheap part. The BAD news is that it's a MAJOR PITA to fix. What you have to do is remove and replace the "octopus" breather system under the intake manifold (part number 078 103 235B or J, depending on your VIN). It's a series of plastic hoses that connect together all the intake and valve cover fittings for the PCV system.

I don't recall if the Bentley says to remove the intake, but I suggest it would be "easier", if you feel up to it. I tried it without removing the intake, and while it can be done it takes patience. Lots of patience.

Alternatively, I suppose you could remove the octopus and clean it out -- it's probably clogged with oil and water vapor, and freezes up at night, causing the system to pressurize and blow oil out the valve cover and into the intake - but by now it'll be all brittle and you'll probably break it anyway. Since you're in there, buy a new one.

To check and see if this is actually the problem, note whether it does the white smoke ONLY when below-freezing temps are around, and also ONLY when the engine is stone cold. And/or, trying leaving it in a heated garage overnight to see if it still does it. I think you'll find a correlation with outside and engine compartment temperature.

Mine has never done it again since I replaced that hose. And we've had some pretty serious cold up here in CT.

Now, if I could only find a cheap airbag computer to replace the one that died during LAST winter's sub-zero temps...sigh...

Have fun. I did. - GA

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