Close
2002 firebird. gm 3800 series 2 v6 engine. clouds of white smoke and shuddering.
2002 Pontiac Firebird

2002 Firebird. GM 3800 series 2 V6 engine. Clouds of white smoke and shuddering.

(2002 Pontiac Firebird)
I am relatively new to this. I bought this car last october. When I got it, and since I have had it, it has had white smoke coming out of the exhaust. I drove it like that for 8 months. I finally got another car, so I decided to try and do the head gaskets. The car was running fine before I started the job, other that a little white smoke when idling. I parked it in our side yard, since the garage is full. At the time, I didnt realize I would need to get under the car to do this job. I started taking apart the engine, making my way down to the head gaskets. I took out the radiator so that I could sit in the engine bay while I worked. I got the entire intake manifold off, top and bottom, and everything attached to it. I started taking off the valve covers. I got one off, but the other one had a stripped bolt, so I couldn't get it off. I decided to come back to it and went ahead and disconnected the headers from the heads. Then I realized I would have to get completely under the car to completely remove the headers from the car. With those two big problems, I realized I wouldnt be able to finish the job where the car sat. So I started putting everything back together. I replaced the lower intake manifold gasket and the plenum gasket, as well as the little one on the throttle body. I got everything back together, and I filled the radiator with distilled water because I dont have any money for coolant right now. I went to start it, and it didnt crank the first time, which I expected. I let the fuel pump run for a few seconds, then I tried again. It slowly, barely shuddered to life and big clouds of white smoke started coming from the engine bay and the exhaust. I shut it off after like 5 seconds of the smoke and shuddering. I have no idea why this happened. It didnt happen before I parked it. Did I put it back together wrong? Or what?
Ask a Question
1 answer & 1 comment
Popular Answer
It doesn't mean you put it together wrong. Generally after a large repair where you have the intake or heads off you may have residual oil or coolant get into the cylinder and it has to burn off. It is very possibly you were correctly chasing the issue of a blown head gasket. It's possible you have a vacuum leak causing too much air to be sucked into the motor and causing it to run rough. That being said the only way to be sure is to have it towed to a trustworthy shop and have them look at it. Unfortunately that might be expensive but if you are in a pinch calling a shop might be a good starting point or finding someone who is willing to come out and look at the car.
Sign in to reply
on August 04, 2016
Do you think I should try and start it again and let it run longer, see if it smooths out? There was a distinct burning smell the first time.

I also am not 100% I have the right spark plug wires in the right spots. I know I have the correct firing order lined up, but the wires could have gotten mixed. For example, then the wire for cylinder 3 might be on cylinder 5. Would that have any affect on how rough it idles?

Edit: I checked the oil, it is white :/ A lot of water in the oil
Coolant Leak Diagnosis
$88 - $111 Learn More
It doesn't mean you put it together wrong. Generally after a large repair where you have the intake or heads off you may have residual oil or coolant get into the cylinder and it has to burn off. It is very possibly you were correctly chasing the issue of a blown head gasket. It's possible you have a vacuum leak causing too much air to be sucked into the motor and causing it to run rough. That being said the only way to be sure is to have it towed to a trustworthy shop and have them look at it. Unfortunately that might be expensive but if you are in a pinch calling a shop might be a good starting point or finding someone who is willing to come out and look at the car.
Sign in to reply
on August 04, 2016
Do you think I should try and start it again and let it run longer, see if it smooths out? There was a distinct burning smell the first time.

I also am not 100% I have the right spark plug wires in the right spots. I know I have the correct firing order lined up, but the wires could have gotten mixed. For example, then the wire for cylinder 3 might be on cylinder 5. Would that have any affect on how rough it idles?

Edit: I checked the oil, it is white :/ A lot of water in the oil

Similar Questions

View answers to similar questions from RepairPal's community of auto experts and enthusiasts.
Waited all day and no response
Radio goes in and out. clock never loses time. the radio has acd player also. it is a delco pontiac radio with the...