Water vapor and foul smelling exhaust

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Technical Discussion' started by acp380, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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    Recently my 2012 prius has been engine clunking upon startup more frequently than usual. Until now it would only happen once or twice a year..now it's more like every day. Also some times it throws a cylinder 1/random misfire code when it has a clunking fit. Today my wife noticed a lot of white smoke (water vapor) coming from the exhaust when she started it up..it lessened over a couple minutes but never stopped. This vapor smells unlike anything I have ever smelt coming out of an exhaust.hard to describe. .very foul. This car has 238000+ miles and received very little upkeep. 4 kids and going non stop and being broke will put maintenance on back burner for me..lol. I changed the factory plugs and cleaned the intake manifold egr passages out at about 230000 miles. The coolant looks low in the reservoir but I don't know if it is leaking or if I didn't top it off all the way when I pulled the intake. I'm keeping an eye on it..I'm worried coolant is leaking iternally causing the misfire and clunking and white stanky exhaust. Sorry for the long winded post.

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  2. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    We have seen recently a rash of head gasket issues.

    What part of the country are you in? Do you move the car from one spot to another where you park where the engine might turn on and not complete its cycle?

    Did you change plugs at 230 k miles when you cleaned the intake passages? Sounds like you drained the engine coolant at some point. How many miles ago?

    Definitely put some coolant to bring the level up in the reservoir to the fill line and closely monitor.

    Keep us posted(y).
     
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  3. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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    Don't usually park and move. Live in south texas. Wife puts about 50k a year going back and fourth to work.all highway miles. Around 230000 I started getting a bad stumble upon deceleration and and when you would go over the top of a hill with cruise it would stumble bad..would consistently throw cylinder 2 misfire.put new factory plugs and it didnt help.I did some research and ran across across the plugged egr problem and I took a shot in the dark and pulled the intake. The passages were totally plugged except for the cylinder 2. I figured that's why 2 was misfiring because it was getting all of the egr gasses.. cleaned it all up and it ran fine again with no codes.until now.

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  4. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Did you just do the intake manifold, or did you do the Egr valve? Cooler? What did the plugs look like? When did you change engine coolant last? Ever do any fuel injection treatment? What gas do you buy (top tier, or whatever is available when you need to fill up)?
     
  5. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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    Like I said this car has seen nothing but neglect.im astonished it's still alive. Never treated fuel system . I wanna say I cleaned the piping between the egr and intake..not sure if I did the valve itself. Never changed engine coolant. Factory plugs didn't look that bad when I pulled them. They were old and used but nothing out of the ordinary for 230000 mile old plugs. We always put the minimum octane. Also car uses oil like it's going out of style. Doesn't smoke but uses the heck out of oil. Switched to 5w20 which helped a little but not much. When I pulled the intake it had a good sized puddle of oil in the bottom but from what I read this is common?

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  6. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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    BTW wife got back from town and it wasn't blowing vapor from the exhaust anymore. But the coolant looked lower yet. I'll top it off and let it sit a while and start back up see what happens.
    If it was a bad head gasket wouldn't I have water in the oil or not necessarily?

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  7. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    You would. What does the oil on the dip stick show( is it normal color, or does it have a milky consistency? What does it smell like? Is there any coolant on the ground where the Prius is normally parked? What does the tailpipe look like?

    You said it burns oil like crazy. Can you quantify that? Has it ever run low on oil, then the light on the dash told you or your wife about it?
     
  8. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    If you are burning so much oil eventually the catalytic converter gets poisoned with the metal additives/zinc in the oil. So that could help explain the foul smell.
     
  9. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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    Yes that is how we figured out it consumed so much oil. Light came on when we turned a sharp corner so we checked the oil and it took over 2 quarts to top off. But that was 100000 miles or so ago. I'd say it burns a good quart every 2 weeks.

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  10. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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  11. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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  12. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    A friend used to have a Honda Civic that she named Puff because it looked like that, until we changed the head gasket.

    Probably doing a Prius head gasket job right wouldn't be hugely different, labor-wise, from swapping in a low-mile used engine. With this one having been run out of oil 100,000 miles ago, maybe the smart money is there.

    -Chap
     
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  13. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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  14. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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  15. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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    Any special tools involved in pulling the head on this car? So far this car has been surprisingly easy to work on. Seems to have been engineered well from a mechanics standpoint. ...not that I am a mechanic..lol

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  16. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    With the amount of oil the car drinks, finding a used engine might get you better bang for your buck;). There are plenty available from salvage yards.

    Good luck(y).
     
  17. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Used Prii engines can be fairly cheap (EBay etc), not that I'd know what to do with one if I had it
     
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  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Lapsed Cargo Cultist

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    There's a lot of dead links in this, but I think it'll help, at least give you a feel for what's involved, the steps. Repair Manual sections on engine removal and install:
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. acp380

    acp380 Junior Member

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    Thank you. Yes I seen several engines on ebay for surprisingly cheap. That's on the table. I'm confident I can replace a head gasket though. It really runs good except for this recent issue.

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  20. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Chances are that if the head gasket is bad (and that's what this looks like to me, too), the head is warped, too. :( So check that before putting it back together.
     
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