2003 C5 V6 - Thick white smoke coming from exhaust
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Thread: 2003 C5 V6 - Thick white smoke coming from exhaust

  1. #1
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    Default 2003 C5 V6 - Thick white smoke coming from exhaust

    Hello,

    This evening I've just finished up changing the rear trailing arm bearings on my C5.
    I put the wheels back on, dropped it back on the ground, re-connected the battery and then fired it up.

    I let it idle for a few seconds then gave it a few gentle revs. This is when I noticed white smoke appearing all around me!

    I shut it off and looked underneath for any leaks etc, then when I walked around the back there was still smoke slowly wafting from the exhaust tip.

    I started it up again and gave it a few more revs and the white smoke quickly filled my garage. I would have only had it running for 15 seconds or so.

    It doesn't really smell of anything, but I'm guessing it can only be coolant or possibly ATF.

    I'm going to investigate further tomorrow but can anyone tell me if c5 transmissions have modulator valves like older autos do?
    If they do I thought it might be sucking ATF into the engine.

    I'm hoping it's not a head gasket issue. The car was driving fine apart from the creaky rear end bearings and has never over heated on me or anything like that. It seems odd that it would suddenly fail after sitting for 2 weeks while I did the bearings. It's sat for longer periods than that before on the street.

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    Perhaps anything to do with sitting with it's back side up in the air?

    For now i'm at a loss as to what it might be. I'm sure i'll find out more tomorrow but for now i'm just concerned/annoyed. I'm hoping i'll fire it up tomorrow and it will just clear up on it's own and that will be it. Fingers crossed!

    Regards
    Ben

  2. #2
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    No modulator valve for the tranny. It's easy to pick antifreeze based vapour as condensation will be excessive on a cold metal plate held to the exhaust.

    It does sound more like oil smoke, based on it filling your garage.

  3. #3
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    Brake fluid??? Check the hose between the booster and manifold. The master cylinder sometimes backwards leaks into the booster.

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    That might be the ticket there. One job on the to do list was a very slow loss of brake fluid but no obvious signs of leakage. Perhaps a seal in the master has let go completely. I'll check in the morning if the brake reservoir has been sucked dry.

    Thank you all for the after hours diagnosis

    I'll post up what I find, it might help others in the future.

    Ben


    Quote Originally Posted by David S View Post
    Brake fluid??? Check the hose between the booster and manifold. The master cylinder sometimes backwards leaks into the booster.

  5. #5
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    Ok so the brake reservoir was still full but may have gone down slightly. I plugged the booster vacuum line going to the manifold and fired it up for about 20 seconds and it was still smoking. I'm hoping it will just take a while to clear completely.

    Not sure if I was on the right track, I decided to investigate further. I pulled the vacuum hose and grommet out of the booster and low and behold the booster is at least 1/3 full of brake fluid.

    I've just ordered a replacement master. I'll suck out the fluid from the booster and flush it with water etc, and try my luck and see how long it lasts. As I said the car has very slowly lost fluid for at least two years so I'm guessing its been in there for quite some time.

    I'll change the master and we'll see what happens

    Ben

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    Also check your brake booster as brake fluid ruins the the diaphragm.

    Two years of leaking fluid, probably ruined as well

    So the cycle.

    A bad master cylinder leaks fluid into the booster.

    Brake fluid will cause deterioration of the diaphragm resulting in failure.

    If misdiagnosed, the failed booster can provide a vacuum to the rear of a replacement master cylinder and quickly ruin it, repeating the cycle.

  7. #7
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    Well the replacement brake master is now fitted.
    I dragged the Mrs out to the garage to bleed the brakes (Her most funnest thing in the entire world let me tell you) and nothing seemed to be happening. So I jumped on the ol interwebz and dammit it looks like just to bleed the brakes on this thing you need to hook it up to lexia or similar.

    I've looked on ebay and it seems I can buy a lexia adapter thingy which i'm assuming comes with software, for around $100.
    Considering it would probably cost me that much to tow the vehicle to a specialist and have them bleed the brakes I might as well just buy the tools to do it myself plus it will probably come in handy for other things as well.

    So can anyone tell me if those $100 odd dollar jobbies will do what I need to do?

    And back to the other issue. I sucked around a liter of brake fluid out of the booster. Filled it up with water and give it a bit of a slosh around. Then sucked that out and used a heat gun on the bottom of the booster to try to evaporate what ever moisture might have been left. Don't know if I got it all or how long the booster will last but right now I don't care haha

    After failing to bleed the brakes I pushed the car out of the garage to I could run it for a while to see if the smoke from the exhaust would clear. I must have let it go for around 20 minutes and it's much better than it was but there is still some smoke coming out. The tips of the exhaust look wet too so maybe the car just needs to be driven and get some real heat into the system to really burn it all off. I hope that's all it is.

    Ben

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    You don't need a Lexia to bleed them. Just get all four corners on stands with wheels off, and leave the driver's door open while you wait for the car to drop into economy mode. Go round the car several times and you'll be fine.

    I'm assuming the new master cylinder is either a used one with fluid in it, or a new one you already bench bled.

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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    You don't need a Lexia to bleed them. Just get all four corners on stands with wheels off, and leave the driver's door open while you wait for the car to drop into economy mode. Go round the car several times and you'll be fine.

    I'm assuming the new master cylinder is either a used one with fluid in it, or a new one you already bench bled.
    Hi
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    Jaahn

  10. #10
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    Never assume anyone knows what they are doing! hahaha
    Can you please elaborate on what you mean by economy mode?

    The mast cylinder was used and did have a small amount of fluid dribbling out. I've changed probably 6 or 8 master cylinders over the years, new and used, and I have never bench bled them and the calipers have generally always bled up fine.
    What's involved with this procedure exactly and is it a Citroen or c5 specific thing? It sounds like you would just put some fluid in the res and pump it through a few times? Does this just make the caliper bleeding process easier or is it essential?

    Thank you all

    Ben

    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    You don't need a Lexia to bleed them. Just get all four corners on stands with wheels off, and leave the driver's door open while you wait for the car to drop into economy mode. Go round the car several times and you'll be fine.

    I'm assuming the new master cylinder is either a used one with fluid in it, or a new one you already bench bled.

  11. #11
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    Economy mode is when you promise things to everybody to get the gig, then backpedal on 99% of it.

    More seriously, it's when the car has "gone to sleep" after a few minutes (say twenty) of not being locked/unlocked/opened up. So you leave the steering wheel unlocked in the accessory key position, driver's door open and walk away for twenty minutes. This is after jacking the car up and removing all wheels whilst placing all four jacking points or subframe mounts onto chassis stands. So once the car is dozing, you can push the brake pedal 'til the cows come home without upsetting anything or triggering the ABS.

    If you used a second hand master, then no need to bench bleed - it is simply a time saver (quite a big one for some cars).

    The Lexia simplifies bleeding - but you still need all wheels off, and all corners off the ground - by stopping flow of fluid to all but the wheel you are trying to bleed. It probably saves ten minutes and 250ml of fluid.
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  12. #12
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    In the current C5 the switch to Economy Mode occurs 30 minutes after stopping the engine. A message comes up on the screen. Exit by starting the engine.

    It gives you that time to use the wireless, wash the windscreen, etc, with the engine stopped, then the ZZZZs set in.

  13. #13
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    ahhhhhhh I understand now. Brilliant, good news all round, thank you.

    I had been rushing to get the car repaired for my wife to go away but she left today and had to take our crappy van instead.
    So i'll have to wait for a mate to come help with the bleeding, hopefully over the weekend.

    Thanks again, very very helpful and I greatly appreciate it.

    Ben

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    Our 406 (which has ABS & ESP) is supposed to be pressure bled (air pressure applied to top of fluid in reservoir) - is this needed with the C5?

    Cheers

    Alec

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    Shouldn't be. I've bled up C5s with the passive method described above, no problems down the line.

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    What kind of wife leaves a man to bleed his own brakes? And takes the van!
    shanadoo likes this.

  17. #17
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    I know!
    Some say, that it's the most productive thing she ever does.
    And I can safely say that knowing she never reads this forum haha

    Seriously though, She hates doing it with such a deep seated passionate loathing, that if there is absolutely anybody else or even the cat that I can get to do it, I will, just to not have to hear the constant grumbling...... My leg hurts......my foot hurts......my leg still hurts.... I hate you right now..... etc etc.

    Ben


    Quote Originally Posted by badabec View Post
    What kind of wife leaves a man to bleed his own brakes? And takes the van!
    shanadoo likes this.

  18. #18
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    The issue is the ABS and that's why you might use the diagnostic tool. One way to know your car has gone to economy mode is to start it (which wakes it up), switch on the radio, stop the engine and wait until the radio turns off, meaning it has gone to economy mode. The time varies from car to car, presumably due to varying different battery condition.

    Spend about $40 and buy a vacuum gauge / brake bleeder kit, which then means you can do each wheel in the correct order by yourself. No need for someone to depress the pedal. I never thought it would be so simple until I tried it.
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  19. #19
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    Hey every one,

    I roped a friend into helping me with the brakes today.
    The fronts bled up quite easily but the rears made me work much harder, well worked my friend harder I should say. I was somewhat unimpressed with his stamina when after about 6 pumps he had to change legs.

    So not alot was happening for a while but then all of a sudden like explosive diarrhea it coughed and spurted all over the place and quickly came good after that.

    Took it for a drive and every thing seems good. And the smoke is almost gone too. I think a good run to get some heat into the exhaust will cook off whatever fluid is left in there and she'll be a good'un.

    I thank every one again profusely for all the help

    Now time to finally get round to buying new spheres for my CX and i'll be back here hat in hand begging for more assistance.

    Kind regards
    Ben

  20. #20
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    LOL at the anal-ogy. Only an Australian forum would come up with such comparisons!

  21. #21
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    Just a quick final post to finish this thread up.

    Been driving the C5 a bit here and there the last week or two and it's been going fine.
    No noised from the rear suspension any more, brakes are working fine, and I believe the smoke has cleared up completely.

    It's still got a small shudder felt at the steering wheel over bumps which from some reading sounds like it might be the dodgy steering column on early c5's so might have to live with that one. And it has always had a sort of vibration/front wheel hop sort of feeling from the front when rapidly accelerating. I need to check the engine mounts possibly. And some times the heater on the passenger side sticks on...... but other than that she's back on the road lol

    Thanks for everything people!

    Ben

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