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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

I've had my gtv on the road for 2 months, so has only been driven during the cold weather, and I'm only doing short journeys of 10 to 15 minutes, or 3 to 6 miles.

White gases come from the exhaust a lot of the time. I've never experienced this with a car before and have read the usual horror stories. But also read that it could be condensation in the exhaust that isn't being fully evaporated due to the short journeys.

How do I diagnose? What other signs should I look out for?

All insight appreciated as ever.

Ta, Dan
 

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It's normal, takes quiet a while to get up to temp. Your runs are not long enough, I would say you need somewhere in the region of 20miles before the exhaust is really hot enough. Remember there are a lot of boxes for condensate to form in (assuming you have a standard exhaust set up )
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all. I was planning on taking it to a nearby indie next week to be safe. If I did, what would they actually do to diagnose it? I'm not a mechanic!
 

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Thanks all. I was planning on taking it to a nearby indie next week to be safe. If I did, what would they actually do to diagnose it? I'm not a mechanic!
If you're concerned, just hold a cold bit of glass in the white vapour and you'll see, after a while, water condensing on the glass. That'll prove it's water and not anything else.

Other than combustion, the only other place water can be coming from is the coolant system. If the levels there are OK, you don't have a problem.

Water is a by product of the combustion process Oxygen ( air ) and hydrogen ( from the hydrocarbons ) - that's where it's originating.
 

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Steam if it was excessiveand smelt of coolant could imply head gasket failure...

So they "could" do a block "sniff" test but without any overheating or significant loss of coolant I expect they will tell you exactly what we are telling you.

Relax.

It's normal.

:)
 

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"they all do that mate" is actually correct in this instance, These boxes are water traps and all through winter you will have this, If you take it on a long long LONG trip 50 miles plus and then see the exhaust its clear then but around town and 5-10 mile short trips expect to see white vapour all the time
 

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Other thing is checking for any exhaust leaks at joints of perhaps downpipes / Cat / Back box etc. I think can act like a bit of a venturi if small and could suck damp air in with moisture which will appear as more steam.

Mine done this before I got a back box adjusted early in the year. Was morning so damp and seemed to be giving a lot of white steam even after being running for some time 30-60 minutes plus. Was ok after and in the evening that day. Back box had been adjusted and also not as damp in the evening.

Always gives off steam when started from cold / sitting for a few weeks. As said lots of room in our systems for water damp to collect.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks all!

Good shout checking for exhaust leaks too.

I wouldn't know if it smells of coolant or not. I'd sit there sniffing it in but the neighbours might call the Samaritans. I'll keep an eye on the coolant level for now.
 

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As has been suggested hold a piece of glass, or better still a pint glass over the exhaust, if it's just steam it will condense into water, if your coolant is pink it will have a pink tint to it, or green etc.
My jts used to do this, I'd drive for a few miles then stop at traffic lights and it be present again, by the time I'd finished my journey it was all clear. In the temps we've had recently you'll be seeing it all the time on your short trips.
 

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My 166 TS just suffered a head gasket failure (fixed very reasonably by Motormech in Birmingham). As well as white smoke, there was an intermittent misfire and the car did overheat. So without any symptoms other than white smoke you should be OK. An additional check is to remove the rad cap while the engine is warm (not hot!), start it and let it come up to temperature. If you see gas bubbling through the header tank it is a sign of a gasket failure.
 

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My tip would be to give it a good run and get her up to proper operating temp for a bit. The water vapour should disappear. Short runs are not good for any car never mind Alfa Romeos. Another quick check is to remove the oil filler cap and check for a creamy emulsion. This would indicate the possibility of a head gasket failure, but only do this after a good run at normal temp.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My tip would be to give it a good run and get her up to proper operating temp for a bit. The water vapour should disappear. Short runs are not good for any car never mind Alfa Romeos. Another quick check is to remove the oil filler cap and check for a creamy emulsion. This would indicate the possibility of a head gasket failure, but only do this after a good run at normal temp.
I'm taking a trip to Manchester tomorrow night for a gig (RIP Wild Beasts x) and will be doing about 50 miles each way so I'll see.

There is a small dollop of mayo in the oil filler cap but the coolant hasn't dropped from the max line since being refilled after a cambelt service 2.5 months ago at Autolusso. The oil looked fine when I checked the dipstick too.
 

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My brother's 147 always has mayo under the filler cap and a steamy exhaust, he does a 2 mile journey twice a day, four times a week. Other than that the car barely gets used. Its just a build up of condensation getting mixed in with the oil.
 
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