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Old 05-22-2007
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Black smoke from exhaust

So I'm out of town helping my fiance' move home from college (shes an optometrist now). Anyway Yesterday I was at her apartment breaking down a washer and dryer to bring home today. On the way to the apartment I stopped to put gas in the ranger and filled it up. I drove another 1/4 mile to her apartment, pulled into a parking spot and then decided that I'd better back in. So I throw her in reverse and the idle starts to seem a little off, but i back her up anyway get turned around and slide into the parking spot.
I look out of my passenger side window and notice heavy black smoke floating by. Once I'm in my spot I get out to investigate. The ehaust is solid black and almost flowing out of the pipe constantly. There is a very strange odor..kinda like rotten eggs. The only other sign that somthing is wrong is that the idle is still "skipping" a little every 10 seconds or so.
Well I've got a lot to do so i turn her off go in and take care of buisness. 2 hours later I'm back out starting the truck and same problem. I head out to return to my hotel with my fiance's parents behind me. The said black smoke was just boiling out of my tail pipe. Well somwhere along the way I decided to floor it and "blow it out" as my grandpa calls it. So when I did the in-laws said the smoke stopped for a second and then i backfired with a huge black cloud. Ever since then it has been fine? No smell, No smoke...all back to normal.

Just wondering if anyone had any ideas on the cause of this problem. I'm heading home in a few hours and don't want to be stuck on the side of the road. I'm headed from Birmingham Ala, to Easley SC.

Thanks for the help guys!
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Old 05-22-2007
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i would try seafoam real quick... couldnt hurt
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Old 05-22-2007
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you truck is just wanting to become a disel..
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Old 05-22-2007
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oil in the cylinder
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Old 05-22-2007
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Seafoam....New 02 sensors.....new plugs...new cat....
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Old 05-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telemaster1952
oil in the cylinder
Burning oil is blue smoke isn't it? Infact I know it is, my 2 stroke outboard has blue smoke all the time, not black....
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Old 05-22-2007
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blue smoke = oil
Grey/white smoke = water/moisture
Black smoke = fuel
you might have had a spark plug fowling out or something. There could have been trash in the gas you just bought.
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Old 05-22-2007
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bummer, sounds like you got a bad batch of fuel. Get some seafoam in the tank to help clean the fuel up, run the tank and get your gas elseswheres where the quality is better like BP, Exxon, Shell etc... once that done, seafoam the engine and see how it acts. If the problem persists, maybe time for a tune up. Plugs, wires, maybe new 02 sensors -Mike-
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Old 05-22-2007
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Thanks for all of the insight guys. Just wanted to let you all know that I made it back to good ol' South Carolina with no problems. The black smoke only showed up once today and that was when i started the truck for the first time, and I think it was blowing out some of the black "sut" that is still all over the inside of the tail pipe. I bought that gas from an Exxon station, and actually went back this morning to see if anyone else had come in to say anything. They told me that they had had no complaints. So Thanks to everyone for the help and I'll Seafoam it and then take her in for my 80k mile checkup.

Again Thanks a lot ya'll.

Travis
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Old 05-22-2007
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I know a rotten egg smell can be associated with a bad cat.

Maybe a mouse climbed up in there and when you floored it, out it came like a rocket.
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Old 05-22-2007
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A rotten egg oder is a good sign that you've got a bad cat converter. In your cat converter there is a honeycomb-like structure that the exhaust passes through, and it breaks down the nitrates (or some chemical, forget exactly which). If the honeycomb breaks, all the soot and chemicals built up are released, which was the black smoke you saw, and when you start up your truck and see black, it is probibly normal black smoke that most all engines make when starting... My Camino doesn't have cats and shoots black smoke on startup, and it's normal as far as I can tell.

To find out for sure, unbolt your cat and shake it, if you can hear junk rattling around, or worse, if black crap comes falling out, it's time to buy a new cat con.
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Old 05-22-2007
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Wow you guys are full of good info...but I am a newb here as well as a newb to the world of working on my truck. The Cat converter..I do know what that is, but I have no idea where to find it, or how to take it out. Is this somthing that I could reasonably do myself, or would you recommend taking it in? And if I can do it myself how much would a new one run and could I pick it up at an Auto Zone?
Again thanks for all of your help!

Travis
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Old 05-22-2007
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Get underneath your truck and look up- it should be fairly easy to find your exhaust pipes, just find the muffler and tailpipe and follow it backward, it should go tailpipe, muffler, long strech of pipe, catalytic converter (maybe more than 1) y-pipe, headers. I'm not sure on your truck's year but on mine, you can unbolt the cats, you may need to cut them out.

If you're fairly confident with a hacksaw and exhaust clamps, you can fix this for around $100 if you get a Magnaflow high performance cat from Autozone. If you're not confident, it can be a pricey job but it will be worth it, and you HAVE to do it because your truck won't pass emissions with a broken cat.
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Old 05-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3kbruiser
Get underneath your truck and look up- it should be fairly easy to find your exhaust pipes, just find the muffler and tailpipe and follow it backward, it should go tailpipe, muffler, long strech of pipe, catalytic converter (maybe more than 1) y-pipe, headers. I'm not sure on your truck's year but on mine, you can unbolt the cats, you may need to cut them out.

If you're fairly confident with a hacksaw and exhaust clamps, you can fix this for around $100 if you get a Magnaflow high performance cat from Autozone. If you're not confident, it can be a pricey job but it will be worth it, and you HAVE to do it because your truck won't pass emissions with a broken cat.

Great quick response, Thanks . I think I might leave this job to the professionals when I can make time to have it fixed. My soon to be Father-in-law is a mechanic, so I'm sure he'll do the labor for free. As far as passing emissions...well I live here in the great state of SC and we knocked off vehicle inspections before I even got my lisence. But I will get this fixed.

One last thing..I would get no warning lights on the HUD with this problem? My soon to be father-in-law was baffled that the 02 sensor wasn't going haywire with black smoke pouring out of the exhaust.

Thanks again,
Travis
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  #15  
Old 05-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travo

One last thing..I would get no warning lights on the HUD with this problem? My soon to be father-in-law was baffled that the 02 sensor wasn't going haywire with black smoke pouring out of the exhaust.
That right there goes to confirm that it's the catalytic converter... The o2 sensors are all before the catalytic converter(s), and if your engine was having some sort of problem and dumping too much fuel into the engine (thus making black smoke), the o2 sensors would detect a lack of oxygen and tell the engine to put out less fuel. But, since you don't have a check engine light, that means your o2 sensors are giving an all-clear, so the problem MUST be coming from after the o2 sensors, which only leaves the catalytic converter. There are no actual sensors in the catalytic converter, because one of the things that makes to cat work and break down the chemicals is intense heat, and that would lead to incredibly short lifespans for any sensors in the cat... So since there are no sensors in the cat, there is no way for the engine to detect a problem with the cat and flash a CEL.

If you go to a shop expect to look at a bill of around $500, $250 in parts and $250 in labor.
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Old 05-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3kbruiser
That right there goes to confirm that it's the catalytic converter... The o2 sensors are all before the catalytic converter(s), and if your engine was having some sort of problem and dumping too much fuel into the engine (thus making black smoke), the o2 sensors would detect a lack of oxygen and tell the engine to put out less fuel. But, since you don't have a check engine light, that means your o2 sensors are giving an all-clear, so the problem MUST be coming from after the o2 sensors, which only leaves the catalytic converter. There are no actual sensors in the catalytic converter, because one of the things that makes to cat work and break down the chemicals is intense heat, and that would lead to incredibly short lifespans for any sensors in the cat... So since there are no sensors in the cat, there is no way for the engine to detect a problem with the cat and flash a CEL.

If you go to a shop expect to look at a bill of around $500, $250 in parts and $250 in labor.


YOU are THE MAN! Thanks a ton, and I'll let ya know what I find out!
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Old 05-22-2007
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My pleasure, keep me posted
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Old 05-22-2007
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according to this diagram there is a before and an after cat o2 sensor.. so if the cat was bad it should still set of a CEL because of the crap it's throwing out the exhaust. Correct me if i'm wrong but that's just my .02

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Old 05-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwester04
according to this diagram there is a before and an after cat o2 sensor.. so if the cat was bad it should still set of a CEL because of the crap it's throwing out the exhaust. Correct me if i'm wrong but that's just my .02

I think that's for new models, because my truck doesn't have an o2 after the cat... If the black smoke was soot being blown out of a dead cat I doubt it would trigger a CEL... I could be wrong though...
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  #20  
Old 05-23-2007
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Have you check the Spark Plugs? (how many miles this spark plugs have been in your engine?)
This black smoke is when the engine is cold?
What type of fuel are you using currently...

There´s a lot of questions we all may ask you... You should check in the beat of your exhaust the remainders that your engine is expelling...
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  #21  
Old 05-23-2007
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Since this happened right after re-fueling i doubt it's the cats.More likely when the tank was filled to the top gas entered the vapor purge line going to the charcoal canister.The engine just sucked raw gas into the intake manifold when the purge valve opened.
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  #22  
Old 05-23-2007
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i know almost ALL obd2 vehicle's have an o2 sensor before and after the catalytic converter.
and i think the 01 3.0's have three maybe four cats, one after each manifold (pre-cats) and one or two big cats after the y-pipe.

i would take it in for the 80k checkup and let them know about the problem.

i honestly don't think its the catalytic converter, just bad gas.
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  #23  
Old 05-23-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b3kbruiser
I think that's for new models, because my truck doesn't have an o2 after the cat... If the black smoke was soot being blown out of a dead cat I doubt it would trigger a CEL... I could be wrong though...
My truck is a 2004 and there are 3 sensors and 3 cats. None of my sensors are after the 3rd (biggest) cat, thats why she got punched out....
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