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1993 Es300 White Smoke


DIrtyD
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First off i want to say thank you for reading this and giving your time to help me.

I Currently have in my possesion a 1993 Lexus ES300 that has a rough idle and a THICK cloud of white smoke that comes from the exhaust. I am in highschool with only $1000 to fix this car. It was given to me by a family member that tried to fix it but was tired of messing with it. It has sat in a garage for two years. Two Years ago it was taken to three different mechanics who all wanted to replace the fuel injectors. Which leads me to believe that the computer is bad. I can order a refurbished computer from allcomputerresources.com for around $200 ...If the new computer does not cause the smoke to stop my next hypothesis would be that it would have to be the Head Gaskets. ( am i on the right track?) Once the computer comes in i plan to run two treatments with Gunk and drop the oil pan just to make sure any build up that was there is gone, I also have a Radiator flush and Fuel System cleaner. After that i will change the rest of the fluids. Then i will replace the Head Gaskets with the help of a friend. ( this is my gameplan please tell me if you think this is the method that would be appropriate, please keep in mind i cant afford a mechanic.) I looked in the Fuse and Relay box and i am Missing 3 Relays and one (not standard size) fuze. I am Missing FUEL PUMP RELAY, ENGINE MAIN RELAY, FAN NO.1 RELAY and ST MAIN 30A Fuse. (family member doesnt know if the relays and that fuse was their when he bought it) The file i have of the car and my family member told me the AC was cold but wouldnt blow like it should, is this because of the missing relay? Will the missing relays effect the car? Is the fuel pump relay causing the computer to keep a fuel injector open hence the white smoke? Is the missing Engine Main relay causing a rough idle? I found most of the parts i need on Rockauto.com including the relays but are they a necessity?( my limit knowledge is from talking to people and reading blogs)

Please help me and anwser my questions to the best of your ability. Your anwsers will be GREATLY appreciated.

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DD,

First, let me congratulate you for being brave enough to tackle such a project at such a young age. You will have years of wrenching ahead of you, and your experience with this 93 es will be invaluable, regardless of the outcome!!

As to the problems...

Are you getting a check engine light? If so let us know what dtcs are being thrown. I don't think there is an obdII connector with the '93 so a few bucks spent at a toyota dealership to get the cel/dtcs might save you a lot later.

How did the mechanic know it was fuel injector(s)? Did he do codes? I've never heard that a bad injector could cause white smoke (but I'm only a shade tree mech myself). Be interested if anyone else has heard of this explanation.

Rough idle can be caused by lots of things, including a bad injector, that's why the dtc's are important to lead the way. White smoke indicates water in the fuel mix, but to indicate a gasket breech there is usually water in the oil as well, or you should be losing coolant and/or overheating. This is a chicken or egg question as overheating can blow a gasket and a blown gasket will cause overheating.

Not sure why you thought replacing the computer would help, and $200 is 20% of your sock. Can you return it? Should for that price, particularly if it doesn't fix your problem.

Whether it's injectors, or head gaskets, it's the same job getting down to them pretty much, with the latter requiring taking the heads off as the last step. Get a Haynes manual for the camry of that same year (can be had on ebay for $15), and it's very helpful doing this job. Some of your money will need to go toward tools if you don't have them, but this is usually a good investment. Make sure you have a set of good metric sockets, short and deep, will need 12 point 12 mm to get the head bolts off. Be prepared to break a several (18+ year old rusted overheated) bolts, and learn how to use a tap and die set if you haven't already -- it's a great set of skills that will last you a life time.

Before you take the heads off (and before you take the wiring harness off), try to do compression testing on all cylinders. It's a bit tricky to get to the rears while maintaining your cranking capacity, but the info may help you decide if you need to do valves and/or rings as well (poor compression in one or more cylinders could cause rough idle...)

Again while your going to the trouble to take the intake off (takes 8 hrs or so the first time), consider replacing the spark plugs, and thermostat (see overheating above) at a minimum. Injectors can be replaced as well, but you might want to try and test them first before tossing them. (google "cleaning and testing fuel injectors) Good idea to do the timing belt as well. If you have codes indicating the knock sensors, then replace those (and the small wiring harness from them) too (underneath the lower intake manifold). Good plugs will cost about $45/set, timing belt is $20-30, thermostat not too expensive, but knock sensors are pricey. A head gasket set can be had on ebay for about $60 (I got mine from a company I've used called Eristic for that price, no need to pay the $450 at autoparts stores.) Good idea to replace the head bolts if your are going to do the gaskets, about $30 maybe.

I'm not sure about the relays, but it's unlikely that the car would run if a needed relay was missing. I have a lot of empty spaces in the boxes up front in my '94 (different engine), but never thought much about it as the car runs quite well most of the time.

I'd post pone changing out fluids until after the head gasket job, you'll have to drain the coolant anyhow, will need to change oil as well, and while you have the car up, you can drop the oil pan if you want to see what that looks like.

Good luck, and let us know how this project goes.

LL

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DD,

First, let me congratulate you for being brave enough to tackle such a project at such a young age. You will have years of wrenching ahead of you, and your experience with this 93 es will be invaluable, regardless of the outcome!!

As to the problems...

Are you getting a check engine light? If so let us know what dtcs are being thrown. I don't think there is an obdII connector with the '93 so a few bucks spent at a toyota dealership to get the cel/dtcs might save you a lot later.

How did the mechanic know it was fuel injector(s)? Did he do codes? I've never heard that a bad injector could cause white smoke (but I'm only a shade tree mech myself). Be interested if anyone else has heard of this explanation.

Rough idle can be caused by lots of things, including a bad injector, that's why the dtc's are important to lead the way. White smoke indicates water in the fuel mix, but to indicate a gasket breech there is usually water in the oil as well, or you should be losing coolant and/or overheating. This is a chicken or egg question as overheating can blow a gasket and a blown gasket will cause overheating.

Not sure why you thought replacing the computer would help, and $200 is 20% of your sock. Can you return it? Should for that price, particularly if it doesn't fix your problem.

Whether it's injectors, or head gaskets, it's the same job getting down to them pretty much, with the latter requiring taking the heads off as the last step. Get a Haynes manual for the camry of that same year (can be had on ebay for $15), and it's very helpful doing this job. Some of your money will need to go toward tools if you don't have them, but this is usually a good investment. Make sure you have a set of good metric sockets, short and deep, will need 12 point 12 mm to get the head bolts off. Be prepared to break a several (18+ year old rusted overheated) bolts, and learn how to use a tap and die set if you haven't already -- it's a great set of skills that will last you a life time.

Before you take the heads off (and before you take the wiring harness off), try to do compression testing on all cylinders. It's a bit tricky to get to the rears while maintaining your cranking capacity, but the info may help you decide if you need to do valves and/or rings as well (poor compression in one or more cylinders could cause rough idle...)

Again while your going to the trouble to take the intake off (takes 8 hrs or so the first time), consider replacing the spark plugs, and thermostat (see overheating above) at a minimum. Injectors can be replaced as well, but you might want to try and test them first before tossing them. (google "cleaning and testing fuel injectors) Good idea to do the timing belt as well. If you have codes indicating the knock sensors, then replace those (and the small wiring harness from them) too (underneath the lower intake manifold). Good plugs will cost about $45/set, timing belt is $20-30, thermostat not too expensive, but knock sensors are pricey. A head gasket set can be had on ebay for about $60 (I got mine from a company I've used called Eristic for that price, no need to pay the $450 at autoparts stores.) Good idea to replace the head bolts if your are going to do the gaskets, about $30 maybe.

I'm not sure about the relays, but it's unlikely that the car would run if a needed relay was missing. I have a lot of empty spaces in the boxes up front in my '94 (different engine), but never thought much about it as the car runs quite well most of the time.

I'd post pone changing out fluids until after the head gasket job, you'll have to drain the coolant anyhow, will need to change oil as well, and while you have the car up, you can drop the oil pan if you want to see what that looks like.

Good luck, and let us know how this project goes.

LL

I will relay any other information i have when i check up on the car i did order the computer because all Three mechanics told me the computer was sending their instruments wrong signals ( My family member didnt replace it because he didnt have the money to) .. other than that i have been busy and havent been able to look into the other problems i will respond as soon as i can.

Thank you for your help

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  • 1 month later...

The new computer is in and the rough idle and white smoke is gone. I am currently replacing all the fluids and i need to figure out a way to drop the oil pan. I want to replace all the fluids and i have fuel system cleaner and Sea foam to help clean the engine. Thanks for the help if you have any suggestions about dropping the oil pan please share. I also need to replace the fuel filter but im having trouble finding it any links of diagrams of a 1993 LExus Es300 would be greatly appreciated.

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