Why is it that Dodge Caravans always seem to leave a trail of white exhaust?

MikeH1

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And I don't mean a little of it. If stopped at the lights and theres a lot of white exhaust hanging in the air, theres usually a Caravan not too far away. I noticed this a few years ago and it seems Caravans from 1984(was that the first year?) to probably around 1989 exhibit this problem. I have heard that mid 80s Dodges were plagued with engine problems but don't know much about it.
Anyway, I hope to see these polluting family vans off the road soon.
Yeah...just so they can buy a SUV

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Derek Bang

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It is the Caravans/Voyagers with the 4 cylinder engines from the time period you are referring to. I had an 89 Voyager and that was the worst piece of junk I've ever driven. The 4 cylinder lasted only 80,000 miles and had the classic white smoke from the engine. Needed complete engine replacement. Ditched that one in a hurry. I would stay away from Chrysler 4 cylinders like the plague. Our Wrangler had a 4 cylinder also and was a piece of junk. Their 6's and 8's are pretty strong, though.
 

brentl

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a Dodge product that has engine problem ...... you're kidding me right

Brent L
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Bill Catherall

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White smoke means it's burning oil. I've got a '95 Dodge Grand Caravan with a V6 engine. No white smoke at all. Runs great. And, no transmission problems (that's the most frequently asked question).
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Dennis Nicholls

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Actually white smoke sounds more like coolant (i.e. headgasket problems). Blue smoke would be oil burning.
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Tom Johnson

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White= coolant
Blue= gas
Black= oil
The smell is also a giveaway. Coolant will smell sweet, gas will make you queasy and oil stinks.
 

Scott Strang

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I can sum in up in one word:
Chrysler Product.
Okay, make that two words.
[Edited last by Scott Strang on November 14, 2001 at 02:03 PM]
 

Darren Davis

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white smoke can also be from condensation but that sounds unlikely due to the extent of it. I'm pretty sure blue smoke means oil burning like Dennis said and black smoke would denote a rich air-fuel mixture being burned.
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Bill Catherall

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Dennis and Darren - yea, I think you're both right about the blue smoke. I never really distinguished white smoke from blue smoke before, but there is a slight difference.
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Bill

 

Kevin Potts

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I have a buddy of mine who owns a car lot here in town and he's told me that the older caravans were notorious for having engine problems. I believe it was something with the valves or the heads. I know I'll never buy one.
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Scott Strang

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Valve guide seals?
have a buddy of mine who owns a car lot here in town and he's told me that the older caravans were notorious for having engine problems. I believe it was something with the valves or the heads. I know I'll never buy one.
 

Sean Conklin

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quote: Black smoke is oil. I had a '72 Chevy pickup that burnt a ton of oil and spewed black smoke like a diesel. The blue smoke is fuel...possibly from a rich fuel-air mixture.[/quote]
Sorry Clinton, you're wrong!
Blue smoke is OIL, ever see a 2 stroke motorcycle, well you mix oil in with the gas and get BLUE smoke.
Black smoke is GAS and which is caused by a Rich air/fuel mixture ratio.
White steamy smoke would be coolant. A white lingering smoke would be indicative of both coolant and oil seeping through the head gasket, warped head, cracked head or any combination of all.
Now your pick up truck may have been burning both OIL and GAS in excess and just looked completely black. But I assure you BLUE smoke is OIL!
And don't argue, because I was an ASE certified mechanic, and have been a Drag Racer for many years.
And yes I am a MOPAR Man!!
Also I think the late '80s and early '90s V6 Chryslers had some engine problems(80,000 miles or more).But from what I heard it was an easy fix, well relatively, it entailed getting different/better heads.
And I had good luck with my wifes '87 LeBaron with a 2.2 turbo(265,000 miles).
The 4 cylinder engines with the problems were thanks to the Mitsubishi design(When Chrysler merged with Mitsubishi).
The American (Chrysler) designed engines were trouble free, even when equipped with a turbo.
In most of the smoking Caravans, you will find a Mitsubishi engine.
And before we bag on the Caravans, lets not forget who invented these mini vans, yes Chrysler! And have you seen the new Caravans/ Grand Caravans? State of the art, and reliable!
And before we say, yeah well so and so made a better minivan, we must consider who owns them and how well they are maintained. Heck my sisters Nissan Quest has been through 2 transmissions in less than 40,000 miles.
So just because you see a older smoking Caravan, doesn't mean that the new ones are the same, the problem has been fixed and one should get a couple hundred thousand miles out of the new improved engines.
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Sean
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[Edited last by Sean Conklin on November 14, 2001 at 10:24 PM]
 

MikeH1

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Thanks for the information all. Next time I see a smoking Caravan I'll know whats really going on under the hood.
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Matt Stryker

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In addition to a coolant leak, white smoke may also be an indicator of water in the fuel.
Black smoke is an indication that either your fuel/air mixture is too rich, you have a problem with your emmisions equipment, or you are driving a Volvo diesel....
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MikeH1

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Agreed Rob. But lets get realistic, we both know its closer to seven months
 

Bill Catherall

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Actually Rob, that white "smoke" you see is condensed water vapor. Water is a by-product of combustion. If you run the car long enough then the water vapor will eventually stop condensing as soon as it hits the cold air and you won't see it any more.
 

Rob_J

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Yeah, I know it's just vapour. I was just making a remark about the length of our winters up here.

I guess I was exaggerating a bit when I said 8 months. Actually, this year is looking more and more like a 4 month winter, assuming we have a nice spring. I can't believe it's still above zero and it's almost December!
 

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