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Hey, new guy here, intermediate mechanic.I inherited a 03 alero, with a 3.4. Previous owner had overheating problems and a horrible mechanic, When I got it, the heater bypass was disconnected from the thermostat housing (wonder why it was overheating the last time?- lol) Anyway, I bolted the pipe back up, and put some coolant in it. Runs fine, gauge about half way up. Been driving it around to get computer to reset, as the car had been sitting a few months, now I have white steam coming from tailpipe, but no water in the oil that I can see. Previous owner said it was throwing the service engine light, and that has finally come on again. Was waiting for the light to check codes, but the white "fog" is a surprise as it wasn't doing this at first. I have a stack of paperwork from the bad mechanics that says they replaced the intake gasket, but from the absence of fasteners, and evidence of bad work, I wonder if this might be my problem still or a head gasket. Anyone ever see one of these engines steam, and not get the oil contaminated? trying to figure out the easiest way of diagnosing without spending a bill at the dealership. I figure I could just tear into the intake first, it would be quite evident yes, or no?
Thanks in advance


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contributions: 2002
Images: 37
Location: Oregon
how long have you run the car? Depending on your area white smoke out the tailpipe on start up is normal condensation from the exhaust system. White smoke fogging up your neighborhood is a bit much though. Pressure test the cooling system and leave it under pressure for a long time then start up the motor and see if you have a misfire or a lot of smoke out the tailpipe. Those things would show that coolant under pressure leaked into a cylinder. If you use a scanner and use the misfire counter you could pinpoint what cylinder is missing even if the check engine light does come on for a hard code.


   
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hey thanks for the reply- I took it down to autozone and got a code reading( haven't got a scanner -yet, newest car I've worked on- lol) they got PO301- misfire cylinder 1, and PO 327, Knock sensor. It didn't steam much at all- was cold and humid last night, BUT I had hard starting, it cranks, fires- sometimes, then dies. If I give it a little gas and hold it for a few second, then it will idle and run.
I'm worried she got a money pit, read a lot about all the problems these things have,Yes I'm gonna rent a pressure tester for the radiator.
hey, is the knock sensor on the back under that exhaust manifold, and wired to the ignition coil?
thanks again


   
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contributions: 2002
Images: 37
Location: Oregon
the knock sensor is in the block right over the oil filter. not wired to the coils at all.
Attachment:
File comment: 3400 knock sensor location.
3400-knock-sensor.jpg
3400-knock-sensor.jpg [ 77.22 KiB | Viewed 2050 times ]


   
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cool, was wondering if it was on the back, because some of that wiring was not in good shape back there (toasted from exhaust heat) I know because I was trying to track down the wiring to the "low oil" sensor. Yeah, that's another issue-the sensor is there, but no wiring to it. On all the cars I saw in the wrecking yard, the wiring to it went above the trans-axle along with the wheel sensor- but not on this one, looked all the way up the harness to the main thicker harness by the tranny fill plug. While looking I ran into the sensor that runs to the coil pack, now I see it is the crank sensor I was talking about.
For the moment, I just wanna get it inspected( it's not overheating or gettin coolant in the oil), so I guess I'll test the coils and replace the knock sensor- wondering if the misfire would cause knock sensor error?........


   
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contributions: 2002
Images: 37
Location: Oregon
yes, you should repair other problems before the knock sensor replacement. it is possible that the knock sensor signal may be too high because of a mechanical problem. the codes could set for either a signal to high or no signal on a warmed up engine (over 158F0 and rpm 1800 to 3500.


   
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weeelllll, decided to pull the plugs, wires and test the coils. 3 back plugs weren't even tightened- OMG, I feel so bad for previous owners. No 1 coil terminal was corroded, but checked out with an ohms gauge. Went ahead and put in new plugs and wires (think wires were original) plugs were tan. Starts right off the bat now, but still idles a hair rough and CL light won't reset, even after 10 minutes of battery cable disconnection. Gonna leave cable disconnected for a while. It's not smoking now. Ever seen this? something tripping the CEL immediately? I did get some resistance reading at the knock sensor while in the block, tried to run ohmmeter in ac mode, and knock on block, hard to contact meter to sensor.
Am I headed right direction? clear codes, run it till it trips again, and check codes?
hey thanks for hanging in there with me- I never wanted to become a GM tech-lol


   
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contributions: 2002
Images: 37
Location: Oregon
yep, rescan if the light comes back on


   
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