I replaced the knock sensor and intake gaskets on my 2001 Nissan Xterra, and without thinking didn’t tighten the bolts down to proper torque specs. Engine drove fine for about 15 minutes then overheated, realized my mistake and redid gaskets with proper torque specs. Started engine up again, and the dreaded white smoke was coming out of my tailpipe, so some coolant must have gotten into the engine oil.
Did one full oil change, filter and all, ran engine for a couple minutes, still white smoke and VERY rough idle, did a second oil change, less white smoke but still rough idle. Is this normal? Only advice for this issue I could find online was to change the oil and monitor the engine, but what should I be monitoring it for? It seemed the oil changes were enough for others but no one says anything about rough idling. I don’t want to keep running the engine and make more problems for myself, but I need to get this thing running again!
ANSWER: Look at the oil on the dipstick of your Nissan to see if it looks milky. If not, then you got all the coolant out of the oil. The white smoke is most likely not because of coolant in the oil. The vehicle is not burning oil, therefore it is not burning any coolant in the oil. Most likely coolant has gotten into the cylinders and is burning upon normal combustion in the cylinder. White smoke is coolant.
Remove the spark plugs, blow out the cylinders with compressed air if you can. If not, then disable the ignition and crank the engine over several times with the spark plugs out. Coolant in the cylinders is also what is giving you the rough idle. Clean the spark plugs as well.
Once the idle starts to settle down, the smoke should quit soon after. It may take some time, but it will clear out.
If it does not clear up soon and you did not replace the new gaskets again, then you may have damaged the gaskets when the engine was run with them not torqued properly, then torquing them down. You may have split a gasket or one of the ports is not sealing properly and coolant is getting into the cylinders that way.
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