Whoa! White smoke!

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  #1  
Old 04-29-06, 08:53 AM
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Whoa! White smoke!

Uh oh. Ok, Im a complete engine newbie and I serviced the engine (Briggs Stratton) on my lawn tractor this year for the first time - myself.

So I go out to mow for the first time and Im getting TONS of white smoke billowing out of the exhaust. Also looks like the area might be leaking something around the exhaust area - its definitely a little wet. I originally thought it was just the new oil burning off but it quickly got worse.

Help! This cant be good.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-29-06, 09:10 AM
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Sounds like you overfilled the engine with oil. The engine can only hold its required amount + 10% at best. What engine make model, serial, etc. do you have? And, how much oil did you add at time of change? Check the dipstick, you don't want any more than 1/8" past the full mark, of oil.
 
  #3  
Old 04-29-06, 09:16 AM
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thanks so much for your help. i hope its that simple - i have this feeling that i ruined a nice engine b/c i wanted to "do it myself!"

ok:
1) I used oil purchased directly from a certified briggs stratton service place. good guy. heres the type: Kohler Magnum Universal SAE 30. It says "API service, CF, CF-2/SH, SJ.

2) My engine details:
Briggs & Stratton
14 HP
Model: 28P777
Type: 0641A1
Ser #: 96112620

3) While servicing, I fully drained the oil and put on a new filter (purchased from same place). The engine manual says engine holds 1 3/4 quarts of oil (with a filter on). I initally put in about 1 1/4 quarts, following the specific instructions in the manual: fill engine, run for 30 secs, wait 30 secs, measure level. when i did this it was at the top of the mark so i stopped. today, after running for 5 mins and the smoke starting to come out, i checked the oil and it looked low, so i put the rest in to make it 1 3/4 quarts total and the mark was back at full. So maybe its now overfilled? Wasnt when I started seeing smoke.

Also, read somehwere that it could be caused by the oil that i soaked the air prefilter in?
 
  #4  
Old 04-29-06, 09:27 AM
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The pre-filter is a possibility if you oversoaked it and it is now dripping of oil. You merely need a light coating of engine oil on this. Anything more and walah! White or blue (indicating oil) smoke. After coating the pre with oil, use a rag and squeeze out all excess oil. You now may have an oil soaked air filter as well, so check this too. You will find no good way to clean it so replacing it is your best option. You didn't, by chance, tip over the mower on its side to service it at any time recently did you? If so, you could have gotten oil into the combustion chamber and muffler as well, causing it to smoke.
 
  #5  
Old 04-29-06, 09:30 AM
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Thanks

"You merely need a light coating of engine oil on this. Anything more and walah! White or blue (indicating oil) smoke. After coating the pre with oil, use a rag and squeeze out all excess oil. You now may have an oil soaked air filter as well, so check this too. "

- I paid attention to the instructions and did just that. lightly coated it and suqeezed out some excess in a rag. but, maybe it wasnt enough. i'll check!

"You didn't, by chance, tip over the mower on its side to service it at any time recently did you? "

- Definitely not. NO chance.

I also noticed that the "area" that looks like a barrell in the front of the tractor, right by the exhaust, seems to be "leaking". maybe its oil?
 
  #6  
Old 04-29-06, 09:35 AM
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Alright, everything looks good to this point with what you've done. Next is the possibility of a blown head gasket, but the smoking that you have would only happen if you have an overhead valve engine whereas the gasket area between the combustion chamber and the valve-train chamber has blown out and allowing oil from the valve chamber to get in the combustion chamber (top of piston). Do you know if you have an overhead valve engine? If not, post back with the engine ID numbers (model, type and code).
 
  #7  
Old 04-29-06, 09:40 AM
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Ok, no, I dont know if I have that type

Here's my numbers:

Briggs & Stratton
14 HP
Model: 28P777
Type: 0641A1
Ser #: 96112620

Also, a few more:
1) whats the best way to check the oil level of the engine. run it for a few mins and check hot? let it sit for 30 secs after turning off? I want to make sure so I can see if its overfilled.

2) i didnt not do anything to the engine while it sat over the winter. no stabilizer, etc. it sat in my garage dry, but cold at times. i live in PA. not sure if anything went wrong.

3) finally, i started the engine for a short time after storage, just to move it to the area in my garage to service it. no bad smoke then.

thank you so much! i hope to figure this out.
 

Last edited by bheron; 04-29-06 at 09:55 AM.
  #8  
Old 04-29-06, 10:06 AM
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Sorry, didn't mean to have you post the same thing twice (ID numbers)! Yes, you do have an overhead valve engine and this could very well be the trouble. You would need to remove the cylinder head to inspect and will need a torque wrench to reinstall. BTW, the head gasket part number is 273280S, Briggs, that is and head bolt torque is 220 inch pounds.
 
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Old 04-29-06, 10:12 AM
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Wow. thats way over my head and i'd have to get someone to pick up the mower and do it.

i wonder if it could be anything else? im going to check the oil level now and dry out the air prefilter more.
 
  #10  
Old 04-29-06, 10:20 AM
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Sounds like a head gasket to me. (fairly easy to replace) The "leakage" as probably the exact location where the gasket is blown, and it's blowing out oil, fuel, exhaust. Taking off the head and examining that spot will tell for sure. Perhaps the head was not torqued as mentioned.

Using starting fluid to start an engine can sometimes blow the head gasket.
 
  #11  
Old 04-29-06, 10:27 AM
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xsleeper - i'll respond about the gasket in a sec b/c i have more ques.

but, Ive learned some more after going back out to the tractor:

1) the oil level is perfect.

2) i opened the air filter and did find alot of oil buildup on the filter, around the base and actually down the little hole - is that to the carb? this cant be good.

So, i cleaned it all up and restarted the tractor. White smoke eventually went away. BUT..when i started moving it back and forth, and especially turning it, it came back with a vengance!! so i opened up the filter box and there was a ton more oil! like its coming back UP into the box.

whats going on?! does this lead into the head gasket idea?
 
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Old 04-29-06, 10:50 AM
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I'd suggest that you remove the filter and clean it in dishsoap and water. Allow it to air dry (or assist it with a hairdryer if you're in a hurry). Apply just a dab of oil... not even a teaspoon. Squeeze the filter several times to distribute the oil. Clean the air cleaner housing completely. Also clean the OUTSIDE of the engine where you see any leakage. This will help you to determine the exact area of the problem if it is recurring. Reinstall the air filter, and operate the engine, like you did before.

If the oil reappears in the air cleaner, it is definately being caused by the exhaust valve. Your head gasket could be blown between the intake valve and exhaust valve, which might cause oil to blow up the intake into your filter. Just a guess though. Puey will have a better idea of what's happening, I'm sure.
 
  #13  
Old 04-29-06, 11:24 AM
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xsleeper - thanks. i pretty much did what you suggest and, after running it, seeing the smoke, and opening it back up i found what you said - more oil built up.
 
  #14  
Old 04-29-06, 12:02 PM
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Alright - I tihnk I got it!!

I took off the air filter and drove around in a clean, dust free area (garage). Smoke wasnt as bad as before -- and i think thats b/c eventually it just came right out the top of the filter base and onto the floor. So, that means a broken gasket? how do I fix?

Here's some pics...

First, the filter area with oil around it:









Then, I cleaned it up really well.




Finally I put the case top back on, but without any of the filter or prefilter parts. I started it up and drove around the garage.



Eventually oil came out onto the garage floor through the air filter area:




And the filter base filled with oil:



Also see the area below the engine, by the exhaust, has oil on it:


Ok, so now what!? I dont know how to fix a gasket. Will have to send it awya for repair?
 
  #15  
Old 04-29-06, 03:56 PM
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If the airfilter was paper.... replace it. The head gasket isn't hard. Do you have a torque wrench? I beleive autozone has that loan a tool system. Unbolt the head, may take a pop with a hammer to get it loose. Have your new head gasket ready, clean off the old gasket good and install the new one and torque it back down to the specs puey gave.
 
  #16  
Old 04-30-06, 07:51 AM
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Whoa! You had more oil in the air cleaner than I thought. I'd say you have a crankcase breather problem, based on the amount of oil in the cleaner. A blown head gasket will not do this. A plugged or defective breather will. The breather is behind the carburetor. You will need to remove the carburetor and then the breather is held on to the block with two small screws needing a 5/16" socket. Note the direction the assembly comes out and take special notice of the tiny drain hole on one of the corner of such. This tiny hole must be downward. If it is then the breather assembly must be plugged or defective and rather than mess with it, just replace it. Briggs part number 696126 as well as a new gasket, part number 27803S.
 
  #17  
Old 05-01-06, 08:33 AM
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you have all been so helpful. ok, Now....for the interesting part:

- I called two different service dealers today to schedule some maintenance. Well, after explaining the situation above to them, they each say it sounds like Ive just overfilled it with oil.

I find that hard to believe after all the feedback Ive gotten here, and based on the fact that I followed, to the T, the steps in the manual. But, being a complete novice, I have to leave the option open. So, before paying them to come out and get it, take it for 2 weeks and fix it, Im gonna go back home tonight and drain the oil and refil.

It would be nice if it was that easy. I'll update everyone tonight/tomorrow on my success, or lack thereof!
 
  #18  
Old 05-14-06, 06:52 PM
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Hi all, just thought Id pop back in and give you a final update on what the actual problem was:

Blown Head Gasket.

Yep! Had it repaired last week and its not back working fine.

Thanks so much for all of your help!
 
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