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Alrighty...so I had myself an action packed day. I was about 60 miles from home from visiting a friend when I heard a loud thump from the rear of the car. No later than 30 seconds after, there was a cloud of smoke coming out of the back of the car. I quickly pulled over ans shut off the car. Turns out, the thump was my oil filter taking flight and a ton of oil making contact with the exhaust. The car pretty much bled itself out on the side of the road.

Lucky for me, I had a spare oil filter in the back...however, I only had a quart and 3 quarters of Mobil 1 in the back accompanying said filter. Thankfully, I pulled over only about a half mile from the only store in town, a tiny petrol station. Said petrol station only had conventional oil (ugh).

So, I had to make a decision, wait a few hours for my parents to try to rescue me, run it very low on oil, or run it on a conventional/Mobil 1 mix until I got home. Considering that daylight was fading fast and there wasn't a chance in the world of my parents of ever finding me (they're that bad with directions), I bought the conventional.

New oil in and new filter on, the car seemed ready to jet! I got it to about 20 miles from home before I noticed something a little odd. Coolant temps were hanging around 205 degrees and there was a rather concerning amount of heat coming from the hand brake.

With 10 miles to go, the car started heavily sputtering. The CEL came on and started flashing.

At that point, I pulled over again and I got out. The car was heavily smoking and I feared that it was actually on fire..but nope, the smoke cleared and after a few minutes, I started the car back up again...white smoke shot out of the exhaust and I very carefully set out again. The car's acceleration is definitely messed up. I can't tell if it's the engine doing it or the transmission. If I rev it in Neutral, all's normal...but any acceleration on the road itself causes the engine to almost stall out...

So what gives? Is my engine dead or something? Or did my transmission pick now to give up the ghost?

Edit: Oh, and my coolant tank is still full (albeit there were bubbles popping inside as if it were boiling), I was only 1k until my next oil change, and the CEL didn't throw a code for some reason.
 

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Coolant temps at 205 isn't anything to worry about. The oil filter falling off and white smoke IS.

How did the oil filter fall off?? The "thunk" you heard may have been an object you ran over on the road that hit the filter and smacked it off? Hard to believe. The filter would be dented, but it wouldn't rotate itself off.

White smoke is usually a blown head gasket. You may have had a massive engine failure due to lack of oil filter, which could have caused a cracked block or blown head because oil also helps cool the engine.

Sounds like your engine is toast. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ah crap. Might need to call in that favour from my parents and get a 453 much sooner than I thought.

Anyway, I have no idea why it fell off. I didn't hit anything in the road. It was a long and straight country road. And prior to today, the engine ran like a champ.
I mean, it COULD have been sabotage from a coworker who probably doesn't like me...I do work in a corporation where the majority of my coworkers aren't shall I say, LBGT friendly...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Does it matter if the white smoke was only for a couple minutes? Either way, the coolant sure did bubble for quite a long time after shutting off the car.
 

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Sorry to hear about your bad news. Especially such a major and costly situation. Oil filters do not just fall off. Once they are torqued down properly, it's over. It isn't coming off. So if it fell off, it either wasn't secured properly from the very beginning, was damaged and knocked off, or it very possibly could have been an act of sabotage if you are concerned about it. Did you collect it for evidence?

Fire up the car again and see if it's still misfires. Is the white smoke back? Pull the dipstick and check for a milky substance.
 

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From what you described and confirming Mister_smart_LA's diagnosis, it sounds like you have a blown head gasket or possibly worse situation involving a cracked or warped cylinder head. There is a simple test procedure and you can purchase the test kit for a reasonable price that will check for the presence of combustion gasses in the cooling system. The test is called BlocCheck. Not sure I have the spelling quite right but the test is easy to perform. A compression test may also reveal confirm a compression loss in one or more cylinders. However, a cold engine may not readily reveal a compression loss.
What is suspicious is why did your oil filter fell off unless it was not properly installed and vibrated off or worse yet, it may have been loosened. However, what is strange, is that the oil loss shouldn't have really caused a head gasket failure, especially since it appears you shut the engine down right away.
 

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What is suspicious is why did your oil filter fall off unless it was not properly installed and vibrated off or worse yet, it may have been loosened.

Who installed your oil filter?

Might want to get that person or business involved immediately, if there may be any suspicion of fault.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I installed the filter, roughly 9,000 miles ago. :( Anyway, I just ran another road test.

No smoke this time.

However, every 10 minutes or so, the engine starts shuddering like crazy and power drops off the map. I've found that restarting the engine remedies the issue for another 10 minutes or so.

A code finally appeared on my UG, P0303...or what the Google tells me is a misfire in cylinder 3. Now, what does that mean exactly?
 

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Normally I'd say a burned valve, but not with this scenario. Need to check for coolant in the oil and I'd pull the plugs and clean them just for grins. If there are no signs of a coolant leak (as into the cylinders) and the oil looks good it may clear up if you run it hard enough. Can't really fathom the oil filter just unscrewing itself after 9K miles....:)
 

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It indicates that combustion is not taking place in cyl. #3. I would check the coil or swap coils between the cylinders after erasing the code and see if the misfire happens on another cylinder. If you are still getting a P0303 code, pull the spark plug and inspect it for fowling or unusual deposits. Next, I would perform a compression test of all 3 cylinders, #1 being on the right, #2 is the middle cyl. & #3 is on the left side. If #3 shows a lower reading then 1 & 2, a cyl. leakage test would be in order. From what you describe as boiling in the coolant recovery tank, it unfortunately doesn't look too good. Keep us posted. You may need to acquire a good used engine or rebuild yours.

 

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I had a post eerily similar to Bob's a few hours ago, I believe I was interrupted and didn't click "submit" and now I'm home for the day on another computer. I was surprised to see it wasn't posted.

Anyways, if you're lucky that the misfire moves from #3 to another cylinder after you swap the coils, then guess what Neon? What it means is that you have isolated a bad coil, and that's an easy and fast replacement. A bad coil can cause poor ignition or even fail to fire the plug. There's the source of your misfire code.

However. After having driven with a missing oil filter, losing oil, then having a hot engine, bubbles in the coolant, and the misfire occurring directly after all that? Not much reason for optimism. Pull the plugs like Bob said, don't be surprised if you find a wet plug. Peep into the cylinder holes with a little light. If you see a puddle of liquid, you'll know your head gasket is gone. If one of the plugs is wet, it's gone. If it's caked in oil, your valve guides, or more may be failing, but if you're lucky it's the valve cover gasket failing and causing contamination into the plug chambers. But then the smoke you're burning should be more bluish or grayish, not white.

My gut though believes the source of your problems began when that oil filter fell off. The fact that your engine still starts might even be amazing after having lost all that oil.

It indicates that combustion is not taking place in cyl. #3 . I would check the coil or swap coils between the cylinders after erasing the code and see if the misfire happens on another cylinder. If you are still getting a P0303 code, pull the spark plug and inspect it for fowling or unusual deposits. Next, I would perform a compression test of all 3 cylinders, #1 being on the right, #2 is the middle cyl. & #3 is on the left side. If #3 shows a lower reading then 1 & 2, a cyl. leakage test would be in order. From what you describe as boiling in the coolant recovery tank, it unfortunately doesn't look too good. Keep us posted. You may need to acquire a good used engine or rebuild yours.

 

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Wow, Sorry to hear this is happening. I agree, oil filters do not just unscrew them selves... when you installed it did you properly tighten it?
Since you have relatively new oil in the motor now... you may want to drain it and check for any metal particles.... check the filter too by cutting it open.
Another option is to send an oil sample into a lab for testing.
Compression test's, bloc test's, and all these others are all good ideas, and should help determine the proper remedy. Hope to hear that this is
a repairable issue... and you get the car back on the road soon.
 

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Hate to say it but the 303 code is a bad sign. my 2009 did that same code and I found compression on cylinder #1 to be 60 PSI. It did the same 'runs fine then started shaking and loss of power ' until I reset the code. then it ran OK for a few minutes until the code came back up. The code shuts down the cylinder and it tries to run on 2/3 of a motor.

The bubbles in the coolant is definitely a bad sign. Unfortunately a full coolant tank does not mean there isn't an air bubble in the motor which can cause it to overheat. The white exhaust is an indication that there is coolant (or water) in the exhaust. It has to come from somewhere.
An oil filter doesn't fall off after 9,000 miles, something or someone ad to have helped it.(my opinion)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the laundry list of things to check! I like myself a weekend project, just hoping it isn't one that delivers bad news!!

I did some preliminary checks this morning. My coolant is a bit lower than it was yesterday, and to address the concerns of another person, I put it up on my ramps to see where all that oil went when the filter made the exit. There is oil on my towing hitch, oil pan, and exhaust. The plugs and their wires are dry. Of course, I’ll have to open them up to see if any of them got fouled, then a compression test...

The trip to work this morning went off without a hitch. The engine shook a lot (very reminiscent of how it used to operate in sub-zero weather) and my UG pinged the P0303 code every 10 minutes...But otherwise I made the 50 minute trip without the cylinder shutting down.

However, I did notice that the shaking and the code throwing doesn't happen until I get up to running temperatures. Prior to that, the car drives completely normal. I also believe the fact that it's wet and cold this morning possibly helped to keep that cylinder from deactivating.

More research is required, of course. Hopefully it's just a fouled plug.....but it would be oddly suspicious for a plug to foul right after an overheating/no oil incident, no?

As for what others were asking. I tightened the filter the same way I do every 10,000 miles. It's even the same brand/model I get every 10,000 too. :shrug:
 

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The trip to work this morning went off without a hitch. The engine shook a lot (very reminiscent of how it used to operate in sub-zero weather) and my UG pinged the P0303 code every 10 minutes...But otherwise I made the 50 minute trip without the cylinder shutting down.
You my friend, do live life on the edge . . . :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Indeed! However I wish I didn't have to do that!
Interestingly enough, my parents now have three cars, theoretically I'd be able to borrow one of them...if two of them weren't broken. The Envoy is messed up beyond all recognition thanks to a visit to PepBoys (they go in for a bearing replacement, left without a working electrical system!), and the PT Cruiser can't drive more than 50 feet without overheating.
 

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I'm sorry to hear your problems with your car however just for future avoidance of bigger problems when ever you hear strange or out of the normal sounds coming from your car you should immediately pull over and not drive even thirty seconds if at all safe and possible to do so! If I where to guess the problem with your vehicle it is that the loss of engine oil and continuing to drive whether you knew it or not, probably cracked the head or blew the head gasket and now your pulling coolant into the engine which causes the white smoke that you are experiencing. These are somewhat delicate engines compared to V8's in a Ford pickup truck.

I wish you all the best and maybe it is time for that new 453!

hartmn
 

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Maybe you have a melted coil?? once it warms up it could be failing. a bad coil or fouled plug would cause the shaking and might not shut down the cylinder. The p0303 points to the 3rd cylinder but it could be any of them as mine said p0303 and cylinder 1 had the low compression.

You will need an adapter for checking compression. these plugs are smaller then the ones used on most cars.
 
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