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2001 C4 mystery smoke


Vehicle Information: Model: C4; Year: 2001; Body Type: Coupe; Total Mileage: 61000;

Hi Joel,I searched "thermostat" and didn't find this addressed directly. I was driving up I-70 to the Eisenhower Tunnel last night from Breckenridge and C-DOT again had the tunnel shut down without any advance warning. It took 2 hours to travel 4 miles. After about an hour or so of stop and go like 10 feet, someone pointed at my rear end and I saw white smoke billowing out, and there was a really acrid smell permeating the cabin. No engine light, all gauges looked normal. I had added about a pint of oil that morning before I headed on my trip but that was it.I pulled over and there was smoke coming off the top RH side, looking at it from the rear, of the engine, but no visible fluids. The engine temp was between 180 and max but still within normal. I let the car cool for about 10 minutes and started up the hill again, and the same thing happened. So, after starting and stopping several times I finally made it through the tunnel and headed down to Denver. The car was running fine, but it really stunk. Because I came up to speed it wasn't possible to see if there was any more smoke, plus it was dark and I had no cars behind me to illuminate my car. We got to Denver and had to wash our clothes because of the smell. This morning, I went out and checked my coolant reservoir and the level was normal. Oil level was normal. Oil pressure was still normal I took the car into the dealership and they said all hoses, fans, etc. were operative and they saw no indication of fluid loss. They told me my thermostat was probably bad and needed to be replaced. On the way to the dealerhip the temp gauge was straight up, then went right, but not to the max position like it sometimes does when climbing a mountain on a hot day. I thought went thermostats went bad they were either open or closed and I would see more visible evidence on my temp gauge. Can you possibly help shed some light on this? I think gas burns blue, oil is black and coolant is white. There was no sweetness to this smell, it was acidic and pungent. I even think my eyes were burning. Could this be another fluid getting on the engine and evaporating, one that wouldn't be so obvious and would not have an immediate effect on performance or trigger a light? Isn't it ironic my extended warranty expired at 60,000 miles, and the smoke started at around 60,004? Please don't feel obligated to comment on that, I am just letting out some of my own smoke. Many thanks.Terry

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