Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003
Hi,

I am new to this and as a ford owner so please stay with me!!

I have recently purchased a ford S Max on a 56 plate (2.0 TDCI) and it has just started with a rough start and white smoke. I have noticed on a cold day it's harder to start, it's rough and has white smoke for a longer (2-3 mins) period than when warmer like today when it started on first turn and was rough and white smoke for circa 1 min. On all occasions, the rough idling stops first and then the white smoke and once this has happened the car runs absolutely fine with no pulling/jerking. The water levels are not moving, oil is clean and doesn't over heat. The engine does sound louder until it has warmed also.

Any ideas/pointer would be gratefully received.
Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - Peter.N.

If this wasn't a modern common rail DI engine I would say faulty glow plugs but generally these engines will start OK without them. The white smoke is unburnt fuel due to incomplete combustion, this was a common fault on IDI engines.

It could be that your compression is down so it does need the glowplugs so I think that would be the first place to start. If you are thinking of checking them yourself, shout and I will tell you how.

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003
Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for your reply, it's much appreciated.

Is there an easy way to test the compression? I am not very switched on with regards to engines to be honest. I do understand that to get to the glow plugs it circa 45 mins- 1 hour for the glow plugs by someone that knows what they are doing?
Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003
Is the compression to do with the injectors? If it is the compression, does this mean faulty injector(s)?
Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - Fernando P

From your questions, it is clear that you need to get some practical mechanical help to deal with the problem.

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - Peter.N.

Compression is to do with bore/piston wear or valves not correctly seating but is not all that common now unless the engine has been abused. It could possibly be an injector problem but not one I have come across. A trip to a diesel specialist would be the best thing, they usually know what they are doing and are cheaper than a garage.

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003

Thank you for your msg.

A company wants to charge £60 to do a diog on it but I have a garage that will change to glow plugs for circa £80 and as they, as I have been told, do not last for ever and would need changing soon, it sounds like it would be worth just giving that one a go??? Just a thought really as if it works..great but if it doesn't, I have ruled that out and had comething done that will need doing anyway

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - BenG

White smoke sounds like unburned diesel.

The fact it occurs during cold starting sounds like glow plug failure or lack of compression. The latter would be unusual though unless the engine has really high miles or has been neglected or damaged. May be worth getting the fault codes read first to see if anything is flagged up before embarking on a solution by random replacement of parts?

Lack of compression could be measured using the glow plug holes and turning the engine over with a compression tester screwed into each hole in turn.

If it is a glow plug issue then it could be one or more plugs has failed OR that the plugs are not seeing a current, which could be a wiring issue, or a defective relay (first things to check before assuming plugs are kaput).

I guess a leaking injector could dump diesel into the cylinders when the engine was turned off, but this should create smoke which quickly clears and does not persist as you describe.

I'd say check glow plugs are receiving a current and, if so, get them tested outside the engine to see if they are still working or get them changed.

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003

Thank you so much for the detailed msg.

The car has 80k on it, full service history and is in excellent condition, so compression does not sound likely from your details.

To test the compression, they would need to get into the glow plugs right? If this is the case, I will get them to check this along with the wireing at the sametime. As they are there and glow plugs are only £45.60 (are the NGK a good quality as I have 10% off at GSF), it surely is worth changing them as should they go in 12 months, its going through all this again.

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003

SO...I have had the glow plugs tested but if I am being honest, I am not 100% confident.

The garage said they got to the plugs and tested them whilst they were still attached and they all are fine........I asked about the wireing and got...We only deal with mechanical, not the electrics!!

Arrrrrr!!!!

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003
I told them to change the glow plugs but they b***** didn't as they said they were fine!!

They also said how they tested them was to leave them in and spark a wire or something on them???...

Thinkin for taking it to another garage to get a 2nd opinion and get the wiring checked as these guys were "just mechanical"

The wife just told me they said the glow plugs are only used when its less than -1c?? Is this correct??
Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003
Update!! Been into ford done a diog, updated some programme, reset the ECG value or something, glow plugs are aparantly showing ok on the diog. They are scratching their heads at the moment. They have agreed to not charge me for an additional hours labour to get the "highest level mechanic ford have in their garage" (they do call them some superman style name) to look at it
Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - p_murtagh2003

UPDATE

Ford have now checked the glow plugs and fuel back on the injectors and all is fine.

They have now said they have check the cylinders and No3 is well below what it should be and one next to it is a little shaky. They have told me it's £500 just to investigate the problem and could be looking at £2k for the job!!!!

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - BenG

I remmeber being quoted a silly price when my Focus TDCi was in for investigation of a possible injector issue. I'd recommend taking the car to an independent local diesel specialist (e.g: A Bosch or Delphi agent) and get them to test the injectors to see if any actually need replacing.

If so, they might be able to get some for you cheaper than Ford or else recondition them if that's possible. New injectors need to be coded to the engine, however, which might require a return trip to Ford, but shouldn't cost much.

Ford s max - White smoke and rough idle on first start - dieselnut

You stated that you had just bought this car, was it from a dealer or private. If from a dealer in the last 6 months it's time to take it back. This could become expensive if it turns out to be a bent conrod or the head has to come off.

 

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