Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Xantiargh!
[the car is a rover 800 vitesse sport N Reg 2ltr Turbo]

I was driving down the motorway pushing the car quite hard when suddenly a big cloud of smoke came(unsure of colour) out of my exhuast i slowed dow to 60 mph and still got intermittent clouds of smoke from the exhaust i then nursed the car to a friends home and i am 150miles away from mine.

Any idea what the problem is... Can I drive it home (slowly!) or does it need garaging?
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - king arthur
If it was white, you have probably blown the head gasket.

If it was blue, you have probably blown the turbo seals.

Driving the car with a blown head gasket may end up causing more damage. Driving with oil coming from the turbo will destroy the cat.

Check the water level in the header tank. Look inside the oil filler for signs of "mayo", and on the end of the dipstick. If the water's gone down, or you see the "mayo", it's your head gasket.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Xantiargh!
How long before I stuff the cat assuming its not head gasket. Can I limp it 150 miles back home to my local mech or do I need to get it sorted pronto. (Obviously head gasket is sort promptly or valves in engine, yeah?)

Ta muchly
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Xantiargh!
Managed to get another look at the car today. Revving the engine produces blue smoke, lots of, very thick. Oil has dropped to minimum, car was limped 5 miles after initial blow-up.

Does that sound like the Turbo seal? Any idea of ballpark cost for repair?

Help much apprec.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Peter D
Take the plugs out, if just one is oiled then the gasket has gone, if they are all oiled theen the Turbo seal has gone. Good Luck Peter
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - 3500S
Similar thing happened to me only last week and it sounds like a head gasket blow. I was left with little oil as well but my worked out a lot worse than a simple gasket blow. Brace yourself though, it could be worse.

Don't drive it home either, it'll go bang.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Xantiargh!
Ok, checked out the spark plugs, weird location, they're buried in the engine block. Haven't taken them out but theres oil all over the place.

Looking at the engine from in front of the car, the left hand spark plug chamber has oil in it, but the other three are clean. There is more oil on the engine block area surrounding the spark plug wells.

I ran the engine and looked for bubbles in the expansion tank, checked for mayo, etc. Can't see any signs.

Its going in the garage when I can get it booked in but I'm just trying to get an idea of problem and cost so I don't get ripped off ('sucker' is tattooed on my forehead!).

Any other little tests I can do? Should I actually remove the spark plugs assuming I can find a tool that'll do it and check them for oil fouling or is there enough info above to diagnose...?
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - king arthur
To remove the spark plugs on these you just need a normal spark plug box spanner and a socket extension. The Rover T-series (and the M16 before it, and the 8 valve O series before that) has a design fault which makes it prone to oil leaks from the head gasket at the oil feed end of the block. This may have been happening to yours already but you may not have noticed, and now the gasket may have failed further, allowing oil into the cylinder.

The fix is to fit the newer "klinger" type gasket, but I thought the T-series engines fitted to the 620Ti already had these. Without seeing your engine, it's difficult to say exactly what might have happened.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - king arthur
Oops, I meant 820 Vitesse of course, not 620Ti...same engine though, if it's a Sport.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Xantiargh!
Got it looked at by a local garage. He checked the turbo and gave it a clean bill of health.

He said it didn't seem like a gasket failure and was 99.9% sure its piston rings.

For the uneducated, what are they, how easy are they to fix/replace/other options, how much does it cost, whats my best option?

Advice apprec as always.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - king arthur
Metal rings that provide a seal between the piston and the cylinder bore, not easy at all, expensive, sell the car!

Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Cyd
The Klinger gasket was never fitted in production IIRC. I believe it to be an aftermarket article.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Cyd
Looking at this post again, the oil is around the number 1 plug. The main source of oil in this region, this high on the engine would be one of the cam covers. The oil you describe is external to the engine combustion chambers and therefore may be a red herring. Are you sure the smoke is coming out of the exhaust? If it is, then the engine must be burning oil which will be getting into the combustion chamber from inside the engine. There could be an external leak which allows oil to get onto the cat, where it will burn and the smoke will come out the back as you drive along.

The head leak mentioned is lower down than this at the bottom, front, right hand corner of the head near no4.

You could remove the cam covers to see if it's dropped a valve. Another possibility is that its broken an oil control ring. It was the sudden and severe nature of the failure which initally made me suspect piston meltdown (and the fact these are prone to this).

How does it run? Does it feel like its running on three?

Has your garage shed any light on the issue yet?
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Cyd
Unfortunately the 200PS version of this motor (mine's a 97 VS too) has "cost down" pistons in it. If the engine is not 100% thoroughly cared for (and sometimes even if it is) it is prone to melting pistons when driven hard for long periods.

Get new pistons specified from the 'standard' 180PS version. Moto-Build can help with info

It is possible to remove the sump with the engine still in situ, so once the head is off the extent of the damage can be assessed and it may be possible to remove and replace the single damaged piston. If there is significant bore wear or scoring as a result of the meltdown then a rebore is needed - you could get away with one replacement piston and use oversize rings, depends on the wear and damage.

Alternatively you could get a 2ndhand 180PS motor, but just use the block & head - fit everything else from yours. Ring around the specialist Rover breakers.

These engines are simple to rebuild so an independant garage should be able to help and keep the cost down.

I'd get it trailered home.

If you do decide to get rid (I wouldn't - but then I could rebuild it myself) then email me first.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Cyd
Sorry, should have said, first thing to do is get a compression test to confirm if it has blown a piston. If not it probably is the turbo.

BTW - where are you?
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Xantiargh!
Car's owner is Eastbourne area, the car and me are in Peterborough...

Turbo been checked out by local mech, reckons its ok. I put some oil additive (can't remember name, by Wynns I think). Smoke is much reduced. Still chucks out blue when cold though not as bad as before additive. Once warm exhaust pretty clean. Haven't checked oil consumption yet.
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Richard Turpin
Bit of lateral thinking but if the turbo is OK and there is no oil or exhaust bubbles in the radiator water, could it be oil from the cam cover leaking onto the exhaust and burning off to give the smoke.
i would drive it home if the turbo is ok and there is no water in the radiator. Just check the oil level after the 1st 50 miles. This site is great for advice but everyone always assumes the worst. If you have no oil/water mixing and there is oil in the sump you can't go that far wrong.
Regards Richard
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Armitage Shanks{P}
Drive it home with NO water in the radiator! I don't think so!
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - volvoman
Exactly the same thing happened to me on my 820e some years ago. I had a mechanic friend look at it and IIRC it turned out to be piston ring problems (no turbo to go wrong). It was just the latest in a series of ghastly and expensive problems with what was a nice, well looked after but extremely unreliable car so I cut my losses and got shot of it - sold as seen !
Help !!!!!! Big smoke - Cyd
So, did you ever sort it out? What was it?

Value my car