Excessive White Smoke on Cold Start - Club Touareg Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-03-2019 Thread Starter
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Excessive White Smoke on Cold Start

2012 V6 Touareg TDI (170k miles) is producing an excessive amount of White Smoke following a Cold Start. It will produce copious amounts of white smoke for about 2 miles following a cold start. Once it has heated up to temperature the white smoke goes away. Could this be attributed to an EGR Cooler leak? I am not seeing any indication of exhaust gases in the coolant (still bright pink) or coolant in the oil, so I don't think that its a head gasket. No leakage is evident underneath where we park. We have only noticed it happening for a few days but are hesitant to drive it if it may cause the engine to grenade. I've also heard that dirty injectors might cause white smoke, but I don't know a lot about how that could occur or why it would only do it on cold starts.

I know it's not related to the DPF as it was deleted by the previous owner.


No Faults or Engine Codes when scanned with VCDS.

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post #2 of 11 Old 02-03-2019
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If your coolant level is fine, then the white smoke is a normal byproduct of a cold engine and the DPF system. It converts CO2 to water (and other things).

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post #3 of 11 Old 02-04-2019
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You haven't actually said if your car is using coolant which it would be if the EGR has a leak inside it.

VW Touareg models are as follows:
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-04-2019 Thread Starter
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In retrospect it has always used a slight amount of coolant, it is so infrequent and coincides with winter so I always have thought it was related to the cold weather. I just added again yesterday and the previous time was last winter. It has also always had white smoke on startup, but usually only for a few seconds (less than 30 seconds); not 5 minutes or so like it is now. I will attempt to acertain a loss rate.

My greater concern is that I have heard that some engines have been destroyed by a leaking EGR cooler and whether or not I should even be driving it if this is the problem. So I was trying to determine if my symptoms matched what others have experienced with this EGR cooler failure to determine the drivability. If it doesn't match up then my plan would be to continue driving it to either determine that it is a coolant leak that has increased in scope or not. If the coolant loss rate is unchanged then I think I'm heading toward looking at the injectors.

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post #5 of 11 Old 02-04-2019
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And you are using the correct VW coolant for topping up, not just tap water which is a no-no?

VW Touareg models are as follows:
Generation 1: T1 is model 7LA & facelift T2 is model 7L6
Generation 2: T3 is model 7P5 & facelift T4 is model 7P6
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-04-2019 Thread Starter
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Yes, I think the current spec is G13, whatever it is now it's the pink stuff. 50/50 with distilled water

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post #7 of 11 Old 02-04-2019
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Just a little trick that may or may not work, but worth a try.

The coolant level on my Phaeton was going down very slowly but there was not a clear indication of a leak.
I decided to lubricate the O-ring at the expansion tank cap with silicone grease. Since then, the coolant level remained at the top mark.
With regards to mixing G13 with distilled water, I was advised at my local VW dealer not to mix it for topping up.


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post #8 of 11 Old 02-08-2019 Thread Starter
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Just to follow up with what I've found so far.



I had lost about 2L of coolant over about ~50 miles. As a result I was suspecting that the EGR cooler was leaking as this seemed excessive for a head gasket leak and I wasn't seeing any oil in the coolant or evidence of coolant in the oil. I performed a teardown of the upper engine components (its insane how many things they were able to cram and weave in between the heads) and removed the EGR cooler and found ~1/2 cup of water in the exhaust side of the cooler.



So I'll be ordering the parts to replace the EGR cooler (cooler, gaskets, orings, etc). Is there anything else I should consider doing since I have the engine torn down this far? Is there any significant history of the auxiliary EGR cooler failing?

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post #9 of 11 Old 02-08-2019
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Glad you found the problem.

At 170,000 miles, I would consider replacing anything that you have easy access to that is a normal wear item. Hopefully the TDI guys can give you a good list.

Just as an example, when you do the V8 AXQ timing belt, you go ahead and put in a new water pump and thermostat, since they are located behind the timing belt and one sticks and the other leaks.

Come on TDI guys, help us out. What has the OP got access to that you would just replace on 2012 V6 TDI?
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-08-2019 Thread Starter
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The only things I can see that I have special or easier access to right now are: Lower Intake Manifolds, Oil Cooler, and the Auxiliary EGR Cooler. I wouldn't really consider any of those items to be normal wear items (never really thought I would have to replace an EGR Cooler either though).
Luckily, I don't see any evidence of coolant or oil leaks on top of the engine (knock on wood).
I appreciate everyone's help and advice. I'm going to try the silicone grease trick on the reservoir cap after I get it put back together and verify the problem is resolved.

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