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White Smoke!


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Hi everyone,

I know this is not Caddy related, but I need some help.

Spent 6 days at Lowe's for Nascar last week...What a BLAST!!!

1999 Chrysler 300M

Sitting in traffic, white smoke started coming out of the AC vents!

I assume this is freon leaving the system...

I immediately turned off the climate control and have left it off since.

How do I begin to diagnose this? Would this imply a leak in the

evaporator (?) inside the dash? If it is a hole in the evaporator, I would

assume it is caused by another problem...seems unlikely the

evaporator could get a hole in it without higher than normal pressure

caused by a bad valve/sensor...

To make matters worse, I had the rear windows down right before we

got on the highway, due to the lack of AC. Right window refused to move up!

Started out at 62 degress...was 36 degrees by the time I got back to Ohio...

rather chilly for the verbal speed controller...she just wanted to get home...

those 100 mph stretches got cold in the car...I was hesitant to turn the

heat on because I could not get the compressor connector apart to

prevent it from being cycled on.

The window would not budge! neither the main switch nor the window

switch would work...does this imply it is the motor?

Thank in advance for any help/discussion...

Moral of the Story... I should have drove the STS and left the 300m for

my daughter to drive...

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Did the smoke smell like coolant? My point is that ot was not necesseraly freon it might be something leaking in engine compartmentt and burning because of contact with hot surfaces.

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent

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Funny thing is the car smelled funny right before it happened.

It did not smell like coolant and the white "smoke" acted like

vapor...it vanished about 6" from the vent.

I did not even look for a coolant leak, but I did drive it 200+ miles

around Charlotte and then 500+ home at high speed.

Car ran fine, idled fine, temperature never waivered.

If I can get out of this Hell I call work early enough tonite,

I will investigate...I haven't even started the car since I got home.

I Just Didn't Know Where to Begin!

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Are you sure it's not just really cold air that condenses as it comes out of the vents? I've had that to happen on my old Oldsmobile and on my Cadillac. The air is so cold and the humidity is just right inside the car, that it looks like fog is coming from the vents. Did the "smoke" have an odor? The fact that it dissipated so quickly (6" from the vent) leads me to believe that it's simply moisture-related.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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I love it when that happens.. it used to happen to me all the time when i lived in florida.. i'd stick my face in it and breathe in, it was fun :) But it never happens here in ohio.

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Thanks everyone for the responses..

I looked at it last nite...started the car and cycled the AC on and off.

It still has a funny smell. Not quite like coolant. No coolant on the

rug below. Coolant level looks good.

What would you do? Do I dare run the AC? Are there some tests

I can do without trashing the AC by running it?


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My Buddie's Dad's 2001 Intrepid was doing the same thing just before the A/C stoped working, before the weather got cold. Unfortunatly, his Dad is not like me or my Dad, as he is going to wait until spring, when he needs the A/C, to repair it. If that car were in my family (just figuratively speaking! lol) it would be repaired right away, but then again, they are not car people.

I guess what I am saying, is that I know exactly what your problem is, but unfortunatly I can not offer any advice. I hope that it is not a sign of a faltering A/C system. (His may have broke for a different reason)

Good Luck

" ...'took my Cobra down t' the track, hitched to the back o' my Cadillac..."

- Jan & Dean, 'hey little cobra'


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It is normal. It happens every now and then with all cars in the South. Just like others have said, when its hot and humid and your AC is working properly, you create "fog" in your AC system. Run the AC like normal. Show the kids your physics experiment in the car. Adjusting the temperature to just a little colder or just a little warmer should make the "fog" go away.

If it still smokes in Ohio, where is is not as hot and humid, then I would have it looked at. If it is a freon leak, not running the system will not stop the leak. The same repair would need to be done whether you ran the system or not.

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STS Scott,

Thanks for the advice...

I'm Like you, got to get it fixed...Why run it all winter with no AC?


I realize not running the system is not going to save and freon...

My concern is trashing the compressor by running it without freon...

I need to diagnose the system...Guess I will have to have it Checked..

thanks to all

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I would not worry about this. As Jason stated it is probably just the excessive humidity. I would not suspect the evaporator at this point....

The A/C system will have a pressure switch to disable the compressor if the refrigerant level gets low enough. As long as the system is cooling well and the compressor is not making unusual noises, the system is likely fine.

'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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I did not realize the system would shut down the compressor.

I thought I had read here that others have lost compressors

due to low freon.

You have made my day!

thank so much!

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