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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My '88 gt smokes really bad white smoke. It squeals a little bit from the belts when it is first started cold. There was nothing in the oil when I changed it. The engine doesn't idle smoothly and jerks every now and then. I changed the oil, oil filter, air filter, and pcv valve and I cleaned out the IAC. The problem is still there except the car doesn't lack any power. There is also a hissing noise coming from behind the engine and by the side of the radiator after the engine is turned off. What do I check or replace next???
 

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hmm, check your oil again

it sounds like your head gasket is on its way out
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
could there be a valve or something going bad in the cylinder head?? The oil was just really black but I didn't see any coolant. The coolant would have come out last right??? I just watched it come out but I still have it so I'll check it out tomorrow.
 

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Is the level in your coolant reservoir dropping (he asks, knowing the answer is yes)? White smoke is a sign of a head gasket failure - but at times when condensation is high (like this time of year), this can occur naturally at start-up. I don't think that's your problem.

I think someone replace a heater hose of the incorrect size and coolant is leaking out.

Also, sometimes pinhole leaks in hoses can only be seen when the engine is beyod idle speed. Start it up, pop the hood press the gas peddle to get the revs up and have someone else check to see if coolant is leaking somewhere.

The belt squealing is likely a separate issue - insufficient tension, which can be fixed easily (unlike most materials, rubber expands when it is cold - stick a rubber band in the freezer and check it out).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've noticed about a half inch of the head gasket sticking out around the whole thing. Maybe the previous owner put the wrong one on. How could I tell if there was a problem with the cylinder head itself??
 

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No.

To be honest, a compression test is of limited value if you don't know the history of the car that well. A leakdown test is much more comprehensive and will pinpoint exactly where you are losing your compression. The best a compression test will do is give you cylinder to cylinder readings (wet vs dry) which may be able to tell you if your have substantial ring problems.

A shop should be able to do a leak down test for one hours labour or less. I think it's a good investment for you.
 

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If you do have a coolant leak and coolant is going through the exhaust system, it will foul your O2 sensor. Which can cause a skipping and/or stumbling. No sense replacing it though until you know for sure if you are losing coolant.

Make sure your radiator is filled, the fill the overflow tank to the proper level. When you run the car it may draw from the tank into the radiator. Repeat until the tank level is stable.

Then see if it drops over time.
 
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