help! transport running "rough"

carol4099carol4099 Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Pontiac
i have just purchased 94 pontiac transport.
yesterday and this morning when i cranked up first
thing, i noticed the van was what i call "running
rough." it smoothed out and ran normal after a few
miles. i was low on gas first time and so i filled
up with different gas thinking this might be the
problem. today it did it again and ran rough for
approx. 6-7 miles until i reached my destination.
after sitting for about 2 1/2 hours, i cranked up
again and it was still doing this. i happened to
look behind me and saw alot of white smoke as i
accelerated from a stopped position. once moving on
hwy i could still see the white smoke but not as
bad. after about 1 mile, it stopped and ran smooth
the rest of the 6-7 miles. smoke disappeared also.
i also smelled an odor i assume was from the smoke.
i read the "rotten eggs" topics but not sure if
this smelled like rotten eggs. i am using regular
unleaded as manual says to use. this van passed
emissions in GA last year as the sticker on it says
"renew in 2000." i am in AL and we do not have
emissions control or whatever here. the gas octane
i used was 87. tonight when i asked my neighbor
about this, i cranked it and it did ok in driveway,
though i did not take it anywhere to see if it was
going to do it again. i will drive it the same
distance there and back in the morning and will see
if it does it again. i was just worried as this is
new van (to me) with no warranty. i just wondered
if anyone knows what might be the wrong and if this
may indicate a bad problem. i am not sure when the
spark plugs and wires were last changed, but i can
find out by calling the previous owner if i need
to. it is not due for an oil change for another
1000 miles and i didn't say already, but the
mileage on this van is 71 and some thousand miles
(71,...). thanks! oh, i have owned it now since aug
11th and took it on about a 1000+ mile trip right
after i bought it. though i didn't drive it all the
way myself, when i did drive it and now that i am
back and driving it daily, i have not noticed this
before yesterday.


  • carol4099carol4099 Member Posts: 7
    though my van has not ran rough or smoked again since the last time, which was week ago tues, i have since found it to be low of water in radiator. now i do not know if this has naything to do with the smoke and the way it was running or if it is just a coincidence. if anyone has any ideas, please let me know what you think. thanks!
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    I'm sorry you haven't gotten any help so far. I found a topic in our Vans conference on this vehicle - the name Transport was misspelled "Transsport" which makes it very difficult to find. Sometimes that happens.....

    Anyway, if you'd like to check that topic out (#12 in Vans), just click here to go there.

    Another option, if you'd like, would be to drop by the Our Turn Conference. This conference is focused on all automotive issues as they pertain to women, and is hosted by an automotive technician who may have some thoughts for you.

    Meanwhile, keep an eye out over here, someone may stop by with some assistance yet.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll find some answers here in one of these places!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    "Lots of white smoke" is commonly caused by the coolant getting into the combustion chamber of the engine. This is probably why you observed the low coolant level.

    Causes for this could be any of the following:
    bad head gasket (usual problem)
    cracked head
    bad intake manifold gasket

    Needless to say, a qualified mechanic will be needed to assist you further, unless your planning to attempt this repair yourself.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
  • carol4099carol4099 Member Posts: 7
    i took the van by a mechanic shop and though he mentioned most the things that you mentioned, he is quite puzzled by the fact that it is not doing it anymore. i have not had any more incidences of the smoke or it running rough and right now it seems to be holding water in the radiator. have you heard of this before? (the fact that it did it and then just stopped)? the repair man said i might put "stop leak" in the radiator (i guess to clog up gasket if it is a small leak). i wonder what anyone thinks about that? is this a problem that could have resolved itself or am i looking for it to get worse? the mechanic is leaning more towards head gasket or intake manifold gasket than a cracked head because he said a cracked head usually gets worse as the engine gets hot. i am concerned about this as i just bought the van 32 days ago (as is) and hate to think i have to all ready do a major repair and because i am a single parent, going to college and not working much now and money is a BIG problem. but i read some of the posts about the head gasket problem with Ford windstars and wonder what to expect if this thing goes on a trip. will i know in time to keep from doing engine damage? funny too, i passed up buying a windstar for this reason and now i may have the same problem. the mechanic said it was rare in this vehicle, so i think he is a little unsure as to a definite cause and needs to ck it but i suppose he will charge for the check up and he seems to kind of have the attitude that if it isn't doing it at this moment to just watch and wait. any comments/ideas?
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    "stop leak stuff"
    Don't use it, as it will clog up more than just the leak in question.

    I used this stuff for a leaking radiator once and it eventually clogged the heater core. In newer cars it is a real pain to replace a heater core, required me to rip the dashboard out just to access it. 6 hour job for me.

    If it were me, I would just monitor this problem for a while until it gets worse, if it does at all. Probably a gasket on the fringe of going bad.
    good luck
  • carol4099carol4099 Member Posts: 7
    i put the bars leak stop stuff in there. mechanic said it is organic and that it is put in new cars in case there are any tiny leaks. so i hope it doesn't do that to mine. it may be some sort of organic stuff, kind of like black pepper. i was told to put blk pepper in my radiator one time for a radiator leak but then to flush it and fix it as soon as i could. i did it and it never leaked again and i never fixed it or flushed it and kept the car another 3-4 yrs. i could smell blk pepper though sometimes when it was hot! but i had to go on about a 400 mile trip and was afraid to go without putting the stuff in there and did not read this until today (sun). thanks for the help and maybe i will get lucky and it will be ok for years to come. i hope so.
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    I had a friend who did the black pepper trick before, made the coolant smell like soup, his leak was too great for the pepper to help.

    My heater core clogged somewhat, not totally, a few years after using the stop leak stuff. I also had a bunch of leaves and debris around the heater core which prevented proper heater flow.
    Maybe i could have used a different brand of stop leak stuff?

    You should be ok. good luck
  • carol4099carol4099 Member Posts: 7
    well,bob, i still haven't had any more smoke, so maybe whatever it was, it sealed itself or the bars leak helped seal it. i sure hope so. but, if it weren't for bad luck, i'd have no luck at all, for this morning i was awaken by my neighbor knocking on the door at 7:30 am and she said "something has happened out here" and i looked out to see garbage and garbage cans everywhere and then her car was smashed on the passenger's side and then i noticed her car was pushed up against my van! i called the police and got dressed and went outside. i did not think my van was hurt until i got out there. it smashed in the sliding door and also hit the right front fender about the bumper. it did probably $2000 or so damage to my van. it totaled the neighbor's car. it was sure a terrible way to wake up! also, what makes it so bad is i just totaled my astro van july 16 and just bought this one aug.11th. this was all i could afford after insurance finished paying off my van. so i was out money in july and looks like i am out another $500 deductible. oh, and it was a hit and run! i hope i see better days soon! i am just wondering if i should dump it after it is fixed, because of the bad luck that seems to go along with it, and then the head gasket or whatever problem may be waiting to happen. i just really like it though; it is loaded, has sunroof, CD, sliding power door and it is just a really nice ride. so i don't know yet what i will do.
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    That sure does stink. A terrible way to start your day. Did anyone see the accident? At least the damage doesn't sound toooooo bad. Is it still driveable?

    This is why I like to drive cheap "beater" cars, if it gets hit, I'm not out a whole lot of money.

    Well, your not the only one who is cursed by Murphy's Law.
    A friend of mine had a blue Ford f250 van. I swear it had a bullseye painted on the side of it, as it got hit regularly every 6 months or so.

    Hope all goes well for you!
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    That is a shame, so sorry to hear what happened. Maybe, just maybe, they can catch the person and then that person can be held responsible so you don't have to pay your deductible. Sounds like you are due for some good luck, after all.

    I echo bobs5 - sure hope things work out well for you.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • carol4099carol4099 Member Posts: 7
    hi. well, i do live in a very small town so we might find who did it, but i doubt they will have insurance. maybe that's why they ran. no, no one saw it but we found pieces of a mustang in parking lot so we know that much and that it is a white or light blue. i am going to run an ad in the swapper, maybe a neighbor will see the car or maybe it will be a teen and their parents will come forward. worth a try anyway. i can still drive it but can't open the sliding door so my son crawls over my seat to get in the back and the door is ajar and i have to turn off the interior lights so my battery doesn't run down. when i bought it the hatch lock was broke and the place i bought it from is going to fix it, but i haven't got it repaired yet, so now i have only 2 doors out of 4! i just hate to think i might put $500 in this repair and then whatever is wrong that made it smoke that time gets worse and i have to spend more. i also have another problem with it and do not know if anyone has heard of this before, but the door's unlock by themselves sometimes. it worries me because they have unlocked before in a parking lot and i am afraid someone is going to steal all my stuff. i didn't mention this earlier as i was more worried about the "smoke/running rough" thing, but now i thought i would mention it and see if anyone has heard of that and what might cause it. and bobs5, i hope mine doesn't have a bullseye on it!
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Did you ever check out the link I gave you in post #2 to the Transport topic in our Vans conference? That would be a good place to ask about the doors unlocking. You should find lots of other Transport owners hanging out there.

    Please don't think that I'm trying to chase you away, but it seems like bobs5 is the only one hanging out over here who has been able to be of any help to you. I was just thinking that if you hadn't looked into that topic, it might be worth pursuing.

    Good luck.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • carol4099carol4099 Member Posts: 7
    i haven't checked it out lately, though i did before i bought my van; that is why i shied away from caravans and the ford windstar. i did read something before on nissan quests having a problem with the door locks locking (not unlocking) and it was due to moisture. i have been watching to see if mine did it only on rainy days/high humidity and i have not found that it does; it is really quite strange; it does it sometimes and then not others. i will try and get it checked when i finally get the damage from the hit and run taken care of and i will ck out the vans topics again when i can stay online and have more time. thanks!
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