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Author Topic: Smoke in car while reversing!  (Read 5659 times)
Posts: 16

« on: December 07, 2008, 11:34:06 am »

Hi everyone.... I have a slightly strange problemm with my espace (which may just be a bad design issue rather than mechanical fault!)...

I've noticed that, when ever I reverse for a bit then stop, I get a 'lot' of smoke coming up throught the engine bay, then sometimes a really strong smokey / burny smell in the car.  It was very strong last night - enough to worry my partner that the car was on fire!

I've had a look under the car and am a bit mistified about the 'pipe' sticking out the bottom of the engine which has a constant stream of smoke / steam coming out of it? this is esspecially noticable when it's cold.   It looks purpose built for something as is made from quite a rigid aluminium / steal tubing).  I'm guessing this may be the issue, as when driving normally, this 'gas' is obviously passing out the rear of the car...  but, when reversing, it's going to be making it's way up into the engine bay, being sucked up in the heater and into the car!

Does anybody know the purpose of this pipe???  It does smell very much like it's venting exhaust gas - which I find 'very' strange...    It's a 2.2 DCI,  I have other problems with the car, which may be related to the EGR / exhaust / turbo (hopefully not!)...  so I am worried that this may be a symptom of that problem (I have lots of engine noise, very poor performance sometimes, and the odd miss-fire)..

Thanks guys,

Ian Powell

2002 Renault Grand Espace 2.2dci "the Race"

2004 mini cooper
Lennart Sorth
YaBB God
Posts: 818

« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2008, 03:17:05 pm »

Does anybody know the purpose of this pipe??? 
Sounds like the exhaust-pipe from the engine coolant heater, which is fitted to the dci's to heat up the coolant, as you would otherwise have to wait a long time for any creature comfort with these efficient diesels.

It does smell a lot of burnt diesel - but should only be active while the engine itself is warming up. Have you tried your reversing maneuver with a hot engine ?

If that really is the source of the smoke, then you shouldn't worry.
If its not, then keep looking. I have never noticed the supplementary heater exhaust from inside my 2.2dci.

It may also be that your suppl-heater exhaust-pipe is leaking further up, allowing for the gasses to rise through the engine compartment, and possibly to your aircon air intake ?

Poor performance however sounds like an EGR valve that need cleaning, - search this forum for EGR and you will find many hints on this.

The simplest is this:


Murena 1983 1.9i silver // Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0d 2012 white // Smart 4two cdi 2010 blue //
Martin Tyas
Sr. Member
Posts: 271

Espace, because it's worth it!

« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2008, 12:47:20 pm »

I concur with Lennart in that it is likely to be just the Eberspacher coolant heater. It automatically cuts in when the coolant temperature is below 5oC in order to get the engine temperature up to optimum as quickly as possible and to help provide heat and demisting that would otherwise take a long time, especialy with the Espace having such a huge interior.

As you have seen, the exhaust for the Eberspacher unit comes out under the middle of the floor pan so when you reverse you are reversing over the exhaust gases and I have experienced occasions when the smell of burning diesel from the Eberspacher heater has been brought in to the car through the air intakes... and obviously when the weather is cold you will also have the blower on high which draws in more air.

However, at some point it may be worth checking the Eberspacher exhaust for leaks or cracks in the stainless steel flexi pipe sections, especially the front section immediately out of the heater unit. Having had a crankshaft pulley failure on my 2.2dCi I had the engine under tray removed and the two plastic under panels either side of it (one of which covers the Eberspacher unit) and spotted the front section on mine had cracked in a couple of places. There is a thread with photos on this forum about it and how I repaired the exhaust for less than a tenth of the cost of a complete new exhaust from Renault. Eberspacher heaters are used in boats and as heaters for sleeper cabs on trucks and for RV's whilst parked up without the engine running so lengths of stainless steel flexi pipe and clamps are available from boat yards, truck dealers and motor home manufacturers... I've also seen pipe and clamps on e-bay in the UK.


1968 Cessna 182L Skylane
1991 BMW 520i SE Auto
2002 Grand Espace 2.2dCi "The Race"
2003 Astra 1.8i Cabriolet "Edition 100"
2011 Insignia SRi VX-Line Red
2011 Honda VT1300CX Fury
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