Thick, white smoke - stopped accelerating - cranking, not starting - no motor oil

Susanna Conway

Asked by Sep 11, 2016 at 12:38 AM about the 2001 Saab 9-5 SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

My 2001 Saab 9-5 Sedan (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5M) recently took an uncommon
road trip (80 miles). After making a quick pit stop, we restarted the car and the
tailpipe began emitting a white smoke, which gradually thickened. About 5
minutes later, the smoke was incredibly dense and the car stopped
accelerating. The engine wasn't overheating. We turned the car off and had it
towed to a Ken Towery. The mechanic checked it out and quickly advised that
the issue was likely onset by a broken part "catching" when the engine turned
over and that we replace the motor. We then had the car towed back to our

Since then, I've tried to start it... the engine cranks, but it doesn't start. And,
I've checked the motor oil... there doesn't appear to be any.

I had the car inspected on 8/18. Everything checked out OK, except for a
loose oil cap (which they tightened). I had the oil changed on 6/16.

Any help diagnosing this issue would be greatly appreciated!

2 Answers


White smoke from the tail pipe is the burning of coolant in the combustion chamber. Failed head gasket or intake gasket or cracks. Black smoke is running rich. Blue smoke is oil being burned in the combustion chamber.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

this Saab is not worth repairing- consider it a blessing that you can now get rid of it- the poor thing just wants to join all its friends that have already made the trip to the SAAB burial ground-

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