Driving, smoke from vents and engine shutoff

My wife and I were driving down the highway, had been driving for about an hour when all of a sudden smoke starting coming out of our air vents. I immediately thought overheating so I had told to her to pull over. In the process of pulling over the truck completely cut off and then the brakes failed so she had to coast to a stop. We then pushed the vehicle back into a gravel covered area and let it cool. Let it cool and then added water…the water acted almost as if it was boiling in the reservoir…it would drain into the radiator and then push it back into the resorvoir. He had an existing issue with a radiator leak but thought that we had fixed it. After all was said and done we tried to start the car…it would crank…and crank and act like it wanted to start but it wouldnt start. I’ve changed the spark plugs and the spark plug cables into the coil pack. Ive also checked the appropriate relays and fuses and all seem to be okay. The fuel pump seems to engage which leads me to believe it is also okay. I’ve had afew suggestions that maybe it’s my ignition or a sensor…anyone have any other insight on my situation?

Driving with a low coolant level, overheating, smoke, this would suggest that the engine is damaged and the lack of compression is why the engine will no longer run. If this is a very old vehicle, the head gaskets may have failed. If this is a modern vehicle with multi-layer steel head gaskets, the cylinder heads are warped.


To add to Nevada _545, do a compression test first. If no or low compression, at the minimum, the heads need to come off, and gasket replaced.
If it was actually smoke from the vents your engine is probably shot.
But if water vapor (steam) your heater core may have failed.
By the way, I don’t think your brakes failed, when the engine quit you lost the power assist, therefore requiring much more pedal pressure to operate the brakes.


Could be a 2004 explorer which has very little value. Might be a 2014 which is nicer. Am looking for one now

Sounds like the engine is fried to me. Run a compression test on at least a few cylinders and see what shows up. A couple of bad ones is likely going to mean all of them are bad.

If the engine appears to turn over easily with the starter motor odds are the compression is horribly low. With severe overheating damage is done to cylinder walls and piston rings. That in turn means oil consumption problems.