Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
Location: Los Angeles / Hannover Germany
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Quoted: 1759 Post(s)
With white smoke from the exhaust, we first hope its just a bad membrane in the transmission modulator with the vacuum sucking fluid (located on side of tranny).
That's a fairly cheap fix and not difficult DIY. But it won't smell like coolant / water.
Another time I had enough white smoke smelling of coolant to literally make a main crossing disappear in fog.
The cause turned out to be the small aux pump located in the space between the 2 fire walls of the engine compartment and car interior (W126).
The small aux pump on drivers side near the mono valve might be one of the most neglected items on our cars.
They tend to rot out, and coolant will drip on the manifold.
Again, a fairly inexpensive fix.
Should the head gasket be the culprit, once the heads are finally off, you'll likely be confronted with additional work needed like timing chain, tensioner, chain guides, valve guides, or a head rebuild, = thousands of $.
In that case I would probably look for a good used engine from a wrecking yard.
Wrecking yard mechanics are pretty experienced, they'll look under the valve covers, at the oil, how the engine cold turns (1 1/16 or 27mm socket, right turn only) to make guesstimates re an engines condition.