Completely OT, but a diesel question

Twice in the last week I've encountered big rigs on the interstate blowing white smoke. Yesterday I came upon this huge smoke cloud on
I-65 that had traffic nearly stopped. Literally, you could only see maybe 30 feet. As I crept on, there was a semi in the right lane, barely moving, throwing out this HUGE white smoke cloud from both stacks. As I said, there was another one earlier in the week doing the same thing. It looked like a huge fire on the interstate.
Knowing zero about diesels, what causes this to happen? Blown head gaskets?
Mark 65 Cruiser http://home.alltel.net/anderm
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Google says:
"Steady white smoke; warm engine; any air temperature. This is bad news. The engine's coolant is leaking into the combustion chamber and creating a steady flow of steam. Caused by a leaking head gasket or a crack in a cylinder head, most commonly in the exhaust port area. Usually requires serious surgery on the engine.
Puff of white smoke during cranking, before the engine starts; cold engine; gas or diesel. This smoke is unburned fuel vapor being pumped out the exhaust pipe. The white is tiny droplets of fuel. In a gas engine, the spark plugs aren't firing, or the fuel mixture is too rich to ignite. It may mean the choke plate is stuck closed, or a load of bad gasoline. In a diesel, this cranking smoke indicates defective glow plugs, but may also come from low compression caused by worn rings or valves. "
Mark Anderson wrote:

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Usually that is when either: (a) The cylinder liner has an erosion hole in the side due to cavitation and silica buildup. (b) a crack in the liner by the head.(or possibly a head gasket) (c) A turbo has let go (d) an injector has screwed up bad.
"Mark Anderson" wrote...

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Water in the fuel can blow the tip off an injector, IIRC. GM unit injectors are what I have in mind as that is what I had in the navy, so that's what interested me.
Karl
Jeff Rice wrote:

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I'd guess turbo seals.
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See, you learn something every day!
Mark 65 Cruiser http://home.alltel.net/anderm John Kunkel wrote:

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.Is this the Kunkel from Colorado with the Taxi?
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Thats just the chicken grease burning in the new bio-diesel

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I had a big Navy emergency generator diesel "eat" my foul weather jacket without so much as a hiccup while running away. We finally found the emergency blower inlet covers before it blew up.
John Kunkel wrote:

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JP/Maryland
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John Poulos wrote:

During Basic Armor training in the tank driver simulators, we must have spent hours covering runaway diesel engines (Continental AdVS-1790D, 12 cylinder twin turbo diesels) and never saw one that ran away in 20+ years.
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On the sweep, we had a large CO2 installation, so that was what we would use. What would happen when the cold gas hit then hot metal is an unknown. My plan, which I passed to others, would be to stand away from the sides of the engine - feed the CO2 from where the radiator would be if it were in a car. John Poulos wrote:

Hey, JP, who gave you permission to be down the hole? Were you a snipe at one time? Is that why you mved into electronics? Karl

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When I joined up, they told me, you should be a ET according to my test scores, but I choose Engineman. Turned out they were right and I switched after two years. I was always in danger of getting my ass kicked as a snipe, they were a tad more conservative than me.<g>

JP/Maryland Studebaker On the Net http://stude.com My Ebay items:http://www.stude.com/EBAY / 64 Daytona HT 63 R2 4 speed GT Hawk 63 R1 GT Hawk 63 GT Hawk 63 Avanti R1/AC 63 Avanti R2/4 speed 62 Lark 2 door 60 Hawk 51 Commander
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I was changing a gate valve on the coolling system to the forward stand-by generator and dropped a bolt down the pipe. This job involved securing water to the ammo rooms, gun mounts and so on. I fixed it OK, but was way over my estimated time. My Chief didn't seem upset and said. "That's why I double any estimate of time to do a job. Steve (EO) will double the time I give him and the GO and CO will take it all with a grain of salt." Then he added, "In your case, I usually tripple the time estimate."
Karl (But I got 4.0 on the multiple-choice tests.) Haas
John Poulos wrote:

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And it's precisely for this reason that Diesel engines on drilling rigs are equipped with "motor kills", which are remotely-controlled valves that can instantly close the air intakes. Without that, the engines could run away in the event of a "kick" which releases large volumes of natural gas at surface. In turn, a runaway in such circumstances would likely lead to fire or explosion and loss of life.
The motor kills are routinely function-tested to ensure they are in good working order. Seriously-important safety gear.
Custom dictates that all engines on a drilling rig are known as motors, and the person with primary responsibility for them is the motor hand.
Gord Richmond (at a rig right now, but going home soon, woo-hoo!)
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Detroit diesels with engine driven blowers (53, 71, 92 series) usually have a cable-operated door for such runaways.
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