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Old 05-12-2021, 06:33 PM   #1
mschultz373
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Default drove thru water, car died

mild street flooding is a common thing here in SE louisiana, so the other day during a storm, I drove through 2-3in of water on the street - probably around 10-15mph. fast enough that it splashed in an arc away from my tires... but apparently also into the engine compartment. immediately afterward, the car stalled out and died and wouldn't start again. i left it until later that day, several hours after the rain and when the sun had come out, and the car started and drove normally.

so i'm assuming something splashed on a connection that disabled the ignition or fuel delivery? i didn't have all my tools on me so I couldn't do too much diag, but i know that while cranking the car during the condition, the ignition coil was firing.

i know it's kind of a tough thread without further diag (and i'm not sure how badly i want to go drive thru more water next storm just to figure this out...) but i am curious if anyone else has had this kind of problem before, and if so, knows what it is?

thanks.
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Old 05-12-2021, 11:51 PM   #2
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I've had similar problems with 240s and rain in the past, although I never quite figured out the exact reason...

In your case, a cheap belly pan under the engine would help keep water from entering under the car and causing havoc in the bay.
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:38 AM   #3
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Had that happen to me. Old timer nearby suggested I check inside distributor cap for water. Sure enough it was damp and drying it out stopped the spark from shorting.
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:44 AM   #4
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Fuel pump connectors?
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:03 AM   #5
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Almost certainly water in the distributor cap: a common problem in flood conditions.
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:28 PM   #6
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Would this still be the case even with a belly pan in place? I've had the stalling issue recently, when driving into a drive-thru car wash during the underbody spray phase. It started right back up though luckily. I'm thinking it had to do with some wiring that runs under the engine that probably shed its insulation (it's an '87).
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:28 PM   #7
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What happens is as soon as water gets in the fan it blows it straight back at the dizzy cap.
Put a can of WD40 in your trunk, and if it happens again, hose the inside of the cap and rotor with WD40 and then you will be back in business.
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:24 PM   #8
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Later 240s have a fuse on the firewall thats known for problems if the cover gets cracked etc. Most likely dist, but if newer than 86 I think, check that fuse on the firewall on drivers side
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Old 05-13-2021, 02:50 PM   #9
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Later 240s have a fuse on the firewall thats known for problems if the cover gets cracked etc. Most likely dist, but if newer than 86 I think, check that fuse on the firewall on drivers side
and they tend to get corroded or melt - I replaced mine with a rubberized, waterproof fuse holder from the local autoparts store.
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khrrck View Post
Had that happen to me. Old timer nearby suggested I check inside distributor cap for water. Sure enough it was damp and drying it out stopped the spark from shorting.
^This
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:30 PM   #11
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Had the same problem on my 91. It would die or be very hard to start and would stall in heavy rain.

Microcracked distributor crack that was over 100k miles old.

Cheap and easy fix. You should replace the wires while you're at it. And the rotor.

Start the car, let it idle. Grab a spray bottle of water, and spray the distributor with a bit of water, until it's running off the top. It should not have any effect on rpms. If it stalls and bucks, you know it's bad.
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Old 05-15-2021, 01:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyote View Post
What happens is as soon as water gets in the fan it blows it straight back at the dizzy cap.
Put a can of WD40 in your trunk, and if it happens again, hose the inside of the cap and rotor with WD40 and then you will be back in business.
wow, that sounds like right on the money. i'll have to try this.
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Old 05-16-2021, 04:32 PM   #13
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mine would do that, was a busted coil.
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