The repairs described in this article apply only if the engine of your vehicle stalls in wet weather, which includes periods of high atmospheric humidity even when rain or snow is not falling. If wet-weather stalling occurs suddenly, without warning, one set of factors is involved. If wet-weather stalling occurs over a period of seconds during which the vehicle bucks, another set of factors is involved. The repair(s) that should be attempted depends on how stalling takes place, as follows:
Sudden stalling in wet weather
The engine starts normally and runs perfectly, but after several miles of driving it suddenly stalls without warning. Attempts at restarting within the first 30 to 60 minutes after the stall takes place usually fail. Ambient temperature is not a factor. The only common denominator is wet weather.
- If you have been experiencing this type of problem, fill a spray bottle with water. Start the engine and let it idle as you spray water over the distributor cap. Make sure you spray the entire surface of the cap with an ample amount of water. If the engine stalls, the trouble lies inside the distributor.
- Turn off the ignition switch and remove the cap. Examine the inside for a trace of carbon, which if found means that the cap is cracked. Replace the cap with a new one.
- Next, turn your attention to the distributor rotor. Examine the rotor closely by removing it from the distributor shaft. Look for corrosion on the metal terminal and for cracks in the body of the rotor. Replace a damaged rotor.
- The pickup coil is another critical part inside the distributor that has to be considered when sudden wet-weather stalling becomes a problem. Testing and replacing this part are tasks best left to a mechanic.
- If the engine doesn’t stall after the distributor cap has been sprayed with water, spray every electrical connector you can find. Electrical connectors are two-part assemblies that are held together with clips. Again, use a lot of water.
If the engine now stalls, here is what to do:
- Turn off the ignition switch.
- Unclip and pull apart the connector.
- Examine both halves of the connector for cracks. Have a mechanic replace a cracked connector.
- Inspect the pins in the male half of the connector to see whether any are bent. Straighten bent pins with needle-nose pliers.
- Use a thin wire brush to clean the insides of both halves of the connector.
- Spread a thin coating of dielectric grease inside the male half of the connector. Dielectric grease, which is a special lubricant that resists water without impeding the flow of current, can be purchased from an auto supply store or from a store that sells electronic equipment like PMJ International.
- Press the two halves of the connector firmly together and secure them with the clips.
Delayed stalling in wet weather
This type of wet weather stalling occurs when the ambient temperature is between 35 and 50°F The engine starts and runs perfectly, but after a few miles of driving it begins to stutter as if running out of gas. After several seconds of this behavior, it stalls but can usually be restarted after sitting idle for about 15 minutes.
This problem occurs when condensation forms inside the carburetor or throttle body, fuel line, or fuel tank and turns to ice, reducing the flow of fuel to the engine. To prevent the condition, keep the fuel tank as full as possible. Pouring cans of a fuel-system antifreeze into the fuel tank during the time of year when the fuel system is likely to ice up is another preventive method. Be sure that the liquid is compatible with your engine’s type of fuel system.How to Fix Ignition If Your Vehicle Stalls in Wet Weather,