Power loss in foul weather

Henry A Harper III hah at alumni.rice.edu
Wed Oct 16 16:30:04 EDT 2002

How old are your spark plug wires? Other ignition system wiring harnesses?
Distributor cap? Age and deterioration of the above are classic causes of
poor running when it's wet out. A little spray bottle of water on a
nighttime (running) engine compartment would probably be the way to go for
troubleshooting vs. grabbing plug wires.

Small amounts of water (vaporized) should actually aid smooth combustion by
lowering (higher Cp than air) intake air temps under compression.
Non-vaporous water ingestion leads to hydrolock and bent rods; I don't
think it's possible that there is an area in between where you would only
lose power while it is wet outside and yet everything is fine when it's

Henry Harper
http://www.henry-harper.com hah at alumni.rice.edu
1991 200 quatto, 116k, new plug wires last year, new distributor in garage
waiting for timing belt job (might as well)
1988 GTI 16v, 232k, new plug wires years ago after one bit me while poking
aorund runnnign engine

On Wednesday, October 16, 2002 3:06 PM, Peter Sebestyen
[SMTP:PeterS at reoinc.com] wrote:
> Baffling problem:  I have a '91 200 Wagon, purchased in 2000.  The car is
> solid and strong in most conditions however when there is standing water
> slushy conditions, it loses power, gets a real throaty sound and
> (follows RPM's) and seems to lose some power.  It doesn't lose all power
> it is compromised.
> I've run this past several people and gotten lots of funny looks and
> insinuations that I smoke/drink/etc too much.  My girlfriend has been
> to it so I know I'm not imagining things.  My assumption is that water is
> getting aspirated somewhere or that something is warping.  It's difficult
> trouble shoot when it's happening because I'm usually on the road and
it's .
> . . raining.  I pulled the air filter (K&N) and checked for water and
> nothing and there are no visible cracks downstream from the air filter.
> Further, the engine compartment stays mostly dry in inclement weather.
> Has anybody experienced anything similar?  Any recommendations on where
> look or how to diagnose before the snow flies?
> Thanks -
> Peter
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