View Full Version : Is there an automotive malady that is exacerbated by rain or humidity?

03-17-2009, 03:55 PM
If it is a quirk in a particular year and model that would be better.

For example, when the detective is questioning the prime suspect, Sammy the Flounder answers:

"I didn't even ride the bus on Wednesday--and I can prove it!"
Hector Poirot smoothed his bushy moustache and said nothing.

See," Sammy began. "Monday morning my car wouldn't start so I had to take the bus to work. But when I got home it ran fine. The next morning, Tuesday, it wouldn't start again so I had to take the bus again. But on Wednesday, the car started right up. Then Thursday, crapolla, it wouldn't start.

You didn't tell us what kind of car you were driving," said Senoir Poirot.

"It's a '76 Pacer [or whatever]."

"But of course," said Poirot. "The 1976 AMC Pacer had a notorious kanooder valve.[or whatever] . . ."

03-17-2009, 04:52 PM
In the olden days, cars did have problems with wet weather .There was a aerosol called damp start.You sprayed around the engine and the car would start first time .Well that was the clam anyway.I seem to remember Fords were bad wet weather starters,in England, but I think a lot of car in the sixties and seventies had the problem.

03-17-2009, 05:11 PM
The old Mini was particularly bad for this because of where the distributor was, very handily placed low down at the front of the engine to catch all the spray off the road.

03-17-2009, 05:32 PM
I agree, the distributor is the most likely culprit. Especially in older cars.

discussions and examples (http://ask.metafilter.com/13786/Wet-Weather-Car-Trouble)

Cathy C
03-17-2009, 05:38 PM
My 97 Geo Metro is notorious for acting up after a bad storm. It's caused by two things: 1) the gasket on the distributor cap doesn't seal completely, so a soaking rain will get moisture inside. Whenever we get in there to change wires or such, we have to cut a new seal out of gasket material. The one that comes with both the aftermarket and factory part flat doesn't work; and 2) A hard rain with wind causes water to get up the tailpipe. The mechanics haven't figured out exactly where it goes from there, but it makes it chug and thump like a clunker for about fifteen minutes. If you don't keep your foot in it, it'll die cold on the highway while you're in gear. Sucks big time. I've just learned to let it idle in the driveway for about ten minutes after a storm. It's just a little quirk, but if the car was new, the owner wouldn't know about it. :)

Does that help?

03-17-2009, 05:48 PM
Mid 80's Ford Mustangs (4 cylinder family model) had the problem with damp, too. Not the distributor, but an ignition connection that fed the distributor. It was built so that the wires plugged DOWN into a receptacle. The receptacle would collect the damp run off that clung to the wiring (from condensation). You had to pull the receptacle off, and dry out the plastic connection socket with a rag, then plug it back in, and it would start.

Back before the days of the internet and "googling" I spent a day in the fog and light rain trying to figure out why the car wouldn't start before an old guy in the apartment complex came by and said: "Well THERE's your problem."

On the upside? We put 300K miles on that little four cylinder beastie. One fine summer day the camshaft broke on the way back from Georgia. That thing carried my wife and three year old over sixty miles on two cylinders.

Darling Bride said, "We're home. The car sounds funny."

Julie Worth
03-17-2009, 06:35 PM
Google car won't start in wet weather. There are plenty of hits.

03-17-2009, 07:15 PM
I'd have to second or third the distributor. I had a car in SF that would not start in the morning when it was damp, not even raining. The distributor cap had a hairline crack -- you couldn't even see it.

03-17-2009, 08:17 PM
I had a 1962 Jaguar that was particularly sensitive to the weather. It had an adjustible voltage regulator under the hood (bonnet) with three screwdriver adjustments. One advanced something, the other retarded something else, and the third increased something. There were no index markings on the adjustments, so you couldn't tell how much you changed things. You just went by engine sounded. It was a little like playing dice. I'm guessing the Brits enjoyed this sort of challenge each morning before their daily commute.

03-17-2009, 10:04 PM
Thank's you have given me plenty to think about. Why didn't I just Google it in the first place?

03-18-2009, 06:40 AM
If you've got a faulty gas cap, or a small leak in the top of the gas tank, it's possible for water to gradually accumulate in the tank and prevent a car from starting. Very common in cold climates.

03-18-2009, 11:08 PM
A few ideas:
- many English cars of the 70's (and possibly before or after) had electrical components made by a company named Lucas, aka "The Prince of Darkness," that were notoriously unreliable.
- Google "leaky t-tops." GM cars like the Camaro, Firebird, Corvette and other makes and models could be ordered with removable "T-tops" which leaked like sieves. So, a front seat full of water might be a good reason to find other modes of transportation.
- besides electrical issues, water in the fuel system could be a problem, so any car with a leaky fuel cap might be possible choice.