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  #1  
Old January 24th, 2010, 09:33 PM
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Eric Brown
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Wet Engine...No Start

So its been raining crazy here in Southern California. Lots of wind, rain, hail, flooding, etc... I was driving during some flooding and hit some big puddles that splashed water all over. So after hitting one of these puddles the car sputtered and died. Steam was coming off the engine so I popped the hood and everything was wet. Couldn't get the car started so had to get it towed home. Its been dry the past couple days but still not starting. Here are the symptoms:

1. Turn the key on and the check engine light turns on and then off. ECU looks dry without any corrosion.

2. Turn the ignition all the way on and the relays next to the AC on the passenger side are clicking rapidly. The ignitors on top of the engine also are clicking rapidly.

3. Fuel pump is making noise and appears to be working

4. Engine is cranking over but won't start.

To complicate things earlier today I got it started. Turned the ignition over, heard no clicking from the relays and then it started right up. I drove it around for 10 mins and thought everything was okay, turned it off and then back to the above issues and no start.

I am thinking its the ignition system thats not working anyone have any advice?
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  #2  
Old January 24th, 2010, 09:57 PM
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shane cates
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did you pop off the distributor cap and spray it? Did you check how far down the line you are getting spark?
Do that. I bet it will be easy.



steam makes distributors go crazy
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  #3  
Old January 24th, 2010, 10:09 PM
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Eric Brown
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I guess I should have put in my post that its a 1997 so it doesn't have a distributor.
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  #4  
Old January 24th, 2010, 10:17 PM
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shane cates
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_eaze View Post
I guess I should have put in my post that its a 1997 so it doesn't have a distributor.

sorry man. I should have seen that. Try to pull a plug wire and get spark.If no spark, work your way backwards. Its the best I can do to help. Sorry
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  #5  
Old January 24th, 2010, 10:40 PM
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Ian Gregory
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_eaze View Post
I guess I should have put in my post that its a 1997 so it doesn't have a distributor.

Remove the white cover under the hood on the pass side to expose the ECU and the main relay. Check to make sure you have no water/moisture in any of the 3 connections on the ECU or those on the relay. If they are all dry then the next check is the trigger connection for the coils. It's on the driver's side just behind the throttle body up on top of the rocker cover. Make sure that is dry too.

HTH

Ian
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  #6  
Old January 25th, 2010, 01:07 AM
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Eric Brown
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipgregory View Post
Remove the white cover under the hood on the pass side to expose the ECU and the main relay. Check to make sure you have no water/moisture in any of the 3 connections on the ECU or those on the relay. If they are all dry then the next check is the trigger connection for the coils. It's on the driver's side just behind the throttle body up on top of the rocker cover. Make sure that is dry too.

HTH

Ian
White cover came off and I could tell that water had been on the ECU and connectors but when I removed the connectors from the ECU they were bone dry and very clean so I don't think any water got in there. I pulled the #1 spark plug connector off and held it close to the end of the plug while it was being cranked and I did not see a spark. I couldn't locate the trigger coils at night so I'll check again tomorrow.

Hard part is that I had it running and now nothing. Those relays are clicking loudly every time I turn the ignition on. Everything looks dry but it gets moist again at night.
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  #7  
Old January 25th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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Bill Adams
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Hard part is that I had it running and now nothing.

Yes, that is exactly what happens when something breaks. My vote is fuel pump. Either the pump died, the relay fried or the fuse blew.
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  #8  
Old January 25th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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Eric Brown
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So this morning on a whim I try to start it and it starts right up. I decided to drive it to work and hopefully heat it up and dry it out. Parked it and let it idle for an hour, turned it off, and it started right up again. We'll see.

I did just have a new fuel pump put in. A few weeks ago the check engine light came on, I took it to my mechanic, he diagnosed it as a misfire related to low fuel pressure. Said it was registering at 30 psi instead of 40-42 psi it should have been. So he put in a new fuel pump, fuel filter, and cleaned up some of the lines. After I picked up the car it was running really crappy so I took it back 2 days later and they said the fuel pump they put in was faulty. A new one went in and a day after picking it up the check engine light came back on. So I need to get it back into them. Could it be related? I drove it 3 days with the check engine light on and it seemed to be driving normally. This morning it seemed fine as well.
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  #9  
Old January 25th, 2010, 04:34 PM
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Charles Galpin
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I say replace the silver relays (the ones you hear clicking) before doing anything else.
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  #10  
Old January 25th, 2010, 04:40 PM
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Eric Brown
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Should the relays be silver colored? I have one there that is green and the others are black. Those relays have no evidence of ever being wet but I guess its not a bad idea since I have no idea of their condition.
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  #11  
Old January 25th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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Charles Galpin
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They can also be black plastic (aftermarket). The key is they are a two pole design. I'll search a little later and find the info (or just search the forums and you should fine it).
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  #12  
Old January 25th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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Gary
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Fuel pump relay on a '97 is different than 94/95. It is a multifunction relay that is under the white cover by ECU. Are you still getting the fuel pump to buzz when you turn the key? Does your gas guage work when you turn the key?
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  #13  
Old January 25th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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Charles Galpin
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Sorry ignore me - don't know anything about the '97 fuel system
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  #14  
Old January 25th, 2010, 05:31 PM
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Eric Brown
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I did inspect the relay that is with the ECU under the white cover and it looked good and dry. Fuel pump makes a noise when I turn the ignition on before I start the car. Kind of a buzzing or pumping noise from the back end for about 4-5 seconds then turns off. The fuel gauge does seem to be in working order.
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  #15  
Old January 26th, 2010, 12:20 AM
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Ian Gregory
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_eaze View Post
I did inspect the relay that is with the ECU under the white cover and it looked good and dry. Fuel pump makes a noise when I turn the ignition on before I start the car. Kind of a buzzing or pumping noise from the back end for about 4-5 seconds then turns off. The fuel gauge does seem to be in working order.

The fuel pump relay is incorporated into that black box you saw under the white cover. If you hear the noise from the back then the fuel pump is doing something. Not to say it's pumping (enough) fuel but it's at least doing something...

If it's quiet enough you should be able to hear fuel returning to the tank as a kind of gurgling sound after a couple of seconds of the pump running. It should only run for a few seconds when the key is first turned then it shuts off if you don't start it. The fact that you have had (or have been told you had) fueling issues is suspicious, but you said above that you had no spark when you checked and that is the most likely cause of this problem.

On a GEMS truck like your 97, the ECU controls both the spark and the fuel. It's control of the fuel however is limited to turning the fuel pump off and on. If your pump is running and you have no spark then I would be looking at the spark issue 1st. You can check the fuel pressure yourself easily enough later. Fuel pressure meters are readily available at places like Autozone and the like and there is a valve on the fuel rail you can put the meter on to check it.

A total no start after getting wet is normally going to come from only a small number of typical places. The ECU connector, the Main Relay or the Low Tension (Trigger) connector at the coils. There are potentially a bunch of others but these are the main ones. Most of the others wouldn't give you a total no start if the fuel pump is running (Alarm ECU is the notable exception but that is not likely to have got wet at the alarm ECU end in this case as it's in the dash behind the dials).

It's most likely that something got wet and it has now dried out enough that the problem has passed. It will probably return though. It is difficult to tell sometimes if the ECU connector is really wet or not. Those connections are a lot like the distributor cap on earlier vehicles and it takes only a very small amount of moisture sometimes to cause them to play up. I carry cans of WD40 in both my GEMS Discos and my D90 for just this reason.

Glad it's running again.
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  #16  
Old January 26th, 2010, 02:55 AM
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Ian Gregory
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OK so I thought on this some more while watching TV (Boring show). There are a couple more sensors that might give you a problem if they are wet and not able to send a signal back to the ECU.

The most likely is the Crank Position Sensor. Its located on the front of the Timing Cover just above the Crank Pulley. It detects the engine's rotational position and the ECU uses it for a timing reference so it knows when to spark and when to open injectors.

Flywheel Sensor. Located low down on the drivers side at the rear of the block casting, just above the oil pan. ECU uses it to sense that the engine is turning and at what speed. Has a little heat shield over it as it's close to the down pipe and cat.

The ECU might not let the engine start or run at all if it isn't getting a signal from the CPS and possibly from the FS. Haven't ever tried to disconnect them and find out and have never had a problem with them on any of mine. But if the seals on the waterproof (is there such a thing?) connectors are bad, they might stop the engine from starting.

You could pretty much lose the rest of the sensors on the engine (Throttle position, Fuel Temp, Coolant Temp, Air Temp, MAF, Knock) and the engine should start but might run badly or just turn on the Check Engine Lamp depending on the sensor. The only other connections are the Injectors and the Idle Air Control valve. You would need to lose all the Injector connections before you wouldn't hear it at least try to start. The IAC would give you an idle speed problem that may cause it to idle really fast or die but it would start.

The common point here is that all this crap goes back to the ECU in one or the other of the 3 connectors. Some of them share common grounds but only at the ECU end. If the fuel pump is running then the ECU and the Coil Trigger Connection are far and away your most likely culprits. The clicking of the relays points to the ECU as it is most likely current arcing across pins in one of the connectors because of water/moisture.

Pull them, spray some WD40 in the plugs and the ECU Connectors to dispel any moisture. Let it dry, then put some Dialectric Grease on the pins and plug it back up. You could go round the rest of the connectors on the engine if you want and do the same. With the engine off you won't hurt anything.

HTH

Ian
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  #17  
Old January 26th, 2010, 05:39 PM
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Eric Brown
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Ian,
Thank you very much for you analysis. Very helpful. So far its been running fine. Its my daily driver but my commute is 1 mile from home. We are getting more rain today so we'll see how the truck handles the moisture again. I want to get to the bottom of this as I don't want to get stranded again.

Is there a good shop manual or book that has engine schematic drawings that would help me navigate all of this? It would help to have some type of visual before I go mucking around in there.
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  #18  
Old January 26th, 2010, 06:14 PM
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Bill Adams
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my commute is 1 mile from home.

For this you drive? You California people amaze me.
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1966 109 5 door wagon 300Tdi "spermaceti fueled"
1994 RRC LeWiB "ruining the air behind me"
1968 2A 88

All my troubles are Rover
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  #19  
Old January 26th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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elias christeas
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hey just an adendum - the cam sensor is the one on the timing cover and the crank sensor is lowest on the motor, on the drivers side. I have never seen a cam sensor go bad but a rotten Crank sensor can cause the problem your describing AS you're describing it. not hard to change and not expensive to buy. if you wanna save the money, order one and ill help you do it. itll take less than 30minutes.

it doesnt sound like fuel delivery to me. its fire. your gems "rotor" is that Crank sensor and if youre valve covers have been leaking all over it or its suffered from salt corrosion, thats the problemo!
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  #20  
Old January 27th, 2010, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
my commute is 1 mile from home.

For this you drive? You California people amaze me.
Our tree huggers can beat up your tree huggers.
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