Won't start...only when it rains - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 2nd, 2006, 05:59 PM
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Andy
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Won't start...only when it rains

My 94 D90 has a little problem. It always starts, except when it's raining. I can run through deep water, drive in the rain (so long as it was running when it started raining), but when rain starts...the little guy will crank and crank and crank...but won't start. I think I've checked everything...but am obviously missing something. Any help would be appreciated. Again, it only has starting problems while it's raining. About 30 minutes after the rain stops, it starts with no problems.

Again...any help would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old January 2nd, 2006, 07:17 PM
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Robert Dassler
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I personally would inspect the cap/rotor/wires for problems as well as taking a look at the coil connections. If it still has the spade connections I would change them for ring terminals and bolt them down tight.
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  #3  
Old January 2nd, 2006, 08:22 PM
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Andy
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It has new rotor/wires and I did change out the coil. But, if it was simply one of those shouldn't I expect it to always have the problem whenever it contacts water? I can run through deep water...shut it off and it'll fire right back up. I'm not kidding when I say it doesn't start in the rain. If it's raining and I shut it off, it won't start again. It has me baffled because it only happens in the rain. Is there anything potentially under the dash? I have the fiberglass hard top and it does leak a little, but nothing ever really seems to get wet.

An example...it's been raining here for a few days. I parked the Rover just after it started raining hard and 20 minutes later it wouldn't fire. The rain stopped about 30 minutes ago and it starts right up.
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  #4  
Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:27 PM
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Stephen Whitaker
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My 94 did the same thing even after I replaced all wires, the rotor, and the plugs. Only when it was raining and I first went to start the car would I have this problem. Then I realized that I was pumping the accelerator when I was starting it (old habit) and was flooding the engine. If I don't touch the accelerator is starts fine now. You probably aren't guilty of this little piece of ignorance, but I throw it out there anyways, just in case...
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 10:11 AM
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Robert Dassler
1994 D90
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Well,
Get back to basics...it takes air, fuel and fire to make an engine run. You need to figure out which you don't have when it won't start. I'd start with spark and have a friend help you check for spark next time it wont start in the rain. Also, did you use Genuine cap & rotor or cheapie aftermarket? I have had multiple wierd running problems with Defenders using inferior ignition components.
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  #6  
Old January 3rd, 2006, 04:59 PM
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Andy
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Rob, I used genuine parts (I did it as part of a 100k service). Sounds like a good idea...the gf's going to have to get wet next time it rains! It's just frustrating because I can hose down the engine and it fires right up...but in the rain, when the engine itself is dry, it won't start. I'm also going to pull the dash apart to see if anything important is getting a little wet.

A few summers ago while driving cross country the Alpine alarm (installed by a previous owner) fried and I had to do some emergency wiring...it was under the dash on the left side. Nothing else seemed to be effected, but I'm going to check anyway. As far as I can remember this problem started about a year ago...so? Luckly we don't get much rain here.
Thanks for the ideas!
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  #7  
Old January 4th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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Chris Davis
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I would still check the coil. Mine is mounted with the point facing down and has the tendency to have the rubber boot fill with water and cause problems--that is until one frustrated day going through a puddle and I stalled at the rally and someone handed me a tube of silicone and I sealed it shut. Funny thing was that I always use silicone grease in such circumstances and they gave me silicone sealant...well, it won't fall off by accident, I will tell you that much! No problems since, and easy to diagnose.

When it won't start, pull off the high tension lead off the coil, spray with WD40, put back on a see what happens...
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Old January 4th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Ron
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You may aslo check fuses.
When it rains hard I have some water that runs down the firewall to the fuses.
Do you hear the fuel pump cycle when you turn the key?
Do you smell gas if you continuely try starting?
When it does start does it run rich?

I had the same problem and it turned out to be a bad lead to the positive side of my coil.
Good Luck
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  #9  
Old January 4th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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John Robison
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Usually failures to start on a rainy day stem from coil/plug wire/cap/rotor issues. If those parts are good the next time yo have a failure to start you should check right away to see if you have a fuel or ignition failure. Odd are it's an ignition problem
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