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Water+EJ22= problem!! what causes hesitation+stalling?


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Ratty2Austin

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:09 AM

well, as some of you know, I have the 1980 GL wagon with the EJ22 from a 1992 legacy... and it has been running pretty good recently, with the snorkel and all...


but... I washed it yesterday at work... (the engine) with degreaser and water..

after that, it barely started up.. it sputtered like it was not firing on 1 or 2 of the cyls... after a little bit of arguing with it, and blasting the coil, TPS, and injectors off with air (to try to dry them) it started to work better... but it still would only idle good, and would rev up only if i gave it 0-10% throttle .. anything above that, it would sputter and try to die again..

so i drove home with the issue.. and it sorta got better, but it would only run correctly at around 0-20% throttle

the next morning, i went out and started it up, and it worked better than when i shut it off, this time it reved fine up untill about 80% throttle then flooring was the only time it sputtered...

so i let it idle for half an hour (heat up the motor)

and it ran fine after that....

drove to buckley just fine, but on the way home the rain got harder (more mist from the roadway too) and then after a few minutes of driving in the hard rain, it started its sputtering thing again!!! and if i gave it WOT, it would stall (nose dive and sputtering, it decellerated worse than if i just let the throttle close!)
so all the way home in the rain, i could only give it about 50% throttle max, or else it would sputter and slow way down (and jerk the car back and forth as if i was stepping on and letting off the gas repetedly)


any ideas on what this could be?? it seems to be water related, and it probably is not my MAF, because it did it the other day when i washed the engine (i did not spray anywhere the intake)

could it be the TPS???? or the coil? maybe the plug wires?

or any other sensors sensitive to water? * high milage motor.. do these age poorly? or maybe if it is a ground wire or something that is loosing contact when water gets in there?


this is really making driving difficult!!! any info would be much appreciated!!! thanks!!!

#2 tcspeer

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 01:10 AM

You may have water down in the spark plug holes. I got water in mine from the washer tank when changing plugs.

#3 urabus1995

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 03:32 AM

I would be suspecting your plug wires, or the connections on the coil pack . I had the same problem on a 92 DL. if it got damp, it would almost cut out completly then restart. It always surprised me though that the heat from the engine did not manage to dry things out enough. One thing I did find , when I changed the wires, was that the metal connectors looked corroded, in the distributer. Cleaned them up with fine sandpaper and contact cleaner. Never had the problem again once that was done, and it improved the cars performance and mileage figures by quite a bit.

#4 Legacy777

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 08:32 AM

yeah, pull the plug boots out of the heads. I've seen some filled with water before....electrical systems don't like that ;)

Also, what you may want to do is take a spray bottle, and spray a fine mist of water over the engine at night with it running. You should be able to see any little sparks if you have a bad coil pack or wires.

I doubt the TPS is your problem.

#5 coloradosubarules

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 08:39 AM

I was having the same problem with my 90 legacy so changed out the plugs and wires last night and she is running much better now. WTTW: New wires come with silicone gel that they advise you put some in the boots when installing, I imagine this is to keep moisture out.

Don't drive through deep puddles in the wendys parking lot...(lol)

#6 Ratty2Austin

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 10:07 AM

thanks guys, i will try the plug wires today and see if that helps!!

#7 mtsmiths

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 10:35 AM

You don't state the ambient air temperature when the problem starts. I assume that with the snorkle you have eliminated the heat riser?

The symptoms sound exactly like carb ice. With the right conditions carb ice can form at air temps in the 70s (as we all learned in flight school, right?). The moist air rushing through the venturi in the carb is supercooled, and precipitates ice in the carb throat. The ice restricts the carb throat causing an over-rich condition, which is why it will run at light throttle and bog 'til it dies if you give it any gas.

I used to have exactly these symptoms in both our '87s until I replaced the heat riser hoses ... then never again.

Just a thought.

#8 Ratty2Austin

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:59 PM

You don't state the ambient air temperature when the problem starts. I assume that with the snorkle you have eliminated the heat riser?

The symptoms sound exactly like carb ice. With the right conditions carb ice can form at air temps in the 70s (as we all learned in flight school, right?). The moist air rushing through the venturi in the carb is supercooled, and precipitates ice in the carb throat. The ice restricts the carb throat causing an over-rich condition, which is why it will run at light throttle and bog 'til it dies if you give it any gas.

I used to have exactly these symptoms in both our '87s until I replaced the heat riser hoses ... then never again.

Just a thought.


but... can this happen on a fuel injected engine? (this is multiport spider intake, stock EJ22 from legacy ;) )

#9 mtsmiths

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 02:21 PM

Nope

#10 Takami826

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Posted 07 April 2005 - 09:09 AM

No response if this ended up being the solution, but I'm assuming it is. I've been having this problem with my 97 Legacy for over a year now, and after having it looked at 2x, I was told the first time "there's nothing wrong" and the second time that it was low quality gaspline, despite the fact I stated that it only does this in the rain, especially if I go thru a puddle or get drenched by a semi on the highway.

After a rough drive home in bad snowy, slushy, rainy conditions (gotta love Cleveland weather) I decided to search the forums for this problem and found this thread. Thankfully, I have a co-worker who's good with cars and can help me with this, he suspects it's corroded wiring or wet spark plugs, something along those lines.

What I'd like to know is, will this problem trigger a CHECK ENGINE warning? This morning, on the way to work, the check engine light came on and I wondered if the problems are related or if a trip to AutoZone for a free diagonostic is in order. I hope it's not the gas cap again (tho it's a cheap fix!) cuz I just did that 2 yrs ago when the CE light came on.

I have recently started using a dlo fm transmitter/charger for my iPod, could this have triggered the CE. I've been using it for about a month now, I would think it would have triggered the CE sooner if that was the cause, but since I'm here, I figured I'd ask.

Thanks in advance.

And thanks to the owner of the forums for having this place, it's saved my hide (and wallet) more than once!




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