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2001 Forester


Took my wagon through a puddle, got er nice n stuck, managed to get myself out by rocking back and forth and some high revs. Drove up out of the puddle, and about 100 feet from the puddle she died mid shift. Couldn't get it to start up again, tried a couple roll starts and  still nothing. When I got it home I tried to start some more, car was hydrolocked, pulled spark plugs, cleared the cylinders, put it all back together and tried to start again. Car turned over but didn't cough or sputter. Nothing. Took off the fuel line at the filter and noticed no pressure in lines, and the pump wasn't priming. Replaced the pump, new pump primed once on first try, did not prime again. Still no start. Pulled spark plugs and it appears that there isn't any spark, Any ideas?




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Sounds like you learned an important lesson on why you shouldn't drive through water. If engine was carb'd and had a snorkel above the water level, it wouldn't be such an issue. But on electronic fuel injected vehicles where there are sensors everywhere and the air intake tubes feed through the fenders or lower, water isn't something to play in. If you took water in the intake (check the air filter, if it's wet, that's bad) you probably damaged the engine. Oil is most likely contaminated, wiring and sensors are wet, etc.


Probably will need to report it as a flood accident and get another car. If you want to waste a ton of time trying to get it running again, pull the seats, carpeting, kick panels, and disconnect the battery, etc. Carpet padding is THICK and holds water like meat packing bladders. You'll get mold, internal rust, and constant moisture build up if ignored. Anyhow, once everything is out, put some heavy blower fans in the car and leaves doors open and windows down for several days. Make SURE the air is blowing up into the foot areas as that's where the electronics are mainly at. If you have a heated garage (or friend willing to loan the space for several days) set the garage heat high and leave the garage closed up. The high heat will aid in evaporating the moisture. I've had cell phones (found several over the years too) that were completely submerged, and found a couple packed in wet snow too. I pulled the coverings off and removed the PCB, and let them set on a dry heat source for a couple days. ALL of them took a charge once completely dry and booted up. LCD screens were messed up on a couple, but others worked, Was even able to return 2 of them to their owners.


If after all this it still won't start, try swapping in a used ECM. You'll need fresh oil in the engine and hopefully the cylinder walls haven't started rusting to the rings. If you get it running but it runs really rough and pops a bunch of CEL codes, you'll have to systematically fix each issue and engine might still need replaced on top of that, or very least rebuilt and new sensors everywhere.

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If going to dry the car out; those thick pads under the carpet can hold water but the actual carpet surface will feel DRY, hence the need to pull the carpet up and inspect. I suggest pulling ALL the plugs and putting a propane torch into the hp;es to dry the cylinder walls out and get the water removed. On DOHC, that might be impossible, so consider cranking a few time with plugs out then maybe put a few teaspoons of oil into each and crank again. Big thing is you want the water off the rings and the oil should help preserve them, though this is just guessing and something I'd probably do if serious about keeping engine OK while everything dried.


CPS if not working, will prevent fuel AND spark, so consider the sensor might be bad.


I remember years ago working at a used lot and we got this low mileage 96' Thunderbird in. Owner's son was a coke head and kinda shady on top of everything, and would get cars from auction in the "junk" lanes if they looked OK. The Thunderbird ran, but it had a severe miss. I was looking through the trunk and pulled the carpet to the spare tire well and there was sand everywhere. We were able to deduce from the the limited documentation that it was a flood car that someone got running or it ran, but definitely did not belong on a car lot in that shape.


So, just saying, it might behoove you to write the car off and let it be totaled. Buy it back from the insurance and use it for parts, or use the money to pull the engine and run a new ECM + wires, etc. You'll need to do a compression test once FRESH oil is it. Wouldn't waste money on premium oil at this stage as it'll probably get exposed to some water and will need changed again.

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