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Discussion Starter #1
Hi people,

Jr was driving in LA rain storm just now.....went over a huge puddle, kept driving for 4 miles. Now car wont start. It turns over with popping soiunds.

I had him hold pedal to the floor while cranking for up to 15 seconds, andjust got more popping . What could it be? Should we just keep trying pedal to the floor? Not sure how long a battery can do this. It is a new battery....

[email protected]!
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Sound like electrical popping? Water in the distributor perhaps, or one of the wet ignition wires arcing.
 

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I bet Tom has it. Probably water in the distributer cap. Shouldn't have pools in the spark plug wells either.
 

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Had the same thing happen to me. Was raining hard and one side of the street was getting pretty high. I went through it, and stopped me in my tracks. Water got diverted into spark plug wells. I used my shirt to soak it up and fired right up.
 

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This is probably the one place where WD-40 is useful. (WD = Water Displacement). Dry off any obvious puddles with paper towels or dry rags. If you can be sure to get it back on correctly remove the distributor cap and wipe the inside dry, too. Then spray some WD-40 onto the cap & wires.
 

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Stuck in LA Again ...

Good luck.... the guys are absolutely correct. My Berlina was very susceptible to this behavior; not because I drove through puddles, but because of others who drive by in their SUVS and continually wall water up against and under you.

I only drove through a huge puddle once and stalled. Never forgot it, after Pat had to get out and dry the entire assembly out in pouring rain. He was not a happy camper. In my defense, there was no other way to go on the street and there were others stalled. So you either drove or sat. I made two mistakes, not letting Pat drive it through the puddle, which was the entire intersection and adjoining intersection approaches, and misunderstanding that 25 mph, which is crawling for me, is not what he meant by slow.

As unhappy as he was, after getting us started he helped get some of the other stalled cars started and on their way that were not Alfas.

The lesson in all this, drive a SUV in the rain so you can compete and drive your Alfa in the nice California weather. While they've improved some California street drainage, there are still streets that run like rivers. No problem with a SUV, but a sports car or lower sitting vehicle is.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks people, but still car wont start. Dist cap /rotor was dry. Will check the plug wells..........

otherwise, might have to tow it.....geez
 

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Discussion Starter #9
YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

It started! Jr just called me with the news..he just kinda aired out the air flow tube in the air, and (spark plug wells were dry), it cranked and started. Whew.

Anyway, I appreciate the tips and concern, as always. I tol him he has to get S Cal savvy now......here, he learned about hurricanes/palmetto bugs, but there, he has to be wary of local rain/flash flood warnings, man........

Tol him to bookmark the weather channel on his computer........
 

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Joe,

Yesterday's rainstorm was one of the heaviest we've had in two+ years; hopefully it will be uncommon.

Water in the (Bosch) Dis cap sometimes comes in thru vent holes in the bottom of the Dis. If so, all you can do is leave the cap off and let it air out for a bit. Or carry a can of dust-off (compressed air). Sounds a bit like what happened to get you started.

In the mid 70's alfa made a plastic distributor cover - two sides and a circlip, plus a rubber boot for the top that had grommet holes for the wires. Works great - and is critial for racing in the rain - especially if you put a bit of closed cell foam around the bottom (inside).

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Joe,

Yesterday's rainstorm was one of the heaviest we've had in two+ years; hopefully it will be uncommon.

Water in the (Bosch) Dis cap sometimes comes in thru vent holes in the bottom of the Dis. If so, all you can do is leave the cap off and let it air out for a bit. Or carry a can of dust-off (compressed air). Sounds a bit like what happened to get you started.

In the mid 70's alfa made a plastic distributor cover - two sides and a circlip, plus a rubber boot for the top that had grommet holes for the wires. Works great - and is critial for racing in the rain - especially if you put a bit of closed cell foam around the bottom (inside).

Robert
Thanks, Robert- I didnt know that. Guess the 2 holes can be helpful in draining(?). Anyway, glad to hear that rain was unusual. Good tip to know. this has caused trouble in the past- in a downpour here in FL 2 yrs ago. maybe we should kinda waterproof it with , I dunno, duct tape? A deflector on the base of the dist?
 

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...maybe we should kinda waterproof it with , I dunno, duct tape? A deflector on the base of the dist?
Wouldn't do a bit of good. The problem is not water intrusion into the cap but condensate inside the cap.
Warm air condenses on a cooler surface (basic physics). So you have warm air in the cap that has now been chilled by water. Result? Condensate forms inside the cap. One could spray the cap on a cold engine with a garden hose and the car will start right up. Now spray the cap with a hot engine. Possible no start.

The two piece plastic distributor covers mentioned by Robert were standard issue on all L4 Alfa engines from at least the 1750 on. But they greatly hindered servicing the distributor so most were never put back on.

Oh, the holes in some caps are air vents, not drains.
 

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1987 Spiders came with plastic distributor covers like Robert described. Often times the dreaded PO will remove it and not put it back on, since it can be a little tricky to fit... Alright, they can be a real PITA, but you should make sure the cars has one!

Best regards,
 

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Plastic cover maybe not needed. Yesterday's rain was 8.2 inches on my rain guage - in about 30 hours. Rain season (from September) to date was 7.6 inches!!

I spent almost 3 years without putting the top up in my Duetto. Just a few days I had to drive my BMW....

We get 300 to 325 sunny days average in So Cal; rain happens to Bay area and north!

:D

Robert
 

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will not use ether again.....blew the air tube off along with a 3 foot flame.......
Wow, that must have been exciting! At least we know the air tube is doing its job, and the plenum shouldn't blow off the engine.

YAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!

It started! Jr just called me with the news..he just kinda aired out the air flow tube in the air, and (spark plug wells were dry), it cranked and started. Whew.

Anyway, I appreciate the tips and concern, as always. I tol him he has to get S Cal savvy now......here, he learned about hurricanes/palmetto bugs, but there, he has to be wary of local rain/flash flood warnings, man........

Tol him to bookmark the weather channel on his computer........
Cool he got it started. Yeah, intersections around here seem to always have the biggest problems with flooding. Make sure he watches out for the mud/rock slides if he's driving in the canyons! You can be coming around a blind curve in the canyon and the road that was clear just a minute ago could be blocked, or flooded, or have a mini river running over it. Driving through the canyons yesterday and was completely swamped about 5 times by those @#$% SUV driving through puddles coming the other direction. Probably don't have to tell him this, but make sure he keeps the revs up and checks his brakes during and after going through the big puddles. I check the TWC site every day its raining here (mainly to try and avoid the heaviest hours of rain).
 
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