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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there. Well, in my almost 30 years of detailing cars, this has never happened to me. I wanted to detail the engine of my new 2000 sable wagon. As usual, i sprayed engine with purple power and after a few minutes I used a garden hose to rinse everything off. I then get my leaf blower and dried everything real good. I get in the car to pull it into my carport and it wouldn't start! It was trying but no go. I tried several times then let it sit for a few hours. Tried again and nothing. It was like popping like it wanted to but nope. I tried many time through day. I even unplugged everything and blew all connectors just in case same thing. Finally I got her to start. Sounds like a lawn mower from tailpipe. It would only take gas little by little and would stall if i went too much too soon. After car was at normal operating temperature, I turned it off. 5 minutes later I went to start it and it started but still rough. As it was running I unplugged first coil in front and it got worse so I knew that one was OK. Then I did the 2nd then 3rd. With the 2nd and 3rd there was no change to the engine at all so I know those 2 coils must be bad. Is this a coincidence or do y'all think that 2 could have gone bad at once? Car was running perfect yesterday and I don't see how water could have messed them up. I pulled coils and spark plug holes were dry as normal. Then I turned car off again and 5 minutes later when I turned the key, nothing! No lights, no horn, no anything. I disconnected battery and after 10 minutes i reconnected battery and everything was back to normal with the exception of it misfiring on the 2 cylinders mentioned above.

Any ideas on what the heck has happened? I did unplug the pcm thing at firewall and made sure all that was dry and it was.

Please help!
 

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I think moisture can tend to make a weak or bad coil cause a misfire.
I recall seeing a mechanic looking for a bad coil by spraying it with water. I also recall having a heavy misfire that started on a foggy day.
Not sure about the other issues, but you should probably check the grounds and starter connections.
 

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I think moisture can tend to make a weak or bad coil cause a misfire.
I recall seeing a mechanic looking for a bad coil by spraying it with water. I also recall having a heavy misfire that started on a foggy day.
Not sure about the other issues, but you should probably check the grounds and starter connections.
I have tested coils with a water spray bottle with the engine idling. A bad coil will make it go crazy. Bad as in a crack. Any crack no matter how small will take water and misfire.Dry and it will be ok. Can't depend on DRY. High volts and water do not get along.
-chart-
 

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Never in a million years would it occur to me to 'wash my engine'.....
"Back in the day", common to wash engines. Air cleaner off and bag over the carb and one over the distributor. Old days engines got covered in grease and oily dirt.
Bad idea for modern engines.
I still hose out the A/C condenser with a garden hose and nozzle. Bugs and dirt. But that does not get anything wet that would not get wet in a puddle.
Even hosed out my central air at my house and got lots of dirt out of that.
-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
FIXED. I went to all 3 of my pull a part yards today here in metro atlanta. The first yard had my new grille in perfect condition and the last stop had a 2000 taurus with brand new coils on every plug. They looked new anyway. I bought all 6 for a little over 60 bucks. I replaced the 2 that werent working yesterday and now she runs like a brand new car! Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate it.
 

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Never in a million years would it occur to me to 'wash my engine'.....
I ALWAYS wash my engines. Will not hurt anything, just your fears! Working on a filthy engine is so American. Not in Japan. They take PRIDE in their vehicles, unlike Americans!! Just look around!!!!
 

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Wondering if something got dislodged/disconnected. Obviously check all connections electrical, vacuum, fuel, etc. Does sound like water may have made its way into somewhere it does not belong, but the good news is that water evaporates over time.

For those non-believers, not only is a clean engine easier to work on, removing dirt and grime is beneficial. Dirt and debris on engine components can actually increase the electrical resistance causing performance issues, even a dirty battery can be degraded by a layer of grime. In addition, all the dirt/grime will act to insulate the engine, keeping heat in the engine material, usually aluminum these days.

I use an electric powerwasher on all my engines, for which there are 6 of them. The oldest being 26 years old (Ford Explorer Sport). Never had any issues after blasting them and I do not cover anything with plastic bags or other.

You may have run into an anomaly, or it is a complete coincidence. Let us know what else you experience/find. The forum is a great place to work these things out.
 

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Regarding the dirty battery, I think I recall reading somewhere that if there is enough grime or dirt on it which is somewhat conductive, there may be a parasitic draw.
Apart from that, I think it depends on the type of dirt on the car and where it is. If it is oily or greasy, it will actually help prevent corrosion.
If you use strong enough soap, it may cause more issues than just water. may even accelerate corrosion. In this guy's case, washing the engine caused some sort of issue, and it seems to be more than just the ignition coils.
 

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A battery vents small amounts of acid. That can cause corrosion. Best cleaner and neutralizer of acid in household ammonia. It is caustic, gas dissolved in water. Ammonia gas leaves and the water evaporates leaving nothing behind. Pic at the JY, very common in non wreck cars. Likely one reason the car was terminal. Saw one where the acid ate through the throttle and cruise cables. Not gonna happen on my watch.
-chart-
 

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Best to clean completely (all debris off battery and wire brush terminals and connectors) and add some silicone sealer to terminals/connectors. The felt isolators help prevent corrosion also.
 

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Best to clean completely (all debris off battery and wire brush terminals and connectors) and add some silicone sealer to terminals/connectors. The felt isolators help prevent corrosion also.
I prefer a clean battery and connections. When I get used car, first time I change a battery, I pull the plastic holder out, clean it, clean the bolts and grease the threads and heads. Someday, I expect to have to remove that tray. One time event. And then ground cable crimp to the wires high volt drop due to corrosion not seen. Key on, not start, climate blower max, HL, and measure drop, common drop 6 or more x that along the wire to the eyelet. No issue at the eyelet except the bolt eyelet over paint. That weak connection likely due to acid fumes. This common to all my Bulls, and I a parallel ground from the clamp bolt to another fender bolt. Acid fumes happen. Corrosion happens, visible or not.
-chart-
 

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