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  1. #1
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    Unhappy When it rains, car won't start!!?!

    Hi all,

    We have a 1994 Golf Mk3 (1.4 petrol, 120k miles) as a second car and it really doesn't like getting wet!!

    Have had problems in the past, for example when driving through big puddles the car would just cut out completely and would then need to be left to dry before it would start again. Took it to the garage, they said something about "damp starting", and apparently fixed the problem. This was 5 or so years ago.

    The problem did improve, but never seemed to go away and has recently got worse. So much so that now whenever it rains, the car simply won't start. It needs to have a good 24 hours of dry weather before it will then start again.

    Engine turns over fine, just doesn't fire up. Anyone know what could be causing the problem (and don't say "water"!). As in what specific component(s) it is that may be getting damp and therefore affecting the car starting up? Once the car does start it runs fine.

    Thanks all.

    Mike
    Current: Daytona Grey A6 2.0 TDI S-Line 2008
    Gone: Denim Blue A4 2.0 SE 2001

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  3. #2
    benw123's Avatar
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    I had this on some old Fords I used to own as a student. Basically, water is getting into or around the spark plugs, distributor or the coil. To get the car started quickly, use WD40 or another water dispersant and spray it liberally over the these parts, including the leads themselves. Then try the car again and after a short time it should start.

    For a more permanent solution, I think you can get some wax-based sealants that spray on - however, this was all many moons ago so I don't know what's around these days!
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  4. #3
    rodenal's Avatar
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    Try the above, some spray on sealant should help your problem
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  5. #4
    OutLore's Avatar
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    Agreed. Wait til it rains (or preferably do it before it starts to rain) then spray some WD40 or other water dispersant around the leads, plugs etc.

    I would think that it may be caused by a fine crack in the distributor cap, broken down leads, earthing problem or something like that which when it rains and the air becomes moist any component with a small problem suddenly becomes a much bigger problem.

    One thing you can do, is take the car somewhere REALLY dark - where there is no street lighting or other light. Start it up and look for small sparks anywhere around the ignition components. DO NOT TOUCH any of these components when the engine is running. If you see some sparks, the component(s) where the sparks can be seen are probably breaking down and need replacing.
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  6. #5
    JamS3's Avatar
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    As per above I had a realy annoying small misfire on my Mk3 VR6 which would only happen in damp conditions. The dealer sprayed water from one of those hairdressing water sprayer things and the spark was evident by the distributor cap and ht leads.
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  7. #6
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    Yeah agreed. Get someone to turn it over at night, whether or not wet outside and check for sparks, they will be very evident!
    Surprising how long HT leads can be overlooked for. Would also suggest a new Distributor cap, rotor arm and spark plugs while you're at it for what they cost.
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  8. #7
    benw123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayB5UK
    Surprising how long HT leads can be overlooked for. Would also suggest a new Distributor cap, rotor arm and spark plugs while you're at it for what they cost.
    Yep - as well as potentially curing the damp starting problems, you're certain to get a smoother engine which will deliver better performance and economy, too.
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  9. #8
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for all the tips and advice guys. I'll give it a try at the weekend. I did notice a spark once when trying to start it, seemed to be coming from the starter motor.

    A trip to Halfords is in order to buy a few new parts methinks!

    Cheers all.

    Mike
    Current: Daytona Grey A6 2.0 TDI S-Line 2008
    Gone: Denim Blue A4 2.0 SE 2001

 

 

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