89 LE, no start in rain - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1987-1991 Parley with regards to your 1987 to 1991 Bonneville, Olds 88 or Buick Le Sabre Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 01-01-2004, 07:04 PM   #1
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Default 89 LE, no start in rain

Hi all.

My bonneville has many problems, mostly the typical ones like groaning front wheel, stalling when cold/low rpm etc, but until this latest one they were bearable. Recently, if I leave it out in the rain, until it sits in the dry for a couple days it wont start. Itt'l turn over, but no go. Sometimes after I use the starter for about half an hour it will start to catch on a couple of the cylinders, at least thats what the sounds would suggest. But it needs to fully dry out before it will start again. Then it will start immediately. Im not sure what the problem is. There is nothing visibly wet like plug wires or coil, and temperature has no effect (except when its below 0, then there is no rain, so the problem doesnt occur). At home I keep it in the garage, but I'm scared to go anywhere in the rain for fear that it will not start when I get back. So far I have safely left it out in the rain for 2 hours, but the engine barely has time to cool down in that time, so it probably fought back the water.

Any ideas? I was thinking of doing the wires and coil anyway, because I believe they contribute to the stalling problem.
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Old 01-01-2004, 07:08 PM   #2
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The way you talk about the problem, it sounds electrical. I would start with wires and see what happens. Things do not have to look wet before you will get a short. Keep in mind, there could be other wet electrical problems that could be causing your problems too (like wires to the fuel pump). However, I bet if you throw a set of wires on there you will be good to go.

In the mean-time, take a can of WD-40 and spray all the wires, ends and coil...if you get it to go, you know you have nailed the problem!

Good luck!
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Old 01-01-2004, 07:09 PM   #3
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...oh...and by the way...


Welcome to the site!!
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Old 01-01-2004, 07:16 PM   #4
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Thing I would do is to wait unil it rains but somewhere you can still work on the engine (like 3/4 out of the garage, nose in) and try to duplicate (if not possible, I'd use a hose but might be related to humidity, not the water itself).

Might also wait until dark and look for sparks under the hood.

The real way is to go through the six page checklist in the factory service manual (a C engine manual is online a www.reatta.net) . I agree it is probably electrical but this is the first I've heard of "a few cyl first, then all catch" since the days of distributers and carbs.

Just for *&G next time it won't start pull the air cleaner lid and see if there is a puddle inside.
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Old 01-03-2004, 01:54 AM   #5
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Hi everyone. Sorry for the late response, my IP adres was banned, and it took me a while to get around the problem.

First of all thanks for the responses.

My plan of action will be to wet the wires and coil in an otherwise dry environment and start the car. I think that will confirm or deny whether those parts are indeed the problem. If they are, I'll simply replace them, otherwise, I'll get back to you
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